One of the country’s most successful specialist colleges, Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, has notched up another record year of student enrolments and achievements.
The college’s annual awards ceremony, held over two days last week, celebrated the success of 1371 Further Education students who had achieved industry recognised qualifications and skills.
The students, from across the UK and abroad, are preparing for careers in agriculture, environmental conservation, animal or equine management, agricultural engineering, motor vehicle, business, food manufacture, floristry, horticulture, forestry, construction, public services or in leisure industries such as sport and outdoor adventure.
Sharing congratulations with a capacity audience, Principal Meredydd David emphasised that 97% of Reaseheath’s students achieve their qualification and that 90% progress into employment or onto higher level courses.
A recent independent economic impact assessment had shown that Reaseheath contributed £85 million to the regional economy last year and that parents and students receive a 17% return on their investment in education – a £7 return for every pound invested.
Fantastic opportunities lay ahead for Reaseheath students as the importance of the industries they were about to enter had been recognised by the government. An agriculture and technology strategy had been launched, supported by £80million of investment.
To stay abreast with these opportunities, Reaseheath was investing £8million to develop a national centre for horticulture, environmental management and sustainability which would open in September 2015.
This year, the college had opened a new hall of residence for 150 students, a new sport fitness centre and a National Academy for Food Engineering in partnership with industry. This brought the total investment on world class facilities over eight years to £45 million. There were plans to invest a further £30 million over the next five years.
Guest speakers were Dr Pete Waterman from Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and John Myers, Head of Employer and Delivery Services, and Jane Cowell, Director of Young People’s Funding, both from the Education Funding Agency.
Five outstanding students received special cross college awards
Twm-Tegid Brunton, a Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture student, was chosen as the student making the best contribution to college life. An outstanding student ambassador, he had voluntarily attended over 40 college information events and had gone out of his way to support the student services team. A member of the North West Welsh Opera Choir, he had also sung at the student ball.
Katie Gibson, who had completed Level 3 Diploma in Professional Bakery, were selected for making the best all round contribution to the college. She had made an outstanding input into RAG (Raising and Giving) activities and had added responsibilities as press officer for the student magazine.
Rachel Bowles, a Foundation Degree in Animal Management undergraduate, was singled out for personal qualities. The Student Association sustainability representative, Rachel was also chair of Reaseheath’s Conservation Society as well as helping to lead charity fundraising.
Student Association President Sam Norfolk, a Foundation Degree in Adventure Sports graduate, was recognised for contributing most to Reaseheath’s sporting activities. As captain of Reaseheath’s Men’s football team, he had played 11 competitive matches and organised additional charity matches and sporting projects.
Lucy Culwick, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture student, was awarded the Beacon Trophy celebrating excellence. Diagnosed as having a hole in her heart during her course, Lucy had undergone open heart surgery and had recuperated for just six weeks before returning to college. She had caught up with her studies, involved herself with college life and was now going to study for a Degree in Agriculture.