While almost every aspect of our lives has changed during 2020, NWSLC remains at the heart of our community, maintaining a consistent presence for our students, and supporting them in ways that go beyond simply delivering skills and qualifications.
In fact, the college has been central to the success of the region for over 100 years and had already helped local communities to face the challenges of two World Wars long before the COVID-19 pandemic began to make its impact. Our long heritage provides a sound base for our future strategy.
Our story started more than 100 years ago when the first of our campuses opened its doors. Since then, we have served our communities by delivering highly relevant skills training that meets the needs of the local and regional employers our students will join when they leave us. As we look back over the history of our college, we can see how our support and services has changed and evolved into the broad ranging offer of the 21st century.
We work together to prepare students for their future lives and careers, promoting the values of democracy, individual liberty, mutual tolerance, and respect. We pride ourselves on helping our students to grow in confidence and self-esteem so that they are ready to become active and productive citizens, and excellent employees.
We continue to support over 3,000 young people, 10,000 adults and 1,500 apprentices across a wide range of industry-related subjects at our six campuses in Warwickshire and Leicestershire.
Here’s how the story unfolded:
In 2018, the college led a unique collaboration with its partners, HORIBA MIRA and Coventry University, the University of Leicester, and Loughborough University to launch the MIRA Technology Institute, a specialist automotive training facility built with £9.5m from the Local Growth Fund via the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd (LLEP). The MTI is designed specifically to train the next generation of engineers in some of the new disruptive automotive technology areas including electrification and driverless cars.
In 2020, NWSLC launched a new Digital Skills Academy at the Coventry University Technology Park in response to growing momentum for the fast-paced digitisation of the UK and an acknowledgement across all sectors that digital skills increasingly sit at the heart of all careers. The Academy, which is being supported with funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority, offers students a pathway to ‘in demand’ digital jobs in software development and cyber security and help businesses can access a pipeline of people with higher level skills and address gaps within their workforce.
NWSLC has been extremely successful in helping many 14-16–year old students who have been excluded from mainstream education as part of our Inspire project by steering them towards interesting and engaging career choices. Through our supportive intervention, behaviour improves, aspirations are raised, and students achieve the qualifications in English and Maths that they need to become ready for the workplace.
In 2018, the college launched a dedicated centre for students with special educational needs and disabilities at its Nuneaton Campus in 2018. The LifeWorks Hub is a dedicated accessible facility where students aged 19-24 with special educational needs or disabilities follow a programme that helps them to gain skills for independent living and work.
Helping to ‘Build Back Better’
This academic year has brought unprecedented challenges to the way the college operates, and it has worked hard to comply with government guidance on social distancing. There has been a reduction in the number of days on which students are physically present in college and NWSLC has invested extensively in technology to maintain continuity using ‘mirror teaching’ which enables those who are not present in college to participate in learning remotely.
As the impact of COVID-19 makes itself felt across the UK employment market, developing the right skills will improve students’ prospects and help them to secure fresh opportunities and start on the road to new careers.
NWSLC has recently launched its Community Skills Hub in response to the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ which includes a package of measures and cash incentives for businesses and a new ‘kickstart’ scheme to fund jobs for young people at risk of long term unemployment. The Community Skills Hub will help to signpost individuals to a range of support as well as creating links between skilled jobseekers and vacancies that are hard to fill. Students will benefit from:
- Accredited qualifications that can be studied both online and on campus
- Wraparound support to help erase any barriers to studying
- Help with the cost of coming to college
- Routes into employment with local, regional, and national employers
- Help to make the transition from further to higher education.
As we look to the future, the college is looking forward to welcoming its first students onto the new cutting-edge T Level programmes in September 2022. We will continue to evolve and develop so that we are in the best position to help our communities to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, creating possibilities for our students and their families for the next 100 years.
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