EDUCATION bosses say there has never been a better time to start university-level studies at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Fees for courses starting in September will be at the same level as this year with the cost of a part-time Higher National Certificate about £700.
The fees will be maintained throughout the life of the qualification.
A range of financial products and services are available and fees can be spread out over 12 months.
Loans are available from the Student Loans Company and the college operates a bursary scheme which covers up to 50 per cent of a student’s fees.
The college’s higher education curriculum covers areas such as engineering, construction, education, management, accounting, IT, early years, working with young people, sport and public services.
New for September 2011 are courses in aerospace engineering, counselling, outdoor education and design.
All courses are designed with and approved by employers.
Assistant principal Darren Hankey said: “There has never been a better time to start a higher education course at Hartlepool College of Further Education.”
Trailblazing 26-year-old student Craig Robinson made history when he became the college’s first BA Hons graduate.
He is now training to be a teacher at the town’s Kingsley Primary School.
Craig became the first learner to graduate with first class honours from the BA (Hons) education studies degree which is delivered at the Stockton Street campus in partnership with Teesside University.
He said: “Without the education-related degree courses I would not have fulfilled my ambition to become a primary teacher.
“I am grateful for the support I received from both the college and Kingsley Primary School.”
Martin Slimings, co-ordinator for performance, teaching and learning, was in charge of Craig’s early years at the college.
He said: “His whole journey has been a model and inspiration to others. Craig started at the college by studying for a foundation degree in assisting learning (now the foundation degree in working with young people). Half of Craig’s foundation degree was work-based practice at his school where he was a teaching assistant.
“The modules studied on foundation degrees are designed to be particularly relevant to specific vocational areas and will enhance students’ opportunities for promotion or further job prospects.
“Craig went on to study for a further year, also part-time, to complete his BA (Hons) in educational studies.”
Higher education courses starting in September will be housed in the college’s new £53m building.
Practical programmes will benefit from the industry-standard facilities in the college’s skills academies.
Students on fabrication and welding lessons use state-of-the art technology and the college has a jet and helicopter to help the aerospace students develop key essential skills.
Classroom-based lessons will be housed in the new higher education centre which will have access to its own learning resources centre.