Staff using trauma techniques and bringing in business experts to help them design courses has propelled Nelson and Colne College Group to the final of the Pendle Business Awards.

The group has been shortlisted for a Workforce Development Award, which honours organisations that are continually investing in the personal and professional development of their teams.

For Nelson and Colne College Group, that means ensuring the wellbeing of those who work for them, particularly as the legacy of COVID lingers on.

Lisa O’Loughlin, CEO and Principal of Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “Trauma sounds like such an emotive word, but actually “trauma-informed” is an approach that has been adopted very successfully, particularly since the pandemic.

“It is grounded in, and directed, by a complete understanding of how significant events affect your everyday life, and it was fully explained to our staff at our wellbeing days.

"This means they can better understand and overcome the issues in their lives and of course, think about and even utilise these techniques when educating our extraordinary young students.”

Creating a happy workforce is more than about improving mental health though, argues Lisa.

Tutors and non-teaching staff have clear career paths and a say in a raft of future initiatives, such as making the college sites carbon neutral by 2030.

Vice Principal and Pendle resident, Fionnula Swann, began her career as a teacher, rising to a department head and a Vice Principal post at the second best college in the country.

Fionnula Swann

Recognised recently as the number one College in the country for Adult Learning, Nelson and Colne College Group is particularly pleased to have been recognised in Pendle.

Lisa continued: “Businesses play a pivotal role in what we teach and where. This is a win-win for everyone.

"Companies can plug their skills gaps with ready to work students, and our learners have a much better chance of employment.

"Our Group has been a pioneer of T Levels, which are co-created with businesses, meaning they get to co-create the curriculum. This year, we had a 100% pass rate on these courses – which is truly amazing.

“The outgoing Mayor of Pendle visited our Choices programme not long ago, where the young people have been helping to clean-up and beautify local spots.

 “He rightly told us there was so much good going on in Pendle – but that as a community, we didn’t shout about it enough.

"Here we are shouting from the rooftops about how great a place it is – and, what superb local people they employ at their College!”

The Pendle Business Awards are presented on Thursday, July 11 at The Fence Gate, close to the foot of Pendle Hill.