Picture of Students Celebrating their Graduation
Students Celebrating their Graduation

Edge Hill University is joining education providers across Lancashire and using the latest technology to help young people and adults to make the right choice about their future ahead of the start of the new academic year in September.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, universities, colleges and other providers across the county, including school sixth forms, are working hard to ensure that individuals can find out about the fantastic education, training and apprenticeship opportunities that are available locally.

People who have already decided where they want to study next year can apply for a college, university or an apprenticeship place online. Interviews can be conducted online too meaning people don’t have to travel anywhere.

Education settings are ensuring students can still experience what providers have to offer by going on virtual campus tours, attending virtual open days and live ‘question and answer’ sessions with current students.

Picture of Dr John Cater
Vice Chancellor Dr John Cater

Edge Hill University Vice Chancellor Dr John Cater added:

“There is no doubt that the coronavirus will encourage more students to study locally this September. 

“Fortunately Lancashire boasts three outstanding universities – Edge Hill, UCLAN and Lancaster – and a campus of a fourth, Cumbria, alongside some of the country’s best further education and sixth-form providers. 

“Together they offer the full range of educational opportunities, from basic skills, GCSEs and A levels, BTEC and the new T levels, through to Batchelor’s, Masters and Doctorate degrees across the full range of subjects and skills. 

“All have an excellent online presence and are dealing with virtual enquiries on a daily basis.  If you need to know more about the many opportunities available to you, do not hesitate to get in touch.”

Adrian Phillips, Chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum’s Education group, said:

“As a collective voice for the education sector in Lancashire, we do not want the Class of 2020 to miss out. We will use our powers to ensure our future generations do not lose out because of this unprecedented situation. It’s our priority to ensure that our learners continue receiving the education and opportunities they deserve to help them continue to thrive and succeed in their future education and career choices.”

Universities and colleges are continuing to support this year’s students by delivering online learning with regular one-to-one contact to make sure every student has the support they need.  They have loaned out thousands of laptops and other devices as well as providing online learning materials so that every student can continue to study from home. 

Wes Johnson, Chair of the Lancashire Colleges, said:

“Choosing a college or a university is a decision that involves your head and your heart. It’s the job of all of us to provide all the information and support that we can do without students needing to leave their own homes.    This includes creating that sense of community so that prospective students can see who the people are that are going to support them when they start their further or higher education or training.”

Mr Johnson, who is also Principal and Chief Executive of Lancaster and Morecambe College, added: “Colleges across the county are working to help connect prospective students with tutors and others so that they can find out everything they need to know about the wide range of education, training and apprenticeship opportunities available in Lancashire, helping them to make the right choice about their future education and training.

Colleges and universities are also playing a vital role in their local communities from providing PPE to the NHS to cooking and delivering meals to the vulnerable and elderly.

Cllr Maureen Bateson, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

“We know it’s been a particularly difficult time for school and college leavers. There has been a lot of uncertainly for them around what happens next.

“We want all learners to feel reassured that there has been and continues to be, lots of work going on behind the scenes to ensure education and learning opportunities continues.

“Teaching staff are doing a fantastic job making sure they are available to provide support and to help ease the worry and anxiety for our young people.

“My message is that there is hope at the end of the rainbow and that we’re proud of each and every one of our school and college leavers for staying positive and getting through these difficult times.”

For more information about the courses Edge Hill University has to offer, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk.

Young people and families who need support are able to contact Lancashire County Council’s Talkzone service.  The service is available every weekday by phone, webchat, texting, Facebook or email. To contact Talkzone, you can call 0800 511 111; text 07786 511 111; email talkzone@lancashire.gov.uk; or visit https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/youthzone/.

In Blackpool, Connexions offers confidential and impartial information, advice and guidance to young people in Blackpool aged 16-19, and up to 25 for young people with special educational needs, enabling, empowering and assisting and them into education, employment and training. You can contact: 01253 754840.

If you live in Blackburn and Darwen, you can contact the New Directions team who provide support and advice for young people and families on further, higher and apprenticeship opportunities on: (01254) 666424 or email: newdirections@blackburn.gov.uk Information is also at: www.facebook.com/newdirectionsblackburn1/ or twitter.com/BwDnewdirection