Gower College Swansea is looking forward to supporting VQ Day 2017.
The College currently offers around 40 vocational pathways for full time learners, which includes courses in subjects as diverse as catering, digital technology, beauty, sport and travel and tourism.
One student who is thoroughly enjoying his college journey is Josh Neill, who is studying towards a Level 3 qualification in Hospitality and Catering.
“I’ve always loved cooking so taking this course was an easy decision for me to make,” says Josh. “A vocational qualification has allowed me to gain experience in the ‘real world’. It’s really hands on, which is exactly what I like, and means I’m not based in a classroom for most of the day.”
Indeed, Josh spends a lot of his college time in the kitchens of the Tycoch campus and in the Vanilla Pod training restaurant (called a ‘hidden gem’ by WalesOnline), which is open to the public for delicious lunches and dinners throughout the week.
Echoing Josh’s thoughts is Catherine Davies, who is taking a Level 3 course in Beauty Therapy. Like Josh, Catherine gets to hone her skills in a practical environment that is as close to the workplace as it is possible to get – in her case, the treatment rooms and salons of the Broadway Centre.
“My course has allowed me to pick up very specific skills that will be so valuable to my career,” says Catherine. “I love how hands-on the course is and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
But it’s not only the students at Gower College Swansea who value their vocational qualifications. Many members of staff also chose to take the vocational route and have found it’s paid off…
“I decided to take the vocational route over A Levels, as did many of my colleagues,” says Sport lecturer and head of the college’s Football Academy Richard South. “Now, I have a job that I really enjoy – I look forward to going to work every day – and it’s enabled me to travel the world. It’s also equipped me with key skills and qualities that I can pass on to my students.”
Curriculum Leader for Digital Technology Steve Williams is keen to emphasise the links with industry that many vocational areas within the college enjoys.
“Students who come to us on a vocational programme can be trained to suit the specific requirements of the relevant industry and we’ve enjoyed tremendous success with progression from college into apprenticeships and employment as a result,” says Steve. “In cases where a student chooses to progress to university, we’ve found that their vocational background has equipped them with the necessary practical skills as well as theoretical knowledge, which sets them at a real advantage.”
“Previous students who have taken the vocational route through Gower College Swansea have gone on to build hugely successful careers in sport, fashion, catering and the dramatic arts to name but a few,” says Principal Mark Jones. “We are delighted to continue our support for VQ Day and look forward to welcoming the next generation of vocational talent this September.”
Vocational qualifications can help individuals of all ages get the edge – whether that’s within their future or current careers or as a platform for further or higher education. VQ Day aims to recognise and celebrate the value of vocational achievement both for the individual and the wider community as only with appropriately trained and skilled people can we drive the UK economy forward.