Virtual learning and social distancing failed to dampen Nelson and Colne College Group’s annual Colleges Week celebrations, as alumni came together to show their support for Further Education.

Coordinated by the Association of Colleges, Colleges Week is an annual opportunity for Further Education colleges to put the brilliant work that they do day in and day out under the spotlight – building communities, boosting businesses and supporting individuals.

Alumni from the College Group – incorporating Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale College and Lancashire Adult Learning – were keen to recognise the role Further Education has played in their lives as they joined up to help create an inspiring video that showcased the wide range of careers that former students of the College Group go on to enjoy.

This year’s theme focused on the central role that colleges will play in rebuilding the economy post-Brexit and through COVID-19, by strengthening communities and supporting people through some of the toughest challenges we have faced.

The great work carried out during the pandemic across the College Group was celebrated during the week, and this included former students now on the frontline of the NHS, a PPE donation to East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, and support for local foodbanks during the pandemic.

Employer partnerships, support for a wide range of economic sectors, and how the College Group is supporting innovation and developments in the Further Education sector were other highlights of the week.

Principal of Nelson and Colne College Group Amanda Melton CBE said: “Colleges Week is one of my favourite weeks of the year and I’m thrilled that we have been able to showcase the wonderful work that goes on right across Nelson and Colne College Group.

“With the ongoing pandemic, Brexit looming, and a recession, Further Education colleges will have an essential role to play in skills development and the creation of sustainable careers in the future, and it is vital that we are there to support our people, places and businesses.

“I’m also determined to use this week as a catalyst for securing a fair funding settlement for Further Education which has been neglected for far too long – funding which would enable us to invest in our staff to support the ambitions of our young people, the skills development in our adult learners, and create a thriving local and regional economy together with employer partners.”

Former Lancashire Adult Learning star Sue Bottomley was one of the alumni to appear in the showcase video. Sue, from Whalley, completed her Level 2 Functional Skills Maths qualification with LAL in 2018 which enabled her to change career to become a firefighter after 20 years in the airline industry.

Sue said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to be part of the video and it just shows the power of colleges and what achievements can lead on to.

“I’m really grateful that LAL was able to support me to change my career and I remember enjoying the learning as well having hated Maths at school.

“I absolutely love my new career as a firefighter. I’ve definitely not looked back since making my decision.”

Current students from Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College were happy to share why they love their College, and the passion that they have for their chosen subjects.

Laraib Ayoub, 17, from Nelson, is studying Health and Social Care at Nelson and Colne College. The former Pendle Vale College student said: “I absolutely love College and learning on my Health and Social Care course. The standard of teaching I receive is excellent and I am very well supported in my studies.

“I have wanted to do Health and Social Care from a young age, and it is the health side of the subject that interests me. I want to go and study nursing and I would love to be able to make a difference to people’s lives every day.”

Dominic Milligan, 18, from Accrington, is Level 3 Bricklaying Apprentice at Accrington and Rossendale College. A former student of St Christopher’s High School, Dominic said: “My interest in bricklaying comes from helping my uncle with his building business at weekends when I was at school – and he is now my boss. He suggested the College to me as it is local, and also the best in the area for learning the trade.

“I’m really enjoying my Apprenticeship – I’m learning a skill that would enable me to set up on my own in the future, or potentially take over the business down the line. My tutors in College are fantastic and I can now do advanced brickwork. I love working in the building trade – we mainly construct extensions on houses – and there is no better satisfaction than finishing a job.”

For more information about Nelson and Colne College, please visit www.nelson.ac.uk, and for Accrington and Rossendale College, please visit www.accross.ac.uk. To apply, or for application support, contact the Admissions Team at admissions@nelsongroup.ac.uk or call 01282 440272.

Lancashire Adult Learning is the second largest adult community learning provider in the country, offering a wide range of courses to learners across the Red Rose County. Visit www.lal.ac.uk or call 0333 003 1717 for more information.


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