For Shahbaz Razaque, beginning a Higher Level qualification at Nelson and Colne College’s University Centre was the obvious path to choose.

The HNC Biology learner found the course he wanted to study on his doorstep enabling him to progress on to his career of choice, at an affordable price and with study options to suit his needs.

Shahbaz, 31, said: “I chose to study at Nelson and Colne College’s University Centre because the teacher support is great and it is local to me.

“I’ve built confidence, improved my assignment writing skills, developed my team working skills and learned new practical skills.

“I wanted to study a course so I can work in a clinical or laboratory setting and from here I would like to go on and study Biomedical Science and a postgraduate degree to become a Physician Associate.”

For Claire Garner, 36, who is in the first year of her Postgraduate Certificate of Education, the feeling was similar.

Already working in education, Claire took the decision to take her teaching qualification locally without the hassle of travelling further afield.

She said: “Working for Lancashire Adult Learning, the University Centre at Nelson and Colne College was a natural choice.

“I’ve always wanted to teach but I just wasn’t sure what age. The PGCE course and teaching experience has enhanced my passion for teaching adults and staff are very supportive.

“I’m looking forward to continuing what I’m doing but maybe look at moving into a Curriculum Leader position or became an Improvement Practitioner in the future.”

Helping to support the local economy and aiding the demands of companies to maintain their efficiency and competitiveness is one of the key purposes of Nelson and Colne College. Supporting the personal and professional development of the workforce locally, flexibly and affordably is another, and the college’s University Centre launched in 2017 does exactly that.

The University Centre’s offer of courses has recently expanded and covers areas including Art and Design, Business and Professional Services, Engineering, Health and Social Care, Humanities, Science, Sport and Public Services and Teaching and Education.

Delivery of these courses is also flexible – with full-time and part-time options, as well as evenings and weekends, intensive blocks and online and remote learning. Entry requirements are flexible too with life experience, work history and previous learning all able to count towards university credits while employers can benefit from a discount with multiple employee bookings.

The University Centre offer will be showcased at an Open Event on Thursday 19 April from 5.30pm until 7.30pm and Steve Wright, Nelson and Colne College’s Director for Higher Education, said: “We have a wide range of higher level qualifications on offer through our University Centre which will appeal to both employers and individual learners. We acknowledge a growing need to upskill and improve the workforce locally both personally and professionally and we believe our provision meets that need.

“For employers, tailored programmes are offered to ensure staff are gaining relevant industry qualifications to meet the needs of the business, without impacting on the day-to-day, while individual learners can fast-track their careers with a tailored programme to suit personal and professional needs – helping you gain a qualification in your own time and at your own pace.

“These qualifications can lead to progression on to full degrees and some of them can be completed as part of Apprenticeships. I would urge any employers considering this to get in touch with me to explore the options.”

For more information about Nelson and Colne College contact 01282 440272 or visit