College Apprentices thriving in Painting and Decorating positions with Bell Group

Two female Painting and Decorating Apprentices from Nelson and Colne College Group are thriving in their roles after securing Apprenticeships with the country’s largest commercial decorators.

Faye Chester and Kelsey Whewell, both 18, are working for Bell Group and gained their respective Apprenticeship positions after each enjoying a successful two-week work placement with the company in the autumn.

The duo have been out on the road with their Bell Group colleagues this winter putting their skills into practice working on a range of jobs in all weathers.

Faye and Kelsey were also happy to take time out of their busy working schedules to support Nelson and Colne College Group’s National Apprenticeship Week 2021 celebrations, and would recommend Apprenticeships to other would-be future tradespeople.

This year’s theme for National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Build the Future’, with a focus on how employers across the country train, retain and achieve with Apprenticeships.

Faye, formerly of Shuttleworth College, said: “Art was my best subject at school. I loved painting and being creative, it is something I was naturally good at, so that is why I went down the route of Painting and Decorating.

“The Apprenticeship has been really good – I like the responsibility of being an employee and working in a team. My confidence and communication has also improved through it, and I would recommend the Apprenticeship route to others who are looking to go into a trade in the future.”

Kelsey, formerly of Accrington Academy, said: “I chose Painting and Decorating because I like doing it, and when I first visited College, I found the department really good and the environment was friendly.

“It’s a great feeling to have secured an Apprenticeship with a good company and I have enjoyed working on the exteriors of houses. With an Apprenticeship, you’re earning and learning at the same time, so I would recommend them as a way of developing your skills and your future career.”

Julie Lawrenson, National Training Manager for Bell Group, said: “We’ve been really impressed with the progression of Faye and Kelsey. Working outside throughout the winter, and of course in the middle of a pandemic, they really have got stuck in, have fitted well into the team at Bell Group, and have shown excellent application on the jobs they have been assigned.

“We’ve developed a very good working relationship with the College Group’s Construction team too, who provide great support to Faye and Kelsey’s knowledge and skills development on their College days once a week.

“It’s fantastic to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week together – as retaining Apprentices within Bell Group is important for our business. We have many examples of Apprentices that have progressed into middle and senior management roles within the company, and we have that aspiration for Faye and Kelsey too when they come to the end of their Apprenticeships.”

Alison Rushton, Vice Principal of Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Bell Group, who offer a range of high-quality Apprenticeship opportunities that our students can benefit from.

“Here at Nelson and Colne College Group, we believe that Apprentices are going to play a vital role in the economic recovery, and our focus on the power of three – a successful synergy between Apprentice, employer and the College – ensures that we are best placed to support businesses and organisations to meet their goals.

“It is fantastic to see Faye and Kelsey are doing exactly that and are thriving in their new roles with Bell Group – something worth celebrating this National Apprenticeship Week.”

Following the extension of the employer incentive by the Government, employers who take on a new Apprentice before 31 March 2021 could receive up to £3,000 in total.

The benefits of Apprenticeships include earning a salary, training in the skills employers want, and excellent progression opportunities. There is also increased future earning potential, learning is done at a pace suited to the Apprentice, and Apprentices have the support of a mentor.

Nelson and Colne College Group offers Apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors and is number one in Lancashire for 16-18 Advanced Apprenticeship timely achievement, according to the latest Government data.

It is also number one in the county for employer satisfaction, based on the latest FE Choices Employer Survey.

For more information about Apprenticeships with Nelson and Colne College Group, please contact the Apprenticeship Team today at:

Nelson and Colne College Group showcases range of career options in National Apprenticeship Week 2021

Nelson and Colne College Group has celebrated National Apprenticeship Week 2021 with an online showcase of employer partners, career pathways and success stories.

This year’s theme for National Apprenticeship Week was ‘Build the Future’, with a focus on how employers across the country train, retain and achieve with Apprenticeships.

The celebrations by the College Group centred on a social media takeover including the launch of a new Apprenticeship newsletter to keep applicants up-to-date, and a revamp of the Apprenticeship Guide for would-be Apprentices to map out their futures.

Employer and Apprentice case study videos were also shared, there were ‘day in the life’ diary entries by Apprentices, and #AskAnEmployer and #AskAnApprentice live Q&A sessions on Twitter.

