West Nottinghamshire College principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley has paid tribute to students and apprentices as the academic year draws to a close – praising their endeavours in their studies as well as resilience during lockdown.
Mr Cropley gave his thanks and good wishes through a video message, addressing learners who have now completed their studies and those who will be returning to the college next academic year.
The college has been closed to most students since 23 March, except to a small number of students who have required specialist support, with the majority of students having continued or completed their studies remotely through online learning.
Although it recently opened its doors to around 400 students who will continue to come on-site over the coming weeks to undertake elements of practical learning, complete graded assessments, or make a head-start on the next academic year, the college year has now ended for the vast majority of students.
Referring to these “very unusual times”, Mr Cropley said: “I want to say thank you to all of you for engaging so positively in your learning, both whilst you were here at college and after the lockdown at the end of March. Your resilience, creativity and determination to continue your learning has been fantastic and I admire all of you for doing that.”
He also highlighted how well students have adapted to the need for online learning, adding: “We want to make sure that we retain that experience for those of you for whom it would benefit.”
Praising students who have finished their studies, Mr Cropley said: “Congratulations on your achievements, thank you for all that you’ve brought to the college. I wish you well for the next stage of your journey, whether that’s in higher education, on to an apprenticeship, or in to work.”
He also insisted he was looking forward to welcoming back those students who will be returning to the college in September. Although he acknowledged there was still some uncertainty about “what life in college will look like in September”, he added: “what I can assure you is that we will do our very best to make the experience as good for you as it possibly can be. Of course, you will be experienced students and we hope that you will serve as role models for those that are new to the college; helping them to make the very best of their time with us.”
Mr Cropley, who took up the position in May 2019, spoke of the difficulties which apprentices are facing during these uncertain times and encouraged them not to give up hope.
He said: “It’s been a particularly disruptive time for you. Some of you have been furloughed, one or two of you may have been laid-off, and some of you have not been able to continue your learning because life at work has been so busy.
“We don’t quite know how quickly life will return to normal but I urge you all to engage as positively as you can in the learning that college is still able to offer you, whatever your circumstances, and please do continue to talk to us and work with us to make sure we do our very best for you.”
His video address also praised the dedication and hard work which teachers and support staff have delivered this year and he ended with the heartfelt sentiment: “Wherever you’re going at the end of this academic year, I’d like to wish you well.
“We are so proud of all of our students, and of everything that you’ve achieved and everything that you’ve brought to our college. We hope you’re proud to have been a student here at West Notts College and that you will look back on your time here with fondness and with great reward.”
You can see his full video message at https://youtu.be/7BPPpj1P1lc