The East Riding College opinion column with Paul Smith

Paul Smith ' Director, Curriculum Programmes, Learning and Quality.
Paul Smith ' Director, Curriculum Programmes, Learning and Quality.

I was very proud to host the College’s Further Education Awards evening last week, an event at the end of the academic year that celebrates our students’ success and rewards their various achievements throughout the year.

It’s a fantastic reminder of how many people the college is helping to achieve their goals each year.

It’s also a reminder that our students are a diverse group of individuals who are all on their own personal learning journey.

The college has students aged 14-16, who study with us one day a week – often discovering their vocational direction and growing in confidence by learning a skill.

We have a large cohort of 16-18 year olds who study with us full time – school leavers who are preparing themselves for the world of work or working towards qualifications that gain them entry to university.

One in four university undergraduates has a BTEC qualification these days, so it’s no longer the case that A-Levels are the only viable route to a university degree.

In fact, many of our students are studying for a degree at the college itself, with lower fees than typical university tuition fees, it can be a very attractive option for some.

And then of course there’s our apprentices, who are out in the workplace for the vast majority of their time, being guided by their employers and their assessors towards qualifications and apprenticeship standards by learning on the job.

But that’s not all! Adults who want to study part time and learn something new can fulfil their lifelong learning ambitions through our community learning offer.

Lots of adults study with us on full time courses too, because they’re returning to learning after a break, or because they’re looking for a change of career.

Employers in our community also rely on the college, to provide training for their workforce and to access funding to upskill their staff and keep their businesses competitive.

There’s so much goes on at East Riding College in Bridlington, I’m not surprised that not everyone in the town realises just how much is on offer.

This academic year has seen us celebrate our tenth anniversary at our St Mary’s Walk Bridlington campus and we’ve been marking the occasion all year. One of the many highlights has been our series of land art sculptures – including representing Bridlington with a shortlisted entry in the Tour de Yorkshire land art competition.

Our celebrations will culminate in a special community event in early September on the anniversary of our first academic year at the campus.

We’d love to invite our class of 2009 back into the College for the event as VIPs, so if you attended (or taught) at East Riding College’s new St Mary’s Walk campus back in the 2009/2010 academic year and have any memories of your time here that you’d like to share, please get in touch with our marketing team to secure your VIP tickets to our community event.