Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) students had a fantastic 2017/18 which has put them at the front of the queue for leading jobs and university places.

B&FC is the best large college in England for ensuring success for 16 to 18 year old students, according to the latest government statistics. The College has this year achieved a 98 per cent pass rate for 16 to 18 year old extended diploma students, whose programmes are the equivalent of studying three A-levels in academic subjects.

Some of the College’s star students this week praised B&FC’s programmes and put their success down to the nature of courses with a high emphasis on technical and professional skills development.

Jacob Dodson’s triple distinction star result in Aeronautical Engineering, the equivalent of three A* grades at A level, has put him on the radar of international aircraft manufacturer Airbus for an apprenticeship position.

The 18-year-old, from South Shore, said: “I took science in high school and enjoyed that so thought I would develop it into a career in engineering and working with aircraft and chose B&FC because it had exactly what I needed to get into the job I wanted.

“One of my favourite parts of the course was our industry placements at Westair at the airport where we really got hands-on with the aircraft. It was great.”

Game Design Development student Connor Campbell was one of a group of B&FC students chosen for a government pilot scheme which saw extended industry placements included in their programme. He said using his skills extensively in the workplace allowed him to further develop and helped him achieve a triple distinction star.

The 17-year-old, from South Shore, added: “It was good to do so much time in industry because we really got the experience of being in a work environment and work on development projects.

“I’m coming back to B&FC to do my degree this year but have also been offered an apprenticeship with a company, which I can do alongside my degree.

“Game design is a hard industry to get into but I feel like the College has taught me relevant skills that you wouldn’t get in other places and really prepared me for working in industry.”

As a female studying engineering, 18-year-old Lauren Nixon, from Marton, was keen to put forward the case for more women engineers.

After achieving an outstanding, Distinction*, Distinction, Distinction in Aeronautical Engineering, she said: “I love everything aeronautical and the science behind the theory of flight. I really enjoyed learning how to make things and seeing how they worked.

“I also liked the variety of the course. We did different things every week, one week we might have been in the workshop or the classroom another we might have been out on industry placements. I worked at Westair and the aviation museum at the airport as part of my course.

“I’m coming back next year to do my degree and then hoping to get into the RAF as an officer or technician, working on Typhoons or F35s. I looked at a few different colleges and nowhere did aeronautical besides Blackpool so hopefully I’ll be more prepared for a career in the RAF than others.

“There’s still a lot of stigma about girls in engineering and when I won Student of the Year I made the point that more girls should go into engineering and not be held back by what they think is normal.”

Having achieved an outstanding triple distinction star in Public Services, Rachel Nicholson is returning to B&FC to start her degree in September with a view to joining the police force upon successfully completing her programme.

The 18-year-old, from South Shore, added: “I’m really proud of my result, it was a lot of hard work.

“My tutors were industry specialists and knew what they were talking about. One had been in the army while another was a former police PCSO.

“I didn’t like the way A-levels are set up so felt this was the correct route for me. A-levels are more about exams and I’m not very good at them.”

James Bleakley achieved an outstanding Distinction*, Distinction, Distinction following a College industry placement which led to him being offered a job as an assistant quantity surveyor with Holden and Lee. The company is now paying for him to go on to his degree at the University of Salford. 

The 19-year-old, from Thornton, said: “All my tutors had industry backgrounds and that really helped make the subject interesting and they were always there to help.

“It’s all well and good being taught the theory but you need people who have been doing the job passing on what they know as the theory won’t be enough when you’re out there in industry.

“I chose this course over A-levels as I preferred a more practical approach to learning.”

Sport student Tyler Jones used good results in his first year as motivation to go on to achieve an outstanding Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction. He now wants to become a personal trainer with a view to starting his own training business in the future.

The 18-year-old, from Blackpool, said: “The course was excellent. We had the opportunity to work at events including the London Marathon and fitness expos at the Blackpool Winter Gardens which gave us great experience.

“I’m coming back to College in September to do the Personal Trainer programme and hopefully that will get me the job I want to progress with my career.”

In an impressive year for B&FC’s extended diploma students, 74% have achieved high grades (triple distinction star to Distinction, Merit, Merit – or equivalent) in 2017/18.

As the anchor educational institution for the Fylde Coast, B&FC delivers education and training which provides skilled employees for industry, drives the economy and offers rewarding careers for its students.

Bev Robinson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive at B&FC, said: “At B&FC, we offer an innovative and highly responsive curriculum co-created with industry to meet employers’ specific requirements. We are a national leader in higher technical and professional education and training.

“Technical education is extremely important for the UK economy, especially in light of BREXIT, and B&FC believes it has a vital role in providing a workforce with the relevant skills required by industry.

“It is important to celebrate the achievements and successes of our students as they go on to higher education or embark on their careers in industry. I am confident that I speak for everyone at B&FC when I offer my heartfelt congratulations and wish students every success in all their future endeavours.”

Some of B&FC’s high performing extended diploma programmes in 2017/18:

  • Aeronautical Engineering 100% pass rate with 67% achieving at least a Distinction*
  • Applied Science 100% pass rate with 81% achieving high grades
  • Business Marketing with 100% high grades and 75% achieving at least a Distinction*
  • Health and Social Care Cadets 93% high grades
  • Health Studies 94% high grades and 82% at least a Distinction*
  • Performing Arts 92% high grades
  • Public Services 91% high grades
  • Sport 100% pass rate and 62% high grades
  • Construction 100% pass rate

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