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Acorn and Cardiff Met celebrate success of first work based learning degree

The five Acorn students, employed in a variety of locations in South Wales, Shaun Guy, Marianne Hurford, James Pepper, Gemma Richards and Ian Smith, began the course in 2013 and are the first cohort to have successfully completed the course, graduating this month at St David’s Hall. 

Acorn and Cardiff Met joined forces to launch this work based learning degree at the University in 2013. The partnership between Acorn and Cardiff Met is the first of its kind in Wales and was undertaken over the course of two years. 

The Foundation Degree, which was delivered by Acorn and accredited by Cardiff Met’s Centre for Work Based Learning and the Cardiff School of Management, was launched to develop the group of Managers and Director’s professional skills and encompassed a varied curriculum, including modules on organisational culture and management of people and accountability. 

Helena Williams, Corporate Development Director for Acorn, said: “This is the first time we have worked with teaching and knowledge transfer at a higher education level so the culmination of the course marks a new and exciting venture for our experienced Training Division.” 

The course was specifically designed to be flexible, which allowed all of the students to continue working whilst having a tailored schedule that suited them. 

Helena added: “We all worked extremely hard to make sure the delivery of the Foundation Degree was professional and ensured that all participants’ experience was to the highest level. The content of the course was up-to-date in theory with plenty of real-life examples, showing how to put these into practice.

“All the participants who undertook the course worked really hard over the duration of the course to achieve their qualification and we are confident that they will make great contributions to their respective companies as a result of their newly developed skills.”

Fiona Argent, Manager for The Centre for Work Based Learning at Cardiff Met, said: “We worked closely with Acorn to ensure the curriculum was suited to different business needs and could be applied to real life situations. We are extremely proud of those who completed the course and hope the interest in the Degree continues, ultimately becoming a benchmark for University level work-based learning in Wales. ”

James Pepper, Technical Services Director for Vista Support and FdA graduate, said: “It’s been an incredibly eye-opening two years since I started the Foundation Degree and I’m thrilled that I have been able to successfully complete the course which I am sure will help me in my role and the future of Vista Retail Support as a business. Thanks to Acorn and Cardiff Met, I have been provided with a solid understanding of organisational Leadership theory, behaviours and culture – it’s been great to get back into the office and implement the things I’ve learnt in the programme of study.”  

With more than 20 years in the business, Acorn who prides itself for delivering specialist recruitment and training in key sectors, has its UK headquarters at the Celtic Springs Business Park in Newport and operates from 39 branches across Wales, the South West, North West and South East of England, as well as three Acorn Global offices in Australia.

Each week Acorn places up to 6,500 into the work with around 1,200 different clients. The group also makes 1,700 permanent placements and delivers training to more than 1,000 individuals every year.


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