Derby College boss hails stakeholder support
The boss of Derby College Group has paid tribute to staff and stakeholders, including fellow Bondholders, for their support during what she describes as “one of the most challenging years in its history”.
In DCG’s recently published annual review, chief executive Mandie Stravino, who was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year, outlines how the college adapted to the coronavirus crisis – and praises the hard work put in by her team.
Writing in the annual review, she said: “This has, without doubt, been one of the most challenging years in DCG’s history but we have faced up to those challenges with resilience, flexibility and optimism.
“Our success is due in no small measure to the strength and diversity of the partnerships we have forged with stakeholders from across the communities we serve.”
Ahead of the first lockdown, DCG closed its doors to almost all students on March 20 and supported them to study remotely.
Meanwhile, the Broomfield Hall campus was made available for children of key workers and vulnerable students to use online learning resources in a safe environment.
While some campus services – such as cleaning, security, farm management, IT and finance – continued to operate, most DCG staff transferred to home working.
In June, after further government guidance, there was a limited return for certain students.
The annual review states: “In transferring teaching online, DCG achieved substantial student engagement.
“Teachers trialled different delivery methods, constantly improving their practice. Laptops were provided for students finding remote access difficult.
“Some of the teaching strategies will be embedded in practice for the immediate future, with combinations of face-to-face and remote learning becoming the norm.
“Many students harnessed technology to showcase their skills. Creative students, for instance, launched a digital exhibition to replace their end-of-year shows.”
As well as staying connected with staff and students, DCG also managed to maintain links with its employer partners.
DCG has formed partnerships with a number of local businesses and organisations, including fellow Bondholders, including HUUB, Derby Museums, Rolls-Royce, NatWest, Sky Recruitment Solutions and many more.
The annual review states: “Employer engagement activities were taken online for students, including imaginative approaches to virtual work experience.
“Staff also liaised with firms to reduce disruption to apprenticeships, including support for over 90 healthcare apprentices in hospitals, many of whom juggled frontline roles with their studies.
“Meanwhile, Roundhouse Thinking – DCG’s commercial arm – expanded its suite of e-learning opportunities to include COVID-19 Secure training that helped businesses manage the return to work.”
Mandie said: “I would like to thank you, our partners and colleagues, for your ongoing support and invaluable contributions. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.”