Students will be able to study for free up to Level 3, the equivalent of studying an A Level, regardless of their background, income or experience.
The move comes in light of the Covid-19 crisis and follows the success of our sister college, CONEL, becoming London’s First Free College by offering free full-time and short courses up to Level 2. WestKing will also offer all of its full-time courses from Entry Level to Level 2 for free from this September.
Thousands of people have signed up for free short courses at CONEL and 48 per cent of students progressed to full-time study in the first year of the campaign.
Tim Mansfield, 38, decided to train for a new career as a plumber after working in the printing business for more than two decades. He studied a free short course at CONEL and progressed to a free full-time Level 2 diploma.
He said: “I’ve spent 22 years in printing and the demand for paper-based products has been decreasing. I was concerned about my job situation, and thought it was time to make the jump,
“CONEL’s free short courses were exactly what I needed. They gave me the opportunity to try different trades without having to overcommit until I knew what I wanted to pursue more seriously. If they hadn’t been free, I’m not sure I would have taken the chance.
“The teachers are well-qualified and approachable, and always on hand with advice and support. I’ve made some great friends at CONEL and learnt some great skills that I fully intend to build upon in my future career. I’m excited about starting a new chapter.”
Research by the Learning and Work Institute shows that young people, women and those with low level qualifications are at greater risk from the impact of Covid-19.
It further revealed regions with low levels of employment before the crisis are facing the highest risk of job losses, leading to wider regional inequalities and reducing social mobility. Read the full report here.
According to The Edge Foundation unemployment is set to rise further and faster than during any recession on record despite government measures to protect jobs. Read the full report here.
CCCG is the largest provider of further education in London and the South East, with three colleges and an apprenticeship and training provider, Capital City College Training.
Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of CCCG, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has produced many challenges for London communities, but it has also offered a unique time for radical change within the education sector.
“The need for an education and training system that is better aligned with the local economic and social needs of our communities is more apparent than ever before. This is why we have developed a broad portfolio of flexible, part time, relevant courses to meet the changing demands of the local and regional economy.
“CCCG has now become the first college group to offer free courses up to Level 3, fulfilling the needs of communities all too often impacted by social inequalities.
“Our mission to transform lives means removing potential barriers to that transformation. Financial barriers often stand in the way of communities progressing to better paid employment with better prospects. CCCG has swiftly and without unnecessary bureaucracy, removed that barrier.”
The courses will be taught through online and blended learning and enable CCCG to reach a much wider cohort. Staff have been teaching using online technology since lockdown was announced in March.
Roy added: “Staff teams from all three colleges have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of online teaching, and their commitment to their students, especially those most vulnerable, has been unquestionable.
“As the country begins its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, some industries may never be the same again. These courses are designed with career transition in mind, enabling students to start training for new careers either because they were furloughed or have concerns about their future employment. CCCG is integral to the local and regional economic recovery.”
Find out more and see all free short courses on offer here – more will be added throughout the year.