Think you have to move away or spend a fortune for higher education? Think again.
A Wigan higher education college is celebrating a successful first year after being granted university status.
The University Centre Wigan & Leigh College was awarded the status last year as a result of its strong partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Pearson Edexcel.
It has already earned the accolade of FE College of Year 2018, awarded by Educate North.
What is a university centre?
University centres offer students the chance to study higher education qualifications on their doorstep.
At the University Centre Wigan & Leigh College there are 30 courses and career pathways.
Higher level and degree courses are available for £7,500 or less, meaning learning locally isn’t just a convenient option, but a cost-effective one, providing savings on course fees and expensive accommodation bills.
Course areas include business management, creative industries and new media, education, STEM subjects and health and social care.
Students can also make the most of sector-leading degree apprenticeship programmes with employers, including Sellafield Ltd.
A history of education
The University Centre has taken a giant leap from the college’s early days as a training school for mineworkers learning engineering, maths, geology, chemistry and physics.
It was founded in 1857 as Wigan and District Mining and Technical College.
However, its evolution to higher education status more than 70 years ago was a turning point that helped transform the lives of thousands of young people.
As well as offering fresh opportunities to gain better qualifications, it brought the prospect of a life beyond the pits.
The range of courses on offer are much wider than those traditional skills which yesterday’s miners would easily recognise – but still include areas such as civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.
There are also some courses they might not have been so familiar with, including computing, travel and tourism and criminology and sociology.
In 1956 there were just 17 graduates from the college, each paying around 15 guineas per session for a qualification linked to University of London.
Now there are now more than 600 students studying for higher education qualifications.
They learn in purpose-built facilities featuring specialist labs and some of the most innovative equipment found in industry.
Find out more
The University Centre offers a range of Foundation Degrees, Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, Top-up Degrees and professional and post-graduation courses.
Qualifications are available for full and part-time students.
With millions of pounds invested in new facilities, resources and equipment now is the perfect time to take the next step in your higher education journey.
Find out what the future holds for you at www.wigan-leigh.ac.uk or drop in to advice and enrolment events on Thursday, August 16, and Tuesday, August 28, from 2pm to 7pm at Parsons Walk Centre, Wigan.