Helping Highlands College Meet the Needs of Small Manufacturers

As one of the main providers of further and higher education in Jersey, Highlands College plays a crucial role in re-skilling and up-skilling the island’s workforce and training young people to fill skills gaps in local businesses.

As Jersey is a small island with a population of around 103,000, there are few major manufacturing companies and it is more typical for local companies to carry out medium sized fabrications on a variety of different materials.

They college is able to support this need with the help of ABC Awards qualifications in fabrication and welding, which the college has been offering for over 16 years.

“People pursuing careers in the manufacturing industry in Jersey are expected to carry out many different types of manufacturing in any given year,” explained David Freeman, Co-ordinator and Lecturer at Highlands College.

“The ABC Awards qualifications allow us to pick and choose bespoke units to suit the needs of the learner. They can study for a full Level 3 Diploma in Fabrication and Welding or choose unit accreditation for a specified unit.”

This enables the college to offer tailor-made courses to their learners and help support the changing needs of the local economy. By offering all three levels of the fabrication and welding qualifications, learners at Highlands College are able to begin as full-time Level 1 students and progress on to completing their Level 3 Diploma, frequently as part of an apprenticeship.

Alternatively, learners can take individual units or study the full qualifications part-time, offering flexible options for Jersey residents and employers to match their learning needs to those of the local manufacturing sector.

David continued:

“The fact that we can allow students to pick units that match their employment needs has made the course very successful. We also run an accredited night course for adult education where students from industry and welding enthusiasts can gain a recognised qualification.

“We have always worked very closely with ABC Awards and they are constantly improving and updating their syllabuses to keep pace with the industry.”

As well as training learners to support local needs, Highlands College students who completed ABC Awards welding qualifications have also gone on to have successful careers elsewhere, including a learner now welding offshore in Burma.

Tony Cook, an ABC Awards Moderator who nominated Highlands College as a Showcase Centre, had high praise for the fabrication and welding staff in the college’s latest moderation visit:

“The staff are experienced, both in industrial and educational backgrounds. It is clearly evident when talking to them and seeing them interact with their learners that they are enthusiastic about their work and the commitment they give to the wellbeing of learners in their charge.

“Talking to learners on the day of the visit, it was obvious that they have gained a great deal from studying at Highlands College. They have respect for the staff and are most grateful for all the help and support they have been given.”

The fabrication and welding department at Highlands College has also contributed a great deal to local community projects of special interest to the people of Jersey.

One particular highlight was a large birdcage created for a charity ball at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, designed and built over 10 hours by GCSE Engineering pupils from local schools, who visited the college once a week as part of a Partnership Programme.

The Partnership Programme enables 14 to 16 year olds from nearby schools to gain an introduction to practical skills for work and a taster of vocational courses they may want to complete at the college when they finish their GCSEs. For engineering, learners have the opportunity to complete a Level 1 ABC Awards qualification in welding.

To find out more about the excellent opportunities Highlands College offers through the Partnership Programme, you can watch their video here.

Highlands College is an ABC Awards Showcase Centre for Fabrication and Welding.