Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, has welcomed updated details of the exciting, new, land-based educational offer for Cumbria.
Following weeks of discussions between stakeholders, Myerscough College, Ullswater Community College and Kendal College, there is now a finalised land-based offer for the whole of the county. This offer will provide an essential lifeline, clarity of offer and continuity of study for existing and prospective students in the land-based sectors.
The collaborations recognise the importance of the future of the land-based sector, and in particular, the agriculture, animal management and arboriculture sectors to the county, and how vital it is that the next generation have the best possible opportunity to obtain high level qualifications locally.
The offer aims to assist learners affected by the forthcoming closure of Newton Rigg College whilst the county tries to secure a long-term future for the Newton Rigg site. In addition, the programmes provide a genuine and exciting solution for any other students from across Cumbria, who had perhaps previously felt full-time study so far from home was too much of an obstacle. The plans have already been welcomed by leaders and high-profile figures in all sectors.
From September, agriculture, animal studies and arboriculture programmes, at Levels 2 and 3, are being run as a partnership between Myerscough College and Ullswater Community College. They will follow a blended learning model where learners can still live at home, while enjoying the benefit of quality, local, academic study, with theory and classroom sessions in Penrith, combined with additional weekly travel to Myerscough College, where practical elements will be taught in state-of-the-art, sector leading facilities, as well as the opportunities to study in the workplace or residentially at Myerscough.
Applications for September 2021 entry are open immediately.
The new programmes available also compliment Myerscough’s flourishing animal management partnership with Furness College, in Barrow, which follow the same model. The initiative has had a highly successful inaugural year, with student numbers already strong for the next intake, also at BTEC Levels 2 and 3.
Meanwhile, Kendal College will continue to offer a Level 1 programme in land-based studies, and animal care programmes at Levels 1-3.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said: “Our recent Commons EFRA Select Committee Inquiry session on land-based education both nationally and in Cumbria very much confirmed the importance of local provision for learners here in Cumbria.
‘’I am really pleased that Myerscough College, Ullswater Community College and Kendal College have come together to provide a coherent, collegiate educational offering and therefore secure local educational provision here in Cumbria. I look forward to continuing to work with the three Colleges and other local stakeholders as we look to build on this lifeline and develop the offering for the young people in our area as we move into the next chapter of trying to secure a future for a new Newton Rigg.”
Alison Robinson, Chief Executive & Principal of Myerscough College, said: “In 1980, there were 50 land-based colleges across the UK, but this has fallen to just 11 specialist land-based colleges and 22 other general FE colleges with specialist land-based facilities.
‘’Now, more than ever, it is critically important that we continue to preserve land-based education in our communities. Myerscough College wants to see land-based education flourish in Cumbria to meet the skills needs of the county and the aspirations of young people, and we are delighted to be working with our partners to ensure the success of the programmes.
‘’We believe that this continuity of provision will provide clarity for new students and a number of students progressing with their studies, and will be a platform for the continuation of land-based education within Penrith and the wider county, which is so critical for both young people and employers in the Cumbrian community.’’
Kelvin Nash, Principal and CEO of Kendal College, said: ‘’Whilst we were saddened by the closure of Newton Rigg College, is it an exciting time for Cumbria as we all look to secure a revised land-based offer for the county.
‘’This fresh offer is one that will really work, and we will now work with our partners to collaboratively meet the needs of Cumbria as a whole.’’
Stephen Gilby, Headteacher of Ullswater Community College, said: ‘’Ullswater Community College is at the heart of the community in Penrith and we firmly believe that this partnership can be built upon to sustain land-based education for the benefit of Penrith, Eden and the wider Cumbria community.
“Newton Rigg College has been an important part of our community and destination for significant numbers of our pupils. We are very happy to be involved in this innovative proposal to support the young people of Cumbria.”