Remaining positive and looking to the future

I would like to begin my first column of 2021 by wishing everyone a happy new year. The festive break was a chance to recharge the batteries, clear the mind and to get active by enjoying some time out in the fresh air.

I was also able to reflect on the innovation and determination shown by all at Nelson and Colne College Group – with support from our partners – to overcome the profound challenges the pandemic has brought to those of us in the education sector.

Since I penned my last column at the beginning of December, much has changed, and this week all College learning has moved online – as it will until February half term at the earliest, for all but a very small number of learners. While a new variant and rising virus infection rates in the communities we serve are an obvious concern, I am confident of better days ahead after the excellent news that we have the rollout of vaccines.

And with positivity in mind, I want to reassure readers of my column that we are extremely well-placed to adapt and continue supporting our learners, and provide them with the very best education we can through online learning.

We’re also committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of all of our learners. Alongside the high-quality curriculum taught during lessons, our students at Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College are continuing to receive personal and professional development opportunities. Support with online resources and videos from our Extracurricular, Careers, and Health and Wellbeing Teams has developed tremendously in recent months.

Just this week, an Action Calendar promoting a Happier January was circulated to all students with a top tip or a small task – one for each day of the month – to encourage them to focus on the future, support one another, improve their health and wellbeing, and stay active.

We have also been encouraging our adult learners right across Lancashire to take control this January too with a comprehensive offer of courses and qualifications through Lancashire Adult Learning.

Whether the motivation for learning is to boost health and wellbeing, retrain, improve digital skills or to be able to better support your family, there is something for everyone, and courses are largely free, flexible and available online.

January does not have to be a month of gloom. It can be a month for a fresh start and new beginnings, and this College family is dedicated to supporting individuals, communities and regional employers through these difficult circumstances.

If you need help or advice for a better future, make sure you get in touch. In the meantime, warm wishes for 2021. Amanda.