The college, on Loushers Lane, has been awarded the Government’s Matrix Standard in recognition of the guidance it offers young people in Warrington, Halton and the surrounding areas.
Assessor Pat McDermott said in her report: “The impression gained throughout the assessment was of an organisation and teams of staff that are utterly dedicated to making a difference for their students and changing people’s lives for the better; one that continues to grow, meets its targets and constantly seeks improvements.”
“The support provided by the college clearly makes a significant contribution to the student experience and has a positive impact on students and stakeholders alike.”
The Matrix Standard measures the support that is available for individuals making decisions about their career, learning and life goals. Professional development of staff is also a key factor in securing the honour.
It is a nationally-recognised standard used by organisations of all sizes to assess the advice and support they provide to learners.
Principal Matthew Grant said: “We offer careers advice to all those pupils still unsure or undecided about their post 16 options, so that they can make educated decisions about their futures.
“This recognition from the Government validates the focus we put on making sure young people are equipped to make the right choices.”
Assessors spent four and a half days at Priestley meeting students, tutors and careers staff to discuss the support offered by the college.
Former Priestley student Emily Rainford is in her final year of a Masters degree and after that will be going on to her dream job as a graduate engineer for Jaguar Land Rover.
The former Culcheth High School pupil achieved good grades at Priestley in Electronics, Geology, Psychology and AS-Level Physics but said the support was just as valuable in helping her to progress.
“Without the support of staff my time at Priestley would not have been the same nor as successful,” she said. “Your time at college is not just about the grades it’s the countless other skills you learn along the way that can determine your success.”
More than 500 of Priestley’s cohort went to university last year while more than 200 secured top apprenticeships or jobs.
Careers advisor Ian Edge said the college’s goal was to make students aware of all the options open to them.
“We are not here to steer the students into university if that is not what they want,” he said. “We have to open their eyes to all options and support them on whatever path they choose to follow.”