The top boss of the national body that oversees adult learning has praised West Nottinghamshire College’s “clear vision for the future” and major investment in education and skills.
Kim Thorneywork, chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), visited the college last week (16 January), meeting with students, staff and governors at several of its campuses across Mansfield and Ashfield.
It included seeing first-hand the work that takes place at its Ashfield Centre to re-engage young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and watching students learn their trades at its construction and Logistics skills academy.
After touring Create – a state-of-the-art centre for creative arts and digital technologies – and the college’s new multi-use sports hall, Ms Thorneywork examined progress on the flagship £11m building currently under construction at its main Derby Road campus.
Due for completion next month, the teaching block forms the centrepiece of the college’s on-going £24 million redevelopment.
Boasting hair and beauty salons, a health spa and fine-dining restaurant, the facilities will be open to the public on a commercial basis – equipping students with vital industry experience and giving the college fresh income opportunities.
Ms Thorneywork said: “I’m incredibly impressed by the progress the college has made in refurbishing and rebuilding its estate.
“West Notts College has a very clear vision for its future. It’s got a clear focus on what it is doing for local employment and its communities and is absolutely driving forward on these agendas.”
The college’s Kirkby-in-Ashfield-based construction academy came in for special praise; described by Ms Thorneywork as having “a real buzz”.
She added: “There are many young people learning excellent skills there and I was very impressed.”
College principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE said: “It was an honour to show Kim how we’re investing in new buildings and high-quality facilities to enhance the learning experience. We demonstrated that, as a college, we’re taking responsibility for our own destiny by ensuring we’re even better placed to respond to the needs of individuals, communities and employers.”
The SFA is a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and both funds and promotes adult further education and skills training in England.