Thursday, 13 October 2016

Home Grown Excellence

A Day to be Proud

“A university training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society…It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them and a force in urging them.”

― John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University

In the States debate on education this week, Andrew Lewis was speaking about the need for “home grown” talent. He missed an opportunity in not attending the Graduation Ceremony in the Great Hall at Highlands for University College Jersey – Highland in Partnership with Plymouth University.

Highlands College and the University Centre are committed to supporting the island’s economy through our aim of offering a provision which provides local students with locally relevant degrees for local jobs.

I was there, because my son Roy was graduating with a BA (Hons) in Financial Services. What could be more home grown, and of benefit to the local economy, which of course has a large financial services component?

There were also BA (Hons) in Business and Management, in Childhood Studies, particularly relevant to those going into child care and early years teaching, in Sport Management, and in Social Sciences.

As the Highlands Facebook page comments: "84 graduates will receive degrees from Plymouth University and London South Bank University. The results this year are very strong and we are very proud of the achievements the students have accomplished."

The interim “Foundation Degree” is awarded after two years of study; a final third year converts it to the full degree, but awards are given at the end of the second year. There are foundation degrees at Highland in Childhood Studies, Art and Design, Business and Management, Financial Services, Sport Management and Information Technology.

The list of businesses given with the graduation booklet shows how important these degrees are to the Island. Students apply for work placements, and these companies often take on local talent after the degree is completed, because they have seen them in the workplace, and can form an advanced idea of how good they will be. A mainland University course rarely offers this opportunity, and a work placement is over months; it is not just a few weeks.

In Roy’s case, he was asked to stay on and work the summer holidays after his first placement ended in early July, and as well as the regular placement, he returned to work for part of the other holidays as well as each summer. He was offered a job at the end of his degree course, and is now also training to be an accountant.

As the presenters at the BBC have to say, other degree courses are available. In particular, the Jersey International Business School offers a BSc (Hons) International Financial Services, accredited by the University of Buckingham. The Institute of Law (Jersey) offers a University of London LLB law degree.

And it is not just financial services. The Department for Health and Social Services, affliated with University of Chester, offers a BN (Hons) in Nursing.

There's advantages to studying locally including affordability, being able to live at home and smaller classes. In these times of austerity, where students in the UK are saddled with massive debts, and both there and here, parents struggle to support them,

You don’t have to leave Jersey to get a UK accredited degree. There are an increasing number of higher education courses available on-Island

Studying a degree on-Island is significantly cheaper than studying in the UK. For example, a University Foundation Degree at Highlands University Centre will cost £5689 (for classroom based subjects e.g Financial Services) and £6663 (for workshop based subjects e.g IT for Business). The majority of UK universities are charging £9000. (2013/14 fees)

Studying for a degree in Jersey means that you wouldn’t have to leave home. So regardless of whether you live with your parents or have a family of your own you don’t need to pack up and move away.

Many local degree providers have links with local businesses, which will help when gaining work experience and improve your chances of employment once you have graduated.

Typically classes in Jersey are around 10 – 20 compared to 200 at UK universities. In addition, one-to-one contact is more than you would normally experience at a UK university, this increases your ability to pass with a high grade.

And finally, at the end of the graduation ceremony, there was an extra surprise for us. There was a a special award for “outstanding commitment and achievement” awarded to one student, who was asked to come up and receive it – and it was my son Roy!

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