Is studying at a further education college the right choice for me?

PUBLISHED: 10:19 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:10 08 November 2018

At North Hertfordshire College you can gain diplomas from entry level to degree level. All photos: Michael Coker

At North Hertfordshire College you can gain diplomas from entry level to degree level. All photos: Michael Coker

At North Hertfordshire College, which has the highest Ofsted rating and the best achievement rates in Hertfordshire, you can choose between apprenticeships, or full time vocational courses that provide a stepping stone into work or further study, including university.

The transition from GCSEs to further study or entry into the world of work is a vitally important period in any young person’s development.

Nowadays, the range of choice open to students and school-leavers is huge, and the opportunities to specialise in subjects and courses that align with your interests are greater than ever.

From traineeships and apprenticeships through to vocational and degree-level qualifications, there is certain to be a path that is right for you.

Further education colleges give students who feel that sixth form and A-Levels don’t represent the right choice for them the chance to embark on their career at an earlier stage rather than going to university first.

In fact, for those who want to study in an atmosphere where the focus is very much on helping you take the next step along your journey into the world of work, colleges are often the most appropriate option. NHC students go on to pursue further study or training or start exciting careers in many different industries.

Why choose North Hertfordshire College (NHC) over sixth form?

NHC provides excellent teaching across a broad range of sectors – all designed to meet the current and future needs of the jobs market. Courses for 16-18 year olds are available in business, the creative industries, engineering and construction, health and social care, catering, hair and beauty, childcare, technology and sport.

Everything the college does is helping prepare young people for the world of work. Close relationships with businesses locally in Hertfordshire, as well as nationally, mean NHC understands what employers are looking for and designs its courses to provide young people with the training, skills and knowledge that their future employer will expect.

It also offers a range of apprenticeships in partnership with employers in health and social care, engineering and construction, business services and technology. Clients include Lloyds Bank, the Co-operative Group, Worldpay and Ocado.

At NHC you are treated like an adult in charge of your own destiny. The college trusts that students who come are ready to make their own decisions, but also impresses upon every student the values and behaviours expected by employers when they enter the workplace.

What can North Hertfordshire College offer you?

NHC has a ‘good’ Ofsted rating with traineeships and courses for learners with complex needs receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating, the best of any college in Hertfordshire. The college also has the best achievement rates in the county.

NHC can provide the stepping stone to further learning including university as well as paid employment. The college offers diplomas from entry level to degree level and will give you the UCAS points you need to gain entry onto the university course of your choosing.

All courses provide a blend of learning and high quality work experience. Ofsted highlights NHC’s “strong and effective employer relationships”. The college works closely with local businesses to make sure its course offer is aligned with students’ needs and that it is preparing them for the reality of the world of work.

Liz Calver, Head of Curriculum for Sport and Public Services, said: “So often young people are told that A-levels followed by university is the best option for them and that’s what they should aspire to. That may be true for some, but colleges are really effective at recognising that that model isn’t right for everyone and what they need is to be given the right information so they can make an informed choice.”

Daniel King, currently in his second year of a level 3 public services course at NHC, said: “What college can offer is getting you into long term employment early on in life without having to go to university first.

“I want to be a police officer and the course I am doing at NHC is giving me the best preparation for that. I am being taught by tutors with first-hand knowledge as they previously worked in public services. It’s really inspiring and totally different to the experience I would have had if I’d stayed on at school.”

What else does NHC offer?

For those over the age of 19, traineeships and apprenticeships are available as well as a broad range of part-time courses. We have several courses tailored to those who are looking to upskill or change careers in areas such as IT, accounting and HR. We also offer a diverse range of leisure courses including cake decorating, life drawing, photography and classic car restoration.

Do you have to pay to study?

There are no course fees for 16-18 year olds. You could be entitled to a bursary of up to £1,200 if you’re aged 16 to 18 and you’re been in care or you receive income support, universal credit, employment support allowance and disability living allowance.

For adult learners (19+) new rule changes mean that more adults than ever before will not have to pay a penny for their course.

Finding out more

North Hertfordshire College has campuses in both Stevenage and Hitchin. On November 19, the college will be holding an open event, where you can come along and speak to tutors, tour the facilities and find out more about what studying at NHC can do for your future career.

For more information about the range of full and part time courses available at North Hertfordshire college visit their website, or call 01462 424242.

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