A new centre for people choosing to study higher education at college rather than university has been officially unveiled by The Duke of Devonshire.
Vision University Centre, part of West Nottinghamshire College, was formally opened by the Duke yesterday (Monday 10 February 2014) at a ceremony attended by staff, students, dignitaries, business leaders and representatives of the college’s partner universities, Birmingham City University and the University of Derby.
The college has turned a building at its Derby Road campus into a dedicated facility for its growing number of higher education students.
Boasting classrooms, a study area, tutorial room, social space and state-of-the-art IT facilities and learning resources, it provides university-level students with their own place to study and socialise while still feeling part of the college. It is also home to the college’s higher education and international team to ensure on-site support and expertise.
Refurbishment of the two-storey building took place over the summer. It has been open to students and staff since September.
Dame Asha Khemka, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College, said: “We are seeing a year-on-year increase in the number of our higher education students, due to the high quality of teaching and the benefits of studying closer to home.
“We recognise that those studying at university-level often have different needs and interests, with the requirement for research and autonomous learning, so it’s important to provide an environment which helps them make the most of their studies.
“Vision University Centre is a fantastic facility that ensures our higher education students have access to all the equipment, learning resources and support they’d get at university while remaining very much part of the college community.”
Eleanor Taylor, head of higher education and international, said: “The centre is equipped with everything students need for their course and the most exciting thing is seeing them enjoying the facilities we can now offer, such as quieter study space and a tutorial area. Their feedback has been hugely positive.
“The creation of this centre means we can offer a genuine alternative to university and forms part of our plans to further enhance our range of courses and the student experience while they are with us.”
The Duke of Devonshire – who performed the opening in his capacity as chancellor of the University of Derby – said: “This new centre will have a key role in helping people of all ages, with the will and ability to study, to obtain jobs and better jobs. It is something the Mansfield area richly deserves.”
The college, which has 522 higher education students, offers 23 university-level programmes from foundation degrees, full honours ‘top-up’ degrees, Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs). All are vocational, with a strong emphasis on employability skills.
Source: West Nottinghamshire College