There was also the chance to take a trip back down memory lane to look at ‘Back to the Floor’ employer visits from previous years – a staple of the College Group’s National Apprenticeship Week celebrations over many years – but that could not take place this year due to the current coronavirus restrictions.

Nelson and Colne College Group works with a wide range of employers large and small across the North West region, and currently offers 45 Apprenticeship standards and 55 frameworks. Its brand approach is focused on the power of three – a successful synergy between Apprentice, employer and the College.

Employer feedback shows that nationally 74% of businesses say Apprentices improved their service or quality, and 78% improved productivity. Additionally, statistics show that Apprenticeships pay for themselves multiple times over, with every £1 of Government investment into Apprenticeships returning between £26 and £28 to the economy.

Sufyan Khan, 20, is completing a Business Administration Apprenticeship with IMO Charity in Blackburn. He said: “I’m really enjoying my Apprenticeship. I’ve had great support from my Trainer Assessor and I’m developing a range of skills – personal and professional.

“I’m much more independent when at work, and in general life, and my leadership and communication skills have improved working in a team. My presentation and planning skills are also better, and I’m much more forward thinking.”

Harriet Still, 22, is completing a Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship at Sir Tom Finney Community High School in Preston. She said: “Thanks to my Apprenticeship I have gained so much personal confidence and feel that I have found my vocation working in Special Needs Education.

“In terms of skills related to my role, I have taken part in a range of different training courses to widen my knowledge and expertise, including lifting and handling, how to administer medication and feeding techniques. My communication skills have also improved, and my goal is to continue learning and eventually become a teacher.”

Ryan Parker, 18, who is completing an IT Apprenticeship at Seriun in Barrowford, said: “My Apprenticeship is developing the skills I need for the Digital sector and a career in IT.

“I’m problem solving by fixing issues that come in through our ticket system, and this also involves taking up more of a customer facing role speaking to clients up and down the country to resolve the situation. My confidence and communication skills have definitely improved as a result of this.

“I’ve also had experience of hardware rebuilding and this has furthered my knowledge in this area – your technical knowledge comes with experience.”

Principal and CEO of Nelson and Colne College Group Amanda Melton CBE said: “The positive impact that Apprentices have on the economy and the businesses that they work for is there for all to see. I am in no doubt that Apprenticeships are going to be imperative to the country’s fortunes as we rebuild post-pandemic.

“National Apprenticeship Week is always a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Apprentices, and especially so this year, with many who have been able to continue working showing resilience, adaptability and commitment during the pandemic in whatever business or sector they are in.

“Finding your feet in the working world, learning your trade, developing new skills and trying to complete the qualification aspect to your Apprenticeship must have been incredibly demanding for Apprentices in the last 12 months, so it is only right we recognise these significant challenges alongside the many achievements.”

Following the extension of the employer incentive by the Government, employers who take on a new Apprentice before 31 March 2021 could receive up to £3,000 in total.

Nelson and Colne College Group offers Apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors and is number one in Lancashire for 16-18 Advanced Apprenticeship timely achievement, according to the latest Government data.

It is also number one in the county for employer satisfaction, based on the latest FE Choices Employer Survey.

For more information about Apprenticeships with Nelson and Colne College Group, please contact the Apprenticeship Team today at:

FE White Paper: Why we need to trust, and be trusted

After the Skills for Jobs White Paper was published by the Government, Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College Group, Amanda Melton CBE, has written a column offering her thoughts on what it means for colleges and the Further Education sector.

The Skills for Jobs White Paper was a significant event for FE colleges, marking the first long-term ambitious and wide-reaching policy framework to guide FE and skills for many years. It clearly addresses the importance of systemic employer involvement and local and regional economic difference, and invites a more mature conversation between all stakeholders sharing a vision for positive change.

I feel optimistic that it provides a trajectory affirming the role and purpose of FE colleges for people, businesses and communities everywhere. For the first time in many years, skills and colleges are acknowledged and promoted as playing a central role in the much needed “levelling up” agenda. It shows me that FE colleges are recognised in Whitehall for what they currently achieve, and, more significantly, for the untapped potential they provide.

