Category Archives: Adult Education College

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

fcol033-still

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… by Chantelle Maguraushe

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, you can visibly see the thirst for a reprieve on many a student’s face. For some, life at college has been a breeze, but for others, a struggle. As mature students, the return to education has taken some adjustment. The work has undeniably reached a new level of difficulty with the progression from ungraded to graded units. We are being tested, yet prepared for university study.

Since my last post, we have cultivated our intellectual minds, broadened our knowledge and received our grades for several assignments as well as feedback for improvement in future projects. Socially, we went to the Glee Club and had a Christmas party. The opportunity to relax and unwind was greatly appreciated by all the students and attending staff.

Living away from home, meeting new people, or learning something new does not come easy for all and unfortunately, some students have succumbed to these struggles of college life and have left us for other projects. Change is indeed an acquired taste and sometimes the unsuccessful outcome of a task or goal can leave us disheartened and despondent. Even so, there is hope. If we only stop stumbling in the dark and turn on the light, we may just find that path that leads us to our goal. So to those students, I/we wish you good luck and great success in the future.

Aspirations are not always easy to attain and if we keep this in mind, then the struggle will be worth it. With that in mind, I leave you with the following quote:

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” (Napoleon Hill)

To all, warm greetings. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

What’s it like being a residential student on the Access to Higher Education Diploma at Fircroft?

access-to-higher-education-diploma-birmingham

Chantelle Maguraushe shares her experiences of studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma at Fircroft College.

Fircroft student Chantelle Maguraushe offers a fascinating insight into what it’s like to be a resident student on the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Social Sciences and Humanities.

“There’s a time in your life where you’re not quite sure where you are. You think everything’s perfect, but it’s not perfect… Then one day you wake up and you can’t quite picture yourself in the situation you’re in. But the secret is, if you can picture yourself doing it, you can do it.” (Tom DeLonge)

If you’re looking to study the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Social Sciences and Humanities at Fircroft College, then I hope this blog post goes some way in helping you make that decision.

Like anything, the Access Diploma is not without its difficulties, but thankfully there is a great team of staff on hand to help. With our first few assignments due this coming week, it can feel daunting given that we started only three weeks ago. But on a great note, the modules are very interesting.

So far we have been exposed to literature on Feudalism, Socialisation and other sociological theories, as well as literary pieces such as Billy Bragg’s ‘It Says Here’ and Nick Hornby’s ‘Nipple Jesus’ – all fascinating reads. With a class of less than thirty students, we have become quite a close-knit group – a family away from home if you like.

As for college life, there are some residential students as well as non-residential students living off campus. I can mostly speak for the residential students and what I have to say is – it is awesome! Now, I am not just saying this. Class is a mere minute away from the living quarters, there is free WIFI, three meals are provided daily and the living quarters aren’t too shabby. They are spacious with an en-suite bath and toilet. I mean, what more can you ask for?

The grounds are beautifully maintained and there is plenty of benches to sit and just chill, maybe whilst enjoying the view.

I won’t blather on… I will finish by saying, if you’re looking for a unique learning experience unlike that of much larger colleges, then Fircroft College is the place for you.

Here are some opinions of my fellow students on the Access course:

  • Whilst at larger colleges you can get lost in the crowd, here at Fircroft it’s not really a worry and it’s not difficult to get work done. Plus, you can’t be a resident at most colleges! (Alex French)
  • It’s more accommodating at Fircroft and offers more support due to its smaller size. (Clarista Bird)
  • There’s a cosy atmosphere and you’re not likely to slip under the net whilst here. You feel like a part of history. You are not treated differently whether you are a resident or non-resident. (Chantelle Golden)
  • It’s very inclusive, with smaller classes and structured in such a way as to get the best out of its students. (Karen Mowbray)
  • I think Fircroft, due its ethos and smaller size is a much more supportive college. I get a sense of the ‘Fircroft family’ here. (Naomi Ball)
  • Fircroft offers a supportive learning environment. (Nathan Chin)
  • It is warm and welcoming with small study groups/classes that mean staff can really help students with their personal study goals. (Melanie Starkey)

For more information on the Access to Higher Education Diploma at Fircroft please take a look at  www.fircroft.ac.uk/access-to-he

10 ways the ILM Level 5 Award can improve your leadership and management skills

ilm-level-5-award-in-leadership-and-management

Leadership and management skills are the lifeblood of maintaining a happy and productive workforce.

