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Grimsby Institute awarded EdTech Demonstrator College status

We are delighted to announce that the Grimsby Institute has been awarded the status of EdTech Demonstrator College by the Department for Education.

Inclusion within this prestigious programme further recognises the Institute, which forms part of the TEC Partnership, as one of the country’s leading colleges in its use of technology to support teaching and learning.

As part of the initiative, the Institute will share its transformative use of technology to support other providers through advice, guidance and training. Sharing its tried and tested digital methods with others will help to empower learners, reduce teacher workload, create efficiencies and improve accessibility across the sector.

An Ofsted Outstanding provider, the Institute has also been awarded Microsoft Showcase College status as well as the Canvas Inspiration and Innovation Award. These accolades recognise how staff use technological advancements to empower their learners, including virtual subject-specialist guest speakers, paper-free courses and reduced barriers to learning.

Deborah Millar, Executive Group Director of Digital Learning Technology, said: “I am thrilled to hear that Grimsby Institute has been recognised for its digital excellence and chosen to be a Demonstrator College for the Department for Education.

“The next few months are going to be a transformative period for the many. We hope that the lessons we have learned over the past few years can be shared to help ease the digital journey for others as well as provide methods of creating more engaging, accessible teaching and learning experiences. Ultimately, we want to be part of a partnership that demonstrates what digital learning could, and should feel like.”

The Institute has also been recognised for the way in it has conducted remote teaching and learning during the lockdown, following a virtual visit by Gillian Keegan MP, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills.

Mrs Keegan commented: “From chatting with staff and dropping into a range of online lessons, you can clearly see that innovation and enthusiasm have kept the show on the road for their learners, bringing some much needed structure and sense of community during what is a difficult time.

“As someone who has worked in the tech sector, I know it is a great leveller which creates huge opportunities for young people. Everyone at Grimsby Institute is doing a great job at adapting to this new way of studying, and the technical skills students will have gained during this period will serve them so well as they move forward and look for jobs.”

Grimsby Institute wins two national Beacon Awards

Grimsby Institute is celebrating after winning two prestigious Beacon Awards.

The Association of Colleges (Aoc) awards, which were held virtually, celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year.

The Institute received the Edge Award for excellence in the practical delivery of technical and professional learning for its ESTV media curriculum delivery model, which gives students the opportunity to work in real-life filming and editing roles within a commercial production company.

It also won the British Council International Award for the Arts faculty’s Erasmus+ programme, which has facilitated three-week exchanges for students and staff with colleges in France, Germany, Malta and Finland.

Emma Forrest-Leigh, Associate Principal for Digital and Creative Industries, entered both submissions.

“I’m so proud of our amazing teams. All the hard work, the belief in new ideas, the courage and support; everyone is a winner.

“On a personal note, international is something that runs through my veins so I am beyond happy that we won this award. It means a great deal. While it may be ironic during lockdown, I feel that the value of travel and experiencing other cultures is vital for personal growth and this work has enabled so many people to experience that too.”

Emma is now looking forward to a virtual celebration of the Arts faculty’s students’ work next Friday, June 12th, as part of an end-of-year exhibition to be broadcast via Facebook Live from 6pm.

The Institute was also shortlisted for the RCU Support for Students Award, submitted by Tamarra Taylor, Executive Director of Learner Services.

She said: “I am immensely proud of the team that I have the pleasure of working with. They live and breathe student support and I know that so many of our learners have their lives enriched as a result of the wraparound support they provide.”

Principal Debra Gray also commented: “The staff at GIFHE are some of the best in the country and they go over and above every day for our students. I could not be prouder of everything they have achieved.”

Julie Nerney, Chair of AoC Charitable Trust, said: “These awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community, and why people value them.

“This college is inspirational in the way the teaching delivered is accessible and students get to experience education in a relatable way. Having a curriculum that students can identify with is hugely important for developing skills that will be used long after they have leave college – a strong foundation for the next stages of their life.”

