l1 pic for webLearners on Northampton College’s Level One Progression Diploma course have been praised after recording a 100 per cent pass rate for the second successive year.

The course, which is run in partnership with Open Awards, helps to change lives through learning.

Adult students with a wide range of experiences of education and life come together for a full time, one-year course, aimed at providing them with everything they need to progress on to study at higher levels or find more advanced employment.

This year, alongside their studies, the students also completed fundraising activities and volunteered with a local charity, gaining key workplace skills as well as giving something back to the community.

All the students on the course successfully completed all the assignments and achieved their diploma. Many of them passed Functional Skills exams at Level 1 or Level 2 at the same time. All of the students are progressing on to further studies this year, at either level 2 or level 3; 92% are doing GCSE in at least one subject.

Throughout the year, students listed things that the course had helped them with that they used in everyday life. Time management and creating a CV both came high up on the list. Another said that the main thing he would take away was the knowledge he had gained about himself, knowing that he could keep going with any task that was given to him.

One student said the course was “challenging yet rewarding,” delighted that it had given her the understanding to help her own children with their maths homework, as well as helping her to progress herself. She will be taking both English and Maths GCSEs this year. Another described the course as the “best experience ever, it’s given me the courage to pursue my dreams further.”

catering pic

Catering students had the chance to impress Royal Navy recruitment teams during an impromptu ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ challenge in the Northampton College kitchens.

With a 6,000 strong catering team serving its fleet of vessels across the world, the Royal Navy is a major employer in the hospitality sector and officers visited Booth Lane to speak to students about the possibility of a career at sea.

Level Three Hospitality & Catering students were given 75 minutes to come up with a two-course meal from a selection of random ingredients – working as a team to decide on flavour combinations and the overall look, texture and taste of their dishes.

They were able to choose from ingredients including chicken, pork belly, cauliflower, potatoes, eggs, cream cheese, chocolate, fresh berries, brioche and digestive biscuits.

Head of Catering, Phil Martin, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Royal Navy to College to talk to students about life on the high seas. They really brought it to life and sparked the imagination in our students. It was good to see them working together to come up with some fantastic dishes, showcasing their creativity and technical skills under pressure.”

loc webStaff and students at Northampton College have called on the Government to ‘Love Our Colleges’ as part of a national campaign lobbying for fairer funding for Further Education.

The Government has recently committed an extra £400million for the FE sector, but while this windfall has been broadly welcomed, there are concerns it simply doesn’t go far enough and still leaves colleges as the poor relation in the education system, lagging behind schools and universities.

Colleges currently receive £4,000 funding for each 16 to 18-year-old student, while schools receive £5,000 for someone of the same age. The extra funding will push this figure up to £4,188, but falls someway short of the parity the FE sectorcraves.

To raise awareness of the funding shortfall, students at Northampton College have been showcasing the work they do and the opportunities they are given by taking a more vocational route than is provided by mainstream schools.

Deputy principal of Northampton College, Patrick Leavey, said: “The wider FE sector has been subject to a decade of enforced savings and efficiencies, having to cope with a real-terms cut of 30 per cent over the past 10 years.

“With a skills shortage in a number of industrial and commercial sectors affecting the UK economy, FE is finally making a stand and calling for urgent investment from Government. The £400 million pledged so far is a step in the right direction but it doesn’t go far enough.

“For too long colleges have faced the financial challenge of preserving the same high quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms, studios and workshops while not seeing any extra income. With better investment, we would have the ability to do even more to nurture talent in our most in-demand technical and professional skills.”

As part of a week-long series of events to back the official ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign, local schools were invited to Booth Lane for a series of science and space themed taster sessions run by the UK Space Academy.

Students were able to learn more about the science behind rockets, comets and planets during the sessions, which formed part of the college’s ongoing ‘Ignite The Spark’ programme – an initiative to attract the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) professionals.

Mr Leavey added: “The week showcased the great work colleges are involved with on a daily basis, helping to transform the lives of young people and adults, shape their communities and boost the local economy. By providing technical, vocational and higher education, basic skills and lifelong learning, colleges are an essential resource and need to be funded fairly.”

The Love Our Colleges campaign is a partnership between the Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC, and the National Education Union (NEU).

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