Potential further delays to the post-16 campus at Les Ozouets are not deterring the focus of leaders of the Guernsey Institute who have stressed the economic benefits that can be realised through investment into lifelong learning.
The Institute brings the Guernsey College of Further Education, GTA University Centre, and Institute of Health & Social Care Studies under one roof. It’s an organisation with more than 4,000 learners and 250 staff members, with the average age of those studying being 35.
The States agreed in 2021 to move all learning and sixth form studies to a single campus at Les Ozouets, but it has been hit by repeated delays including the collapse of contractor RG Falla, and P&R’s reprioritisation of major building projects which will be debated in September.
“The Guernsey Institute isn’t just about a building… we are living, breathing organisation,” Executive Principal Jacki Hughes told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday.
“The whole purpose of [The Institute] is to develop the skills pipeline for the island… it will be magnificent and will change the way people engage with education
“[Les Ozouets] is really important, but it’s not the only thing.”
Dr Louise Misselke, Principal of the College of Further Education, said it’s “more important than ever before” to improve technical, vocational, and professional education.
Pictured: A mock-up of the new campus at Les Ozouets.
Ms Hughes revealed the Institute has recently undertaken a “property improvement plan” in the scenario that the States do not approve the rebuild of Les Ozouets before 2025, which has a “huge maintenance cost attached to it”.
“The physical investment in time and money would be huge… there’s a very big list of things to do if not.”
The now abandoned site has experienced several break-ins resulting in the States boarding up entry points.
Ms Hughes, who was appointed to the role in 2019, said she would “not be going home back to Lancashire until we’ve got there”.
She said it was “really difficult” to inform staff - some of which have been waiting over 35-years for new facilities - that the build wouldn’t be going ahead as planned despite being just “one day” from spades going in the ground.
Great discussion at todays #LunchAndLearn did you know the average age of a student at TGI is 35? It’s not a school, it’s lifelong learning to support our community and economy https://t.co/SRgFreBT3H— Guernsey Chamber (@GuernseyChamber) June 27, 2023
The hope is to provide more higher education on island, alongside existing schemes like medical professions, delivered in partnership with Middlesex University, and soon for teaching training which will start this autumn.
Ms Hughes said a high percentage of nurses are locally qualified through the Institute of Health & Social Care Studies, with approximately 15 placements awarded each year. But it’s difficult to increase those numbers due to the Bailiwick being subscale with limited resources, she added.
There is also the possibility of validating the department as a university college, she said.
Around 50% of post-16 learners continue education at the college, while the other half pursue A-levels or the International Baccalaureate.
But Dr Misselke, said it may come as surprise that “high numbers” of adults seek qualifications between levels one and three at the college, much of which in English and maths.
“Sometimes we do have adults coming in who can’t read,” she said.
Partnerships with schools allow some students as young as 14 to start gaining vocational skills, which also creates a pipeline of learners to continue full-time at the college after GCSEs, she added.
Pictured: The Institute brings together three separate education providers.
The GTA University Centre is integrated into the Institutes’ business school to accelerate “high-level professional learning”, according to Ms Hughes.
She said GTA, which is partnered with Bournemouth University, is hugely important in upskilling the finance sector and training people to participate on boards.
Over 3,000 people received training last year.
Dr Misselke said apprenticeships are a “priority area for development” as they have proved vital to the Bailiwick since they were introduced some 70-years ago.
Everything from iconic buildings to hairdressers and restaurants have benefitted from the input of apprentices in that period she said.
The Institute is looking to develop schemes in logistics, office administration, project management, and beauty following requests from industry
Pictured (top): Dr Louise Misselke and Jacki Hughes.
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