This week is Love Our Colleges week, the annual celebration of all of the great things going on in colleges across the country. This year's theme is Get In, Go Further - showcasing the innovation and incredible opportunities being offered in colleges to help you get ahead in your career.
Colleges are uniquely inclusive environments, offering the chance to build skills which suit your goals, and forge lasting links with your community and local employers. Whether you're a young person just starting out in your career, an adult boosting your existing training, or you're looking to embark on a whole new career, your local college will give you the tools you need to take on your next challenge.
Here are 5 things to love about our colleges
1. They provide flexible courses to fit around you
Colleges offer a huge range of courses, from functional skills to degree level learning in an incredibly wide variety of subjects. Whether you're a budding computer scientist, passionate about green engineering or looking to join the next generation of nurses on the front-line, forging a career that is right for you has never been easier, and colleges are there to help you.
Courses are available to suit almost any schedule, with options such as full and part time study, day courses, or modular technical learning helping you to fit your development around your life and commitments. Gone are the days where a long university course was the only expected route to success. Speak to your local college to find out what options they can offer you.
2. They help people get skills based on the needs of local employers
Colleges and other FE providers have always had links with local employers to offer work placements to students and support apprenticeships. Now, more than ever, they are working closely with local and regional businesses and employer groups to identify and deliver the specific skills needed to promote economic prosperity in an area and meet local skills gaps. No student, regardless of their age or location, should have to move away from their community to train and get a good job, and colleges are playing a central role in providing local opportunities to learners.
Through engagement with their local Institute of Technology (IoT), links with teaching the healthcare sector and partnerships with businesses in their area, many colleges offer learners world class facilities and expertise to provide a pipeline of skills talent for businesses to thrive and for individuals to enjoy secure and rewarding careers.
3. Colleges offer exciting, varied and wide-ranging courses
Colleges offer a huge range of learning opportunities including fantastic up-to-date qualifications designed with the needs of learners and employers in mind. Some options available are:
T Levels: Two-year T Levels combine in-classroom learning and substantial on-the-job experience to give you skills and practice which will let you hit the ground running in your chosen career. They are ideal for young people who know the skill area they want to work in or study further and cover subjects as diverse as digital production, health & science, construction, engineering, finance & management and even animal care. T Levels are already on offer across the country with more colleges and courses being added each year.
Apprenticeships: Doing an apprenticeship at any age will let you fully immerse yourself in your chosen profession, giving practice and experience as you learn through working. If you're over 16 and are looking to build you knowledge outside of the classroom, apprenticeships can be found for thousands of roles across the UK and may be the right option for you. Colleges are helping to facilitate these programmes and apprenticeships can go right up to degree level and beyond.
Traineeships: Traineeships are designed to help young people aged 16-24 prepare for their future and career, with a range of courses which will help build confidence and develop the skills needed to access employment, apprenticeships or further education.
4. They aren't just for young people - they offer training for adults to reskill or upskill
Education should be open to people at every stage of their lives and colleges are helping adults to boost their skills to pursue new challenges or progress in their organisations. If you're an adult looking to get ahead in work there are options available for you, including through the government's Free Courses for Jobs , which offers over 400 free courses to adults who do not have existing A levels, an advanced technical diploma, or equivalent.
These free qualifications can open exciting new opportunities across a range of sectors such as digital technology, hospitality and catering, and health and social care, helping you to gain the skills you need to get a better job.
5. They're at the heart of local communities
Colleges are at the heart of the communities they serve. Not just in terms of providing education and training but as leaders in overcoming adversity to continue delivering for their students. Throughout the pandemic, colleges have especially shown that they are hubs for their communities, offering a range of activities that help to bring people and communities together to take part in activities and learn new skills without having to travel far from their homes.