Institute welcomes Minister for virtual tour of “innovative” online learning

We were delighted to welcome Gillian Keegan MP, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, for a virtual tour of our online learning provision this week.

The Minister joined Chief Executive Gill Alton OBE, Principal Debra Gray and Deborah Millar, Group Executive Director of Digital Learning Technologies, for the tour, which took in remote classes such as Level 5 Engineering, Level 2 Childcare, FdSc Animal Management and GCSE Maths.

Preparation for remote teaching and learning has been building over the last four years however, in the weeks leading up to lockdown on March 23rd, efforts increased to ensure staff and learners were ready to face the new challenge.

As Deborah explained: “When we realised we’d be going online we made sure staff were informed, had checklists covering everything they needed to know and built an online guide to teaching and learning remotely.

“Once it happened, we went full steam ahead supporting the learners. We had IT delivering digital devices to learners and staff where possible and success coaches and tutors were all about learner wellbeing, checking on those who weren’t logging in. It was all about creating this family, this community.

“What I’m really proud of is the way some areas have really gelled together as what we call family. At a time like this, everyone needs family, and some of those learners perhaps don’t have the structured homelife of others. So, when they log on that day to see that familiar face, that person who gives them encouragement, it keeps them going. We’re very aware of that at the Grimsby Institute, and our staff have done some incredible things to connect with our learners.”

Mrs Keegan welcomed the “innovation and enthusiasm” shown by the Grimsby Institute during the lockdown period.

“I really enjoyed my virtual visit to Grimsby Institute and seeing the brilliant work that is going on to help learners continue their studies across a wide range of courses online,” she commented.

“From chatting with staff and dropping into a range of online lessons, you can clearly see that innovation and enthusiasm have kept the show on the road for their learners, bringing some much needed structure and sense of community during what is a difficult time.

“As someone who has worked in the tech sector I know it is a great leveller which creates huge opportunities for young people. Everyone at Grimsby Institute is doing a great job at adapting to this new way of studying and the technical skills students will have gained during this period will serve them so well as they move forward and look for jobs. Thanks to all for arranging such an interesting visit and I can’t wait to come and visit again in person.”

Institute Chief Executive Gill thanked the Minister for the virtual visit, adding: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and we really look forward to hosting a further meeting in future, whether virtually or in person.

“We are incredibly proud of our team, who do an outstanding job in supporting students and staff and have just transformed what we do to another level.

“We work on a philosophy of work hard, play hard and be nice, and I think that has held us in really good stead for the whole of this approach, which didn’t come as a tsunami to us because of the work that’s been done to lay the foundations over a period of time. It wasn’t easy for everybody but the motivation to do the best for learners took over and everybody has engaged incredibly well.

“We also have really high aspirations for our learners. Wherever they’ve come from, we want them to be the very best that they can be and that feeds through every aspect of college. Everyone wraps around to help our learners reach and exceed their full potential.”


Mariners boss

Mariners boss “blown away” by Institute facilities

Grimsby Town manager Ian Holloway was “blown away” by the standard of the Grimsby Institute as he visited to discuss how the two organisations can develop their positive partnership.

The Mariners boss was joined by majority shareholder John Fenty for a tour led by our Chief Executive Gill Alton and Vice Principal Julie Moore, before the four met to discuss future plans.

“I’m amazed; I knew the Institute was here but didn’t realise the scale of the success it brings to people,” he said.

“I have this genuine feeling that every one of us can shine, and the Grimsby Institute makes people shine. It’s absolutely amazing; I’m blown away by the standard of it, the quality of it and the achievements it’s helping other people reach.”

Holloway, known as Ollie to Grimsby Town fans, joined the Mariners in January and has already overseen an upturn in fortune, with the club now unbeaten in five games. He has previously managed Blackpool in the Premier League, as well as stints at QPR, Millwall, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.

“I want my players to understand what life is like for other people; how they have to learn and what they have to do to make a living,” he added.

“Football is something you do instinctively; you’re either good at it or you’re not and you end up at the right level for you. I want them to feel more about who they’re playing for and why they’re playing for them.

