HEATHER BARRON takes a look at what’s on offer at New College Durham University Center – and talks to a grandmother who made the most of the opportunities
THE way we learn has changed in many ways over the years. In the past, further and higher education was the privilege of a few. But times have changed – aspirations have grown, and now we all have access to a better education and better prospects.
As New College Durham, it was well known for its exceptional offer of further education. Following the recognition earlier this year of the quality of its higher education offer, the Ministry of Education granted it the use of the title of “University Center”.
Offering a diverse range of college-level qualifications, including degrees, HNC / HND, post-graduate learning, and professional qualifications, students at the college get the same high-quality qualification as at a traditional university, but on-going experience. route is very different.
The New College Durham University Center is an enthusiastic representative of ‘education for all’, with many professional and practical courses perfectly suited to those who are already working – taking into account the different lifestyles, professional commitments and day-to-day demands of the world. individual, making study not only more accessible, but more enjoyable.
Being employed does not mean the end of studies. The New College Durham University Center supports lifelong learning, knowing that people return to learning for a variety of reasons.
- Better job prospects
- A job change
- Personal improvement
- A change of personal situation
Many college programs are designed in partnership with local and national businesses. This practical orientation gives students the opportunity to develop the skills and qualities sought by employers.
The flexibility of learning means that studies can be integrated into the work week, allowing employees to acquire skills that will be beneficial to both themselves and the company.
Classes are smaller than at traditional universities and include a lot of one-on-one support, which promotes a much more personal approach. Because teaching can be done in the evening class, it does not have to interfere with the work day.
Alison Maynard, Associate Director, says, “The New College Durham University Center provides a fantastic place for your employees to develop their skills and acquire the qualifications they need to move your business forward.
“They will learn in our dedicated building at the University Center, where they will have access to informal and group learning spaces. We also take a personal approach to learning, with small class sizes and easy access to tutors, to ensure that learners make the most of their time studying with us. With part-time and evening studies available, employees can combine work and study. ”
With no age limit for apprentices, employers can use their Apprenticeship Levy Fund to help their staff acquire higher business qualifications – up to diploma level.
Colleen Peters, Vice Principal of Business Development, said, “We work with many employers to help them get the most out of their tax payments and support them with their training needs. This may include upgrading the skills of their existing workforce or providing training to attract new talent.
“We offer solutions both for employers who pay premiums and for small businesses. Our expert advisors work with companies of all sizes to guide them in financing apprenticeships, and what training will be most beneficial for an organization to maximize its training budget. We can work with employers to develop a tailored solution to ensure you get the most out of your business.
The college was also licensed to operate as the Northeast Institute of Technology, one of only 12 in the country. As IoT, New College Durham University Center will specialize in Higher Technical Education (Levels 4 and 5) with an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, such as Engineering , digital and construction.
This will provide students with a clear path to technical employment and employers with a skilled workforce.
Jacqui’s road to success
JACQUI McCormack’s bond with the New College Durham University Center spans almost 50 years. She first attended college at the age of 16, straight out of school, and now, as a 63-year-old grandmother, has taken her to the next level.
Jacqui joined Durham County Council in 2010 as Client Services Manager for Social Care Direct, then moved to Housing in 2012 as Support Manager. Although she did not need a degree for this role, Jacqui was ambitious and decided to embark on a study program with the New College Durham University Center, with a view to obtaining a degree.
Through Durham County Council’s Apprenticeship Program, she earned her Level 3 Housing Certificate in 2015 – also named Housing Apprentice of the Year. From 2017 to 2019, she continued her studies, obtaining a distinction for her basic level 4 diploma in senior housing and property management (CIH).
As part of the apprenticeship program, Jacqui was able to continue working while continuing her education.
“I was very surprised to have been able to do an apprenticeship,” she admits. “You think it’s only for people up to a certain age, but it’s actually available to everyone.”
It was not easy, as Jacqui was also juggling the care of her grandchildren. But with the help of her employer through the apprenticeship program and the flexibility of the course, she was able to manage it.
“I was able to condense my work week into four days, which allowed me a day of babysitting for my grandchildren,” she explains. “Because I was in an apprenticeship program, I had time to go to college, study, and do my homework. ”
During a restructuring in the board, Jacqui took on the role of Housing Manager and in January 2020 decided to continue her studies with New College Durham University Center, for a level 6 BA (Hons) Management (up -up).
Jacqui, now 63, graduated in June 2021 with a First.
When she subsequently applied and was interviewed for the position she holds today, that of Surveillance Officer, she says getting the qualification helped her.
“During the interview, I was able to use a lot of what I learned in the management course to help me,” she said. “Although I gained a lot of experience on the job, it was based on what I had learned in college. I really think my confidence in the interview was due to the fact that I had the college course behind me.
“My name is ‘the oldest apprentice in town,’ she laughs, but I’ve learned that you’re never too old to start learning again. Even if you didn’t do so well in school, that doesn’t stop you from doing well later in life.
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my employer and the college. ”