A unique college that offers specialist into-work provision for young people with autism and other learning needs has won two major business awards.

Harrison College, in Doncaster, was announced as the Yorkshire and Humber regional winner in the British Chamber of Commerce 2021 annual awards.

It followed the specialist business and enterprise college’s selection as winner of the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce Business Start Up of the Year Award, sponsored by Orb Recruitment.

The college, which was established by principal Gemma Peebles in August 2019, is the only provider of education for post-16s with special needs where the focus is on internships, employment and work skills to ensure the young people have a bright future.

Mrs Peebles said: “The whole team at Harrison College is delighted to have been recognised in this way. Our student-centred approach provides the best opportunities for young people who may be disenfranchised from traditional education or whose needs simply are not being met elsewhere.

“Our ethos is that is a young person’s learning need or disability shouldn’t hold them back. Our dedicated team recognise these students have a lot to offer and we, together with supportive local employers, can help them pursue their dreams and succeed as young adults.

“For many of our students this is the first time they have been happy in a learning environment; it is the first time they have made friends and they feel happy, safe and want to come to college and learn.”

David Shaul, host of the Doncaster Chamber black tie awards event at Doncaster Racecourse, said: “Well done to Harrison College. The whole ethos of the college and the outcomes they provide is outstanding. The judges noted how the team at Harrison College were professional and incredibly welcoming to any student that seeks their help to develop and learn.”

Stewart Olsen, managing director of award sponsor Orb Recruitment, added: “The Business Start Up the Year at the Doncaster Business Awards was such a strong category with so many excellent nominations, but Harrison College really stood out from the crowd with their innovative and dynamic approach to learning and providing the variety of opportunities to the young people they support. It is a really well-deserved award win, and our congratulations go to everyone involved.”

The awards come after visits by Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central, who said the town was “very lucky to have such a great facility” and Damian Allen, the chief executive of Doncaster Council, who said he was “very impressed”.