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City College Plymouth named as first Google Reference College in South West

City College Plymouth has been named as the first college in the South West to be awarded the prestigious Google Reference College status.

‘Google Reference status’ is awarded for the outstanding use of technology to drive positive learning outcomes and recognises the College’s use of G Suite for Education in innovative ways. 

Their new status means that they will act as a reference point for other education providers, sharing best practice and offering advice and guidance.

This is the first time a further education college in the region has received the award, joining just eight other colleges across the UK.

The Google Reference status reflects the College’s approach to blended learning, as one hundred per cent of students and staff use Google Workspace as their go-to productivity suite. The College is described as ‘Google First’ in their work and learning, with 120 staff trained as Google Educators (level 1/2) and six staff members classed as Certified Trainers.

Jackie Grubb, Chief Executive and Principal of City College Plymouth, said: “We are extremely proud to have been named as the first Google Reference College in the south west: it firmly positions us as a leading education provider who has successfully embedded technology into our strategy. 

“Google Reference status recognises our innovative work in technology and our commitment to provide students with the best opportunities to work and learn, enabling them to progress. It recognises the commitment and dedication of our staff and this is a real achievement for the whole team.

“Our aim is to create a learning environment and organisational culture that benefits the health, wellbeing and sustainability of our community, and our focus on digital learning underpins this.

“The College had already made significant progress towards digital learning, even before Covid-19 began. In 2021 we further developed our digital strategy, which aimed to maximise technology to make people’s lives better, to keep us safe and better connected and to be more efficient and more productive.

“This shift in direction helped with the transition towards digital learning, when students had to learn from home – it meant that we were better equipped to continue to deliver first class learning for our students.”

Jess Marsh, Google for Education Adoption Programme Manager, said: “We are very pleased to welcome another amazing Google Reference College to the programme. City College Plymouth has an amazing digital strategy and is an excellent example of a successful digital transformation model.”

Richard Stevens, Chair of Governors, said: “This accolade is a testament to the work of our students and staff, embracing the digital landscape and taking their working environment to a higher level.

“The College’s strategic intent sets out our role in continuing to provide a first-class skills and training provision and really embodies the College’s vision to be the learning destination of choice; we do this by providing a pathway for our students through excellent teaching whilst continuing to inspire them. The work of the College will lead to student success and the success of the community, the City and the region.”

Tracey Lee, Chief Executive of Plymouth City Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the City of Plymouth and the wider area, and a true achievement for City College Plymouth. Being awarded the Google Reference College status reflects the College’s commitment to innovation and digital transformation.”

Adrian Bratt, General Counsel at Princess Yachts and Chair of the CBI’s South West Regional Council, said: “This is great news for employers throughout the area. It means students will be better equipped to work in the digital world, with highly developed technological skills, allowing us to grow our workforce, our competitivity and our businesses.”

Watch how Google has been rolled out by our staff by clicking here. You can also watch a short video on how using Google has supported our students here.