Any significant policy development generates opportunities and challenges, and this will be no different. The nuts and bolts of delivery remain important to work through, and there is consultation on the way for several key elements, but I acknowledge that the existing systems need work, and feel encouraged that the changes ahead will build on strengths and share the very best practices.

As an FE college leader, I see this as an opportunity to lead the change, as an equal partner with government and business. I have heard colleagues speak eloquently on this topic through the detailed work of the Independent Commission on the College of the Future, and I’m so pleased to see much alignment to that report with this publication.  

FE White Paper: Delivering the College of the Future vision

For me, an important test is assessing the potential of this White Paper to deliver the vision of the college of the future. Does it deliver lifelong learning? Will it deliver a more coherent, well-invested education and skills system? Will it deliver freedom to co-design programmes with businesses to increase productivity and create sustainable jobs? Will it anchor colleges in towns everywhere, developing healthy, connected and cohesive communities? 

Adult learning is, for me, the greatest priority. Working lives are getting longer, and job roles and skills are changing, and we all need to continually develop our skills with universal access to the very best information and training. It can’t just be that your success in late school and the following few years guide your path, leaving it to serendipity to determine what happens next. A Lifelong Loan Entitlement will create a statutory right to lifelong learning, supporting those furthest from education and training, as well as the many adults making a career change throughout life.

To support productivity, the commission’s call for the introduction of employer hubs is reflected in the new measure to develop college business centres that will drive innovation through direct alignment of training to skills need. The proposed local skills plans – if done well through genuine collaboration – will be a vehicle for boosting all that is already good in employer/college partnerships.

The emphasis on place-making through the local skills improvement plans exploits the underplayed potential of the network of colleges in every part of the nation. My sincere hope is that this will drive greater collaboration rather than competition, as leaders collectively consider the skills needs of individuals and employers in each part of the country over institutional market share. The signpost to longer-term funding aligned to the outcomes for people and businesses in an area will hopefully give colleges greater confidence to collaborate rather than compete, with less focus on institutional survival and more on purpose. 

As we “build back better” there are pointers to greater capital investment throughout the White Paper. That investment is much needed and should support the remedial work required after many years of neglect. But it should also avoid unnecessary duplication. Every FE college should offer an appealing experience to students that inspires technical and vocational learning, as well as the essential learning building blocks to improve the prospects of young people and adults. That means excellent resources, buildings and highly skilled, well-paid staff everywhere. But we should be clear about the uniqueness of colleges in terms of the expertise at higher levels, and the facilities and staff that underpin a world-class experience.

A college sector that is trusted – and trusts

The measures announced build on previous commitments and put meat on the bones of what it means for colleges to support with levelling up. Policy change is required, but so too is a culture shift. We have a long way to go to become an education and skills sector that is trusted and trusts. A closer proactive relationship with local and national partners will help us contribute to future changes, drawing upon the rich experiences we have of transforming skills for people and businesses. 

There is work to do over the coming months and years, but this is a significant first step for skills and colleges. I look forward to this conversation across the sector and in government shaping the college of the future. If we get this right, it will transform the capability and capacity of English colleges to deliver for the nation.   

Thousands of food items donated to foodbanks this festive season by Nelson and Colne College Group

Nelson and Colne College Group has distributed almost 3,000 items of food to nine Lancashire foodbanks in the run up to Christmas.

Proving it truly is the season of goodwill, those who are need of foodbank support in Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale and Leyland will benefit from the donations that have been made by the College Group – which incorporates Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale College and Lancashire Adult Learning.

Nelson and Colne College Group has been one of a number of colleges taking part in the national FE Foodbank Friday initiative since lockdown began in March.

Initially, £1,500 was raised and donated to three local foodbanks in the Spring, and that developed into donations of store cupboard items as well as treats in the lead up to Christmas.

The foodbanks receiving donations this festive season are:

  • Haslingden Community Link
  • Maundy Relief – Accrington
  • Salvation Army – Nelson Citadel
  • Colne Open Door
  • Inspiring Grace – Nelson
  • Colne Citadel
  • St Matthew the Apostle with Holy Trinity Church – Burnley
  • The Base Community Centre – Leyland
  • Burnley FC in the Community

In addition, the Maundy Relief foodbank in Accrington recently put out an urgent call for unwanted coats and jackets for the winter period, and this week 20 bin bags of coats were donated by the College Group.

