Bridgwater and Taunton College – community and professionalism

Part of the Transformation in action blog series

In this series of blogs, Dr Katerina Kolyva, Chief Executive of the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), reports on her visits to Further Education (FE) and Skills providers across the sector. She uncovers the transformational learning opportunities available to students alongside the dedicated professionalism of teachers, trainers and leaders from the wide variety of different providers across the sector.

Nestled in the heart of Somerset, Bridgwater and Taunton College stands as a beacon of educational excellence and community empowerment. The College has earned a reputation as a powerhouse of education, offering outstanding provision across a wide range of disciplines, catering to diverse learning needs and aspirations. Whether students are pursuing a career in healthcare, engineering, construction or land-based professions, the College provides the resources, support, and expertise needed to succeed. The commitment to excellence extends beyond the classroom. The College is deeply rooted in the local community, working closely with employers, industry partners, and stakeholders to ensure that its programmes are aligned with the needs of the region. By staying attuned to industry trends and workforce demands, the College prepares students for success in the ever-evolving job market. 

The large grey and glass buildings of Bridgwater and Taunton's National College for Nuclear are pictured from the approaching road.
Bridgwater and Taunton’s National College for Nuclear

The College boasts a strong presence in land-based education and engineering, but one of Bridgwater and Taunton’s crown jewels is its National College for Nuclear, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to training the next generation of nuclear industry professionals. At the forefront of this movement, providing cutting-edge training across the country, the College equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this field.  

At the helm of Bridgwater and Taunton is a visionary leader, Andy Berry, Principal and CEO, whose passion and dedication have propelled the College to new heights. As I spend the day with Andy, I quickly realise he is not just a manager but a mentor, a strategist, and an advocate for positive change. Under Andy and his impressively motivated leadership team, the College has embraced a workforce development mantra that emphasises the importance of creating a professional culture grounded in excellence, integrity, and continuous improvement. ETF’s Professional Standards are at the heart of the College’s professional development and as an engaged corporate partner with ETF, the College is keen to progress to a closer relationship that uses the Standards to align CPD activity and its overall workforce development strategy.  

Futuristic white booths with desks are pictured underneath a wall display about nuclear safety culture.
Inside the National College for Nuclear

Through its Festival of Learning, its number of professional development programmes tailored to the needs of each part of the College, mentorship opportunities, and a supportive work environment, the College empowers its staff to reach their full potential and make meaningful contributions to the College and the community. As we discuss why professional development works so well at the College, it becomes clear that a culture has been built on a sense of purpose and direction with a clear vision. Professionalism here is prioritised, articulated, strategically planned and talked about. Diversity is encouraged and taken into consideration when assessing the needs of the College’s different departments and disciplines.  

It is not often that I get to meet all of my recent careers in one place, and Bridgwater and Taunton definitely offered that. Visiting their nursing provision reminded me of my work at the Nursing and Midwifery Council on granting regulatory approval to Bridgwater and Taunton as the first college in the country to deliver degrees in Adult and Mental Health Nursing, and my work at the Council of Deans of Health to support the College to join a national network of leaders. It was a great visit that enthused me about our ongoing collaboration.