A group of ten East Midlands college leaders met up at Chesterfield College today to celebrate this year’s national Colleges Week campaign.

The group, who were hosted by Chesterfield College’s principal Julie Richards, posed in front of a Love Our Colleges graffiti mural which was created by level 3 graphic design student Mikey O’Connell last year. He is now studying illustration at the University of Bristol.

The college released a video to celebrate the Love Our Colleges campaign in May and is planning to share a new video at the end of this week.

Those in attendance at Chesterfield today included Mark Dale, principal of Portland College, Jo Maher, principal of Boston College, John van de Laarschot, chief executive of Nottingham College, Everton Burke, chair of Burton and South Derbyshire College, Dr Nigel Leigh, principal of Stevenson College, Jonathan Kerry, chair of Leicester College, Mark Locking, managing director of Lincoln College, Jon Fearon, director of finance at West Nottinghamshire College and Richard Eaton, chief finance officer at Derby College.

Representatives from the Association of Colleges, who run the Love Our Colleges campaign, also headed to Chesterfield to participate in the meeting, which discussed their approach to lobbying for greater recognition and investment in colleges.

Shane Chowen, the AoC’s area director for the east and west midlands, said the campaign this year is “coming at a very important time because we have a budget coming up at the end of November”.

Colleges Week runs from 14-18 October and will see colleges across the country hosting local events and speaking to their local MPs.

Bedford College principal Ian Pryce has marked it by adapting Queen’s Somebody to Love and performing College to Love.

Elsewhere, minister Lord Theodore Agnew visited Sunderland College’s £30 million City Campus earlier today ahead of the college launching the second wave of T-levels. It will offer three pathways in digital, construction and health from September 2021.

Welcomed by Sunderland College’s chief executive, Ellen Thinnesen, Agnew was taken on a tour of the campus’ facilities and discussed “how the college is improving student experience through greater industry engagement”.

“From what I’ve seen today, Sunderland College is brilliant at fostering that talent in young people, making sure they gain high quality skills they need to succeed and it was great to meet some of the apprentices who will no doubt be the next generation of engineers and mechanics,” Agnew said.

People across the country are celebrating Colleges Week in various ways. Here’s a selection of tweets so far:


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