Truro and Penwith College’s commitment to inclusion and diversity wins national recognition

Truro and Penwith College has been recognised further for its positive work on promoting diversity by being awarded South West Further Education Provider of the Year by the National Centre for Diversity.

As well as being recognised as the best in the region, the College reached number 16 in the National Centre for Diversity’s list of UK Top 50 Further Education Providers.

Solat Chaudhry, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Diversity, said: “This was a real win for Truro and Penwith College. If I was a College student all over again I would be looking to go to one of the Colleges in the Top 50 because I know that I would feel valued, respected and included. Colleges like Truro and Penwith work extremely hard at ensuring fairness, respect, equality and inclusion of all - whatever someone’s background. They have done the South West proud.”

A specific example of Truro and Penwith College’s inclusive and supportive approach came in the same week when student Edward Andrews, 18, was shortlisted in the Association of College’s (AoC) National Student of the Year award. Ed gained this recognition after he achieved exceptional grades while he trans-gendered, and for his support for those going through similar experiences. He has now been recognised nationally for his, “determination, spirit and motivation”.

Having obtained triple Distinction grades on his BTEC Extended Diploma Health & Social Care course at the College and subsequently securing a place at Sussex University, Ed’s achievements were recognised for a number of reasons.

At the time of working towards his top grades, Ed was undergoing significant educational, social and health challenges through trans-gendering.  Additionally, he worked hard with College support staff to overcome his dyslexia and demonstrated “relentless determination” in his quest to be the first member of his family to attend university.

Outside of the College, Ed was determined to increase understanding of gender issues by running campaigns through social media and engagement with Truro’s LGBT group. Throughout this difficult time, he continued to undertake voluntary work by teaching martial arts to primary-aged children.

“He has confronted prejudice head on, overcame it through perseverance, frank and open conversations even producing resources for other students to aid their understanding,” the AoC said when recognising Ed’s achievements.

Despite narrowly missing out on the top award on the night, Edward said he was, “really happy to get this far in the competition and to have the opportunity to be considered for the award”.

He added: “Truro College were brilliant, they were accepting and changed my name right away and made my life a whole lot easier.”

AoC President Ian Ashman said this year’s nominations for the Student of the Year Awards, “were of an exceptionally high standard, and added, “Edward’s determination, spirit and motivation are truly inspiring”.

Principal of Truro and Penwith College David Walrond said: “These awards recognise the commitment of the college, its learners and its staff,  to a culture of inclusion and diversity, of acceptance and respect. Those values need promoting more than ever in periods of change and uncertainty, so to get acknowledgement of our work at national level this year is very welcome indeed.”