Please tell us a little bit more about Cheshire College South & West
A great College across three campuses in Chester, Crewe and Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, makes us one of the UK’s leading colleges and our year-on-year outstanding results are the envy of the sector. With an investment of £140 million, our campuses offer state of the art facilities to our students and the local communities. Our strong links with the local employers mean that our students have access to work placements ensuring that they are well equipped for future employment.
Whether students are from around the corner, from the rest of Europe, Asia or beyond, all our Campuses provide a safe, happy and innovative learning experience that will stretch and challenge them to achieve their full potential.
Across our three campuses we have roughly 11,000 students and 800 members of staff. Our college is one of the top A level provider in the North West with the average pass rate of 99.7%.
Crewe Campus is based one and a half miles from the Crewe town centre. The history of Crewe is closely linked with the railways and its rapid development during the 19th century as one of the world’s greatest railway workshops, building elegant locomotives that brought wealth and prestige to the town. Crewe is also the home to Bentley Motors, a British Car manufacturer. Bentley was founded in 1919 by W.O. Bentley and has grown to a size of over 4,000 employees.
Chester Campus is based just under a mile from the Chester city centre. Chester was founded as a Roman fortress in the 1st century A.D. It’s known for its extensive Roman walls made of local red sandstone. In the old city, the Rows is a shopping district distinguished by 2-level covered arcades and Tudor-style half-timber buildings. A Roman amphitheatre, with ongoing excavations, lies just outside the old city’s walls.
Ellesmere Port Campus is just over half a mile from the town centre. Ellesmere Port is a town and port in Cheshire, England, part of the Cheshire West and Chester local authority.
Your International department has welcomed over 4000 students and teachers since the International Office was established in 2014. How did this change your student environment?
Since the establishment of the international office, the College has seen a great transformation in terms of the benefits to home and international students. As a large college we are in the position not only to offer language and placement programmes to our international partners but also bespoke programmes where their students have the opportunity to experience British education by infilling in one of the hundreds of classes we offer across all disciplines. This also benefits our home students as they get the chance to make new friends when the international students visit the College, experience different cultures and inspire them to explore similar opportunities. As a result of this, we have had UK students visiting Germany, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands as part of European project mobilities (Erasmus +).
How do you promote your institution abroad?
Over the years the College has developed a great reputation amongst our international markets. A lot of our work comes through repeat business, word of mouth and through selected promotional activities we do with International organisations. Also the international office organises visits to a number of countries to enhance our links and develop new ones in existing and new markets. It is always great to see old partners inviting you to discuss new projects with them and even greater to see new partners being introduced by old ones. This is when you know that you are doing something right!
Also, on a regular basis we attend education exhibitions in selected countries to promote our full time programmes and also meet new potential partners.
Finally, as everyone else, we have the Cheshire College South & West International Office dedicated Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts where we always upload our activities, showcasing what we do with our international guests.
What is the most desired programme by international students at Cheshire College South & West?
There are a few programmes that are popular with our students. In terms of full time programmes, A levels and English language are very popular. As we are a large FE college, our English language students have the opportunity to develop their language skills on general and academic English, but also their study skills. For example, they learn how to write essays and reports, academic English and research skills as well as referencing which is very important.
For the short programmes, our summer schools, bespoke language and placement programmes for groups are very popular. Over the years, we have developed links with many countries in the world such as Germany, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Kazakhstan,
China, Hong Kong (SAR), Japan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Are there any new markets where you see potential for selling your programmes?
Cheshire College South & West are looking to develop links in new countries all the time. We have recently started looking at new countries such as Japan, Vietnam and Ukraine. There are already some good new links we have explored and expecting new students to come and experience student life at Cheshire College South & West from these links in the near future.
What makes Cheshire College South & West different from other UK-based colleges?
As a College we always look at providing quality education and experience for our students, whether they are local or come to us from a different country. We have a dedicated international office which helps and support students from the day of their arrival until their departure at a nice and vibrant college environment. Our 3 Campuses offer outstanding facilities with continued investment in Information Learning Technologies and College building. We have great sport facilities at two of our three campuses with fully equipped gyms. We offer realistic work environments with placement opportunities outside of the college but also inside as we have quite a few business units within the college such as reception areas, shops,
catering outlets and canteens. We have a wide range of courses at various
levels allowing us to tailor-made programmes to meet individual students’
Your college is open all year round with accommodation options. What time of the year is the most preferred by students from far-‐away destinations.
September to the end of October are quite busy times of the year and then from January onwards until the middle of August. Having three campuses, there are opportunities to host students at different times of the year and the College has the capacity and flexibility to expand the provision of our courses through new international partnerships. The only two weeks of the year that we cannot host students are the weeks of the Christmas holidays. In terms of the accommodation options, we are very lucky to be able to offer international students accommodation either in host families or in halls of residence, subject to availability.
Finally, what is your vision for the future? How do you see Cheshire College South & West evolving in the years to come?
As a dynamic College with outstanding facilities, our main purpose is to nurture talent and empower people to achieve their full potential whether they study with us on a full time course or a short study programme. Our key priorities are teaching, learning and support and these are achieved through the excellent leadership the college has ensuring that learners succeed and receive excellent care and guidance.
We are expecting to develop our provision further and expand our international links with new partnerships in existing and new markets, maintaining the quality of provision we have been offering to our international partners for the last 4.5 years. One of our new projects is to expand the offer of our Higher Education provision to international students (EU and non EU students).