South Devon College: New academic year off to a flying start

Torbay Weekly

Laurence Frewin, principal and CEO at South Devon College:

The autumn term is now in full swing at South Devon College, with our busiest enrolment on record.

This year we have welcomed more school leavers to the college than ever to start their post-16 education after GCSEs.

Seeing the campus return to life with such abundance has been a real joy.

Our teaching and support staff are more committed than ever to ensuring our students have all the support they need to succeed as we all transition into a more ‘normal’ way of working and learning.

We have also been encouraged to see that the recruitment of apprentices within the hospitality industry has picked up, as confidence has begun to return.

In fact, we are seeing record numbers of apprentices across all sectors, especially health and care, enrol for the year ahead and we expect this to continue.

This week, the Chancellor has announced an extension of additional funding of £3,000 for each new role, until January 2022, to help and encourage employers to take on apprentices.

Alongside the Kickstart Scheme, which subsidises job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit, apprenticeships and traineeships will play a key role in supporting the return of a successful local economy as we return to normal in the new post Brexit world after Covid.

There is much to be excited about in the term ahead.

Next week, our first cohort of South Devon College degree students will be celebrating their achievements at University Centre South Devon’s graduation ceremonies, held over two days in Torquay – the first cohort to benefit from the college’s new Foundation Degree Awarding Powers.

After half term, we will welcome the first of our marine students into our new state-of-the-art maritime training facility.

Based at Premier Marina’s £75m development of Noss-on-Dart Marina on the banks of the River Dart, South Devon Marine Academy will meet the needs of a changing marine and maritime sector, delivering training in new and emerging technologies.

Of course, there are continuing challenges ahead.

An estimated 25,000 people in the South West were affected when the Government’s furlough scheme drew to a final close at the end of September.

I would encourage anyone facing job loss or looking at a change in direction, to consider the new Government-funded Skills Bootcamps, which are designed to give adults a foot up into one of several key growth industries within our local economy.

The first of these courses is in engineering construction and starts in November, with courses in marine and photonics to follow at the end of the year.

Finally, we will be opening our doors on October 20 for an open evening during National Colleges Week.

Please do take the opportunity to visit us, your local college, to meet our friendly staff and explore what’s on offer.