Bedford College Group Learning Centres have helped thousands of people to secure employment through IT training which many missed out on at school.
For complete beginners, or those who have been self-taught “on the job”, the Learning Centres offer a chance to gain important ITQ certificates to help people find work or secure promotion and a pay rise.
At a “Celebration of Success” that was help on April 4th at Bedford Learning Centre in the High Street, Bedford, Gloria Ochante Cahuana from Peru was recognised as the centre’s 10,000th student and was presented with a bouquet of flowers. Student of the Year was 58-year-old Tim Jupp who moved to Clapham last year seeking a career change from a bench joiner. Having passed all his exams, and more, he is hoping to find a job that utilises his skills for analytical problem solving.
The Learning Centre enrols over 600 students onto free computer courses each year and sees most students attend two or more 2 hour sessions a week at the High Street centre, which is open Monday to Saturday with sessions available up until 9pm.
The Speaker of Bedford Borough Council, Cllr Doug McMurdo, accompanied by Principal and CEO of The Bedford College Group, Ian Pryce CBE, congratulated all the graduates who received certificates at the ceremony. Cllr McMurdo first came to Bedford 40 years ago and worked at what was then Mander College, and is now Bedford College, in Cauldwell Street.
Ian Pryce commented: “I have been saying I have the best job in Bedford for 20 years so it is special to be here in the 19th year of the Bedford Learning Centre which we originally opened in Mill Street with former member of staff and actor Jason Riddington-Smith, currently appearing in Coronation Street.”
Students complete courses using Microsoft Office packages for Word, Excel and PowerPoint towards gaining an ITQ Certificate for IT users at Levels 1 and 2. Additional courses can be taken in Access, Outlook and Publisher.
In addition, the Learning Centres support a new initiative with the Open University where people can develop their English and Maths functional skills by studying online on the OU’s Open Learn platform. Although these are online learning courses and designed for people to study at home, the Learning Centres make computers available for those who want to work in a supported environment.