BOLTON College proved to be a class act at an awards ceremony hosted by comedian Dara O'Briain.

The Bolton News columnist Catherine Langstreth was named Learning and Skills champion at the first award ceremony to celebrate the contribution skills and learning make to businesses across Greater Manchester.

The maths lecturer was one of three Bolton College entries to be recognised at the Greater Manchester Skills for Business awards held at The Hilton Hotel in Manchester.

Asons Solicitors, in association with Bolton College, won in the Financial and Professional Services category and former Bolton College hairdressing apprentice Sarah Ratcliffe was Highly Commended for her initiative and drive as a self-starter.

Mrs Langstreth, who writes a weekly column for the paper’s education page, helped to design and create the app Maths Everywhere.

She said: “This is recognition of all the hard work and support I get from Bolton College.

“We feel it’s important to embed maths and English into every session. “I’m a huge believer in making maths fun and thus enable people to solve maths questions in everyday life.

“The ‘Maths Every-where’ app tackles the embarrassment of asking the answers to basic maths problems and increases people’s confidence when having to use maths.

“Nationally we need to raise people’s maths and literacy skills and hopefully we’re playing a small part in this.”

Sarah Ainscough, head of HR at Asons, added: “It was a proud moment to win such an esteemed award, and it’s a true testimony to the training culture that sits at the very heart of our business.

“Bolton College fully understands our business needs, and has spent a lot of time getting to know our business and developing the skills of our staff.”

The college said the award successes reflected its dedication to tackling skills shortages to reduce unemployment and bolster the local economy.

This includes training people for jobs via apprenticeships, upskilling those already in employment and highlighting the importance of English and maths in securing a job.

Marie Gilluley, principal and CEO of Bolton College, said: “It was a very proud evening for the college.

“We place huge importance on working with local employers, championing English and maths in the community and training up our apprentices in preparation for the world of work.

“It is therefore incredibly rewarding to see these focused efforts recognised in the form of prestigious awards and commend-ations.”

In total 70 Greater Manchester organisations or individuals were shortlisted in 17 categories.