Bridgend College offers a vast range of educational opportunities to the County Borough of Bridgend and surrounding areas. There are currently over 13,000 students studying at the college in a variety of attendance modes. The college offers in excess of 530 courses ranging from entry level to postgraduate degrees over 25 different vocational areas. This extensive provision is facilitated by four campuses; Bridgend College main site, Pencoed, Maesteg, and the Business Innovation Centre on the Bridgend industrial estate.
The College was established in 1928 as a mining institute providing evening classes. In 1930 it became a junior technical school and the provision delivered changed to that of a day school providing education to 13-15 year old boys. In 1949 Bridgend College was formed and in 1975 it became known as Bridgend Technical College, although not widely used these days this remains its official title. In 1999 Bridgend & Pencoed College (a former agricultural college) merged. This merger enabled the college to further extend its curriculum portfolio into a variety of land-based industries including countryside management and animal care.
Bridgend College provides a unique and high quality vocational learning experience in the science sector which stretches and challenges all learners. The pioneering practical delivery of its Forensic Science course contextualises the more academic subjects and develops an innovative culture of learning which better equips young people with the skills required for life and work.
Through the development of innovative and collaborative partnerships with local employers, including the police and fire services, learners are provided with unique training opportunities in real life situations, challenging them to work alongside industry experts in order to experience first-hand the work of Crime Scene investigators. This is not a classroom based course!
The college has successfully responded to the needs and interest of its learners and partner organisations; raising the status of vocational learning through innovative and exemplary teaching by applying practical experience to learning which provide opportunities for learners to excel.
Listening to our learners we have brought about real change in how forensic science teaching and learning is viewed and carried out. This is endorsed by the significant rise in the number of individual students continuing with their science training and progressing into higher education or employment; in 2014 over 75% of students progressed on to higher education taking forensic science or related degrees.
The learners are also advocates of cross-college initiatives further broadening their experiences and ensuring they are fully involved in college life. Their enthusiasm has led to the development of the Crime Week initiative. This is a student led collaborative project with a local Primary School which involves forensic science learners organising and presenting bespoke workshop sessions to the Year 6 primary pupils.
There are numerous examples of innovative good practice; taking the classroom into the real world. These have delivered real changes for learners such as improving academic outcomes and raising self- esteem, giving learners the essential skills for work and life.
These fantastic initiatives have led to further rewards including one of our forensic learners, Victoria Brand, winning the inaugural Forensic Fire Investigation UK essay competition. Victoria was also awarded the National Colegau Cymru Learner of the Year, 2014; this follows the success of forensic science tutor Sara Davies, who was awarded the National Colegau Cymru Teacher of the Year 2012.
The real-life experiences delivered at Bridgend College, develop learners’ transferable skills, enhance their verbal and written communication, improve their self-confidence and broaden their horizons; opening their eyes to the variety of opportunities in the world of science.
For further information please contact Terrie Vaughan-Taylor, Dean of Faculty on email TVTaylor@bridgend.ac.uk.