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College campus brings town centre to life

Posted: 29 October 2020

West Nottinghamshire College’s Chesterfield Road campus is open for business! This town centre location is proving a success for many different types of students who are attending a broad range of programmes. And, coming in September 2021, this centre will be the new dedicated home for A-Level students.

Assistant principal Jane Fishwick said: “There’s something for everyone here, from people wanting to retrain for a new career, to those who need a stepping stone to university and for individuals who want to try out a new hobby and meet new people.

“We’re particularly excited about the new Mansfield and Ashfield Sixth Form College launching from this campus next September.”

Access courses are the ideal stepping stone for students who are looking to go to university and need those specific Level 3 qualifications to take this next step.

Antonia Thomas, 31, from Chesterfield, is studying the Access to Teaching course and is planning to attend the University of Derby after this year-long programme.

She said: “This is the only college that’s close to me which runs the Access to Teaching course. It’s always been my dream to become a teacher. My children are finally at school so I’ve decided that now is the time to concentrate on myself.

“It’s giving me the foundations for going on to university and I’d like to teach young people aged 11-16 at secondary school eventually.

“I’ve made some good friends already and it’s a nice small group. Studying at this campus is pretty good as it’s a close-knit campus and you can find your way around easily.”

Acting for Adults, Confidence Building Through Drama is just one of the many community courses which the college runs at venues across Mansfield and Ashfield. At the town centre campus tutor and actor Julie Bagshaw is helping a group of individuals discover new talents and to step outside of their comfort zone with reading from different plays, such as Shakespeare classics and getting to grips with drama techniques for improving confidence.

Ann Hill has been attending such classes for a few years. She said: “It’s a very social experience and such a lovely place to study. During lockdown I had a lot of people I could talk to on the phone, but nothing beats being amongst people in a class like this.”

Hadrian Brailsford agrees, saying: “It’s exciting getting to try new and different things. You can express yourself and it’s just great. We’ve got a nice select group and Julie’s the best teacher in getting you to step out of your usual comfort zone.”

Printmaking is another of the community short courses being taught both at the college’s Derby Road and Chesterfield Road campuses and within local venues. The first 14 hours of all community courses are free for everyone to attend and after the first 14 hours, courses are then just £3.50 per hour.

Susie Daniel from Clipstone said: “I thought it would be interesting to try printmaking as I’m quite into art and crafts and I’d never tried printmaking before. It’s really easy to get to and not far to come by car – it ticks all the boxes and I’m really loving it!”

Stacey Banks, 25, from Hucknall is studying Access to Nursing and Healthcare.

“I’ve been thinking of nursing as a career for the last few years. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school. I researched all the courses which I’d need so I could achieve the grades I needed. Coming to West Notts on this course was the ideal way to get on my way to university.

“It’s good to have a dedicated campus for mature-level study and it’s really handy to be close to the town centre. Depending on what grades I get will determine where I study next but here’s to university!”

For 53-year-old Tracey Hickling, attending the IT Skills For Work course has been just the boost she’s needed having been out of work for a few years.

She said: “Being out of work for a while made me realised I needed to refresh my computer skills as I felt I’d lost them. A few years ago I worked as job club leader at the Job Centre. I was hoping to go back, however, in March lockdown happened and since then the job roles are now only 12 month contracts.

“I need to work full-time and permanent as I am also a carer at home. I’d like to try something completely different next so I’ll be talking further with the college’s careers team to see if they can guide me on a new job role.

“This course has really woken up my skills and it’s also great to be meeting up with people after feeling so isolated over the past few months.

“It’s a lovely location here and the class size is nice and small, it’s good to see it’s not crowded and I’m thinking of doing another course in December.”

New skills for employment in the area

The college is working in partnership with local industry to discover what skills they need for the workforce and is tailoring training to suit these needs.

One such round of training has been taking place at here. So far ten individuals who’ve been out of work have taken advantage of the Level 1 Award in Warehousing and Storage which involved practical and theory training over two full days and the offer of a guaranteed interview with Amazon, which has a new distribution centre opening soon in Sutton-in-Ashfield.


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Why choose West Notts?

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96.2% A Level pass rate in 2022.

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction.**Learner Exit Survey 2019/20

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We offer a flexible and cost-effective travel pass to all students and apprentices.

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We have four campuses each boasting a number of state-of-the-art facilities.

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