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Derwen College wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise

A leading specialist college, in Shropshire, has been honoured with a top business award endorsed by Her Majesty the Queen.

Derwen College in Gobowen

Derwen College, in Gobowen, near Oswestry, has been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity.

The further education college was established in 1927, and provides education and vocational training for young people aged 16 to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

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The College operates several businesses at its on-site ‘Marketplace’. Students learn work skills in a garden centre, café, restaurant, print shop, charity shop and a small hotel developed in conjunction with Premier Inn. They are then supported to progress to external work placements where appropriate.

Additionally, the College embraces technology, such as developing a CV Builder app which allows students to showcase their work skills to potential employers in an accessible way.

The College currently supports 143 students and interns with SEND to achieve their aspirations. Derwen College is proud to achieve outcomes that exceed the national average for people with SEND – including progression into paid employment, voluntary work, further training, increased independence and supported living.

Derwen College is one of 226 organisations nationally to be recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, of which four are from Shropshire.

Announced today (Thursday 21 April), Derwen has been recognised for its excellence in Promoting Opportunity.

Now in its 56th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.

In a formal letter, a spokesman for the Queen’s Awards said:

“I am delighted to inform you that Her Majesty the Queen has approved the Prime Minister’s recommendation that your company should receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Promoting Opportunity category this year.

“It has been an exceptionally hard few years for businesses and this achievement is testament to the resilience you and your staff have shown through these unprecedented times.

The award will be presented to the College by Queen’s representative Lord Lieutenant Anna Turner.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to be celebrating the wonderful success of Derwen College in winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunities.

“Judges for these awards look into every detail of your nomination as they want to absolutely certain they make a good selection. It makes me so pleased that we have four businesses in this county that have reached the required standards, and particularly one this is so inspirational in providing such a happy learning environment to so many young people.”

Principal Meryl Green from Derwen College is invited to attend a Reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales on 12 July.

The College has won and been shortlisted for many awards for 2021 and 2022. In the last year, the College has won Specialist College of the Year in the TES FE Awards and a NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs) Award. It is also shortlisted in the Aico Awards and the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards.

Meryl Green said: “Derwen College is having an exceptional year for awards; for our educational and care provision, and for our business ‘Marketplace’. To receive this very special award, endorsed by the Queen, during her Platinum Jubilee’ really is the icing on the cake. We are very proud to receive this distinguished award, and would like to thank all our staff, students, families, and the community who support our College, our Charity and our Marketplace.”

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