Weston College has been awarded a Career College status which will mean it can expand the range of provision to include technical qualifications in engineering and digital subjects alongside existing courses.
As a result the College will be able to offer up to 1,000 new places for the 2019 academic year, with many new buildings completed on its Loxton Campus in early 2019 to enhance resources available to all learners.
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Weston College Group Principal and Chief Executive, said “The new resources will create a ground breaking educational centre for Weston-super-Mare and the wider area.
“Our learners will benefit from a unique education that takes advantage of the latest technology, and receive unrivalled opportunities to succeed.
“We will continue to develop links with local and national employers, providing learners with employability skills in a range of technical areas, fully equipping them for university or the world of work.
“Loxton Campus will therefore provide major opportunity for training post-16 learners in A Levels, vocational creative subjects and the whole health and wellbeing agenda with major involvement from Weston Area Health Trust and other bodies.”
The above investment has been made possible by the College match-funding a successful bid for funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority. This will create bespoke science labs, a health and well-being centre, sports pitches and gymnasiums.
Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “It’s great to see Weston College going from strength-to-strength. We’re pleased to help build on that success by supporting the improvements at Loxton Campus, which will give young people the skills they need to progress further in their education and secure better career prospects with the great selection of businesses right here in the West of England.”
The Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “This Government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“Enhancing learning and career opportunities is central to our plan for a stronger, more resilient West of England economy. These improvements at Weston College made possible by the Local Growth Fund will make a huge difference – both for students and local employers looking for home-grown talent.”
James Rimmer, Chief Executive of Weston Area Health Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for partnership working between Weston College and Weston General Hospital.
“This demonstrates the investment we are both making to support the learning and development of students. We hope it will also help the recruitment and retention of staff as well as supporting the increased demand on healthcare locally”.
Weston College’s results this year exceeded all expectations at every level. This included a 99% A Level pass rate, vocational results at a similar level plus over 30% of its degree provision achieving First Class Honours.
Alongside this the College are experiencing a demand for A Level places, which has grown exponentially with the realisation of the value of post-16 study.