klaudia minor 1Polish student Klaudia was a former pupil of The Parker Academy in Daventry and joined the College on a Level 3 IT (Business) course at Daventry Campus after being disappointed with her English GCSE grade. Now in her second year of a degree in Marketing & Events Management at the University of Northampton, Klaudia credits her college experience with giving her the confidence to move up into higher education instead of starting work straight away. When she started at college, Klaudia’s intention was to find a job after completing her course but her tutors encouraged her to think about improving her grades and going to university first. Klaudia found the assignments on her college course interesting and engaging and she found herself working on real life case studies rather than theoretical examples. One of her projects focused on the use of technology by Barclays as part of her course.

Through hard work and encouragement from her tutors, and with help from Student Support with her UCAS personal statement, Klaudia improved her grades from merits to distinctions and secured enough points to gain a place at the University of Northampton. She spent the first year adjusting to the different learning style at university where she is expected to work much more independently and with less supervision than in college. In her first year, she worked on the impact of new technology in marketing and events management.

In addition to studying for her degree, Klaudia is getting valuable work experience in roles on reception in a leisure centre and as a part time sales consultant. Klaudia has been inspired by one of her tutors at the University of Northampton who previously worked in events for Avon and travelled in the United States and Europe organising product launches. Klaudia would like to work in the beauty retail sector when she graduates either for a brand like Avon or putting her organisational skills into action by managing her own beauty salon. Klaudia said, ‘I would definitely recommend going to college as a step into higher education and would encourage students to ask as many questions as they can about the options open to them. I am enjoying university and it was definitely better for me to keep studying before starting a career.’
elaine clark 1Elaine Clark was a mature student working at the College as a learning support assistant when she decided to study alongside the students she was helping and took her GCSE English gaining a B grade in the exam.

Elaine finished her education without any formal qualifications but learnt many skills over the years and became proficient in welding, plastering, DIY, building fireplaces and tiling. She has also turned her hand to dress-making and baking specialising in creating ball gowns, and wedding cake design.

Elaine said, ‘The only theory I had studied before was for swimming and lifesaving. I had been told all my life that I was stupid and would never amount to anything. When you are told that, you start to believe it. It takes over everything and becomes so deeply ingrained that it’s very hard to overcome.

‘When I started my English course, the only things I knew were what a noun and a verb were so I had a lot of work to do to catch up. Everything was new to me, I was like a sponge soaking up every bit of information I could get’.

I was very surprised to achieve a B for my English GCSE and in fact was just three marks short of an A grade! It has made me realise that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and would encourage anyone returning to study that they can do it too.’

Elaine is planning to go on and study higher level maths next and is feeling very positive about aiming for the highest grades.
helen clifford.docxMature student Helen always had a passion for drama and had managed to find plenty of acting jobs over the years alongside full time and part time jobs in industry. Helen took the lead in the English film ‘Rose’ directed by Kemal Yildirim. She also featured in a comedy called ‘Surprise’ directed by Peter Hewitt based in L.A, that has yet to be released. On TV, Helen had a part in Vernon Kay’s ‘Wind-Up TV’ on BBC1 and also featured in a re-construction on the BBC’s long-running ‘Crimewatch’ series. On stage, Helen has taken roles in ‘Antigone’ at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone, as well as many productions at the Soho Theatre, London and ‘Colour Me Frances’ with local director Weekes Baptiste.

Throughout her career, Helen has juggled office-based work with her acting parts and used her holidays and days off to attend auditions. After 13 years on stage and in front of the camera, Helen decided that she would like to broaden her opportunities to work in theatre and found the HND Theatre Practice course at Northampton College. She said, ‘No matter how well I have progressed through the ranks, I have never been happy working in an office and always feel that the theatre is where I belong.’ The HND Theatre Practice course enabled Helen to study other aspects of theatre work including touring a theatre company, arts management, directing, writing, voice work and physical theatre.

