James (Jim) Whiskins, a Fircroft College Caretaker and student pastoral care, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Years Honours List.

The award recognises Jim’s 23 years as a Fircroft College caretaker and dedication to supporting thousands of students throughout his career. Jim has been instrumental in supporting students to overcome barriers and succeed in their studies and thus transform their lives.

Fircroft College is a residential college for adults and was founded in 1909 by George Cadbury Jr, grandson of Cadbury’s co-founder John. The College was originally created to provide educational opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged and excluded members of society.  One hundred and ten years on from the birth of Fircroft College, its mission of ‘social justice’ is more relevant than ever and continues to support thousands of students to transform their lives through education. 

"Jim embodies the values of the College and has demonstrated them and so influenced the lives of many students who have gone on to make incredible and valuable contributions to their communities and society." Mel Lenehan, Principal of Fircroft College commented.

In the early 1990’s Jim faced redundancy from an engineering job and turned to Adult Education to change his life. Jim joined Fircroft College as an Access to Higher Education student in 1993 then progressed to University.  Jim joined the College as a caretaker in 1995 and has been an integral part of College life and particularly in supporting and encouraging students. Jim is a great support for staff and has countless tales to tell of the rich history and heritage of the College. Despite retirement, Jim continues to support Fircroft College through the College Volunteering scheme supporting in the Gardens and events throughout the year.

To find out more about Fircroft College, why not visit Fircroft.ac.uk/aboutus or call 0121 472 0116