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College’s employer partnerships praised in Ofsted report

Students Luke Cowton and Tom Colley with tutor Martyn Smith (far left) in the college's Agri-Tech Centre at York. Both students are apprentices studying on a Level 2 course in land-based engineering.
Students Luke Cowton and Tom Colley with tutor Martyn Smith (far left) in the college’s Agri-Tech Centre at York. Both students are apprentices studying on a Level 2 course in land-based engineering.

[A] Cumbria college’s strong partnerships with employers and the subsequent benefits to its students are amongst several elements singled out for praise by Ofsted inspectors.

Newton Rigg College is part of Askham Bryan College and the report lists Askham Bryan College as “Good”. As well as its impressive industry links, the specific knowledge and expertise of staff in working alongside employers and the support given to students are also highlighted.

As well as at the Penrith-based campus, Askham Bryan College has learning centres across the North of England and it specialises in land-based education. It offers courses from diploma level through to higher level qualifications, with student numbers across the college more than doubling since the last inspection in 2011. Askham Bryan College has a total of 5,264 students across its eight learning centres.

Catherine Dixon, Chief Executive said: “Given the significant growth in student numbers at the college over the last few years, we are delighted with Ofsted’s finding and being rated as ‘good’ at a time when many colleges are identified as needing to improve. The result is a testament to the dedication, expertise and hard work of our staff and the enthusiasm and commitment of our students.”

Newton Rigg College works with a number of employers including agricultural supply company, Carrs Billington and A W Jenkinson Forest Products which has a major centre at Clifton, Penrith.

Inspectors commented that: “As a result of the excellent industry partnerships, learners are able to explore their employment aspirations and gain real work experience in a variety of settings, thereby enhancing their social and communication skills.”

The proportion of learners successfully completing study programmes is above the national rate and the vast majority of learners who complete programmes progress into employment or further education, says the report.

Ms Dixon added: “The college’s apprenticeship numbers have increased by a third since 2015, rising from 639 to the current figure of 855 across a total of 23 apprenticeship courses. We are therefore delighted with the inspectors’ findings as they are particularly significant as Government changes aimed at creating three million apprentices by 2020 come into play.”

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