College prepares for surge in students

COLLEGE chiefs say they are braced and able to take extra students next year following a surge in interest amid the economic downturn.

Laurence Cawley

COLLEGE chiefs say they are braced and able to take extra students next year following a surge in interest amid the economic downturn.

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds has more than 18,000 students on its rolls, including more than 2,000 full time students and 4,000 part-time students.

However, bosses at the college say there has been a recent surge in interest amongst members of the public and record attendance levels at a number of open days held to promote courses at the college.


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A spokeswoman for the college said there was a projected rise in student numbers next year - though exact figures are not yet known.

“The college is constantly reviewing its accommodation strategy and we are confident of being able to meet the demands placed on us by the projected rise in student numbers over the next five years.

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“Many of the courses offered at West Suffolk College are work-based learning, which means students are assessed in the workplace.

“The college is a leading provider of training and education in the eastern region and the record numbers attending our open events is proof that people are excited by the quality and wide range of courses we offer.”

News that the college is attracting record interest levels in its courses comes just days after it announced a deal to buy a property in Anglian Lane, Bury St Edmunds, to house its construction and building department which trains brickwork, carpentry and decorating students.

Revised plans for the main college site are still being drawn up. The original designs - which had planning permission and would have involved a complete �70million rebuild, had to be shelved after the Learning and Skills Council said it did not have the �58million originally pledged.

It is expected the new plans will be approved by the college' governing body at the end of the year and work will start early in the New Year.

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