Gareth’s a winner at CDN awards

Gareth’s a winner at CDN awards
Gareth with his award

Forth Valley College’s Chef Manager Gareth Davies proved he has all the right ingredients for success after scooping the Professional Services Colleague of the Year award at the College Development Network (CDN) annual awards event.

Gareth was presented with his award at an event held at the Radisson Blu in Glasgow on Thursday 30 November. FVC had also made the final three in the categories of Digital Learning and Sustainability Action. However, they just missed out on the top prize in each, but were recognised as Commended and Highly Commended respectively.

Gareth’s Professional Services Colleague of the Year nomination focussed on how his efforts had made a significant investment of talent and time which has had a positive impact on others within the college and/or in their community. He has been lauded recently from spearheading the drive to provide students with free nutritious breakfasts, soup and a roll for lunch and the College’s new ‘Food To Go’ services  which will see any food that is left over after daily refectory services, being bagged up and offered to students for free, at the end of the day.

Over the last few year Gareth has also overseen an initiative from FVC to provide 800 free Christmas meals to Star-Up Stirling Foodbank and Barnardo’s, for them to distribute them to people in need in the Stirling area.

Gareth said: “I’m really delighted to have won this award, really can’t believe it! I was very happy just to have been nominated and then shortlisted, and able to be one of the lucky ones who got to attend the event in Glasgow at the Radison Blu. I really didn’t expect to be the winner of the category, so to have my name called out as the winner was quite unbelievable.”

The Digital Learning submission was titled IDEAS – Innovative Digital Education and Skills, and focussed on the creation of engaging and interactive learning experiences for education professionals, which enhance knowledge and awareness of the appropriate application of digital technologies in learning and teaching practice, that facilitate personalised, inclusive learning experiences for students.

In the Sustainability Action category, the submission centred on FVC’s role in the Central & South Scotland College Partnership (Forth Valley, West Lothian and Borders Colleges) and celebrates a college that has demonstrated leadership and impact in sustainability. Being among the smallest FE institutions in Scotland and without staff dedicated exclusively to sustainability, but recognising it as a key priority, the three colleges developed a new approach to secure additional support. In 2022 the partnership secured a dedicated sustainability resource by hiring a Sustainability Project Manager, whose time and costs are shared by the colleges.

Kenny MacInnes, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “I am absolutely delighted for Gareth. We are very proud of him and his award is so well deserved for all the hard work he has put in to develop important initiatives to help our students and the local community. Very well done to him.

“We were delighted to be shortlisted for all three awards and to receive commendations for our digital learning and sustainability work. I would like to personally thank all the staff involved in these projects for their commitment and dedication. The annual College Development Network Awards showcases examples of best practise across the Scottish further education sector and for us to once again to be in contention for top awards this year, is great recognition of the work we do.”