“I found it helped me at Blackpool and I know it will help here, because it gives you some pride about the area. It’s important to be proud of where you are and what you are, so I hope my team’s performances will help the people of the area to be proud of them and vice versa.

“Having the interaction between my players and the Institute will be fantastic – especially for me, I love art and want to bring my wife into some of these classes to learn, it’s marvellous.”

Chief Executive Gill Alton also commented: “We are delighted to have welcomed Ian Holloway and John Fenty to the Institute for this positive discussion about our future working relationship.

“Ollie’s overwhelming enthusiasm and passion for learning has shone through since he joined the Mariners. The positive influence he’s had on players, fans and the wider community is clear to see.

“We look forward to working closely with the club in future, providing exciting learning opportunities which benefit both our own students and Grimsby Town Football Club.”

Alex Career 6

Uni Connect Inspires University Participation

Grimsby Institute is delighted to partner with the Uni Connect programme to support non-traditional progression to higher education.

A series of activities has been delivered to support learners like Alex, who has benefited from a range of events and engagement activities to support him to progress to higher education. Alex is in his second year of Level 3 study on a Criminology pathway, which includes A Level Psychology, A Level Sociology and a Level 3 Diploma in Criminology.

Alex was selected by the regional partnership HOP (Humber Outreach Programme) as part of the Uni Connect programme, due to data highlighting that he is from an area where there are low numbers of people who progress to university.

Over the last two years, he has participated in activities such as a forensic science workshop called Sherlock Bones, a trip to the National Crime Museum in Nottingham and an inspirational revision session held at a cinema in Leeds. He has had stress management sessions to support him with his studies and help with applying through UCAS, including writing personal statements and guidance on HE student finance.

Alex also was able to participate in a NEXT Steps transition support programme with the University of York and a capital trip to London.  As part of his studies, he went on several relevant enrichment and trips so he had as much information and support possible before applying to University.

Alex said: “The support sessions have provided myself and my classmates with a sound understanding of how applying to university works, which a lot of class mates were unfamiliar with. Specifically, the student finance and personal statements sessions were very useful.

“Understanding how this works can be tricky with the percentages and loan repayment guidelines, however the sessions provided an easily accessible presentation which laid out the information well. Personal statements can be daunting to write as they’re one of the main factors which helps us get into the university of our choice.”

C4ME shortlisted

C4ME shortlisted for prestigious national award

Congratulations to our fantastic Centre for Maths Excellence (C4ME) team, who have been shortlisted for Provider of the Year at the Skills Awards 2020.

We are up against the likes of Leeds City College, Heart of England Training, Paragon Skills and Nelson and Colne College, with the winner set to be announced on March 10th.

Our C4ME team is one of just 21 across England, acting as a hub for research, training, innovation and the sharing of successful practice across the FE sector.

They have been shortlisted for The Focused 15 project, which set out to identify topics that grade 4 maths students were competent with, but grade 3 students were not.

From there, 15 interconnected topics were identified. These vary in size and difficulty, but join together to give a good level of mathematical understanding for each student’s future.

The scheme has been praised by other providers, with the maths lead at Bishop Burton College commenting: “The approach provided and shared by the Grimsby Institute is fabulous. It has shown us the clear focus of topics that is needed for all students to pass. The clear topics are much easier to work with and allow for more structure.”

Emma Bell, C4ME lead and Maths Enhancement Manager at the Grimsby Institute, said: “I was shocked and delighted to find out we had been shortlisted for the award. It’s testament to the hard work of our fantastic team, who deserve every accolade that comes their way.”


prestigious national awards

Grimsby Institute is shortlisted for two prestigious national awards

We are delighted to announce we have been shortlisted in the Best Teaching and Learning Initiative and WorldSkills Unsung Hero categories at the 2020 Tes FE Awards.

The teaching and learning nomination is for our Media team’s Estuary Student TV (ESTV) curriculum model, which operates a student-led television production team run by a professional channel manager. Student crews are supervised on short notice location work which is typical of industry, learning in the workplace while on the job.

