Our mission, ethos and values

We pride ourselves on delivering the best possible support and guidance to each and every individual, from all walks of life.

On this page:



We are Bristol’s College, transforming lives and developing the workforce of the future.


By academic year 2024/25, we want to be recognised as a high-performing college that meets the needs of the city we serve.

We educate nearly a third of Bristol’s 16-18 year olds…

We educate nearly a third of Bristol’s 16-18 year olds, and a large proportion of school leavers from Bristol’s most disadvantaged communities. We enrol the great majority of school leavers with High Needs and offer routes back into education for young people who have dropped out of school. With five major campuses spread out across the city we are able to provide courses within reach of most local people, where possible no more than one bus ride away.

We are Bristol’s biggest provider of adult education at all levels…

We are Bristol’s biggest provider of adult education at all levels and in partnership with local universities we run Access to Higher Education courses and university-level courses in selected vocational areas.

We offer a huge range of apprenticeships for young people and adults…

We offer a huge range of apprenticeships for young people and adults, working with hundreds of employers of all shapes and sizes. We deliver apprenticeship training with large national companies such as DAF trucks, with Bristol City Council and Bristol Airport, and with over 400 small local employers, from hairdressers to care homes, from hotels to law firms.

We work closely with Bristol City Council…

We work closely with Bristol City Council to support their ambitious agenda of social and economic development. We are an active participant and contributor to local initiatives such as:

  • The One City Plan
  • The Learning City
  • The Climate Emergency
  • The Channel 4 Creative Hub
  • The South Bristol Sustainable Urban Development Strategy
  • City of Sanctuary
  • South West Careers Hub

We also work with wider regional partnerships…

We also work with wider regional partnerships, including the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) who fund our adult education, and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

We specialise in delivering technical, professional and vocational education…

We specialise in delivering technical, professional and vocational education. Most of our courses and all of our apprenticeship programmes are designed to offer a route directly into employment and include training in key employability skills, such as communication, team work, and self-presentation. Our focus is on careers, not just courses, and our aim is to secure our students qualifications which will help them get a good quality first job and make progress in their lives.

We have also signed a partnership agreement with the University of the West of England…

We have also signed a partnership agreement with the University of the West of England (UWE) that aims to help South Bristol residents get into university. This partnership is seen as an opportunity for the city’s communities to access university-level education through a local further education college – supporting local economic growth and helping to regenerate South Bristol.

College mission and strategic objectives

Our role

To enable access to higher learning, employment and career progression through the development of technical and vocational skills and professional behaviours.

Our values

  • Inclusivity
  • Respect
  • Ambition
  • Honesty

These four values permeate all we do, and provide all staff and students with a firm basis for developing professional behaviours.

Our strategic aims and objectives

We have established four strategic aims for 2021/22 – 2025/26:

  1. Enable all students to achieve their potential by delivering high-quality education, training and support to meet wider needs
  2. Work together as a valued and proactive workforce committed to continuing professional development for all
  3. Work collaboratively to meet the needs of the City, and the wider region, responsive to current and future demands
  4. Ensure strategic decisions and operational activity support the long-term financial sustainability of the College

You can view our full strategic plan for 2021/22 – 2025/26 here (pdf).

Chief Executive and Acting Principal’s message

Richard Harris

Welcome to City of Bristol College. I am delighted that you are thinking of joining us and hundreds of other students and employers who are already a part of our college community.

By studying with us, you can get more out of life, improve your qualifications, and make progress into a new job or within your existing career. You can create the future you want by choosing from the huge variety of courses available at our College. You can undertake traditional classroom-based learning or learn in the workplace through our extensive apprenticeship programme. We also offer higher education and professional courses within our University Centre.

If you are a local or national business, we can help give your workforce new skills, as well as giving you opportunities to take on fresh new talent. We have budding students ready to learn on the job across a range of industries.

Please do take the time to explore our offer and contact us with any questions or queries you have.

Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date.

I look forward to welcoming you to City of Bristol College, Bristol’s leading provider of Further Education for all.

Rich Harris, Chief Executive and Acting Principal

Equality and diversity

We welcome all learners, regardless of their background or starting point. We’re committed to promoting, maintaining and supporting equal opportunities in everything we do.

We want all of our students to achieve their full potential, whilst growing in self-esteem and gaining respect for, and from, others. This is irrespective of gender, personal status, ethnic origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability or age.

We want to understand and celebrate the diversity of all our staff and students.

We are a secular College and our resources are dedicated to learning. No single faith is promoted by the College, or allowed to be promoted, at the expense of other faiths.

We do not provide dedicated facilities for faith groups, but we do allow for religious observance wherever and whenever possible.

We do not tolerate inequality or discrimination of any kind.

Gender Pay Gap

You can download our Gender Pay Gap report (PDF)

Policy Statement Equality and Diversity

Equality and Diversity Position Statement 19/20 (PDF)
Equality and Diversity Annual Report 20/21 (PDF)

Single Equality Scheme

You can download our Single Equality Scheme (pdf)

Equality and diversity policy

You can download our Equality and diversity policy (pdf)


We all have a role to play in creating an eco-friendly college.

With over 11,000 students and 800 staff, the impact of our establishment on the environment cannot be ignored. This is why we have invested £1million in making sustainability a key priority.

We are proud of our eco-credentials, but we know there is always more work to be done.

Carbon emissions

Our Carbon Management Plan was developed in conjunction with the Carbon Trust.

We’ve invested in:

  • A biomass boiler
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Solar thermal panels
  • Solar PV panels
  • Proximity sensors, meaning that the lights in College buildings only come on when someone enters the room
  • Low energy lighting
  • Voltage optimization, decreasing our electrical supply to around 220V
  • Installing more sophisticated heating and ventilation control systems

You can view our latest Energy and Carbon Report (pdf)


We recycle 70% of the College’s office waste and are now segregating more and more faculty waste for recycling, including metal, wood and other materials.

We’ve increased our use of recycled paper by 50%, whilst also decreasing our printing and photocopying levels by around 7 million copies per year.

We’ve also put in place a scheme to collect food waste.

Fair trade

Our refectories, coffee shops and training restaurants all promote Fair Trade and source ingredients and products locally.


We encourage staff and students to use alternative forms of transport when travelling to and from our centres.

To make travel by bike easier for everyone, we’ve invested in secure bike lockers and locks at our centres. Our Bike Users’ Group also exists to enable cyclists to share information and ideas, while giving cyclists a collective voice to request other improvements.

We are also putting other green travel initiatives in place, including a car-sharing scheme, alternative fuel transport, pool cars system and bus travel discount.


We know that procurement is one of the most important factors to think about when trying to minimise an organisation’s environmental impact. When selecting our suppliers, we always think about:

  • What kind of materials they use to make their goods
  • Where they source their materials
  • Whether they have any eco-certification or any awards
  • What their travel plans are

South Bristol Skills Academy

South Bristol Skills Academy, our flagship centre serving the South of Bristol, won the 2011 Bristol Civic Society Environmental Award. The eco-friendly building, which was designed specifically for its efficient use of energy with minimum waste, has so far:

  • Harvested 1,127,000 litres of rainwater
  • Saved 530 tonnes of CO2 with a biomass boiler
  • Generated 25kw of heat using solar panels

Support and wellbeing

Your wellbeing is really important to us. We’re here to make sure you get the support you need, whenever you need it. You can find out more on our academic and wellbeing support page.

Where to find us