College celebrates success with business community

Sunderland College hosted a prestigious event to celebrate an award-winning year with the business community.

Over 40 business leaders attended the exclusive lunch event, which took place on Friday 9th March at the College’s impressive City Campus in Sunderland. The purpose of the event was to thank the regional business community for their support in the College gaining the coveted Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for Engagement with Employers.

Guests heard from award-winning business expert Steph McGovern, and were treated to a two-course lunch prepared and served by student chefs based at the College’s City Bistro.

Iain Nixon, Executive Director of Commercial Activity at Sunderland College, said: “It has been a hugely successful year for the College and we were thrilled to receive the AoC award. We are now working with in excess of 500 businesses across the region to support with skills development and growing their business, and we wanted to thank them for their support in helping us achieve this coveted award.”

Special guest, breakfast TV presenter Steph, has reported on business and finance from around the world; from international summits to small business success stories. She said: “It’s lovely to be back in the North East to celebrate with Sunderland College today. It’s great to see the strong connection the college has with the regional business community, which is vital for making sure young people leave the college with the skills employers need here.”

During the event, the Beacon Award was officially presented to Principal and Chief Executive of Sunderland College Ellen Thinnesen, by Caroline Rowley, AoC Area Director for the North East. Caroline said:

“AoC Beacon Awards highlight the very best of college initiatives and activities nationally. Winning a Beacon Award highlights not only the good work by Sunderland College, but also the impact on students and communities.

“This Employer Engagement award is testament to the innovation that is taking place in Sunderland.  The College is meeting the needs of students and employers by embracing a raft of new approaches to teaching, learning and leadership.

“The College impressed the judging panel with the range and number of ways that it is working with employers.  Companies and employers in Sunderland can be confident in beating a path to the college’s door, they can be assured they are working with an innovative, dynamic and national award winning college.”

For more information about employer partnerships with Sunderland College contact 0191 511 6000, email or visit

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