Jordan Silvester is studying Esports at South Devon College

Record level of 16-18 applications for college

Nikki Belso

South Devon College is expecting its biggest ever intake of 16-18 year olds in September.

The college is already seeing an increase in applications from local school leavers and the most popular courses are bucking the trend.

“As you’d expect in Torbay, home of the English Riviera, we have a lot of students signing up for tourism and hospitality courses, and we’re seeing a fourfold increase on last year’s numbers,” said Matt Harbour, vice principal and deputy CEO at South Devon College.

“It’s fantastic to see interest in this industry return after a tough couple of years.

“However we’ve also seen a threefold increase in social sciences and more than a twofold increase in marine.

“It shows that as a college we are successfully attracting young people into industries that need staff, where they stand a high chance of achieving a well paid and fulfilling career right here in the South West.

“The college is committed to working with local employers to address skills gaps, working with them to develop curriculum and investing in leading facilities like our new Marine Academy.”

Kayleigh Bell, 17, who is studying social sciences at South Devon College, is planning on applying for university next year.

She’s studying social sciences Level 3 and likes the mix of coursework and exams.

“I chose psychology, criminology and mental health from the options available,” explained Kayleigh. “Over the year I’ve found psychology the most interesting. It’s something I’ve never done before and it’s very relatable as you’re learning about the human brain.”

Jordan Silvester, 17, is currently studying another popular course, Esports.

Now in its second year of delivery, this subject is already gaining momentum, with a 25 per cent increase on last year’s cohort.

Competitive gaming is a growing industry and the Diploma Level 2 is taught within a state-of-the-art practical and technical environment preparing students for a rewarding job in the industry.

Jordan said: “I had no intention to do Esports I was going to do gas engineering.

“My dream was always to stream and perform in front of people. I chose Esports because my family encouraged me, and I was decent at gaming, and I liked it.

“Ever since I’ve been here it’s unlocked so many opportunities and new friends, with great tutors it’s just fantastic.”

Jordan’s goal is to be a content creator, media developer or video editor.

“I’d like to work for someone or myself and help out a community and just be myself.”

There is still time to apply for courses that start in September.

Sophie Linger, head of student services, said: “You can even apply after you’ve received your GCSE results. Our Helpzone team along with curriculum staff will be here for drop in information, advice and guidance every Thursday through August between 10am and 4pm, there’s no need to book, just turn up at our Paignton campus.”