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Opinion: Colleges are powerful forces for good

PUBLISHED: 08:30 16 June 2019

NewVIc principal and CEO Mandeep Gill knows the importance of a college within the community.

NewVIc principal and CEO Mandeep Gill knows the importance of a college within the community.

Archant

Further education providers are embedded in communities in a way that no other educational institutions are.

They have a reach across diverse communities beyond neighbourhood boundaries. They also engage extensively with community provisions, employers and local industries.

Colleges are integral in serving the community, driving socio-economic growth and improving economic prosperity. In the era of education cuts and sixth form funding crises, it's important that we highlight and celebrate all the great things which colleges do for their respective communities and come together to support this work.

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At NewVIc many of our learners come from areas with significant levels of socio-economic deprivation and are nevertheless fuelled by hopes and ambitions for their lives. We stand with all our students, providing them with the tools to make their dreams come true and support their ambitions by providing a huge range of opportunities and experiences to enrich their lives, gain employment and access elite universities.

As a college, we are always thinking of creative ways to integrate student learning with community-based activities. For instance, our School Liaison engagement programme supports secondary schools by providing careers guidance, provisions for students with special educational needs, taster classes, masterclass workshops for gifted and talented students and access to professors from our university partnerships. Elsewhere, our NewVIc Professionals courses and Work Experience programme links students directly with employers in a range of industries and local businesses. Our Student Development programme sees students involved in a range of community activities, such as Citizens UK, Friends of the Earth, Raleigh International, Plaistow Youth Market and in consultation with government representatives and police to tackle social issues such as youth violence.

Much of our work with students is centred around delivering a real, positive impact for local people. As a well-connected college with strong links into business, higher education, public and voluntary organisations, we are ideally placed to progress students and our local community.

Colleges are powerful forces for good and social-mobility when they are at the centre of their community. We must support them to ensure a prosperous future for all.

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