New free offer of adult courses launched by Lancashire Adult Learning to meet needs of learners at this time

Lancashire Adult Learning has launched a new range of free courses designed to meet the needs of learners across the Red Rose County in the current climate.

Adult learners who are seeking to enhance their employment prospects, support their family, improve their health and wellbeing, or simply develop a hobby, can do so from the comfort of their own home.

Beginning in November, the new offer is largely available online – or flexibly to suit individual needs – and the courses have been developed being mindful of the unprecedented and challenging period of time Lancashire and its adult learners are facing this Autumn.

Courses include free employability sessions to support learners back into work, through 1:1 support on perfecting online job applications, CV development and interview preparation.

Complementing this are free Functional Skills qualifications in English, Maths and ICT, and these can be achieved in just 10 weeks on a new fast-track course designed so learners who require these valuable qualifications can achieve at home, and progress more quickly.

Essential digital skills for everyday life are a highlight feature of the new offer too, enabling learners to get to grips with an ever more digitally focused environment of laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Health and wellbeing programmes to relax, de-stress and remain positive – of paramount importance in the current climate – are included, and courses to support families and their children’s education is another area that is covered, helping parents make up for lost time with courses such as Catch Up English and Maths.

Completing LAL’s new offer are the ever-popular leisure courses, including a range of festive crafts, languages, and essential skills courses such as First Aid sessions.

Other courses for adults beginning in November are delivered by Lancashire Adult Learning’s sister colleges – Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College – which together form Nelson and Colne College Group.

These are more focused on skills for industry, helping learners with career development or finding employment within specific sectors such as Construction, Health and Social Care, Education and Childcare, and Hair and Beauty.

Andrew Parkin, Assistant Principal for Adult Learning at Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “Whatever the motivation for returning to learning, there has never been a better time to focus on you in the challenging times we are all experiencing.

“The range of provision beginning in November is extensive, to meet the demands of an ever-changing employment landscape, lifestyle in the digital age, family support in an chapter of increased home schooling, and health and wellbeing courses to de-stress and relax in times of uncertainty.

“The vast majority of our courses are free and are available online or flexibly, and whichever programme you choose, there will be a range of resources, tutorials and 1:1 support available to help you along the way.”

Further information about all of the new range of courses for adults this November can be found on Lancashire Adult Learning’s website at

Enrolment can also be completed on the website, or by calling 0333 003 1717.

Alumni come together to support Nelson and Colne College Group’s Colleges Week celebrations

Virtual learning and social distancing failed to dampen Nelson and Colne College Group’s annual Colleges Week celebrations, as alumni came together to show their support for Further Education.

Coordinated by the Association of Colleges, Colleges Week is an annual opportunity for Further Education colleges to put the brilliant work that they do day in and day out under the spotlight – building communities, boosting businesses and supporting individuals.

Alumni from the College Group – incorporating Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale College and Lancashire Adult Learning – were keen to recognise the role Further Education has played in their lives as they joined up to help create an inspiring video that showcased the wide range of careers that former students of the College Group go on to enjoy.

This year’s theme focused on the central role that colleges will play in rebuilding the economy post-Brexit and through COVID-19, by strengthening communities and supporting people through some of the toughest challenges we have faced.

The great work carried out during the pandemic across the College Group was celebrated during the week, and this included former students now on the frontline of the NHS, a PPE donation to East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, and support for local foodbanks during the pandemic.

Employer partnerships, support for a wide range of economic sectors, and how the College Group is supporting innovation and developments in the Further Education sector were other highlights of the week.

Principal of Nelson and Colne College Group Amanda Melton CBE said: “Colleges Week is one of my favourite weeks of the year and I’m thrilled that we have been able to showcase the wonderful work that goes on right across Nelson and Colne College Group.

“With the ongoing pandemic, Brexit looming, and a recession, Further Education colleges will have an essential role to play in skills development and the creation of sustainable careers in the future, and it is vital that we are there to support our people, places and businesses.

“I’m also determined to use this week as a catalyst for securing a fair funding settlement for Further Education which has been neglected for far too long – funding which would enable us to invest in our staff to support the ambitions of our young people, the skills development in our adult learners, and create a thriving local and regional economy together with employer partners.”

Former Lancashire Adult Learning star Sue Bottomley was one of the alumni to appear in the showcase video. Sue, from Whalley, completed her Level 2 Functional Skills Maths qualification with LAL in 2018 which enabled her to change career to become a firefighter after 20 years in the airline industry.

Sue said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to be part of the video and it just shows the power of colleges and what achievements can lead on to.

“I’m really grateful that LAL was able to support me to change my career and I remember enjoying the learning as well having hated Maths at school.

“I absolutely love my new career as a firefighter. I’ve just been on a training weekend in Scotland and it was brilliant – I’ve definitely not looked back since making my decision.”

Current students from Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College were happy to share why they love their College, and the passion that they have for their chosen subjects.

Laraib Ayoub, 17, from Nelson, is studying Health and Social Care at Nelson and Colne College. The former Pendle Vale College student said: “I absolutely love College and learning on my Health and Social Care course. The standard of teaching I receive is excellent and I am very well supported in my studies.

“I have wanted to do Health and Social Care from a young age, and it is the health side of the subject that interests me. I want to go and study nursing and I would love to be able to make a difference to people’s lives every day.”

Dominic Milligan, 18, from Accrington, is Level 3 Bricklaying Apprentice at Accrington and Rossendale College. A former student of St Christopher’s High School, Dominic said: “My interest in bricklaying comes from helping my uncle with his building business at weekends when I was at school – and he is now my boss. He suggested the College to me as it is local, and also the best in the area for learning the trade.

