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Activate Learning celebrates a win and a runner up position at the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards

More award success for Activate Learning's SEND work placement programme, and recognition for UTC Oxfordshire's strong business links.

28 June 2019

Activate Learning has won the Education and Business Partnership award at this year’s Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards.

UTC Oxfordshire, an Activate Learning Education Trust school, was a runner up in the same category.


The award, presented at a ceremony in Reading on 27 June, was given for Activate Learning’s work in improving life chances and creating sustainable job opportunities for students with special educational needs and disability (SEND). 


Since launching in 2013, the business partnership programme has supported over 1500 Berkshire and Oxfordshire SEND learners with work experience.  


SEND students gain real life work experience either on campus at a college-run learning company, at an off-site work placement or on an external supported internship programme working towards a paid position.


Industry partners, who shape and co-deliver learning progammes, benefit through better recruitment and staff development opportunities. Organisations that take on a supported intern often report decreased absenteeism and greater job satisfaction among employees who work with SEND learners.


Activate Learning’s CEO, Sally Dicketts CBE, said “We are immensely proud to have won this prestigious business award. It is a real testament to our learners, staff, parents and partners. 


“Our unique Learning Philosophy approach develops the personal attributes that our students need to succeed in the workplace, ensures that learner achievement levels remain high, and that we create sustainable employment opportunities for all our learners.”

UTC Oxfordshire also recognised


UTC Oxfordshire in Didcot is a state school for ages 14-19 offering specialist programmes alongside its core curriculum.


Also part of Activate Learning, it was recognised as an award runner up for its high number of work experience placements and apprenticeships, and is linked to organisations like Thames Water, UK Atomic Energy Authority, BMW MINI and the Royal Navy.


UTC Oxfordshire differs from other schools in the area in terms of its curriculum, longer working day, ethos towards students, concentration on destinations rather than results, and relationships with business.  In common with the rest of the Activate Learning group, it is creating a talent pipeline to help local businesses to grow and thrive.