Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana has visited Coventry College to see how the city’s further education provider is gearing up to support learners during the Covid-19 pandemic amid a rise in demand for its courses.
The Labour MP’s visit to Coventry College’s Swanswell Street campus coincided with the College’s enrolment period, which had to be extended for a fortnight to accommodate a surge in applications that has been partly sparked by people looking to re-skill because of being made redundant due to Covid-19.
The College has fielded more than 700 extra course entries from adult students and is performing well ahead of its enrolment target for 16-18 year olds.
Zarah spent an afternoon meeting with Coventry College’s Principal and CEO, Carol Thomas, and some of the College’s students to get their views on how Government can further support the further education (FE) sector - as well as taking a tour of the College’s architecture, plastering and motor vehicle facilities.
Carol said: “As our enrolment figures show, FE institutions such as Coventry College have a vital role to play now more than ever in helping thousands of redundant workers to get back on their feet alongside developing the aspirations of school leavers, and it was brilliant to be given the chance to talk with Zarah about this.
“We are seeing a rise in the number of people coming to the College because they want to develop new skills so they can change career, and we are also seeing a sharp rise in demand from people wanting to develop English as their second language by joining one of our ESOL courses - which we think is partly down to other ESOL resources in the city winding down as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are also seeing increasing interest across a variety of subject areas such as business, engineering, construction and health and social care to name just a few.
“The overarching message from both staff and students during the visit was that more funding is needed to support FE colleges and students as we ramp up our efforts to support as many learners as possible. This includes funding for resources, as well as helping students with the associated costs of studying, such as travel and childcare, as well as wider access to mental health support that is already in place.
“We would like to thank Zarah for taking the time to come and talk to us and her willingness to support our cause, and we look forward to working with her in the future.”
Zarah Sultana said: “It was great to visit Coventry College and to meet their fantastic students and teachers. Further education is vital to developing the skills and interests of school leavers and adult learners here in Coventry.
“After years of funding cuts to our education system, I am determined to fight for more resources for Coventry College and for all our schools and universities. That means more funding for everything from state-of-the-art teaching facilities, to mental health services for students. We should be investing in our schools and colleges to give everyone the best possible education.”
Any prospective students seeking to enrol with Coventry College should take a look at their Last Minute Places campaign at: https://www.coventrycollege.ac.uk/last-minute-places.
Caption: From left, Zarah Sultana, Conor Sturmey, Jayden Leigh-Bell, Carol Thomas, Nalani Gutteridge, Louise Costelloe and Ryan Protheroe