Rachel Cox, Careers and Personal Development Manager at Nelson and Colne College Group said: “Through the collective efforts of staff and students we have managed to donate a phenomenal amount of food this festive season.

“It was truly heart-warming to see such an array of different goods and the bags piling up each day – and I’m delighted these have now been delivered to those who require a little bit of support this Christmas.

“We are hoping to continue with our foodbank collections in the New Year to continue supporting those in need in our local communities.”

College Group teams up with Community Solutions to deliver festive cheer

Nelson and Colne College Group has teamed up with Community Solutions North West to deliver some festive cheer to East Lancashire residents.

During the season of goodwill, Community Solutions is aiming to deliver wellbeing boxes of essentials to over 500 local residents who are lonely, socially isolated or in crisis as a way to try and lift spirits.

Included within the boxes are natural wood tree decorations designed and manufactured by the College Group’s Engineering department, engraved with ‘Merry Christmas from Community Solutions’.

Also within the boxes are essential items like tea, coffee, food supplies and toiletries alongside festive treats including chocolate, positivity jars, Christmas jars, and hand-written cards.

Michael Molloy, Engineering Technician at Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “We’re always keen whenever the call comes to support community projects – and this was no exception, particularly after the year we have had and the loneliness and isolation that circumstances have caused.

“We’re really pleased with the finish of the decorations, and we hope they are well-received by residents in East Lancashire, and provide a bit of comfort this festive season.”

Leanne Taylor, Enterprise Development Manager at Community Solutions, said: “We’re really thankful to everyone in the community who has supported us in making the wellbeing boxes a possibility.

“The donation of 500 personalised decorations from Nelson and Colne College Group is a great addition to the boxes, and will be something that participants can hang on their tree year after year to remind them that they are not alone. The gesture shows a real commitment to the community of Accrington and beyond.”

Free and flexible online courses launched to support adults and help them ‘take control’ this New Year…

Adult learners in Lancashire are being encouraged to ‘take control’ and make a positive start to 2021 by boosting their health and wellbeing, retraining, improving their digital skills and/or supporting their families.

The new courses, which start in January, are largely free, flexible and available online, and are delivered by Nelson and Colne College Group – made up of Lancashire Adult Learning, Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College.

Free courses offered by Lancashire Adult Learning range from Maths and English programmes to digital skills for everyday life, employability courses to support learners back into work, health and wellbeing programmes to de-stress, and courses to support children with their education.

There are also free Lancashire Adult Learning courses for leisure, including humanities, arts and crafts, and, as an exclusive offer during this time, for online languages courses too.

Other provision included in the Spring offer focuses on skills for industry, supporting career development or finding employment within specific sectors. These courses are largely free, or have fee remissions or loans available.

Those looking to develop their professional skills have opportunities in Construction, Health and Social Care, Education and Childcare, and Hair and Beauty. There are also a range of qualifications available through the Nelson and Colne College Group University Centre.

Assistant Principal for Adult Learning, Andrew Parkin, said: “We really have thought long and hard about our latest course offer, and we have carefully put together a package that we feel best supports the needs of adult learners right now across Lancashire.

“Reflective of the times we are in, we have made even more of our courses free of charge – including our renowned languages offer – and our courses are as accessible as they have ever been, with live online classrooms or flexible online learning to fit around the commitments of learners.

“Whatever your motivation for learning, the new year is a fresh start for everyone, and I’m thrilled that we have a comprehensive range of courses to support adult learners in the Red Rose County.”

Ayesha Shahid, 41, from Burnley, lost her business as a result of the pandemic, and took advantage of Lancashire Adult Learning’s Health and Social Care ‘Hub from Home’ programme over the summer months to rapidly retrain.

Ayesha, who has gained employment in the care sector off the back of completing her qualifications, said: “I’m very happy with my decision and I had brilliant support from the teaching team at LAL. It’s a personal challenge for me, and I love a challenge.

“I really think working in care that I can add value and make a significant difference to lives. I’m also looking at doing a degree in social work which I am looking forward to. I’m totally committed to my new career in care.”

Debbra Walley, 36, from Chorley, gained a job in the care sector after completing employability sessions with LAL.

She said: “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Lancashire Adult Learning employability team for supporting me into paid employment and towards a more positive future for my family.

