Skip to main content


The Sheffield College wins a national Edufuturists Award

Updated: 15.07.21

The Sheffield College wins a national Edufuturists Award

The Sheffield College has won a national education award for its trailblazing partnerships with employers and use of technology to adapt to the pandemic.

The Employer Skills Academy and Work-Related Activity Team won the employer engagement category of the Edufuturists Awards.

The awards celebrate innovative educators in the UK and beyond, including schools, colleges and universities connecting education with industry, and were announced at an online ceremony held on July 2nd, 2021.

The College clinched the award for its successful employer skills academies programme, that equips students with the qualifications and skills that employers are looking for, and its use of technology to adapt to Covid-19.

Rachel Topliss, Head of Employer Academy Partnerships and Work-Related Activity, The Sheffield College, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win a national education award for our work with the employer skills academies and use of technology during the pandemic that has enabled our students to get the skills, experience and qualifications to go further in their careers.”

Awards spokesperson Steven Hope, from Edufuturists, said: “This year has been a challenge for everyone in our sector - we are proud to be able to do a little bit to champion those who continue to make a difference.”

Louisa Harrison-Walker, Executive Director, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, which launched the first employer skills academy of its kind in the UK with the College, said: “I am delighted but not surprised to see The Sheffield College win the award for employer engagement – a huge congratulations to the very hard working and committed team there. We are very proud to be associated with their excellent work.”

She added: “The employer skills academies programme, launched with Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, is a trailblazer and hugely valuable asset to the region. We, in the business community, are incredibly grateful for the excellent work that the College is doing developing the next generation of employees, entrepreneurs and leaders."

This academic year, 2020/21, around 1,200 students in total have been involved in 15 employer skills academies backed by 13 different employers: Discovery STEM Education, Greene King, Kier Construction, Kryolan, Liberty Steel, Millgate, MSK Ingredients, NextGen Skills Academy, PJ Taste, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Sheffield Sharks, Uniheads and WANdisco.

The curriculum is co-designed with employers to simulate real-life work and covers the business and enterprise, construction, catering and hospitality, cyber security, engineering, animation and special effects, information technology, mental health and wellbeing and professional make-up sectors. The programme launched in September 2019.

Students work on real life employer-led projects and have the opportunity to take part in workplace or industry visits and placements, workshops, masterclasses and webinars involving industry experts provided by the employer sponsor.

During the pandemic, the College has organised guest speaker talks online in addition to launching a virtual reality hub to allow employer skills academy students the chance to explore new industries beyond theoretical skills and knowledge.  

Through 360° cameras, students get a virtual reality tour of a business premises with interactive voiceovers and employer talks. Companies involved include Discovery STEM Education, Kickabout, Powers Martial Arts Centre, Robertson, Universal Office Products, Virgin Media and WANdisco.

Students can also access the new Forage online work experience platform. Working with developers in Sydney, Australia, this has been designed to help students gain an understanding of different roles and industries. Students can also take part in a diverse range of remote work experience opportunities in global companies including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, PwC and Deloitte to develop employability skills and raise awareness of different roles and industries.

The College’s Online Employability Programme – MoveAhead, GetAhead, StayAhead – offers three virtually delivered programmes catering for all levels and ability. These develop and enhance student’s employability skills, with 60% of content designed and delivered by academy employers and stakeholders.

For more information, please visit our employer skills academies website page call 0114 2602600. For more information about the awards, please visit and follow @edufuturists.

Image credit: Marc Barker Photography.


Previous Articles

  • Exceptional students celebrated at awards ceremony

    Exceptional students celebrated at awards ceremony


    Sheffield College students who have shown exceptional dedication to their studies this academic year have been recognised at an annual awards ceremony.

    Read More
  • The Sheffield College student wins new LGBTQ+ award

    The Sheffield College student wins new LGBTQ+ award


    A Sheffield College student is breaking new ground after winning a national LGBTQ+ award.

    Read More

03/04/2024 3:40 pm
IT Services essential maintenance