Studying a qualification offered by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), is an ideal way to develop your knowledge and skills in this area, whether you’re starting out or in a senior management role.

At Fircroft College of Adult Education, we offer the ILM Level 5 Award in Leadership & Management.

ILM is the UK’s leading provider of leadership, coaching and management qualifications, training over 90,000 managers each year.

The ILM Level 5 Award in Leadership & Management is designed for new and aspiring middle managers – such as heads of department, regional team leaders and operations managers. It helps you consolidate your experience, while developing new skills to take on greater management responsibility.

By studying the ILM Level 5 Award you’ll learn how to:

1) Identify the need for innovation and change management
2) Choose between incremental and step change
3) Propose innovative solutions to improve organisational performance
4) Implement techniques for analysis
5) Identify strategy options and assess viability
6) Lead and manage change
7) Create a change management plan to meet stakeholder expectations
8) Implement plans and monitor progress against targets
9) Assess your own performance as a manager and improve it
10) Improve your inter-personal skills by focusing on relationship management

We also offer the ILM Level 3 Award in Leadership & Management – aimed at people who have management responsibilities but no formal training, and are serious about developing their abilities.

It’s particularly suited to practising team leaders seeking to move up to the next level of management, and managers who need to lead people through organisational change, budget cuts or other pressures.

For more information, or to apply to study the ILM Level 3 or 5 Award in Leadership & Management please contact one of our applications team on 0121 472 0116 or email shortcourses@fircroft.ac.uk. Alternatively visit our website.

10 Reasons to choose Fircroft College for the Access to Higher Education Diploma

access -to-higher-education-in-humanities-and-social-sciences

August is the ideal month to take stock of your current situation and plan how to improve your learning and career prospects.

There are thousands of courses out there designed to move you a step nearer to your personal and professional goals.

For some people, this goal is gaining entry to one of the UK’s many prestigious universities.

However, these same people may feel excluded from the system if they were unable to gain GCSEs or A-Levels whilst at school or college.

If you are one of these people then the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Social Sciences and Humanities can help you gain university entrance – even if you don’t have the conventional GCSE or A-Level requirements*.

Here’s 10 reasons to consider Fircroft College to study the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Social Sciences and Humanities:

1) High success rates – year-on-year at least 10% above the national average 

2) Fircroft is small, friendly and very supportive with a close community of like-minded people – read about our learner experience

3) Regular access to a progress coach to guide you through the course and your time at the college

4) Residential option to immerse yourself in your studies and make life-long friends (plus free meals and accommodation)!

5) Modern teaching, ICT and classroom facilities with free WIFI 

6) 24-hour comprehensive library with access to library facilities at nearby University of Birmingham

7) Vibrant social science with trips, activities and events organised throughout the year

8) All learners receive help with living costs

9) The college is set in six acres of beautiful gardens of a former Cadbury home

10) We are just 15 minutes away from the attractions of central Birmingham

*The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a Level 3 qualification and therefore we require applicants to be able to work at Level 2 in English and Level 1 in Maths.

For more reasons to study the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Social Sciences & Humanities at Fircroft College, please go here or call one of our friendly team on 0121 472 0116.

 

How the Access to Higher Education Diploma can transform lives and career prospects

access-to-higher-education-diploma-colleg

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is much more than a stepping stone to university.

For many people, it’s a second chance at education and a second chance at life.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is designed to help people academically and socially while providing a widely-recognised qualification for university entrance. University is still regarded as a very worthwhile choice, academically and financially.

A recent report suggests that graduates can earn up to £12,000 a year more than non-graduates, that’s the equivalent of more than £500,000 over an average working life*.

At a personal level, there are many examples of how the Access Diploma has transformed peoples’ lives.

One such example is Mark Riley.

Before enrolling onto the Access Diploma at Fircroft College, Mark had spent most of the previous 8 years in prison. He started using drugs and alcohol aged 11 and left school with no qualifications. He was a self-confessed ‘latchkey kid with only bad role models in his life.

