Bedford College took first prize in the Large Business of the Year Award at the first Bedfordshire Midweek Newspaper ceremony on November 21st.
The new midweek publication hosted the event at the Bedford Corn Exchange which was attended by 100s from the Bedfordshire business community.
There was a surprise award too for CEO Ian Pryce CBE who was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for his service over two decades to the college and the town.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller presented the award to Ian, who received standing ovation from the audience:
Said Chief Fuller:
“Ian Pryce joined Bedford College as Financial Director and swiftly rose to the position of Chief Executive. He took over a standard educational establishment and moved it from Good to Great, gaining an Ofsted Outstanding award along the way.
“Once he got in his stride, Ian oversaw the merger with Shuttleworth College in 2009, the opening of The Bedford Sixth Form in 2012 making his organisation the largest provider of post-16 education in Bedfordshire.
“Not satisfied with simply improving the standards within his own walls, Ian was the founding Chairman of The Bedford Free School which has shown just how a ‘new kid on the block’ can raise educational targets for all. And earlier this year he oversaw the opening of two brand new, much-needed schools for Wixams, as part of the Bedford College Academies Trust.
“Always believing that Bedford College should be key to the success of the local economy, he has now, in his 20th year as CEO, ensured it is the No1 Further Education College in the powerful South East Midlands Local Economic Partnership or SEMLEP area.
“As part of that boost to businesses, Bedford College merged with Tresham College in Northamptonshire in August 2017 and is now meeting the demands from companies for the highest standards of training of the young employees of the future.
“Bedford College is critical to the success of Bedfordshire and we are proud to have a county town FE College which sits in the top twelve in the UK.
“Ian Pryce was deservedly made a Commander of the British Empire a few years ago and he continues to command the admiration of those in business and enterprise in Bedfordshire.
“We know that he always says he HAS the best job in Bedford – but we believe he is DOING the best job FOR Bedford.”