“Working in childcare has always been my objective, I just needed the right tools and support to get me there. To now have a job in that line of work is fantastic. It has also opened up more job prospects for me. I’ve always wanted to better myself and I have an ambition to become a Teaching Assistant.”

Nathan Andrews, 31, from Leyland, took control of his career by completing his Barbering qualifications at an evening course with Nelson and Colne College. Previously a window fitter, he decided he wanted a new challenge and is now employed at a leading Barbering shop with a strong reputation for quality.

Nathan said: “It has given me the career I want to do, and I find I have more free time outside of work now, so I have a better work life balance too. Working in the industry, I’m learning all the time and picking up new skills. I take pride in my work and I have an ambition to be the best around.”

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

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

College Group partners with Department for Work and Pensions to deliver retraining scheme

Nelson and Colne College Group is helping the local community to retrain through an employment programme with the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) has been rolled out as a tool to train and recruit members of staff to non-teaching roles within the College Group, including classroom assistants and exam invigilators – with more than 70 people already applying since its launch in November.

SWAP, which is a key component of the UK Government’s £30bn Plan for Jobs, offers participants the chance to gain pre-employment training, alongside valuable work experience and a guaranteed job interview.

Those taking part will develop vital skills to give them the best opportunity in securing work with employers who have a number of vacancies, or operate across a growth sector.

Lancashire Adult Learning – part of Nelson and Colne College Group – has previously adopted the SWAP format, in partnership with DWP, to support large employers including Morrisons and Greggs with the training of individuals in their recruitment process, particularly where there have been a number of vacancies to fill.

Delivery of SWAP has been adapted to a digital format in recent months to take into account COVID-19 restrictions, meaning participants can receive learning in the safety and comfort of their own homes or in a COVID-secure learning environment.

Nicola Hall, Executive Head of Curriculum for Innovation and Partnerships at Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “In response to the pandemic and its effects on the employment market, we wanted to act to support the communities in which we operate by offering places onto our SWAP, leading to potential employment thereafter with the College Group.

“I’m thrilled that through our partnership with DWP, we have been able to respond rapidly to get this programme up and running, to support Jobcentre customers with employability skills and vital experience and progress them into a number of vacancies within the College Group, or towards the employment market.

“The exciting opportunity with the SWAP format is that they can be adapted to a wide range of non-teaching roles, including catering, cleaning and administrative roles, to name just a few, meaning there is scope for further development across the College Group.”

Cathy Ross, an Employer Adviser Manager for the Department, said: “Our relationship with Nelson and Colne College Group continues to flourish. We have successfully partnered with its Lancashire Adult Learning arm on a number of recent projects to support local residents into work and promote local economic recovery.

“We’re now supporting the wider Nelson and Colne College Group with the SWAP format to help them fill a number of exam invigilator and teaching assistant posts. To have 70 individuals already embrace this opportunity is a fantastic start, and we are very excited to have the College Group on board as both a delivery partner and key local employer with a range of vacancies across the education sector in non-teaching roles.”

For more information on 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

Four new members add value and strength after appointment to Board of Corporation at Nelson and Colne College Group

Four new members have joined Nelson and Colne College Group’s Board of Corporation, bringing additional professional strength and strategic skills to the growing operation.

After a successful recruitment process, the quartet of Neil Hart, Liz Sedgley, Zulfi Khan and Julie Turner have been appointed, and they bring to the College Group’s governance a wealth of experience, skills and expertise from a range of industry sectors.

Nelson and Colne College Group – which incorporates Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale College and Lancashire Adult Learning – is one of the highest performing College Groups nationally across a range of academic measures, and offers exceptional skills, vocational and occupational training, as well as sixth form and adult community provision across East Lancashire and beyond.

The four new Board members join others drawn from a variety of industries and backgrounds, as well as staff and student governors.

As Chief Executive Officer of Burnley Football Club, Neil Hart is the senior leader responsible for the Premier League club’s finances, supporter engagement, commercial opportunities, staff and facilities.

Previously Head of Burnley Football in the Community (BFCitC) – a key partner and supporter of the College Group – Neil knows the College Group organisation and was instrumental in developing a strong and close partnership work between BFitC and the College. This includes established programmes such as the flagship Shadow Youth Team for talented players aged 16-18, plus more recent developments including Apprenticeships, traineeships and employability courses for adult learners.

