One of the country’s most successful specialist colleges, Reaseheath College in Nantwich 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 1251 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 and events management, 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 this year Reaseheath had gained University Centre status in recognition of the high quality and volume of degrees delivered under a strategic alliance with the University of Chester. This offered a progression route into Higher Education which was second to none and was attracting undergraduates from across the UK and overseas.
To support this expansion, Reaseheath had completed £50m of investment on campus and was about to spend a further £30m on facilities including an agri-technology and advanced engineering centre, a sports science academy and sports hall, an extension to the college’s higher education centre and further halls of residence.
This investment would play an important part in training and educating young people and adults to address the challenges linked to feeding a growing world population while managing the impact of climate change and energy and water security.
Meredydd also pointed out that the Government had introduced an Industrial Strategy which recognised the importance of specialist technical education to meet a skills shortage. This ensured Reaseheath students were very competitive in the jobs market and had a great chance of securing successful careers.
The land-based and engineering industries were hugely important, contributing over £100 billion a year to the economy and employing 16% of the workforce. The sector would require 500,000 new and replacement jobs by 2020, offering fantastic career opportunities for well-trained and qualified young people.
The Reaseheath Experience also encouraged students to support its local community while having fun. This year students and staff had raised over £15,000 for North West Cancer Research thanks to RAG (Raising and Giving) fund raising activities.
Guest speakers were Chris Moody, Chief Executive of Landex, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, and Antoinette Sandbach, MP for Eddisbury.
Five outstanding students received cross college awards:
Kerri-Anne Williams, a Level 3 Technical Baccalaureate in Animal Management student, was chosen as the student making the best contribution to college life. A key member of the Student Association, she had been an exceptional role model for younger students and was also the college’s FE Student Governor, representing and developing the student voice. In addition she was a Fresher’s Crew member, regularly led college tours for prospective students and their families, and supported RAG fund raising activities.
Hannah Holwell, a BSc Wildlife, Conservation and Ecology undergraduate, was selected for making the best all round contribution to the college. Vice President of the Student Association and a Student Governor, Hannah had earned praise from governors and senior management for her mature contribution to board meetings and had worked hard to educate staff and students on the work of the Student Association and of the importance of the Learner Voice at Reaseheath. She was also known for her caring attitude towards fellow students.
Rachel Woodacre, a Tech Bacc Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management student, was singled out for personal qualities. Despite initially being shy, she had developed into a mature, reliable and responsible young person who supported fellow students in her Halls of Residence.
Jess Whitfield, a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Public Services student, was selected for contributing most to the Reaseheath’s sporting activities. Student Association Sports Vice Chair and an enthusiastic ambassador for sport, she had captained the netball team and enjoyed success against local colleges and universities. Jess, who is now joining the RAF, had also led teams in sporting challenges including badminton, cricket and football which engaged students and staff from all departments.
Emmalise Mills, a Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Agriculture student, received special recognition for her contribution to student wellbeing. The student Equality and Diversity representative, she had proved to be a pivotal link between the Wellbeing Team and the student body. Having overcome many difficulties herself, she had progressed to helping others and had encouraged many peers to access support, advice and guidance.
In addition she had bravely shared her own experiences during student workshops and frequently buddied up with vulnerable students who appreciated her help and support.