One of the country’s most successful specialist colleges, Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, continues to notch up record student enrolments and achievements.
The college’s annual awards ceremony, held over two days last week, celebrated the success of 1235 Further Education (FE) students who have achieved industry recognised qualifications and skills this year.
The students, from across the UK and abroad, are preparing for careers in land based and related industries such as agriculture, animal or equine management, agricultural engineering, motor vehicle technology, business, environmental conservation, fish management, forestry, food manufacture, floristry, horticulture, 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 FE students achieved their qualification and that 96% progressed into employment or onto higher level courses. This was proof that students left Reaseheath with the knowledge, skills and qualifications employers and universities were actively seeking.
The landbased industries were hugely important to the country’s economy, with four million people employed. This sector would require a massive 600,000 new and replacement jobs by 2020, so students who were well trained and qualified could look forward to fantastic career opportunities.
To ensure that students received the highest standards of teaching, £30 million was currently being invested across campus in addition to the £50 million which had been spent over the past six years.
The latest specialist resources would include an agri-technology and advanced engineering centre, a sports science academy and sports hall which will be available for use by the local community, an extension for the college’s Higher Education centre and new halls of residence for 300 students.
In addition to academic success Reaseheath’s Student Association, supported by fellow students and staff from all departments, had raised a record £32,000 for charities. Over £26,000 would benefit the British Heart Foundation, the students’ chosen charity for the year, while the remainder had been raised for other good causes in the local community.
Congratulating the students, Meredydd said “I know from personal experience that you will look back on your time at Reaseheath as one of the most enjoyable and memorable periods of your life.”
Guest speakers were Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of Cheshire East Council, and Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Four outstanding students received overall college awards:
Kaitlinn Schaap, a Level 3 Diploma in Horse Management student, was chosen as the student making the best contribution to college life. A member of the Student Association, Kaitlinn has encouraged fellow students to refurbish the Under 18s Common Room. Her efforts, supported by the student services team and staff from the wider campus, has resulted in the Common Room becoming a highly popular and respected meeting point for younger residential students.
Tom Allen, a BSc Wildlife, Conservation and Ecology undergraduate, was selected for making the best all round contribution to the college. As Chair of the Raising and Giving (RAG) committee, he has led Reaseheath’s fund raising activities to record breaking heights – raising over £32,000 for The British Heart Foundation and other charities.
Emmalise Mills, a Level 2 Diploma in Agriculture student, was singled out for personal qualities. Despite initially finding it difficult to live away from home, Emmalise has sought support from Reaseheath’s Safeguarding, Welfare and Curriculum teams and has gained so much confidence that she has been selected to be part of the Freshers’ Crew which will welcome the next intake of students.
The Beacon Trophy, celebrating excellence, was presented to Katie Gibson who has just completed her Foundation Degree in Rural Events Management. This year’s Student Association Vice President, Katie was recognised for her commitment to organising social activities and for encouraging as many students as possible to become involved. She has also been heavily involved in the Student Association’s efforts to raise funds for charity.
For a full list of this year’s award winners, download the Further Education Awards Role of Honour for 2016 here.