Casual jobs came and went and Mark started leading a more chaotic lifestyle, sleeping at friends’ houses and taking more drugs. He was sliding down a slippery slope.

The tipping point came in 2012, when Mark considered suicide whilst in prison, but fortunately sought help from a support service which helped him end his drug habit.

After leaving prison and moving into supported housing, Mark heard about the Access Diploma from a friend who recommended he speak to Fircroft. This was the beginning of a new life for Mark.

“Starting the Access Diploma at Fircroft changed everything. It gave me self-belief, confidence and a sense of self-worth I’d never had before. It opened my eyes. I want other people who’ve been in my situation to know that it is possible to change”.

“I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I remember getting my first essay handed back to me after not being in a classroom for 20 years. I got a distinction. I’ve been offered a place at Lincoln Bishop Grosseteste University to do health and social care. I want to be a support worker and help people who’ve been in my situation. I’ve had so much support from other people, especially the tutors at Fircroft, It’s my turn to give something back.”

Mark won the Open College Network 2015 Access to Higher Education Learner Award given to ‘extraordinary individuals who are undertaking or have had inspirational learning journeys helping them to transform their lives.’

There are many others like Mark who’ve transformed their lives by studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma at Fircroft College. If you didn’t succeed at education first time around and would like another chance**, please visit this link fircroft.ac.uk/access-to-he or contact our friendly team on 0121 472 0116.

————————————————————————————-

* Statistic taken from a report compiled by Adzuna who analysed 1,000,000 vacancies in June 2015 and concluded there is a widening pay gap between graduates and non-graduates, although overall the opportunities are becoming better for both.

** We strongly recommend that applicants for the Access to Higher Education Diploma undertake at least some of the Skills for Further Study programme. The programme specifically aims to develop the range of skills you’ll be expected to use on the Access course.

How you can oppose funding cuts and help secure Fircroft’s future.

 

adult-education-college

Fircroft is facing proposed funding cuts of 25-40% which threatens its ability to help disadvantaged learners in the future.

In 1909 George Cadbury Jr. founded Fircroft College of Adult Education and established an institution that would transform the lives of thousands of people over the next 100 years.

The college was founded with a firm social justice mission, transforming the lives of thousands of disadvantaged and socially excluded adults across the UK.

Many of Fircroft’s learners have missed out on conventional education due to challenging personal and family circumstances – often through no fault of their own.

The college offers a wide range of courses and training from basic English and Maths right up to the Access to Higher Education Diploma which prepares learners for University entrance.

The educational offering is only part of what makes Fircroft such a valuable asset to disadvantaged people and society as a whole.

Its residential facility enables learners to immerse themselves in a positive learning and social environment which helps develop inter-personal skills, friendships and trust.

Despite the valuable and essential nature of Fircroft’s work, it’s facing potentially devastating cuts of 25-40% in funding.

These cuts would make it very difficult for the college to continue delivering education to some of the most vulnerable in society.

In 2014, Fircroft was invited to a Parliamentary reception to celebrate the contribution that ‘Specially Designated Institutions’ make to adult education.

The reception was attended by Baroness Gillian Shepherd, Labour peer Baroness Janet Whitaker and Skills Minister Nick Boles who said:

“These (Specially Designated Institutions) organisations deliver learning that has profound, life-changing impacts on the lives of individuals, families and communities, particularly those who are disadvantaged.”

There are hundreds of examples of people whose lives have been transformed by Fircroft College. Often, these learners go back into the community to help benefit the lives of many others.

One such example is Rob, who came from a background of drug and alcohol dependency as well as spells of living on the streets. After a number of courses at Fircroft, Rob progressed to university and subsequently gained a Masters. He’s now a professional counsellor helping people overcome problems like he experienced. He says of his time at Fircroft:

“The support I received was incredible. Fircroft taught me how to embrace education.”

If you think organisations like Fircroft should be sufficiently funded so that they can continue to help disadvantaged people, please take a few seconds to sign this petition.

If you’re a current or former Fircroft learner, there are additional ways you can support our campaign by visiting this page.

Thank you for reading and please share via social media.