Liz Sedgley is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants in England and Wales. For the last 20 years Liz has run a successful management consultancy providing accountancy and strategic finance support to public sector organisations and businesses in sectors as diverse as construction, chemical sales, communications and web-based retail.

Currently a non-Executive Director and the Deputy Chair of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Liz was also previously a non-Executive Director and the Audit Chair of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust.

Zulfi Khan is a previous A Level student of Nelson and Colne College, and a qualified solicitor of England and Wales. He is a partner of Ten Legal, an established, successful and growing practice in Bury.

Zulfi has also maintained strong links with his local community in Pendle, and is a volunteer for Whitefield Youth Association, a local charity based in Nelson, engaging with young people aged between three and 15, to transform young lives through social action – improving young people’s life chances and opportunities.

Completing the quartet is Julie Turner, who also has ties to the College Group as her children were educated at Nelson and Colne College. Professionally, Julie has over 25 years’ experience in education – including as Deputy Headteacher at the Hollins School in Accrington, and as a Further Education and Higher Education lecturer and programme leader.

As a freelance educational consultant, she specialises in leadership, school development, improving teaching and learning, professional development and literacy – mainly working with schools to improve standards and opportunities for their young people, as well as being an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Tutor at the University of Manchester.

Chairman of the Board of Corporation at Nelson and Colne College Group, Stephen Barnes, said: “I am thrilled with our four new appointments and I would like to welcome Neil, Liz, Zulfi and Julie to the Board of Corporation. Between them, they have an extremely strong skillset and a real depth of experience and will add immense value to our strategic decision making.

“Our Board of Corporation is steadfast in its commitment to improving the lives of people through the highest quality education, and that has never been more important than now in the challenging period of time that we all find ourselves in.

“We look forward to working together to continue to deliver the highest quality  provision that meets and adapts to national and local skills priorities as they emerge, as well as continuing to support economic prosperity across our local communities and Lancashire.”

The Board of Corporation is made up of members from business, professional, public sector and community backgrounds. College Governors have adopted the Nolan’s seven principles of public life (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership) in carrying out their responsibilities.

For further information about governance at Nelson and Colne College Group, please visit

Leadership and Management Apprentice praises qualification for boosting his confidence and career progression

A Leadership and Management Apprentice has praised the qualification he is about to complete for giving him the confidence and career progression he was seeking.

Yasin Bux, 36, from Preston, is a Parking and Enforcement Officer Team Leader at Lancashire County Council, and is about to complete his Level 3 Leadership and Management Apprenticeship with Nelson and Colne College Group ahead of schedule.

Based at the County Council’s Highways Department’s Cuerden depot, Yasin has made a significant impact on the performance of the Highways and Transport Team through the knowledge and skills he has developed during his Apprenticeship.

One of the key areas of work Yasin has played a crucial role in is the issuing of parking permits, helping to resolve a series of software issues with a contractor to enable smoother online payment for permits, renewal of permits online and the upload system for providing evidence for a permit.

His work has meant the County Council has recently been able to bring ‘in house’ the production of permits for 9,000 residents from six district councils that previously issued permits on the County Council’s behalf. This decision and greater efficiencies have resulted in a six-figure saving and an approximate 750 hours of administration time annually.

Yasin is also playing an instrumental role in a printing project to reduce the cost of issuing parking ticket and bus lane enforcement letters – which will achieve a saving of tens of thousands of pounds annually – and going forward, a new software system is being introduced by the County Council in 2021 around the processing of parking tickets, a project in which Yasin is playing an integral role with writing training manuals for colleagues.

Yasin, a former student of Christ the King Catholic High School in Preston, said: “I decided to begin my Apprenticeship as I needed a challenge and saw the qualification as a way to improve my chances of promotion. It was also an opportunity to gain a qualification that is relevant to the work I am doing now.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying my Apprenticeship, and I have covered problem solving, leadership, communication, self-awareness, self-management, finance, project management and more. I love putting the theory I’m learning into practice and I’m constantly trying new things out on the team.

“The Apprenticeship has also given me the confidence and motivation to keep progressing into a more senior management position, and I definitely will work towards achieving further Leadership and Management qualifications at higher levels in the future.”

