In a bid to support the Solent and South Hampshire’s economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a leading college in Hampshire has launched an ambitious and collaborative pledge which aims to benefit individuals, employers and communities across the region.
The pledge has been developed with support from a number of stakeholders including business groups, employers, councils, schools and the University of Portsmouth.
Chief Executive Designate at Eastleigh College, Paul Cox, explained: “As a key anchor institution in our region we recognise our responsibility to both lead and proactively collaborate to deliver the promises in our pledge during the 2020/21 academic year. While it is encouraging to see some coronavirus-related restrictions being lifted, many organisations have already been irreparably affected by the pandemic, with many still uncertain about what the future holds. Likewise, many individuals are now out of work or facing the risk of redundancy, and a high number of our 16 year olds have been out of education since March. Eastleigh College is committed to train the region’s future workforce, and will support those who lose their jobs, or need to retrain or upskill. We have a proven ability to deliver excellent teaching online, and will work tirelessly to deliver our full provision of courses, training and apprenticeships however the Covid-19 pandemic develops.”
Eastleigh College’s ‘Covid-19 Bounce Back’ pledge comprises promises, all underlined by the commitment to provide a Covid-19 secure learning environment, whether this is within its campuses, online or through a combination of both, known as ‘blended learning’:
- That we will train a minimum of 500 new apprentices.
- A guaranteed place for all eligible full time 16-18 students whether school, or College leaver whose ambition is to pursue a professional or technical career through one of our courses
- A guaranteed place for all eligible adults wanting to enrol on one of our flexible, supportive and high quality full or part time Access or Higher Education (HE) courses.
- Committing Adult Skills funding to retraining, supporting the unemployed, upskilling, or to provide a pathway to an apprenticeship.
- Continuing to bring communities together by committing to maintaining and seeking to grow our regional Adult and Community Learning offer whether through socially distanced and / or online delivery methods.
- That we will provide a Covid secure learning environment which combined with our proven ability to deliver learning online will ensure we continue to meet government requirements. Therefore this will enable us to maintain all of our provision whether delivered onsite, online or a combination of both however the Covid-19 pandemic develops.
Hampshire County Council was among the first to support the pledge, and Executive Member for Education and Skills, Councillor Roz Chadd, said: “As we all plan for recovery, the further education sector will be crucial in helping individuals and employers to develop and adapt their skills so that we ‘bounce back better’. As a partner to Eastleigh College, we acknowledge the commitment they are making through their Covid-19 Bounce Back pledge.”
Business South’s Group CEO, Leigh-Sara Timberlake, added: “We completely endorse Eastleigh College’s Bounce Back pledge to continue to provide an excellent service to their students and businesses. We urge Business South Champions to get in touch with Eastleigh College, particularly if they are planning to re-structure following this crisis. They are in a strong position to help employees with re-training and upskilling as we navigate our way to better times.”
The full pledge can be found on Eastleigh College’s website – www.eastleigh.ac.uk/c19pledge
Any individuals or organisations who are interested in joining forces to help deliver or simply support the pledge can email email@example.com or use #c19pledge on social media.