Since the recent outbreak of the coronavirus forced many schools and colleges to close their doors, Newbury College has worked hard adapting the delivery of off-the-job training for apprentices, so that they can continue to blaze a trail and stay safe as they learn.
College tutors and the senior business team are in constant communication with learners and employers. All have worked hard to adapt classroom delivery to online classes. Jo Houghton, Director of Business and Partnerships, said "As a business, we have been incorporating flexible learning technologies alongside the development of the University Centre Newbury. The current situation has moved things along quicker than expected, but we have been extremely impressed at how well tutors and learners have adapted to online learning".
Online classes have enabled many apprentices to continue their off-the-job training, supported by the businesses they work for, and allowed Degree Apprentices to successfully carry out their End Point Assessments via remote access with their examiners.
Student Governor and HND Engineering Student, Matt Grimston added, "The tutors worked diligently to organise the online tools into a usable framework for us, with their presentations and resources sitting within that. Our meetings and lectures are now all virtual, but we can call and message our lecturers as needed, which works fantastically. Everyone has had to learn quickly but by using the resources, and of course the tutors' hard work, we are now in a situation where we can continue in a different environment but with no change to quality. Thank you to all of the staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure our education continues without hindrance in this unpredictable world."
Following the government announcement on Wednesday 18 March, Newbury College has moved to online delivery for most courses.
Teaching staff have been preparing for this eventuality and are entering these uncertain times with confidence in their abilities to deliver an interactive and engaging learning package remotely.
Each curriculum group within the College has worked hard to ensure that the at home' delivery is adapted to the varying needs of each subject area. Principal, Iain Wolloff, noted, From delivery of the Engineering Degree to online Spanish classes for adult learners, we are extremely proud of all the staff that have gone above and beyond. They have created a smooth and efficient transition to enable our students to keep learning for their future careers and aspirations.
E-Learning Development Officer, Shaun Daubney commented, It has been encouraging to see our staff adapt so quickly and be proactive in using technology to support our students. As a College we have always been ahead of the curve with embedding digital learning in creative ways, to future-proof our delivery and adapt to the way students learn in a changing environment.
As well as providing learning for existing students the College offers a means for adults to start thinking about their own future with a number of FREE online learning courses in areas such as; dementia awareness, mental health, caring for children and young people, end of life care and nutrition and health.
Camille Packer, currently studying her Higher National Diploma (HND) in Graphic Design at Newbury College has been awarded a BTEC Bronze Award, in the BTEC Art and Design Student of the Year 2019.
The BTEC Awards celebrate exceptional BTEC learners and apprentices. More than 570 nominations were received across all categories from entrants across the globe, with 22 winning either Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards.
Camille commented I started the course with minimal knowledge of the subject other than having creative skills and a love of design. Through dedication to my studies, I have been able to achieve high standards in my work and make positive steps towards my dream career as a Graphic Designer. She continued, I now feel I have the skills and experience to apply for a position in a high-ranking design agency. My time at Newbury College is empowering me to realise my passion and ideas and turn them into reality.
Iain Wolloff, Principal and Chief Executive, Newbury College, said, It is fantastic to see the standard and quality of Camille's work being recognised on a global scale. We are very proud of the dedication that she has shown and delighted that she is continuing her studies with us alongside the development of her career.
John Rich and Riley Coleman graduated from their Professional Cookery course at Newbury College in 2017 and have recently joined the team at The Pheasant in Highclere.
The Pheasant in Highclere opened its doors in July 2019, but it has a much longer history. Initially founded in the 17th century, the Hampshire pub was renamed as The Yew Tree Inn during the 1980s. It was later well known for its famous affiliation with Michelin starred chef, Marco Pierre White. Current owners Ryan Stacey (pictured) and Billy Callaway reverted the establishment to its original name as a tribute to its heritage.
In the busy restaurant kitchen, we caught up with John, Riley and Head Chef Ryan to find out how the young chefs are progressing. Both of the chef de parties' are in charge of their own sections and are entrusted with preparing assigned dishes that they have also helped to develop.
Riley was the first to join the team, Ryan told us, and I was really impressed by his attitude and enthusiasm from the start. Riley recommended John a few months later, and they are a strong team.
Ryan, a former college-trained chef himself, explained how he is a firm believer in vocational, college education. He has been impressed with the level of basic skills and work ethic possessed by his recent recruits, that can be largely attributed to the training they received on their course.
I feel that I learned and achieved a lot in the two years I studied professional cookery, said Riley, who was busy preparing seasonal vegetables for the evening menu, I am very appreciative of the help and the encouragement my lecturer gave me.
The course was a good choice for me, added John, who was working on a vegan, gluten-free banana bread of his own creation. I enjoyed the Open Day and thought it would be the best place to study what I wanted to make a career out of. I enjoyed the practical side to the course as I learnt a lot of skills from doing this. It has helped me progress in my career.
Both chefs are now putting their training into practice, and their employers couldn't be happier. Business has been so good at The Pheasant; the owners are already thinking about expanding the team and are on the lookout for new talent to join them.