North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has been recognised with the presentation of a national award at special presentation at the House of Commons. NWSLC won the ‘Skills Competition Advocate’ award as part of the WorldSkills UK Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Awards for the second year running.


Underpinning its nomination, the college’s Supported Internships programme, which enables young people with special educational needs and disabilities to gain employment, was singled out for praise by the judges who also recognised the college’s success in foundation skills competitions at the national finals of WorldSkills UK.


The college’s Supported Internships programme, now in its third year, has seen 36 interns placed within six different businesses and in a range of college departments. Last year, 73 per cent of interns successfully achieved permanent positions at the culmination of their programmes. Supported internships enable young people to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need through workplace learning.


NWSLC was recognised for its work on the development of foundation skills competitions as part of the WorldSkills UK portfolio, helping to devise, promote and create robust challenges for these students. During the implementation period, NWSLC helped to create test projects for regional qualifiers as well as the national WorldSkills UK finals. The college has consistently worked as an advocate for inclusive skills competitions and has successfully increased engagement through CPD sessions.

Established in 2020, the EDI Heroes Awards honour individuals and organisations that promote and embed innovative practices, projects, and initiatives, making a positive impact on students, workplaces, and the wider skills system.

Students and apprentices from NWSLC performed particularly well in the Inclusive Skills competitions in 2023 collecting eight medals in total and putting the college at the top of the medals table in England.


Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “This is fantastic news for our college, and we are delighted that our hard work to support inclusive skills has been recognised once again.


“We are really proud of our Supported Internships programme which has seen such a high level of success in just a few years, helping young people and their families as they build their skills and confidence in the workplace.


“We believe that engaging in skills competitions really helps our students as they prepare to enter employment when they have completed their college qualifications. We will continue to work with dedication to widen participation in skills competitions across our entire student body with the help of our inspirational colleagues.”  


Ben Blackledge, CEO, WorldSkills UK said, “Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Heroes awards. Your achievements in driving change to ensure all the young people you work with have the opportunity to succeed through apprenticeships and technical education is truly inspiring.

“At WorldSkills UK, we are proud to provide a platform for celebrating those making a significant difference.  By working together, we can advocate for real change across the sector, creating inclusive opportunities that give all young people the chance for success in work and life.”