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Joe Donovan studied a Level 3 Business qualification, which is equivalent to 3 A-Levels. He hails from Kirkby Lonsdale and chose Kendal College mainly because of its reputation and links with employers & universities.

Why did you choose this course?
Business is a subject I’ve always been really interested in. The course at college looked to be a lot more comprehensive and lead to far more opportunities than if I had studied the same course elsewhere, or done it alongside other subjects at sixth form.

Why did you choose Kendal College?
Kendal College is one of the best colleges in the UK so it seemed like a good choice locally. The College’s links and reputation with employers and universities also made it an attractive choice in terms of making sure I had plenty of opportunities after I had finished the course.

Is college like you had expected. If not, why?
I expected college to be the same as school but it’s a lot different, the environment is a lot more professional and you’re left to get on with work how you find easiest.

What do you most enjoy about college life?
Being able to focus on a specific subject is really good, I know business is the career path I want to pursue so everything we learn seems relevant to me and the career that I hope to have.

What opportunities have you had as a student at the College?
Over the past two years I have had so many opportunities, the course has allowed me to undertake multiple work placements with reputable organisations such as the NHS and Gilke’s in their procurement departments. These placements have been really useful in showing employers and universities that I have industry experience and that I am genuinely interested in pursuing a career in procurement and supply. As well as my main course I have also had the opportunity to undertake other short courses to develop my knowledge further, last year my tutors supported me to complete an Advanced Certificate in Procurement and Supply with a company in Manchester and currently I am in the process of completing an Advanced Certificate in Excel Software. Opportunities like this haven’t been available to my friends who stayed at sixth-form and my CV’s and applications definitely have an edge as a result of this.

What is the teaching style like on your course?
Tutors all have different teaching styles which is really good for making sure everyone gets something from the lessons. Sometimes it will be like a lecture and we will work through slides on a subject, which I find really useful, but other times we will do group activities which others prefer.

Can you describe a typical day at college?
The college week is three days long, lessons typically starting around ten and finishing at five. In the first year the course made up of the core business units such as marketing, accountancy and environments, the second year is more focused on developing this knowledge further by looking at more specialist units such digital marketing, project management and international trade, over the two years the course covers eighteen units. Alongside these lessons, we then also have enrichment and tutorial which is similar to PSHE at school but with a business context, last year we learnt about trading stocks and shares in this lesson as well as receiving talks from various organisations such as Chamber of Commerce, EY accountants and the Chamber of Commerce. We have had similar opportunities in the second year, but there is also a big focus on what we are going to do after college, so there has been lots of help with applying to UCAS or finding apprenticeships and employment.

How would you describe your college experience so far?
College has been really packed full of great opportunities so far like the work placements and trips. Being able to focus on a specific subject has also been really good and a big change from school.

What are you hoping to do after college?
I’m trying to keep my options as open as possible in terms of how I progress after college. I successfully received all five offers from the universities I applied for and after going for an interview I have accepted a conditional place at The University of Huddersfield on their Business with Supply Chain Management Course and have also been accepted onto the NOVUS Supply Chain Graduate Programme which assures me a job with one of the programme’s partner employers should I achieve a 2:1. As well as this I am also at various stages of the recruitment process for apprenticeship schemes, many of these are with FTSE 100, or equivalent employers. The interviewers I have met from both universities and employers have been really positive about the qualifications, skills and opportunities that I have gained at college. I think there is a common misconception among students and their parents about college not allowing you to progress to higher levels of study, this is definitely untrue. The mix of theoretical knowledge that I have gained in lessons, as well as the practical experience work placement, has given me has left me in a better position for progressing into university, apprenticeships and ultimately employment than I think sixth form ever would have.

What facilities do you use regularly at the College?
The Learning Centre and University Hub are really useful facilities for doing work before lessons and working on assignments.

If you could give one piece of advice to people considering college, what would it be?
At school, I wasn’t given any information on options other than sixth-form, it was only when Kendal College came into school that I discovered there were specific courses for professional courses like Business. I think it’s really important to go and find these opportunities, however, hard teachers try they can’t tell you about all the options that are out there. If I hadn’t found Business at Kendal College I think I would have ended up with a lot fewer opportunities than I have.