Almost 900 vocational students at Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College have gained valuable insight into a range of career opportunities during a series of Industry Careers Days.

Students studying Business, Childcare, Creative and Media, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, Health and Social Work Professions, Science, Sport and the Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team programme were taken off timetable for the day to immerse themselves in career-focused sessions.

These involved industry leaders, university representatives and College alumni who have made the successful progression into employment in their chosen fields. Students had the chance to engage with potential future employers, gain further advice and guidance on Higher Education, develop their portfolios and improve employability, CV and interview skills.

Sessions were held in College and external locations including Lancashire Adult Learning’s Northlight home in Brierfield, the Garage – home of arts organisation In-Situ, also in Brierfield – and Burnley’s Turf Moor stadium.

Returning students leading in sessions included HR Apprentice at acdc Emily Shapland, Morrisons Management Apprentice James Osborne, full time Urology nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust Emily Whitefield, Director of In-Situ Paul Hartley, and teacher at St Leonard’s C of E Primary School in Padiham, Janine Parrington.

Current Nelson and Colne College student Aisha Abid, 17, who is studying Childcare said: “It has always been my aim to study Childcare as I really want to become a primary school teacher and give something back. Primary school is the foundation of a child’s growth and development.

“I enjoyed the sessions, in particular around holistic development and an employability workshop where we were tasked with designing a logo for a nursery and encouraged to think about marketing the nursery, as well as considering its offer, staffing numbers, the number of staff with childcare qualifications, etc.”

Samuel Nuttall, 16, is studying Digital at Accrington and Rossendale College. He said: “The day was very enjoyable and insightful. I’m looking into a career as a server engineer, and the day was useful for developing my knowledge on other possible careers in IT.”

James Osborne, who is 15 months into his Management Apprenticeship with Morrisons, returned to College to speak to Business students. He said: “It was a great chance to come back and reflect with current Business students how I have progressed in time since leaving College. Looking back, the course content I studied was very relevant to what I am doing now and the skills I developed have been of real benefit.

“My Apprenticeship has given me a lot of responsibility, but also the opportunity to network and broaden my horizons. It has been insightful, challenging and I’ve loved being able to work across all areas including manufacturing, retail, at head office, and in logistics where I am now. I’m really enjoying it.”

Another returning student, Emily Whitfield, studied Science prior to beginning her career in the NHS. Emily said: “It’s been a fabulous opportunity to come back to College and speak to students about my career so far. College was a huge part of my progression and you never properly leave – I still feel part of the family now. Hopefully I’ve inspired others to consider a career in nursing.”

Employers who supported the series of Industry Careers Days had the opportunity to learn more about the advantages of student work placements and the arrival of new technical T Level qualifications in Digital and Education at both Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College from September 2020.

Morag Davis, Assistant Principal for Technical Curriculum, said: “Our Industry Careers Days have again enhanced the day to day learning of our students, and have raised aspirations.

“I’m delighted that post the successful merger between Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College, almost all students on Level 3 courses at both campuses have been able to take advantage of these enriching, career focused, and skill-building sessions with leading industry professionals, university representatives and our strong alumni network.”

If you would like to apply to study at Nelson and Colne College, contact 01282 440272 or visit To apply to study at Accrington and Rossendale College, please contact 01254 389933 or visit