New college courses on offer

By Rebecca SheppardA RANGE of new courses will be introduced by a college in an attempt to develop learning opportunities ahead of a university coming to the county.

By Rebecca Sheppard

A RANGE of new courses will be introduced by a college in an attempt to develop learning opportunities ahead of a university coming to the county.

Suffolk College has reviewed its community learning programme and now 290 courses, from Mediterranean cooking to cartooning, will be focused on 40 "vibrant" centres.

The changes will see some popular courses moved into new venues, with 60 more courses being concentrated on about 15 fewer, but busier centres.

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Much of the provision will be brought to the college's main site in Ipswich, situated close to transport routes as well as library, IT and other learning and social support facilities.

Dr Peter Funnell, assistant principal (learning development) said: "In the current year we enrolled some 10,000 learners to this programme and I am confident that our new offer will increase this number next year.

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"Combined, this reflects the importance our community gives to this provision and the college's continuing commitment to lifelong learning and promoting cost-effective progression from leisure to qualificatory learning."

Dr Funnell added the courses would work as part of a network of learning, which could lead people to the further education college as well as the university coming to Suffolk if they wanted it to.

"The future is about creating a network. It is like a jigsaw puzzle or a landscape of provision which then leads to the progression up to and including undergraduate and postgraduate in the county," he said.

The community programme could also contribute to making the university a higher education establishment for the people of Suffolk, as well as for the nation.

Dr Funnell added: "Suffolk has a fairly low progression to higher education. Suffolk as a whole has the greatest net migration.

"People are leaving, but if they want to go and study in Sheffield, that's fabulous. This is not about stopping it, but saying to people there's a choice. It is supporting the county as a whole and encouraging community participation."

He said the college was putting a lot into the cultural life of Suffolk, adding the county was awash with a surprising amount of cultural activities.

The college is also developing purpose-designed centres through its new arm, the Suffolk Institute of Technology. This has led to new facilities in Framlingham, Hadleigh and Felixstowe and also at Ipswich rail station.

Over the coming months centres will also be opened in Woodbridge, Adastral Park at Martlesham, and the previous School of Arts and Science, in the High Street, Ipswich.

Dr Funnell said: "The college has committed significant resources into providing new opportunities for learning through a range of new, high-quality learning centres.

"These will serve a range of learners, employers and others. Linked to the effective use of new technologies, the college is leading the field and providing new learning opportunities in new locations across Suffolk."

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