As part of her college course, Helen helped lead on a project to deliver ‘A Day to Remember’ for families affected by the First World War including themed refreshments, an exhibition, and entertainment at the Royal & Derngate. Helen impressed the Royal & Derngate so much she gained an internship to work behind the scenes with the creative learning team at the theatre, learning about planning productions, workshops and events and sitting in on company meetings to observe early stage set proposals and agreements with the logistics and affordability of a range of stage concepts.

As a student representative at college, Helen took the lead for the student group as part of an inspection of higher education provision by the Quality Assurance Agency, ensuring that student feedback was heard as part of this successful review. Helen became pregnant during her second year and shortly expects to give birth to her first child. After taking a year out, she plans to top up her HND and complete her degree in drama at the University of Northampton. She plans to use the skills she has learned to work with applied theatre in corporate settings on team building projects after she graduates.

Helen said, ‘I really enjoyed my HND and it was nice to be able to give something back by working on the QAA review. I feel that I have really broadened my skills now and will be able to secure a greater variety of work in the future whilst continuing my acting career.’

opusCorporate gas and electricity supplier Opus Energy has been employing apprentices from Northampton College since 2012, offering students the chance to work in one of the most progressive companies in the UK.

The Moulton Park based firm has won plaudits for its commitment to staff development and has seen 44 apprentices come through its doors, with many working their way into senior management roles.

Melanie Berman said: “We are very keen on working with the local community and offering apprenticeships is a good way of offering opportunities for job roles to local youngsters.

“They bring lots of creativity, some fresh ideas, new thinking and lots of enthusiasm. If they have got the right attitude I think that goes a long way to making the decision to take somebody on.

“As long as they have got that sort of proactivity about them and want to learn, we can bring the rest to the party and work with them on that.”

Opus Energy have used the skills and knowledge of apprentices to quickly grow the company, becoming a force to be reckoned with in a competitive industry.

Mel added: “We are very lucky to have retained many of our previous apprentices. We like to ‘grow our own’ so we have them from the beginning and then the talent stays with us right through to senior management in some cases.

“We are refreshing the apprenticeship scheme now and looking at ways to grow it some more so this is a very much a part of our future.

“We work very closely with Northampton College and we are pleased with the relationship that we have.

“We meet regularly to discuss how the scheme is going and also the college come to us and have one on ones with the apprentices themselves to see how they're getting on.”

lauren henleyLauren who studied level 3 Business said, ‘I had no idea about the alternative to school and A Levels and found that the style of learning at college suited me much better. In fact, I have got a place at a better university thanks to my studies at Northampton College.’

Lauren wanted to go to university but the first year of her A Levels in a school sixth form did not go well and she found herself with poor grades in her AS exams. Lauren was faced with the choice of re-taking the first year and staying on at school but she had doubts about whether this was the right option for her.

Lauren and her family hadn’t heard much about further education options at school and didn’t know that there was another route she could take to achieve her ambition to get into university. She came along to an advice session at Northampton College and found out about the BTEC option which meant she could study a Level 3 programme for two years that would be recognised for higher education. The difference was that the BTEC Business programme involved much more practical learning and would enable her to gain technical and professional skills rather than the theoretical knowledge of A Levels.

Lauren lives in Market Harborough and couldn’t drive when she started at college so she had an early start to catch two buses to get to the campus in the mornings. This worked out well as the course was not taught on every day of the week and she was able to engage in independent study on days when she wasn’t time-tabled in lessons. The journey become a lot easier when she learnt to drive and bought her first car!

Lauren also needed to improve her English GCSE grade for a university place on her chosen course and she was kept busy on her main programme organising events and completing other assignments as part of her coursework. At the end of her two years at college, Lauren achieve Distinction grades (D*DD) for her BTEC in Business and successfully achieved a grade B for her English GCSE. These fantastic results meant she was accepted by prestigious Russell Group University of Exeter to follow a degree in Business and Management. Since joining the university, Lauren has been awarded a £1,000 Aspirational Scholarship to help fund her studies.



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