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Making the right college choice

Farming | Published:

August is the time when school leavers get their GCSE results and see what grades they have achieved.

Chris Jones is involved in land-based education, training and mentoring

It is a stressful period, for some their results will be what they expected or better, but for others their results will not be what they hoped for and these students will feel upset, possibly angry and their confidence will be knocked.

My heart goes out to all students receiving qualification results and I can remember my own experience which was not a good one at the age of 16. It was not until I found an applied and vocational learning experience that I suddenly ‘got it’ and from then on started to find education exciting, fulfilling and very motivating.

Learning by doing was my way forward, and it still is.

When I left school I worked on a farm for a year getting some valuable work experience. It was not difficult to get up early in a cold winter mornings because I was excited and motivated to go to work as I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed milking the cows, feeding the calves, driving the tractor and, best of all, being outside. After a year working on the farm my parents said it’s time to further my education and go to college. I got worried, thinking again of my learning experience at school. I was lucky to know what subject I wanted to go into and in my case it was Agriculture and when I was introduced to a college that delivered its agricultural academic qualifications in an applied vocational manner I have never looked back.

If you are a person like me or know of a person like me who likes to learn ‘by doing’ then introduce them to a college which delivers its education in an applied vocational way.

When you visit a college ask them to tell you about the learning experience they deliver – it’s called the ‘study programme.’ They should be able to tell you not only what qualification you will be studying and its subjects, but also how they deliver and assess the qualification.

Is there any practical input, work experience opportunities, additional short employability qualifications such as tractor driving certificate, rough terrain telescopic forklift truck certificate, and so on, and other experiences such as visit and study tours?

There are many good agricultural colleges and universities out there but make sure the one to go to is right for you as it’s the start of the rest of your life!

Chris Jones is involved in land-based education, training and mentoring

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