Since opening its doors just over a year ago, Kettering Learning Centre, located in the town centre on Newland Street, has enrolled over 500 students onto free courses that have led to life changing OCR ITQ qualifications.
Students often attend two or more sessions lasting two hours each week, which is open Monday – Saturday with sessions available up until 9pm.
At a “Celebration of Success” event held on April 3rd, Mayor of Kettering, Cllr James Burton, welcomed the development of employment opportunities for people in Northamptonshire. He was joined by the Principal and CEO of The Bedford College Group, Ian Pryce CBE, to present certificates and prizes to some of the centre’s achievers.
The Student of the Year prize was given to Dougie Robson who began studying whilst recovering from cancer treatment and a bone marrow transplant. He is now back at work part-time and during the celebrations he enjoyed his first glass of wine since undergoing treatment. “The Centre is a very welcoming place and it has inspired me to keep learning.”
Learning Centres Manager Pete Burton said:
The Learning Centres are an accessible environment where adults can come and study at their own pace to gain important qualifications in basic IT which is essential for any career or promotion.
Ian Pryce said: “Learning Centres are a welcoming place for people who want to return to learning in an environment that differs from that offered within other campuses. The best description I’ve heard from a student is that it’s a place for joyful education”
Students take courses using Microsoft Office packages including Word, Excel and PowerPoint to gain an ITQ Certificate for IT users at Levels 1 and 2. Additional courses can be taken in Access, Outlook and Publisher.
The Bedford College Group also has a Learning Centre at the Tresham College Corby campus Manor House which is due to move into a more central location later in the year.
In addition, the Learning Centres support a new initiative with the Open University where people can develop English and Maths functional skills by studying online on the OU’s Open Learn platform. Although these are online learning courses and are designed for people to study at home, the Learning Centres make computers available for those who want to work in a supported environment.