Home Outdoor education Suffolk Business Awards 2021: Business Education Finalist

Suffolk Business Awards 2021: Business Education Finalist


8:00 a.m. November 1, 2021

The Education in Business Award, sponsored by Suffolk New College and West Suffolk College, recognizes organizations that go beyond the needs of their business to equip people with the skills of the future.

Lawyers in Attwell

Attwells Solicitors is a mid-sized law firm, providing a wide range of legal services including residential property transfer, commercial real estate and real estate development. Founded in 2007, the company has 51 employees across its three offices in Ipswich, Colchester and St John’s Wood.

The judges praised the firm’s “fabulous work” in making the legal profession accessible to people of diverse backgrounds, including apprenticeships, and for its work with the government’s Kickstart program. Atwells hopes to expand his work experience and learning programs in the future.

Staff progression and retention were highlighted as key strengths, with Atwells rarely having to hire other companies. The judges “heard inspiring stories from long-time employees who had been fortunate enough to develop, subsequently seeing their careers blossom at Attwells.” One example was a former receptionist who is now training as an approved transporter.

The Geographical Fieldwork Academy has worked with over 5,000 GCSE and A-level students to study the Southwold landscape.
– Credit: Academy of Geographic Field Work

The Field Academy of Geography

The Geography Fieldwork Academy (GFA) is an outdoor education company that works with schools in East Anglia to provide field lessons – primarily in Southwold but also in Ipswich, Norwich, Hunstanton, Wroxham and Bury St Edmunds.

Between its inception in 2017 and March 2020, the GFA has worked with over 5,000 GCSE and A-level students, helping them study the geographic landscape of Southwold.

Having adapted considerably during the pandemic restrictions, the GFA has created a wide range of free online resources, guided lessons, virtual tours and a revolutionary data collection app. By using local facilities, including the Southwold Arts Center, he reduced overhead costs and made his classes affordable and accessible to all.

The judges called the GFA a “brilliant idea”, describing outdoor education manager Chris Webster as “a passionate advocate for the benefits of fieldwork for young people”.

Stow Healthcare patient and nurse

Stow Healthcare, which specializes in turning around failing retirement homes and nursing homes, is a finalist for the 2021 Education in Business award
– Credit: Ross Harvey

Stow Healthcare Group

Stow Healthcare Group specializes in the turnaround of failing retirement homes and nursing homes. Based in Suffolk and supported by 450 employees, the family-owned and operated business now comprises six homes, three of which are rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission – a feat achieved by just 5% of care homes.

The judges said Stow Healthcare Group has proven what is possible in an industry that has faced enormous challenges in recent years, “making the most of its people”. The company places training at the heart of its strategy, with face-to-face sessions and practical training environments that are highly successful.

When repossessing a home, staff are quickly enrolled in a training program focused on the dignity, respect and optimal care of residents. A training scenario places staff in a room with 40 “dignity” issues to identify.

The judges described it as “a brilliant and practical approach”, with the training acting as “the catalyst for quality improvements, which have seen troubled homes transform quickly”.

Students of student life filming on set in Ipswich

Student Life, an Ipswich charity that provides mental health support to young people, has been named a finalist for the 2021 Suffolk Business Awards
– Credit: Student life

Student life

Student Life is an Ipswich-based charity that provides mental health support to young people. He mainly works in educational institutions in Suffolk, but also offers fully inclusive projects in the South East.

With nine staff and 25 volunteers working in mainstream education, alternative education and prisons, Student Life has reached over 20,000 young people and will soon launch a new career platform to improve work preparation.

Youth help produce Student Life’s print and digital lifestyle publication. They drive the agenda, create the content and learn all the skills needed to do so. The governance of Student Life is also led by young people, who sit on the steering group.

According to the judges, “It is a stimulating environment, which not only teaches young people valuable practical skills through peer training, it also gives them a voice.” Student life has already had a positive impact on many young lives in Suffolk, and its long term goal is to become commissioned service.

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