Royal Honours for award winning Somerset College!

Hot on the heels of their success at the Association of Colleges’ National Beacon Awards, staff at Bridgwater College are celebrating again after being awarded a highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the 2015-16 round.

PRP - AOC Queens Ann - Engineering student on milling machine

The Prizes, established in 1993, are awarded every two years to universities and colleges whose work is judged to show excellence, innovation, impact and benefit – not only for the institution itself, but for communities locally, regionally and nationally. They form part of the UK Honours system, and the 2015-16 winners were announced at a reception at St James Palace in London on Thursday 19 November, attended by College Chair of Governors, Derek Randall, and Principal, Mike Robbins.

The College, whose current success rates place it firmly among the top 10% in the country, was one of only four colleges in the country to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in this round, with the remaining 17 winners coming from among top UK universities. Its entry focused on its unique and pioneering work with industry, government and other organisations to identify, develop and deliver the technical and professional skills that employers and individuals need to succeed in an increasingly global marketplace. Whilst Hinkley Point C provided the catalyst for a great deal of the innovation and excellence that characterises the College’s education and training provision, the legacy that this has created will serve a number of major infrastructure projects UK and world-wide.

PRP - AoC Apprentice at work 0808 Martin Robinson

Speaking immediately after the announcement College Principal, Mike Robbins, said: “There can be no higher endorsement of our work than a Queen’s Anniversary Prize – it is the ultimate accolade in the education sector. We have an excellent team here at the College and are absolutely delighted that their dedication, enthusiasm and tenacity have been recognised in this way. The Prize recognises also the commitment and resolve of our industry and community partners, who have entrusted us with their most valuable resource – their current and future workforce – and invested in us to provide education and training facilities and resources that are unparalleled in the South West.”

Derek Randall, Chair of Governors said “We are delighted to win this very prestigious award and to be in the company of such notable institutions as the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh, Bristol, Warwick and Cranfield. It reflects the outstanding quality of education and training provision at the College and the hard work and dedication of a large team of staff.  We are looking forward to our visit to Buckingham Palace in February to receive our award from the Queen.”

Steel Fixing Course July 2014 BWC_8646

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science said: “The UK is a world leader in science and research, and The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes celebrate the achievements of our universities and colleges. The outstanding academics recognised with these awards bring benefits to the everyday lives of millions of people in the UK and deserve this high honour for their work.”

The College’s Prize underscores the College’s ambition to be world class. It is already making a major contribution to the local, regional and national skills training agendas, and hopes to play an even greater part if its bid to host the South West hub of the new National College for Nuclear is successful.

If you would like more information about technical and professional training at Bridgwater College, or are an employer looking to upskill your workforce, please contact our Business Development team on 01278 655111 or email [email protected], or visit


A Bridgwater College engineering student undertakes “manual” milling on an  XYZ 2000 vertical milling machine at the College’s state-of-the-art training facility, the Energy Skills Centre.

Martin Robinson, an apprentice with luxury leather goods manufacturer Mulberry, at work in the company’s Somerset factory.

A group of steel fixing apprentices engaged in team-based, practical training at Bridgwater College’s Construction Skills and Innovation Centre in Cannington, Somerset, while helmet-mounted cameras record and upload their progress.