A new-look Evesham College will place a stronger focus on developing technical skills to meet local and regional economic needs. WCG has announced plans to shift the focus of courses at the college to more technical qualifications and the delivery of apprenticeships.
It will be investing £1.2 million in its colleges in the south of Worcestershire to support the Wychavon District and its economy.
The college will focus on delivering courses in subject areas including engineering, construction, motor vehicle, graphic design, eSports, hair, beauty and barbering, as well as adult part-time courses across a wider range of subjects.
The changes will support the continued improvement in performance since South Worcestershire College merged with WCG five years ago, building on the ‘Good’ Ofsted grade from 2018.
By 2020, the 16-to-18-year-old achievement rate had improved by over 13 per cent, to now be in line with national benchmarks.
Positive destinations for students have improved significantly and now around 90 per cent of students move onto further study, an apprenticeship, employment or university.
The announcement comes as the college undergoes a major development over the next 18 months which will see improvements in practical facilities and the closure of a cluster of under-utilised buildings to create a more compact, focused site.
The highly specialised Technology Building will become the hub of the college’s teaching and workshop delivery, with new plumbing and expanded carpentry workshops being added over the summer months.
Evesham College’s new degree in engineering will also run from the Technology Building, with an investment in new equipment as the college continues to develop provision to support key industries in the area.
The college was recently granted degree awarding powers, which will enable the development and delivery of further higher education qualifications.
The Creative Building will be home to the popular graphic design courses and growing, newly-launched Esports course.
Very few courses will be discontinued as part of the change, with certain courses moving to Pershore College. It will see certain adult courses will move from daytime to evening, but the majority will continue at Evesham subject to recruitment levels.
Only two courses will no longer be offered at either of the two WCG colleges. Early Years Educator will cease after low recruitment for three years and Supported Teaching in Schools & Colleges (Teaching Assistant) will become an apprenticeship, with schools now favouring the apprenticeship route following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.
Evesham College is also expanding its apprenticeship offer to serve as a training centre for apprentices from across Worcestershire in sectors ranging from engineering to construction.
Changes in provision will support Evesham College in delivering on Government reforms to give students the skills to support local and regional economies, as outlined in the Skills for Jobs White Paper.
The college is also set to have a continued wide impact on the community too with increased delivery of The Prince’s Trust Team Programmes from Evesham.
Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “Our immediate focus when we merged with SWC was to improve the quality of teaching and learning, to provide improved levels of student achievement and destinations, key to achieving a Good outcome from Ofsted.
“Now these improvements are in place we are able to turn our focus to developing the college facilities to better meet the needs of the regional economy and local community.
“Evesham College is being reshaped as a specialist technical college that will meet the economic needs of the local area, regional and national skill shortages.
“It is a sign of our renewed commitment to long-term investment in the college at Evesham and a commitment to delivering on the Government promises made in the recent FE Skills for Jobs White Paper.
“The high standard of facilities, such as our engineering workshops and salons, enable the college to deliver training in these skills to the highest standard.
“We have seen steady growth in achievement rates and positive destinations for students after completing their studies at Evesham College and the new-look college will give another boost to this development.
“Applications for this coming year are already 10 per cent ahead of last year, which should lead to a thriving site in the autumn.”
Supported learning provision will be moved to Pershore College from September 2021, joining the growing provision already on offer at Pershore which has proved popular with applicants in recent years.
Health and social care courses currently run at Evesham will be also moved to the new health department at Pershore College, where it will complement other disciplines taught there.
Applications for these full-time courses are already up by over 30 per cent compared to last year, indicating that potential learners are unaffected by the change in location.
To find out more contact WCG’s Business Development Team on 0330 135 6940
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