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16th October 2018

Olympic triple jump hopeful and Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) alumni, Ben Williams called back to his local college today to meet Sport students during a week of focused activity to celebrate Colleges Week.

Williams, a former Newcastle College student, hosted an auditorium talk and Q&A session, which was packed with students eager to hear more about the 2009 World Youth Champions’ career, training regime and his hopes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Sport students were then put through their paces with Williams leading an intense gym-based strength and conditioning workshop and fitness drill.

Said Williams: “I have very fond memories of studying at Newcastle College so it was fantastic to come back to here today to catch up with staff and students and share my experiences of training and competing at the highest levels. Despite previous injury setbacks, I am remaining focused on my training and am setting my sights on being selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.”

NSCG works in partnership with local authorities, schools, universities and employers to provide educational opportunities to over 9,000 full-time, part-time, adult, HE and apprentice learners. To celebrate the national ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign, this week the College will be showcasing some of the fantastic work it does, with a number of initiatives taking place during the week, including guest lectures, talks, visits and an open event at its Knutton Lane campus.

Colleges Week takes place from Monday 15 October to Friday 19 October 2018 and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign which will see colleges across the country hosting events to showcase the brilliant work they do, day in and day out, as well as national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 17 October, which will be attended by NSCG Principal and Chief Executive, Karen Dobson.

The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

However, there is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years.

It is also asking Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.

Karen Dobson, Principal and Chief Executive at NSCG, said: “Our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations due to funding cuts of around 30% since 2009. We are showing our full support to the national campaign for change as these cuts are not sustainable and cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our young people and our nation.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, AoC, said: “Every single day colleges like NSCG provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”

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