From education to employment

Stafford College unveils exciting campus developments ahead of new academic year

As thousands of school leavers across Staffordshire pick up their GCSE results, Stafford College, part of Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) put the finishing touches to its brand new Science & Technology Centre and prepares to welcome hundreds of new students in September.

The opening of the Science & Technology Centre, coincides with the re-launch of new sixth form programmes at the College which were announced by Principal Karen Dobson following the merger between Stafford College and Newcastle-under-Lyme College in November 2016. Students joining the College can now choose from a full A-level programme, a combined vocational and A-level career pathway or a full vocational course.

The £3.5 million renovation of the College’s old Broadeye building, which was carried out by Midlands-based contractor G F Tomlinson, began in January 2017, following a successful bid to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The LEP provided £2 million of funding to support the project with the Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group contributing a further £1.5 million.

Commenting on the project, LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “We are delighted to support this impressive new centre. These showpiece facilities will equip our young people with the science and technology skills that are vital for a growing economy. Encouraging young people to develop their skills to the full and creating more and better jobs are both key to ensuring that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has a thriving future as a great place to live, work and invest.”

Spanning four floors, the Science & Technology Centre with its entrance on Victoria Square (opposite the County Court), is a modern purpose built facility designed to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, innovators and creative thinkers. It contains state-of-the-art features including impressive biology, chemistry, physics and engineering laboratories, IT suites and a LEGO® Education Innovation Studio together with a number of general seminar rooms, a fantastic learning zone, board room and meeting facilities. Specialist equipment includes 3D and laser printers and a variety of robotics technology. The reception area is home to NSCG’s Apprenticeship Hub and Employer Vacancy Board, which is open to the general public as well as the College students.

In addition to the Science & Technology Centre, a significant programme of works have been undertaken across the wider campus. The Riverbank building has a brand new reception area accessed via Tenterbanks, opposite Victoria Park. This building has also seen a significant investment in technology and now has a fantastic new open access Apple Mac suite.

Other new course provision includes the introduction of full-time, part-time and apprenticeship programmes in hairdressing and alongside the existing beauty salons, the College now has a brand new industry standard hairdressing salon and the public will soon be able to book appointments for hairdressing or beauty treatments alongside lunch in the College’s award winning Riverbank restaurant.

Social spaces have not been forgotten and to complement the investment in teaching and learning spaces, students and staff can enjoy their breaks in a brand new Costa Coffee lounge and Food Hall.

Karen Dobson, College Principal and Chief Executive of Stafford College said: “It has been a busy summer as we’ve been working really hard to give our entire campus a complete overhaul in readiness for students joining us in September. Significant works have been undertaken across the campus and students joining us will see some huge improvements.”

She added “We’re especially excited to welcome students who will be studying in our prestigious new Science & Technology Centre. It’s one the best facilities of its type in the region, demonstrating our commitment to giving students the best learning experience possible. We recognise the need to develop a well trained workforce in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths and this new facility will enhance our efforts to recruit students into STEM-disciplines and better prepare them with the latest technology and equipment to enter these fields when they leave the College.”

Preston Brooks-based architects, Ellis Williams, managed the internal re-design of the project and Midlands-based G F Tomlinson were appointed following a rigorous tender process, to project manage all construction work.

Lee Perkins, contracts manager at G F Tomlinson said: “This project has proven a successful partnership between G F Tomlinson and Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, and we are pleased to be involved with this facility that will benefit students and help improve their future prospects.”

The former College reception, located on Earl Street, Stafford is now closed, students and visitors should now enter the main campus via the Science & Technology Centre (Victoria Square, Stafford) or the Riverbank Building (opposite Victoria Park, Stafford).   All contact telephone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged.

Stafford College is hosting advice and enrolment sessions between Thursday 24th August and Friday 1st September for students wishing to enrol on to courses starting in September. For information about these sessions and upcoming open events, please click here or call 01785 223800.

About Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group:
Established on 1 November 2016 following a merger between Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) and Stafford College.NSCG Logo Landscape RGB

Working in partnership with local authorities, schools, universities, employers, and the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire LEP, NSCG will seek to provide the education and opportunities which the local economy requires. The merged group will be responsive to country-wide ambitions for economic growth and will deliver a high quality, financially stable, broad-based curriculum.

About Newcastle-under-Lyme College: NULC is a highly successful college in North Staffordshire with pass rates and student success levels amongst the best in the country. It is recognised for its strong leadership, management and financial performance and provides a wide range of academic and vocational qualifications from entry to degree level. The College is home to a thriving population of over 3800 full time students and around 350 students on higher education programmes. NULC works with around 800 employers and trains some 1400 apprentices.

About Stafford College: A general further education college based in the county town of Stafford. The college community has a thriving student population who have the opportunity to study from entry level 2 to level 6 courses in a wide range of academic and vocational subjects as well as offering apprenticeships, higher education and community courses.

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