“I’m really enjoying my Apprenticeship – I’m learning a skill that would enable me to set up on my own in the future, or potentially take over the business down the line. My tutors in College are fantastic and I can now do advanced brickwork. I love working in the building trade – we mainly construct extensions on houses – and there is no better satisfaction than finishing a job.”

For more information about Nelson and Colne College, please visit, and for Accrington and Rossendale College, please visit To apply, or for application support, contact the Admissions Team at or call 01282 440272.

Lancashire Adult Learning is the second largest adult community learning provider in the country, offering a wide range of courses to learners across the Red Rose County. Visit or call 0333 003 1717 for more information.

Showcasing the great work of Further Education this Colleges Week

I’ll begin this month’s column with a thank you to everybody who has sent me a congratulatory message following the announcement of my CBE award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List last weekend.

I really appreciated the response from people nationally, regionally or locally. I’m so proud to lead a group of Colleges that is so intrinsically linked to the fortunes of the people and communities that it serves, and the employers and economy it supports.

I’m a passionate advocate of Further Education Colleges, and the transformative impact they can have on towns everywhere, and I’m hugely ambitious for what Colleges can do for people and businesses when times are challenging, as they are right now.

Championing the great work of colleges brings me neatly onto one of the key events in the diary of our group of Colleges – Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale College and Lancashire Adult Learning – and that is Colleges Week, an annual week of events to celebrate the impact of Further Education Colleges nationally.

Beginning on Monday, Nelson and Colne College Group will be fully supporting the campaign which celebrates the great work that colleges do and fights for fair funding for the sector, to invest in staff, students and resources.

This year’s theme recognises how colleges help build communities, boost businesses, and support individuals. The fundamental way in which colleges have responded to the challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic means that there will be even more inspiring and impressive stories to share this year, and there is a determination to make this the biggest and best Colleges Week yet.

It is a fantastic chance to share the superhuman efforts my colleagues have delivered this year in providing high quality teaching, learning and support for students and businesses both in college buildings, in the community and through live online lessons.  I’m really looking forward to this special showcase that puts the truly brilliant work of colleges into the spotlight.

To keep up to date with everything that is going on, you can follow our social media activity through our channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you are a member of the College Group’s alumni network or you are an employer that has benefited from a positive experience with us, then we would love to hear from you too.

You can get involved in sharing your own stories of how the College Group has supported you by tagging us in a post and using the hashtags #CollegesWeek and #LoveOurColleges.

I hope you will see some of the positive impact we can accomplish together to overcome some of the present difficulties we all share.

Until next month, Amanda.

Principal Amanda Melton awarded CBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College Group Amanda Melton has been awarded a prestigious CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to education.

Amanda was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College in March 2012, and the CBE honour means she has received the highest of the Orders of the British Empire.

Her nomination went through a rigorous selection process, and Amanda was chosen for her outstanding contribution to education across a quarter of a century and the ambition she has for Further Education nationally.

The accolade has helped put the Lancashire region on the map, and has established Nelson and Colne College Group as a beacon of educational excellence on a national scale. Under her stewardship of the College Group, students have achieved outstanding outcomes, strong community relationships have been created and valuable industry links developed – to the benefit of both individuals and organisations – and teaching teams have been enhanced to be at the pinnacle of teaching and training performance.

Through her role on the Independent Commission on the College of the Future, she has made a huge difference to the Further Education sector in shaping its direction for years to come.

More recently, Amanda has been appointed as one of 11 National Leaders of Further Education to provide mentoring and support to other FE Colleges with an ambition to improve. She has also worked collaboratively with the Education and Training Foundation and Oxford Saïd Business School to create a talent pool of high performing Principals of the future.

Regionally, Amanda is a Director at the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP Champion for Skills and Technical Education), and Chair of the Lancashire LEP Skills Advisory Panel.

Since her arrival at Nelson and Colne College eight years ago, Amanda has also successfully steered the college through two mergers – the first with Lancashire Adult Learning in 2016, and then Accrington and Rossendale College in 2018 – the latter being the catalyst for forming Nelson and Colne College Group.

The College Group is a beacon for educational excellence, delivering A Levels, technical and vocational training up to degree level, Apprenticeships, and a wide range of adult programmes.

In 2013, Amanda led the creation of the Pendle Education Trust, a multi-academy trust initially set up to address the particular needs of poor-performing schools. The Trust is currently responsible for five academies, of which three have already improved by two Ofsted grades since transferring to the Trust.

Amanda Melton CBE said: “I’ve had the complete privilege to work in FE colleges for 26 years and counting. I can’t think of a sector which makes a greater difference for people, places and skills. I owe this honour directly to the roles I’ve had, to shout out for FE, most importantly the College of the Future Commission.

“The career highlight each year comes in August when we see our students, who have grown into mature young adults, achieve outstanding results and progress on to leading universities, Apprenticeships and employment opportunities and enjoy exceptional careers thereafter.

“My biggest fan, my lovely dad, died three years ago. He’d have been completely blown away that his little girl was honoured in this way. Thanks to my family and colleagues at Nelson and Colne College Group for giving me the opportunity to get involved in highlighting our transformational sector as part of a wider education ecosystem.”

Nelson and Colne College is the number one FE College nationally for A Level progress, and has been in the top three colleges nationally for GCSE Maths and English progress for three consecutive years.

Following the successful merger with Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale is on journey towards becoming an extraordinary college. It is now one of the top five colleges nationally for classroom learner achievement, at all ages and levels, and is also the top college in Lancashire for 16-18 timely Apprenticeship achievement.

Lancashire Adult Learning is the second largest adult community learning provider in the country, and each year achieves outstanding achievement rates through its broad range of courses for adults right across Lancashire’s 12 districts.

For more information about Nelson and Colne College Group, please visit

Anybody interested in joining Nelson and Colne College Group as the next step in their career can visit