Winner spotlight – Large Training Provider of the Year
Q&A: Celebrating Learning Curve Group – VTCT Excellence Awards Large Independent Training Provider of the Year 2023
The Learning Curve Group(LCG) is the winner of the coveted Large Independent Training Provider of the Year title at this year’s VTCT Excellence Awards.
They demonstrated dedication to providing outstanding outcomes for their learners and transforming lives through learning. From providing exceptional opportunities through their employer networks to ensuring that they support the diverse needs of all learners, regardless of circumstances, LCG thoroughly impressed the judges.
In this Q&A, Chief Operating Officer of LCG, Emma Barrett-Peel, shares their winning recipe for student success, from their key initiatives to how they build a nurturing environment.
Winning the VTCT Excellence Awards Large Independent Provider of the Year is a remarkable achievement. How do you feel about receiving this recognition?
Being named Large Independent Provider of the Year by VTCT is a real honour and we are absolutely delighted to have received this accolade. It’s a real testament to the hard work and dedication that LCG and our Purple People (our hard-working employees) have put in to enhance the services we provide in our hair, beauty, and barbering training provision over the past year.
The award underscores our commitment to providing the highest-quality education and training and providing opportunities to those who need them the most. We are really happy to be recognised for the positive impacts we have had on individuals who are aspiring hair, beauty and barbering professionals and the communities that we strive to bring opportunities to!
As LCG’s Chief Operating Officer, I have witnessed first-hand the remarkable hard work that our Hair and Beauty teams have demonstrated to ensure we offer the best training provision in the industry and this award is a real testament to them. We are extremely appreciative of this recognition, and we strive to do everything we can to uphold these standards of excellence so we can continue empowering our amazing learners and transforming lives through learning!
Can you tell us a bit about Learning Curve Group and its mission?
Learning Curve Group (LCG) is a national training and education specialist, supporting learners, employers and FE providers to achieve success through a range of impactful training programmes. Our clear vision in everything we do is to transform lives through learning. We have core values that ensure that the learner is always at the centre of everything we do, driven by our desire to provide life-changing opportunities.
For almost 20 years, we have grown to become one of the country’s largest and most diverse providers. LCG provides education and training for more than 200,000 individuals a year, using government-funded training options to ensure individuals’ and employers’ learning and development aims align with their personal and business goals.
We have a reputation for delivering the highest quality standards, holding both ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ grades from Ofsted. We reach learners from a range of backgrounds, from school leavers to adult learners with no qualifications. We are passionate about ensuring that education is accessible for all whilst keeping learners at the centre of everything we do. We go above and beyond to take opportunities to those who need them the most, striving to remove any barriers to the accessibility of education and training along the way.
We have four main operational areas to help us achieve our mission: our Apprenticeship, Skills-Academies, Employability and Flexible Learning provisions. We offer a wide range of apprenticeship programmes in various industries to cater to learners’ diverse career aspirations and we have established skills-academies that provide specialised training and hands-on experience in Hair, Beauty, Barbering, Construction and Military Preparation, promoting excellence and innovation and preparing individuals for their dream careers. We also deliver employability-focused programmes to enhance unemployed adults’ chances of finding work and offer online courses catering to a range of industries and skill levels so we can provide accessible and flexible learning opportunities for individuals looking to enhance their knowledge and skills without the constraints of traditional classroom settings!
Your institution has demonstrated excellence in education and training. What key initiatives or programmes do you believe contributed to this success?
Our excellence in delivery stems from our array of initiatives and programmes that prioritise learner success, employer engagement, industry relevance, inclusivity, and innovation.
One of the biggest contributors to our success was our acquisition of Yorkshire-based White Rose Beauty Colleges last September, one of the largest beauty therapy training providers in the UK. This move brought us 3,500 additional learners each year across nine new locations, along with 170 amazing employees. As a Centre of Excellence with ITEC, a Flagship Centre with VTCT and a HABIA Centre of Expertise, along with achieving a Grade 1 Outstanding result with Ofsted in its most recent inspection, this acquisition allowed us to hugely enhance our hair and beauty offering, sharing best practice between our two organisations to go from strength to strength.
Our employer relationships are another key contributor to our success and excellence. We ensure our government-funded training is aligned with industry trends through strong partnerships with Hairdressing salons, Barbers, and Beauty centres across the UK, offering hands-on experience tailored to current industry demands. We have developed exceptional employer relationships with renowned organisations so we can provide real-salon training, industry insights, and high standards exposure to our amazing learners. We aim to stand out from other training providers in the industry by hosting and participating in talent showcases, global competitions like World Skills, and prestigious events like London Fashion Week. These initiatives help to boost exposure, portfolios, employability, and industry recognition for our learners.
We also go above and beyond to prioritise diversity through specialised training, such as sign language management and ensure national awareness weeks are incorporated into our curriculum so we can train the workforce of the future!
Can you share some stories or examples of how your organisation has positively impacted students’ lives and contributed to their personal and professional growth?
A really fantastic example of the positive impacts that LCG have on our learners’ lives is our learner, who was a runner-up for the Student of the Year award, Shamalia Samair! Starting with no makeup experience, Shamalia’s progress has been really impressive, as seen in her stunning creations like the ‘injured unicorn’ look, and the development of her attention to detail has been remarkable. Shamalia has now achieved 100% in her final exams and has finished her programme ahead of schedule, which is incredible. She now hopes to be a makeup tutor at LCG Newcastle, which echoes our belief that education and training can really transform lives!
We also supported an amazing learner called Reign, who said she “unlocked her potential for where she was heading in life” at LCG, after leaving her previous college with, as she described, “little prospects, no motivation and low attendance”. Reign found her family at LCG in a group of people who did not discriminate against her and in a positive atmosphere filled with support and fun where she could thrive. She said she gained amazing insights into the world of beauty therapy and enjoyed making her clients feel good about themselves through the treatments and services she provided. Reign now aims to use her skills to achieve her mission of becoming a successful businesswoman in the beauty industry!
These are just two out of hundreds of incredible success stories that we have seen over the years where we have supported our learners to transform their lives and grow personally and professionally to achieve their ambitions in the industry.
Building a supportive learning environment is crucial for student success. How do you create an inclusive and nurturing environment for students to thrive?
Creating an inclusive and nurturing learning environment is integral to our approach at LCG. We place inclusivity and diversity at the centre of everything we do! We passionately believe that learning is for everybody, no matter their age, background, or prior attainment, and so it’s important to us that our Hair and Beauty delivery model is accessible to all.
We work hard to engage underrepresented and disadvantaged communities and ensure that we are present in diverse communities alongside striving to resolve socio-economic barriers like funding, transport and childcare costs so everybody has access to our education.
We ensure we are present in diverse communities, exhibiting at PRIDE events, developing our curriculum to include working on Afro-Caribbean hairstyles and winning Provider of the Year at the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards for the past two years. This ensures we have a diverse pool of learners and apprentices, so everybody is represented!
Integrating practical training into the curriculum surrounding EDI topics like sign-language management, PRIDE, and Black History Month through engaging and interactive activities and tasks makes sure that we are equipping the future workforce with a diverse mindset and creating a culture of inclusivity at LCG and one that celebrates our unique differences! We also aim to foster social mobility and citizenship amongst our learners in initiatives. Earlier this year, our learners showcased their skills to Ukrainian refugees to show them the diverse array of avenues they could go down in their careers!
Creating this culture of diversity, inclusivity, talent recognition, and continuous improvement has allowed us to establish a nurturing environment where our learners thrive!
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
We would just like to say another huge thanks to VTCT for recognising LCG as a provider of excellence!