HIGHER education students at Strode College ended the academic year by welcoming visitors to an event aimed to helping adults find new careers.

The college's Higher Education Showcase took place last week.

Sarah Probert, head of faculty, introduced the event that consisted of graduating students from its history, heritage and archaeology, business management, psychology, and English with creative writing foundation and degree courses. 

Strode College's adult higher education courses are run in partnership with the University of Plymouth and come with dedicated teaching spaces and a common room in its Higher Education & Skills Centre.

Emily Keen, an English with Creative Writing student, presented ‘The Write Stuff’, the first article she had published in What's On Somerset magazine.

She discussed her experiences of the course, which is delivered through creative workshops and small-group sessions to provide individual support. 

The course syllabus covers a range of topics, from sixteenth-century journaling to website content creation.

Emily joined Strode just before the pandemic after leaving her marketing executive job looking to develop her content writing skills.

Somerset County Gazette: Emily Keen. Picture: Strode CollegeEmily Keen. Picture: Strode College  

She decided to join the Stode College course after discovering it online. 

“It was a no-brainer, the course had everything I was looking for and it was close to home, perfect for someone with a young family,” said Emily. 

“I loved the course. It gave me the confidence and skills needed to become a freelancer.”

Emily's first commission was co-writing a pantomime for this year's Christmas holidays.

She also has several small business clients that she writes content for and plans to write for more in the near future. 

Another higher education student, Jeni Waller, is leaving Stode College for the third time and is now armed with a degree. 

She said: “This is the third time I am a student at Strode College. I did my A Levels here a few years back, then I returned to get a teaching qualification, and now I have completed a BA (Hons) Degree in History, Heritage, and Archaeology.

“I think Strode has the right education for all stages of life and is local.”

Jeni presented an educational website she developed for Somerset children (historykidssomerset.weebly.com) to teach them about local towns.

She has since become a teaching assistant at a Mendip School.

Somerset County Gazette: Jeni Walker. Picture: Strode CollegeJeni Walker. Picture: Strode College  

Maranella Raso has graduated from the management (business) foundation degree - a course she began after finishing her A Levels at Strode. 

At the showcase, she said: “Entrepreneurship is something I desire. My parents own their own business, and their parents own their business - all in the food industry.

“For my final project, I explored developing children cooking camps where they learn all basics of food preparation but also learn to manage the financial side of it.”

She is now set to study at the University of Plymouth for her final year.

James Hunt recently completed a history, heritage and archaeology BA (Hons) degree, for which he created a documentary about Shepton Mallet Prison.

He wanted to learn more about the daily running of the prison and its history, so he decided to interview ex-employees still living in the area.

The result was an 11-minute video titled Memories of a Prison.

The prison closed in 2013 and is now a tourism attraction where James works part-time as an events coordinator.

“If there is enough interest I will develop a sequel,” said James

“I want to interview an inmate, but they were all moved to different prisons around the country.

“Preparing this video was an experience; we just do not know how life is inside four walls.

“The course certainly put me on the right path as I was at a crossroads in my life when I started.”

Somerset County Gazette: James Hunt. Picture: Strode CollegeJames Hunt. Picture: Strode College

Strode College Higher Education offers a great alternative to studying popular subjects at a larger city university.

All adult learners have access to facilities across the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ College campus.

Studying is possible either full-time (two days a week) or part-time (one day a week) leaving time for paid work.

A Levels or Access to HE qualifications are not essential if you have experience and ability and applicants can apply directly to the college.

For further information on Strode College’s range of university level courses visit strode-college.ac.uk/he.