virtual open events stock girl

Prospective students searching for a new start once the COVID-19 lockdown is over can experience what it’s like to study at Northampton College from the comfort of their own home, thanks to a virtual open event.

Next month’s online sessions have been arranged to replace the College’s usual open event, which has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It is the first time the College has ever staged a digital version of the event, and all those logging on will have the chance to view facilities through subject-specific video tours, watch presentations and hear from a panel of speakers, get careers advice and learn more about courses by asking questions during a Q&A session.

Students will also have the chance to find out more about bursaries, travel and learning support, talk to experts using an online chat facility and apply immediately online, with the College’s Enrolment team on hand to fast-track applications.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, Principal of Northampton College, said: “We understand it is a very worrying time for people looking to study at college but, despite the current uncertainty, we will always be available to answer any questions you have and help you prepare for your future.

“All of us are having to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in and Northampton College is always looking to innovate. By switching our ‘traditional’ open event to a digital version we will still be able to showcase the incredible facilities we have here at Booth Lane and demonstrate why we are one of the top 10 colleges in the whole country.

“Modern technology gives us the opportunity to discover new ways of doing things and this session will ensure that nobody needs to miss out on the chance to see the possibilities on offer to them here at Northampton College.”

The virtual open event will be held across three days, from 1.30pm to 4pm on Wednesday, 3 June and Thursday, 4 June and from 10am to 2.30pm on Friday, 5 June. Prospective students can apply to attend by registering at

sod cutting for website

The building of a state-of-the-art Digital Academy at Northampton College is now underway, with the first spades going in the ground during a virtual sod-cutting ceremony carried out via a live video conference call.

With current social distancing guidelines rendering it impossible for all partners in the project to be at Booth Lane for the ceremony, it was decided to embrace the digital technology the building will offer by staging it over the internet using Microsoft Teams.

The £6.3million project has received 50 per cent funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s share of the Local Growth Fund. It will see a 1,300 square metre extension built onto the existing main college building at the Booth Lane campus and aims to attract more than 5,000 additional learners by 2030.

Students will have access to a state-of-the-art learning environment that includes an Esports arena, a TV studio, digital workshops, a Mac suite and a digital design studio plus a whole range of specialist facilities and equipment.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal at Northampton College, said: “We live in a world where new technologies play a vital role across the economy and society, from the basic digital skills people need to maximise life’s opportunities and the general digital skills now needed in almost every job, to the specialist knowledge for particular technical roles.

“Technology is rapidly transforming the nature of work and increasing the demand for new types of digital skills. These digital skills are likely to be even more important to the economy as we emerge from the current COVID-19 crisis.

“The Digital Academy will offer a range of courses and apprenticeships, allowing individuals to explore digital career opportunities and progress through a pathway of qualifications leading to higher education, apprenticeships and real-life job opportunities. We will be working closely with employers to address the skills gap in the region and ensure that our offer suits their requirements.

“Our Digital Academy courses will help to fast track students into digital careers and improve their professional IT skills. We offer pathways that lead to ‘in demand’ digital jobs in software development, cyber security and digital marketing.”

Northampton College will engage with the South Central Institute of Technology at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes and employer partners to develop a bespoke new digital curriculum for students using the facility, which will be built by construction company SDC.

Judith Barker, Director of Programmes and Governance at SEMLEP, said: “We are delighted that the Local Growth Fund is able to support Northampton College’s new Digital Academy. This facility will offer a world-class centre for digital technology and provide students with improved digital skills vital to future employer needs in the South East Midlands. These digital skills are likely to be increasingly important to the economy as we emerge from the current crisis.”

The Digital Academy will welcome its first students from September 2021 onwards.

finance story

Business and accounting students at Northampton College have taken part in an online session with a financial expert to help give their career hopes a kickstart during lockdown.

Philippa Scobie, a company finance director who previously worked in investment banking for Lehman Brothers, held the webinar via Google Meet, with 38 students tuning in to find out more about her career and ask her what they could do to boost their own prospects of a future career in finance.

The session was organised by business teacher Deborah Gardner, who said: “I have been stressing to students the importance of seizing every opportunity to make connections and inform yourself for your career – this was one of those opportunities.

“When students look back on how they spent their time in lockdown, they need to be able to say they didn’t waste it and the 38 people who attended this session certainly got plenty from it. Philippa was a mine of information and gave a brilliant insight into a fascinating world.”

Philippa, who works for Noviniti and runs her own financial coaching business, discussed her own career and the routes she took to get where she is now, before exploring the concept of “portfolio careers” – using multi-skills to earn a living.

Jodie Lemon, a first-year level three business student, said: “The talk changed my view on the finance sector. Now I am interested to find out and explore a bit more about this industry to see if it could be an opportunity for me to take in the future.

Another student added: “I found it helpful, especially the advice that she gave us about work experience, it’s best to approach businesses in the summer rather than doing nothing at all. It looks better on our university applications.”

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