Gosport college principal says education will play a crucial role in post-pandemic life
After a successful autumn term welcoming new and returning students back to its campus, St Vincent College started the new year like all others across the country - reverting to online learning so its community could stay at home.
However, Principal Andy Grant believes that now is the time to start planning for the future.
‘To be honest, being in lockdown for our spring term did not come as a huge surprise,’ says Andy when asked about St Vincent College’s second closure because of the fight against coronavirus.
‘Unlike March 2020, when we had to pivot quickly and put alternative learning structures in place, it was like changing gears.’
Having had staff and students at Gosport’s further education college praised for their adaptation and achievements in online learning, creating innovative alternatives to planned Open Days and maintaining support services, Andy is incredibly proud of the momentum that is seeing the college through its second lockdown. But he now believes it is time to look past the pandemic.
‘Education is going to play a crucial role in this country after coronavirus is under control,’ he says.
‘Whether it is young people looking to start or adapt their career plans, adults needing to strengthen or improve their skills set, or just bringing people together, we are preparing to support everything we can in our community.’
Last year, the college launched its ‘Work Skills’, led by co-ordinator Lynsey Skaskiewicz, to help both people looking to change or enhance their careers, and employers in need of upskilling their existing staff.
A new Head of Adult & Higher Education, Carlene Reed, was appointed to overhaul the college’s Adult Education offering which, for the short-term, has adapted to providing online classes and is now making great plans for the future.
Finally, and perhaps most crucially, the college has appointed a Digital Marketing Officer, Joe Roberts, to develop the channels of online communication that have engaged with students in their last year of school and those looking to study at the college.
‘A lot of work went into showcasing the college through our online Open Events in September and November, and they proved really popular,’ says Andy.
‘We are holding another event between February 2-4 from the college website and invite anyone interested to see the courses, services and facilities we offer, as well as meet some of the tutors leading them.’
With education constantly making headlines in the media, what does Andy want people to know about St Vincent College?
‘That we are there for them. It’s that simple. I think the world is going to become more complicated and demanding for people in the short-term and that is where we can help. We have maintained a flexible approach where students can combine the vocational with the academic, BTECs with A-levels.
‘This means that our students can keep their knowledge and skills set as wide or focussed as they wish for their lives beyond education and I believe that the key to success in the next few years is adaptation and flexibility.’
To find out all St Vincent College has to offer, visit www.stvincent.ac.uk.