Bright future beckons for further education college

Nigel Champion, curriculum coordinator and technical curriculum designer, outside the Tech Campus at Suffolk New College

Nigel Champion, curriculum coordinator and technical curriculum designer, outside the Tech Campus at Suffolk New College - Credit: Craig Shimmon

Suffolk New College in Ipswich is launching a series of new courses in January and February – covering everything from animal care to art, via hair and hospitality.   

Head of marketing, Craig Shimmon, said: “If sixth form is not what you expected, or you haven’t yet started your journey in further education, then these new programmes will offer you a host of skills in a variety of subjects. 

“Whilst these programmes are predominantly aimed at those aged between 16 and 19, they also offer opportunities for people who are looking to retrain, upskill or get back into education or work.” 

Courses will also be available in engineering. Director for engineering, construction and building technology, Sunny Bamra, said: “With 2021 coming to an end and the hope of what 2022 can bring, we are launching new courses to help and support the local community.” 

New facilities 

Students who choose to study at Suffolk New College will benefit from over £5 million worth of investment in 2022. 

Thanks to the support of Ipswich Borough Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and many other partners and stakeholders, the college is excited to unveil three new state-of-the-art buildings that aim to attract new generations of students to a range of different industries. 

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The first project to be completed will be a £2.4 million Tech Campus, which is due to be officially opened in spring 2022. 

A new £1.9million Health and Science Campus will be constructed next year. This campus will house specialist facilities including a mock nursery, a hospital ward, an occupational therapy room and three laboratories for biology, chemistry, and a multi-purpose physics/group space. These spaces, along with a small kitchen, will be where students learn how to take care of childcare and healthcare clients of the future. 

The final £940,000 cash boost will enable the Ipswich site to further develop its facilities by building a Net Zero Skills Centre. 

Principal of Suffolk New College, Viv Gillespie, said, “The college and our partners are delighted with the success of a £5 million capital transformation in Ipswich, that will create a cutting-edge training environment for the construction, digital, health, information technology and science sectors. These projects will enable people of all ages in this region and beyond to get the skills they need to work in these fantastic industries.” 

Cllr David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “It’s great to see Suffolk New College investing in new facilities and courses, which will enable more young people in Suffolk to boost their skill levels.” 

New hobbies 

Every year, Suffolk New College launches its new leisure learning programme in January. Even through lockdown, the courses remained popular as people reached out to fill their time whilst stuck indoors. 

Whatever happens in 2022, courses will be available either online or in person. New options will include Chinese tea meditation and ecstatic dance – a form of dance where you abandon yourself to the rhythm.  

Languages continue to be popular and Italian classes will commence at the turn of the year, joining established programmes such as Japanese and Polish. 

Looking ahead, the spring programme offers photography and environmental sessions. Students can even find out how to keep chickens. 

The college also has an On The Coast campus in Halesworth, which will be offering leisure pursuits in dog first aid, floristry and gardening. Some of this provision is taught at the Suffolk Rural campus of Suffolk New College (formerly Otley College).  

Head of the programme, Tracey Macdonald, said: “We have everything from creative writing to Zoom training, and it’s all designed to help you make friends and learn more in a relaxed environment.” 

For more details about new courses, new facilities and new hobbies, visit or call 01473 382200.