Our Mann’s impressed with Nottinghamshire college

Our Mann’s impressed with Nottinghamshire college

Laying bricks, an afternoon jam with talented music students and a relaxing manicure were just some of the activities I enjoyed while visiting West Nottinghamshire College, writes Shane Mann.

My visit, with FE Week editor Nick Linford, began with a tour of the college’s Ashfield centre. (Pictured above: Principal Asha Khemka OBE welcomes Nick Linford (left) and Shane Mann (right))

Working in partnership with the Inspire & Achieve Foundation, the centre works with under 24-year-olds that are not in education, employment or training (Neets).

Offering flexible courses, predominately at level one, the venue aims to act as a springboard for Neets onto higher level courses.

We then dropped into the college’s construction skills centre, in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, which trains students in trades from bricklaying to rail track engineering.

The centre has a unique open plan design, containing study areas and scaled-down classrooms.  Then it was time to get creative at Vision, the college’s creative arts centre providing media, music and performance courses.

Here we learned about the college’s student-led TV station — called visioncreate.tv — and I become a band member, bashing the drums.

Me having a jam with music students Elliott Wheeler (left), of South Normanton, studying level three extended diploma in music and Tim Utting (centre), of Alfreton, studying Level three extended diploma in music technology

Level one automotive maintenance and repair student Keeley Boulton, aged 19, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, instructs me on how to fit brake shoes on a car

Finally, we visited the college’s hair and beauty commercial wing, called Revive. As a persistent nail-biter, it was fitting for me to undergo a brief manicure before dinner. The enjoyable experience provoked a professional frown from my beautician, when she inspected my chewed nails. Revive, along with the college’s training restaurant, is housed at a newly-opened £11m centre at its Mansfield campus.

Left: Level two beauty therapy student Lucy Gilby, aged 16, from Mansfield, gives me a manicure
Right: Level three professional cookery apprentice Ian Heslop enlists me to help in preparing a meal in the kitchens of Refined — a fine-dining restaurant open to the public

We were following in the footsteps of  Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, who had a
similar tour two weeks earlier (pictured below).

Left : Jamie Fairless, 16, from Mansfield, shows me how to build a brick wall
Right : Mr Hancock has a go at building a brick wall during his visit on Friday, October 4

Photos by Richard Skelhorn