Havant & South Downs College is celebrating its amazing achievements and contribution to the community as part of Love Our Colleges' week of activity.

The 'week of activity' takes place from Monday 13 May to Friday 17 May and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign. The week will see colleges across the country join forces to showcase the brilliant stuff they do.

The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

HSDC is getting involved with the ‘Love Our Colleges’ week of activity by celebrating the amazing things it does with the community and valuable links it builds with local businesses as well as successful alumni.

Havant & South Downs College is proud to be a part of the 'Love Our Colleges' campaign. Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

Alumni secures contract with Scottish Premiership Football Club

For example, in January we were thrilled to hear that alumni Tommy Block had been signed to Scottish Premiership Football Team, Hibernian FC. Tommy, who previously played for Bognor, came to the College in 2015, studying the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Performance.

Only a year after finishing the course, Tommy was approached by a football scout and was offered the opportunity to take part in trials for Hibernian Football Club. Speaking about the move, Tommy said: “It’s a dream come true to be offered the chance of a professional contract and to do it with Hibs makes me feel beyond happy because, having spent time with them, I know it is the right move for me."

The Future of Teaching

We spoke to Vice Principal of Quality & Student Experience, Dan Beale, about the future of teaching and how teaching and learning is set to develop alongside the technological advancements. Dan spoke about how he wants 'every member of staff to be digitally savvy so that they feel very comfortable to embed it into their every day practice, with a view to inspiring our learners and helping them prepare for the modern workplace'.

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Rowans Hospice Charity Lunch

In March, we welcomed Royal Navy chefs and stewards into our kitchen to put on a charity lunch in aid of the Rowans Hospice. HSDC runs a catering course for the bereaved in partnership with Rowans Hospice, where members of the Rowans Friendship Group who have lost a loved one are able to learn new skills and recipes from lecturer Laura Skye.

Warrant Officer at the Royal Navy, Paul Jones, said: “Today’s lunch is an initiative developed by my commander and catering lecturer Iain Baillie, it’s a really good opportunity for our chefs and stewards to come and work with the students and to be doing it for a good cause as well.

“I am really blown away with the Havant & South Downs College students today, they have been really engaging and willing to learn and they’re responsive to training."

Rock Challenge

In April we celebrated when our dance team placed second and won 12 awards in the Rock Challenge Southern Final. The Dance students performed their routine ‘Love is Love’, celebrating LGBT+ themes, at the Portsmouth Guildhall on 25 April, up against local schools and colleges including Mayfield, Christ the King and Chichester College.

Dance lecturer Andie Poulaki said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been placed second at the Southern Open Final of Rock Challenge UK. The students performed brilliantly and definitely did the College proud with their performance of ‘Love is Love’.

“To be awarded 12 awards of excellence on top is just incredible – it’s pretty rare to scoop that many awards in Rock Challenge so our students should feel over the moon."

However, despite all the positive news surrounding colleges, there is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a College. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for five years.

It is also asking Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.

Mike Gaston, Principal and Chief Executive of HSDC said:

“Colleges already contribute so much to the fabric of people’s lives, working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders within our communities. From schools and universities to businesses and charities, colleges offer their communities the social cohesion, the skills development and academic prowess where everyone can achieve. If we are serious about protecting this jewel in our community crowns, we need to be serious about supporting our colleges."

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“The financial viability of colleges is as hard as it has ever been. This is despite the fact they are embedded within their local community and work with employers to provide solutions to people of all ages. If we want to achieve success, locally, regionally and nationally, we must ensure they’re properly supported.”

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