Students at Nelson and Colne College relished the opportunity to engage with industry professionals during an annual career focused A Level Conference Day.

During the day, all year one and year two A Level students were taken off timetable to attend a variety of sessions spanning all A Level curriculum areas including Art and Design, Business, Humanities and Languages, Health, Social Sciences, and Maths, Computer Science and the Sciences.

In addition, several pastoral sessions were also laid on for students as some of the 50-plus throughout the day, and these included topics such as social media, mental health and creating the perfect personal statement for university applications.

As well as industry figures and representatives from a range of universities, A Level Conference Day also saw the return of NCC alumni and sisters Dr Cathleen Rowan and Anna Rowan who provided respective sessions on working as a doctor within the NHS, and the career pathways that a Maths degree can lead to.

Cathleen, 28, who is now a doctor within the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It was a lovely opportunity to return to College and share my experience of working as a doctor.

“I’m working as a Registrar in Geriatric Medicine now. I find the work difficult at times but always rewarding and fulfilling. It was good to be able to share with the students an example of an elderly patient’s journey from A&E through to admission onto a specialist ward and the involvement of various NHS staff. I wanted the students to understand the many different NHS roles and the range of great careers that are possible.

“I have really positive memories of my learning experience at College and I remember my teachers providing me with a lot of support and encouragement. It was great to be able to give something back and I hope my talk has encouraged other students to reach their career goal.”

Sharaz Ali, 17, formerly of Pendle Vale College, is studying Business, Statistics and Sociology at Nelson and Colne College. He said: “I really enjoyed A Level Conference Day and attended a number of sessions which provided great insight for my career aim which is to work in Business or Finance. I attended sessions on Marketing, the Joy of Statistics and Auditing, Tax and Consulting and they were all very interesting.

“I definitely made the right choice in coming to Nelson and Colne College. I chose to study Business here because I did it at secondary school and enjoyed it, and Statistics and Sociology are new to me and have been really good options to take.”

Lois Johnson, 19, formerly of Accrington Academy, is studying Art and Design, Graphic Design and Media at College. She said: “A Level Conference Day was really beneficial for me. Jamie Kelly from Studio Up North was great as he shared his story and experience on owning a graphic design business, and his work colleagues gave me really useful advice on what makes a stand out graphic design portfolio.

“I also attended sessions on TED talks which are short animated videos that explain a subject in-depth, and I found out a number of options for university courses and what to expect at university.

“My career aim is to work in Animation and hearing from people who have experience within the field prepares me and gives me better insight to the reality of the creative area I want to exceed within. College has really expanded my knowledge and skillset. It has also given me opportunities to work on comic book and illustration projects, and attend the BFI animation camp in Bristol, where I worked alongside creative professionals who had worked at production companies including Aardman and Calling the Shots.”

Assistant Principal for Academic Studies at Nelson and Colne College, Fionnuala Swann, said: “Since its introduction a few years ago, A Level Conference Day has been incredibly valuable for our students, as they gain inspiring and thought-provoking insight about potential career pathways and university options.

“This year was no exception, and I’m thrilled to hear that students really feel that their learning experience has been enriched by the extensive number of sessions that were delivered on the day by a brilliant mix of business people, leaders, academics, our much-valued alumni network and our own fantastic teaching team here at College.”

Nelson and Colne College is the number one college in the country for 16-18 learner achievement and 16-18 Apprenticeship achievement, and is number one in Lancashire for A Level and vocational studies, based on progress.

If you would like to apply to study at Nelson and Colne College, contact 01282 440272 or visit