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Colleges Week 2024: here’s what to expect!

Colleges Week, which stretches from Monday 26th February to Friday 1st March, is a chance for colleges across the country to recognise the incredible work they do throughout the year. Here’s an overview of how we’ll be celebrating! 

Our student recruitment team will be once again out and about visiting schools, with the focus on all things ‘Colleges Week’. BLC’s Recruitment Officer, Jenn Aspinall will be meeting students at Glossopdale Sixth Form & High, on Tuesday, talking about the amazing opportunities that Colleges can offer and the benefits of studying vocational programmes. 

There’s also a fantastic interview coming up with BLC student, Ashton Brightmore, who is currently ranked number one in the world in Super Enduro. Within the interview he talks about his success on the track and at college, and also pays homage to his BLC tutor: 

 “I really like the relationship between me and my tutor, John – he’s helped me massively, both in and out of College.” #collegesweeksheroes 

BLC are not only celebrating present students but also those that studied with us in the past and the wonderful things they go on to achieve once they have left college. Look out for our interview with successful business owner, Katie Waites (who provides mobile hairdressing across the High Peak) and find out why she loves studying at BLC. 

As is well documented in the news – there is a real shortage of funding needed for Colleges – that’s why we were especially delighted to be included in a share of the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), recently awarded to a partnership of further education institutions in the Staffordshire area. This funding will go towards improving our Engineering facility in Leek. From September 2024, students studying engineering programmes will have new industry-standard equipment, and an updated state-of-the-art lab, as part of a curriculum that reflects local employer’s needs. 

Colleges Week is putting an additional focus of influencing, engaging and celebrating ahead of this year’s elections. Whoever the next government may be, it’s important to make sure they’re focused on ensuring that colleges play an even bigger role in an inclusive, tolerant, welcoming, strong society and a growing and productive economy. 

There are two short term asks for the government: 

  1. We are asking the government to ‘Mind the skills gap’ and use the £586m raised from the immigration skills charge to enable colleges to tackle the urgent priorities identified by employers and the increased number of skills shortage vacancies. 
  2. We are asking the government to make a down payment on the ABS and invest to close the pay gap between school and college lecturers, extend the 16-18 tuition fund and reimburse VAT for colleges to start the journey to the introduction of ABS in 2033. 

Plus, with a general election looming we have five asks of the next government to unleash the potential of colleges to deliver an inclusive society and a productive economy:  

  1. A new statutory right to lifelong learning  
  2. An apprenticeship system that works  
  3. A curriculum for all 
  4. A workforce strategy  
  5. Investment in our future 

A range of political guest speakers will also be visiting the College throughout February, March, and April for a chance to broaden students’ outlook and political knowledge. Although students need to be 18 to vote in elections in England, they can register to vote when they turn 16, and this is a great opportunity for young people to start getting involved with the politics and policies which will impact their future.  

Click here to find out more about the programmes available with BLC.