From education to employment

In Conversation with David Jones, Principal of Deeside College

Further Education is growing. More and more people both rely on it for their education and training, and for their employment as trainers, instructors, administrators. With this series, Further Education Talks Back, we hope to give the thoughts and opinions of the people actually working on the front line of Further Education the attention they deserve.

Deeside is one of the most successful colleges in North Wales if not the UK. Since 1993 when the college began its staff training partnership with Airbus, Deeside has forged an excellent reputation for innovative and proactive vocational training.

On 25th May 2005 Deeside staff attended the Fforwm Awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Cardiff to receive the Supporting Students to Success award for its training work within the food industry. Deeside has been providing a flexible work-based training scheme for the industries” employees that has been designed to fit around shift patterns and seven day weeks.

As one of Further Education’s leading college principals we asked David Jones of Deeside College a few questions on working in the sector.

Q: “What first attracted you to a career in Further Education?”

David: “I fell into it really, I left school at 16 and went to a Further Education college which had a huge impact on me, the staff were great and really helped me. I studied engineering and when I entered employment I started doing a lot of training so it started from there. I got my first teaching job in 1989 at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, teaching engineering.”

Q: “Why Deeside?”

David: “I didn”t have any real desire to work at Deeside in particular; I worked at five other colleges before joining Deeside as Vice Principal in 1999. But Deeside is one of the most progressive colleges in the UK and has tremendous staff and students. It was a good opportunity to join an innovative and successful college.”

Q: “What innovations have you made/overseen in your time as Principal?”

David: “We work very closely with employers and are regarded as one of the most successful training colleges in the UK. The college staff have made massive efforts to deliver the kind of support that employers want and despite a great deal of competition from other schools and college, Deeside continues to increase its business.”

Q: “What have been the most memorable moment/s in your career?”

David: “I would have to say inspections, they have been good in general and when we get good feedback it’s nice that the staff get recognition for the good work they”ve done.”

Q: “What motivates young people to enjoy learning, free Ipods and Maintenance Allowances?”

David: “The main thing is good teaching and creating an interesting and caring environment that the students feel comfortable in. If the teachers do a good job the students will stay and finish their courses. Of course extra motivation is always welcome but I think it’s better employed in the form of subsidised facilities and extra support. We introduced the Education Maintenance Allowance about six months ago and it has been very useful and in some cases has made it easier for students to carry on studying rather having to drop-out to work.”

We would like to thank David Jones and everyone at Deeside College for their co ““ operation with this piece, and wish them all the best for the future.

Dan Atkinson

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