PETROC,formerly North Devon College, is celebrating Colleges Week, which runs from November 9-15 by recognising success among the diverse range of learners they reach in the South West and beyond. Colleges Week is a celebration of the opportunities colle

PETROC,formerly North Devon College, is celebrating Colleges Week, which runs from November 9-15 by recognising success among the diverse range of learners they reach in the South West and beyond.

Colleges Week is a celebration of the opportunities colleges create for individuals and businesses and how in doing so they help build towards the future.

Petroc offers training and development opportunities, from Entry Level courses right through to A Levels and Foundation Degrees, as well as workplace training for employers, including National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), Apprenticeships and short courses.

The college has seen continual success and last year's results were no exception, with a 97.34 per cent A Level overall pass rate and 98 per cent National Diploma overall pass rate.

One particular student who has used his college qualification to land his dream job is Mark McKellar, aged 20. He completed a National Diploma in Outdoor Education at Petroc in 2007 and is now the youngest ever British ski instructor to qualify to the top level, enabling him to work in France. To reach the top British level normally takes between six and eight years of training and exams, but Mark impressively did it in just five!

The former Petroc student will be the main instructor on a work experience opportunity that seven of the college's current Outdoor Education students will be undertaking in the French Alps in January 2010. This will enable him to pass on his knowledge and skills to the students who may be looking to become the ski instructors of the future.

It's not just young people who are gaining skills through qualifications; husband and wife Max and Patsy Harden, aged 71 and 68 respectively, both completed a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 3 in Children and Young People.

With a collective 16 years of foster caring between them, the NVQ training added value to their existing skills and knowledge and they now have plans to continue learning.

"It's been enlightening doing an NVQ as it made us delve into the theory behind it and it was especially good to learn about all the legal aspects," said Patsy.

The couple were more than happy to travel from their home in Exeter for Petroc's Care & Children's Care Awards evening last month but would have found it difficult and time consuming to travel to the college's Barnstaple campus to complete their training. NVQs are assessed in the learners own workplace with the purpose of enabling them to learn in a practical and familiar environment where they will use their newly developed skills during and after their course.

"Our days are always really busy, taking the children to school and so forth, so it was wonderful that the college staff came to us," said Max. "We are so impressed with the college, they have helped us through the course and the exams."

The college will continue to celebrate the success of their students and ensure they offer them the right tools to reach their own career and personal goals.

If you are interested in studying at Petroc, please contact the Guidance Centre on (01271) 338125 or visit www.petroc.ac.uk.