Working together for Rotherham - March 2021

How our Colleges have continued to serve local communities throughout Covid

Adapting to new rules and changing environments has been key for survival over the last year. Schools and colleges in particular had to navigate the tricky task of engaging students online while adapting to teach remotely.

With a good foundation of digital skills and infrastructure already in place at Rotherham College and Dearne Valley College, they were well-equipped to respond quickly to the changes. Last summer, they proactively invested in 600 laptops to ensure as many students as possible had access to online learning.

To cater to those on furlough and out of work, and people looking to enhance their skills, they expanded their range of Distance Learning Courses to offer a fast and flexible way to gain a recognised qualification in Health and Social Care, Mental Health, Education and Training, Nutrition and Health and Business Management.

Local businesses have continued to work with the Colleges and use apprenticeships to upskill their staff. Most recently, KP Snacks’ Hellaby site, have worked with Rotherham College to upskill existing staff by utilising their engineering apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way to upskill, progress or change careers and aren’t just for young people at the start of their career. If you’re currently working, ask your employer about supporting you through an apprenticeship; the Colleges can help them access grants and funding. If you aren’t currently working. Rotherham College and Dearne Valley College can help you secure a placement through their network of employers.

Local job seekers have benefitted from the College’s Essential Skills courses by improving their digital skills, English and maths skills, and getting help with CV writing and preparing for interviews.

While subject theory can be taught easily online, more practical subjects often pose a bigger challenge. The free Community Courses offered by the Colleges include subjects such as Arts and Crafts, Machine Sewing, Cake Decorating, and Mindfulness. When lockdown was announced the courses were quickly moved online, and art and craft supplies were packed up and collected or sent out to students. The Community Courses will return to venues throughout the local area as soon as possible in-line with Government guidelines.

Rotherham College

Dearne Valley College

Case study

ESOL student Mansour Shishehgarzadeh

Mansour Shishehgarzadeh studies ESOL reading, writing and speaking and listening at Rotherham College. Although Mansour worked as a qualified Engineer for many years in his home country, Iran, when he arrived in the UK his limited English skills made it tough to find employment.

Here, he explains how learning English has helped him. Mansour says:

“When I arrived in the UK two years ago I couldn’t speak English or understand people, and now, although my speaking is not perfect, I can understand people and communicate.

“I graduated in Engineering in my country and worked for a company for 15 years. When I arrived here I applied for many jobs, but they rejected me because I couldn’t communicate or explain anything clearly.

“Because of this I decided to improve my English, so I came to Rotherham College - I had heard good things about the College from many of my friends who came here and improved their English.

“I have now been accepted for a job because my English skills have improved and I’m so happy.”