Clients include Grimsby Town FC, Cliftons Dance Academy and Associated British Ports, while recent graduates have gone on to work on projects such as Strictly Come Dancing, the Eurovision Song Contest and Glastonbury.

Emma Forrest-Leigh, Associate Principal for the Digital and Creative Industries faculty, said: “I feel delighted to see my wonderfully hard working, innovative, pioneering and talented team shortlisted for this award.

“The work we do at the Grimsby Institute changes lives. There could not be a prouder manager in the country than I am right now to see the achievements of our staff and student media crew gain such a bright national spotlight.”

Meanwhile, our Manufacturing Engineering team have been shortlisted for the WorldSkills Unsung Hero award. Recent successes include Refrigeration apprentice Orlando Rawlings, who was selected to represent Team UK at WorldSkills 2019 in Kazan and won a medal of excellence, and Fabrication and Welding apprentice Macaulay Reavill, who represented the nation at WorldSkills 2017 in Abu Dhabi.

Nick Marshall, Curriculum Manager for Manufacturing Engineering, said: “When I found out about the nomination I was genuinely excited and exceedingly proud of what the team has achieved.

“The team work tirelessly to promote skills development and are passionate about what they do. They deserve all their plaudits and as the manager of the department I recognise the commitment, desire and determination they show in the pursuit of excellence.

“They are a great team who work together and are unselfish with their time and energy, often going that extra mile to make a real difference.”

Tes FE Editor Stephen Exley said: “Excellent practice exists right across the further education sector, and those shortlisted for the Tes FE Awards are the cream of the crop. Our judges were extremely impressed with the calibre of entries. To be shortlisted is an extraordinary achievement.”

The winners will be revealed at a gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 20 March 2020.

To see the full list of who is in the running, pick up a copy of this week’s Tes, or visit

Superstar success coach

Superstar success coach braves the shave!

A huge well done to our superstar success coach Michelle Burton – who has braved the shave in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support!

Michelle attracted a huge crowd for the big event, which took place in main reception this afternoon. She is aiming to raise £2,000 for the worthy cause and, with her current total standing at just over £1,000, is appealing for help to hit her target.

She said: “I wanted to do something big and I can’t jump out of a plane due to medical reasons, so I thought I’d go with the safer option and brave the shave for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“It wasn’t for anyone in particular; everyone has been affected by cancer at some point in their lives. I’ve lost family members to cancer and also know people who have got through it, so it was really important to raise awareness.

“I particularly wanted to do it at college so the students could see it and understand why I was doing it. Doing good in the community is a big part of my heart, so it’s important we get that message across.”

Through both her work and personal life, Michelle is involved with local charitable organisations such as the NSPCC, Rotary Club of Cleethorpes, the Shoebox Appeal and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).


Speaking about the head shave, which was carried out by a member of Salon staff, Michelle added: “I’ve got plenty of hats – that was at the top of my Christmas list! I was a bit worried about the shape of my head, how much grey was coming through and the amount of people that would be there watching.

“I was most worried about making sure I raised enough money to be able to help someone out there though, so would appreciate any donations – no matter the amount.”

To donate to Michelle’s amazing cause, visit:

Institute scoops two awards

Institute scoops two awards at prestigious ceremony

We are delighted to announce we have scooped two prestigious accolades at the 2019 Learning Technologies Awards.

The Grimsby Institute was commended on an “inspiring” use of simulations for learning and “energetic and imaginative” digital team at last night’s ceremony, before receiving a gold award for best use of simulations or virtual environments for learning and bronze for learning technologies team of the year.

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University Centre Grimsby graduates

Congratulations to our Class of 2019

Dozens of University Centre Grimsby graduates joined us at Grimsby Town Hall this week to celebrate during four special ceremonies.

We were delighted to welcome principal guests Ellie Monkhouse, Chief Nurse at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, and consultant and CEO Richard Askam.

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