College announces exciting new partnership with Nottingham Trent University

West Nottinghamshire College has announced an exciting new partnership with Nottingham Trent University (NTU), which will see the university’s higher education (HE) provision delivered from the college’s main campus in Mansfield.

Working closely with the college, local authorities and employers, NTU will look to provide a range of programmes, including full and foundation degrees and continuing professional education, which meet the needs of residents and employers in the area.

The programmes will initially encompass nursing and allied health, health and social care, business, early years and childhood studies, sports science, youth justice, computing and technology, and engineering.

A cornerstone of the plans includes opening a new facility at the college’s Derby Road campus, offering degree courses in nursing and allied health disciplines in conjunction with Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (SFHT), bringing opportunities for people seeking a local HE route into these professions.

Courses are due to launch in September 2020, with students being offered access to NTU’s full range of award-winning student support services and membership of Nottingham Trent Students’ Union and its societies. All students currently studying a HE programme through the college will complete their qualifications as planned throughout the transitional arrangements, and their learning will not be affected.

Teaching will take place at the college’s £6.5 million university centre, which opened in 2016 with part-funding by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, and in an additional building on the site which will be adapted for NTU use to teach nursing and other health-related degree courses. The proposals will see NTU take over responsibility for the majority of the college’s HE provision and have sole use of its university centre.

The link-up between the two organisations will significantly improve the education and training available to local people and employers, with courses and qualifications from levels 3 to 7 delivered from one site, and boost access to high-quality HE through one of the country’s most successful universities.

This will be the next step in the university’s ambition to help transform education provision, skills development and innovation within the county of Nottinghamshire, and extend its presence within Mansfield and Ashfield.

It builds upon a collaborative relationship that has been growing over recent years and will complement the provision of NTU on its Brackenhurst Campus outside Southwell.

The college and NTU will now enter a period of detailed planning and development to bring the proposals to fruition in time for the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year.

Andrew Cropley, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College, said: “We are delighted to welcome NTU onto our campus and bring their very successful courses in easy reach of the people of Mansfield and Ashfield. The combination of sincere community outreach, high-quality teaching, and strong focus on progression to employment aligns very closely with our vision and makes them a great partner. Furthermore, the partnership will provide enhanced opportunities for our own students to progress into quality higher education.

“Together, we will be able to have a single conversation with employers about ways to address their skills needs at every level, both present and future, to help them grow and prosper. We are particularly pleased that SFHT are working with us both to develop courses in Mansfield to allow local people to pursue a career in nursing and allied health professions.”

Professor Edward Peck, vice-chancellor of NTU, said: “By partnering with West Nottinghamshire College, we will be able to realise our aim of creating a meaningful presence for NTU in Mansfield and Ashfield. Not only will we be offering education that will support and shape a prosperous future for the local economy, this development will enable us to play a role in creating initiatives that will transform the towns over the next ten years”.

The announcement was welcomed by partner organisations and stakeholders.

Lee Radford, deputy director of training, education and organisational development at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Trust is really excited about working in partnership with the college and Nottingham Trent University to help them to develop their new health education training provision, which will be brilliant for local people who are interested in developing a career working in the health care sector and caring for our community.”

Executive mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams, said: “We have been working with NTU to develop a proposal that supports our priorities for the district around Growth, Place, Aspiration and Wellbeing and we are delighted with news of this partnership.

“The provision of HE courses in these subject areas and with direct links to local industry will provide both Mansfield residents and businesses with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

“We hope this will help to retain and attract talent, innovation and investment to our district for the benefit of everyone here.

“We’ll continue to work with NTU to make the most of this fantastic opportunity that will help to transform lives and enable enterprise to thrive in Mansfield.”

Cllr Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council, said: “It is great to see more higher education opportunities coming to the area. Having opportunities like this on the door step will open up higher education to a range of Ashfield residents, who for various reasons are unable to travel into the city. It is also a positive step in ensuring that employers are able to recruit to specialist positions locally. With a number of well-known companies already investing in Ashfield, its vital that residents have the skills and qualifications required to fill these roles.”

Prospective higher education students that want to find out more can attend the college’s university-level open evening on Thursday 24 October, from 5.30-7.30pm at its Vision University Centre, Derby Road Campus, Mansfield, NG18 5BH.