COLUMN: Ambition can lead to endless opportunities

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The educational landscape is changing, with a greater focus on better meeting the needs of UK industry.

In today’s competitive job market, employers demand that education equips students with hands-on experience while building skills for the workplace.

Apprenticeships are also playing an increasingly important role in helping young people achieve their potential – providing excellent career development and the chance to ‘earn while you learn’.

West Nottinghamshire College’s lifestyle academy provides people studying hair, beauty and make-up, catering and travel and tourism with opportunities to develop the expertise and characteristics vital for successful careers.

Strong employer links ensure our curriculum is fit-for- purpose and meets local needs. Furthermore, students benefit from a work placement to gain a credible insight into these creative sectors, often leading to apprenticeships or employment.

Students study in state-of- the-art facilities in the £11m lifestyle academy building at our Derby Road campus, designed to mirror industry standards.

These include the ‘Revive’ hair and beauty salons and spa, which provide a commercial training environment for students from level one (pre-GCSE equivalent) to level three (A-level equivalent) to practice their skills alongside trained professionals. Our partnership with the Francesco Group ensures training is current, on-trend and high-quality, allowing students to progress into employment and showcase their abilities in competitions such as Wella Exposure and WorldSkills.

Professional cookery and hospitality students help run our award-winning restaurant, ‘Refined’, which is consistently ranked as one of Mansfield’s top places to eat by TripAdvisor and holds a coveted AA College Rosette. By working in a real-life environment, students gain skills and confidence to seamlessly move on to high-end restaurants, including Michelin star establishments.

They also receive mentoring from successful chefs, including former students making a name for themselves in the culinary world.

Meanwhile, travel and tourism students enjoy a varied curriculum from level one to degree level, opening pathways to exciting careers.

The visitor economy remains hugely important to our area, thanks to the plethora of tourist attractions, accommodation and restaurants on our doorsteps.

Students develop the skills and competencies necessary for the workplace, but also a network of contacts in their field before graduating.

Our emphasis on high-quality and relevant industry experience, combined with strong classroom provision, gives students the best-possible chance to progress in their chosen profession or into higher education. We aim to provide strong candidates for the workforce, locally, nationally or internationally.

By focusing on where our learners’ ambitions could take them, we show them that the opportunities really are endless.