Education and training are vital tools when it comes to offering people the chance to secure life-changing opportunities.
That is one of the key messages Kevin O’Hare will be promoting in his new role as Interim Principal of Keighley College, where he succeeds former Principal Steve Kelly.
Mr O’Hare, who was previously Head of Leeds City College’s Visual and Digital Arts department, is also keen to build on Keighley College’s strong community links – and make more people realise what an asset they have on their doorstep.
Keighley College, like Leeds City College, is part of Luminate Education Group and Mr O’Hare is excited to be beginning a new leadership journey.
He said: “Coming from a predominantly creative arts background at Quarry Hill campus, in Leeds, I was already aware of the breadth and range of Keighley’s curriculum offer, and that’s the first challenge that excited me.
“It’s like a microcosm of the entire Luminate Education Group’s further education provision consolidated into a single college building.
“The second great challenge lies within the community of Keighley and the surrounding areas. This region has some of the most deprived and least deprived groups in the UK, and that gap needs to be closed.
“For me, education and training are the primary ways to narrow this gap.”
A broad curriculum with exciting options
Keighley College’s educational offer is an increasingly wide one and includes everything from further education courses for 16-18 year olds and apprenticeships to adult courses and, through its University Centre, Foundation Degrees.
The college has also embraced T Levels, the new two-year technical qualifications for 16 to 19 year olds that involve a mixture of classroom studies and on-the-job experience, with each one equivalent to three A levels.
Mr O’Hare added: “We are in an exciting period for Keighley College. We are running T Levels in Health and Social Care and have other new subject areas, such as Digital and Engineering, in development.
“I’m also proud of our new A level provision and developments in higher education and, of course, would like to see some creative arts curriculum back in Keighley – there’s a lot of local talent to develop and nurture out there!”
An educational jewel helping its community shine
He is also committed to working closely with local businesses, organisations and residents to maximise the benefits they can all enjoy through their relationship with the college.
He added: “I want the people of Keighley and the surrounding areas to realise what a gem they have at the heart of this town: our college is a gateway to all kinds of opportunities.
“Keighley is a college for its community. Without the advice of the local people and the steering of employers we can’t help our students progress into the jobs out there.
“Also, many of our learners go on to university degrees and we want to retain talent in West Yorkshire by helping to create opportunities locally. As well as being an education provider we are also a major employer, and I love to see former students return as staff to pass on their knowledge and skills to the next generation.
“I have been immediately struck by the friendliness of the people here. That honesty and openness is our core strength. The clear purpose of all our staff, whether they are teachers, cleaners, managers, porters, receptionists, or Principals, is to help our learners do well, and have fun doing well.”
For more details about the courses available at Keighley College visit www.keighleycollege.ac.uk .