Yasin’s manager Mandy White, who is Senior Parking and Enforcement Officer at Lancashire County Council, said: “Since commencing his Leadership and Management Apprenticeship, Yasin has become so much more confident in his abilities and his progress and the positive impact he continues to have on the way we operate.

“I have no doubt Yasin is destined to progress to upper echelons of management in due course, and I consider myself very lucky to have him as one of my team leaders – hopefully for some time to come.”

Yasin’s Trainer Assessor Julie Garrigan, who is Programme Leader for Leadership and Management Apprenticeships at Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “Since I started working as Yasin’s Trainer Assessor, I have found that he is a totally committed and professional member of his team at Lancashire County Council.

“He is very articulate and is well-respected by his peers. His manager has testified on his leadership and management qualities, and his communication and operational management skills, which have developed considerably through the duration of the Apprenticeship.”

Nelson and Colne College Group offers a wide range of support of Apprenticeships and Training to employers and is currently offering employers across Lancashire and the wider North West region an incentive payment if they hire an Apprentice before 31 January next year.

Any employer that hires a new young Apprentice aged 16-24 prior to that date will receive £2,000, while those that hire new Apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1,500.

It means that employers could receive up to £3,000 in total for hiring new 16-18-year-old Apprentices during the incentive scheme, as the funding is in addition to the existing £1,000 incentive the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old Apprentices, and those aged under-25 with an education, health and care plan.

For more information on Apprenticeships by Nelson and Colne College Group, please visit or call 01282 440319.

Principal champions change as College Commission publishes report on future of Further Education in England

Nelson and Colne College Group’s Principal and CEO is leading the calls for the role of colleges in England to change ahead of the Government’s imminent publishing of a Further Education White Paper.

After sharing its UK-wide recommendations in October, the Independent Commission on the College of the Future this week published the first of its nations-specific reports for England.

Amanda Melton CBE – who sits on the Commission as the sole Commissioner for all College Principals in England – has said it is time the Government invests in colleges as “essential public assets to build skills in England in the short and longer term”.

The Commission is calling for the change to allow colleges in England to provide an even greater range of opportunities for young people and adult learners to enable them to reach their full potential.

It is also seeking to enhance the support colleges can offer to best meet the needs of businesses facing enormous change and challenges, including recovery from the ongoing crisis as well as the urgent need to move to a green economy.

The Future of the English College report includes six key recommendations, and these are:

  1. Introducing a legal duty on colleges to establish networks across appropriate economic geographies, which must be matched by a duty on all other post-16 education providers;
  2. Forming a cross-departmental ministerial taskforce or body to oversee a new UK Government 10-year strategy for education and skills to drive the industrial strategy and other priorities;
  3. Funding colleges to deliver specialised and targeted business support, creating employer ‘hubs’ in key sectors and occupational pathways, especially in digital, construction, engineering and health and social care;
  4. Creating a statutory right to lifelong learning by making lifelong learning accessible and financially viable to all through offering equal loans and grants across Further Education and Higher Education;
  5. Investing in colleges through three-year grant settlements to give colleges the confidence and funding to deliver strategically for people, productivity and place in the economic rebuild;
  6. Streamlining regulation, accountability and the funding system to reduce bureaucracy and to ensure that the system focuses on the mission, purpose and outcomes of colleges. 

Amanda said: “Colleges provide skills and training to local people, employers and communities, often in a challenging and continually changing policy and fiscal environment.

“It is essential that the Government invests in colleges as essential public assets, and builds a new relationship as strategic and trusted partners, securing relevant high-quality learning over all our lives, building the skills England needs in the short and longer term.

“The anticipated FE White Paper will be a vehicle to drive the fundamental systems change needed. But colleges should take a lead role in delivering the transformation required, in the context of the vision for the future and outlined Government reforms.

“This report is a rallying call for colleges. I know we share a collective ambition for the expanded role colleges can and must play in our society and economy. This will require real cultural shifts within the college sector to achieve the Commission’s vision for a collaborative college sector for the future.

“Colleges will then successfully adopt their lead role as lynchpin of a coherent, connected education and skills system that delivers for our communities and economy.”

To read the full report on the English College of the Future, please visit the College Commission website at:

For more information on Nelson and Colne College Group, please visit or call 01282 440200.