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Released On 1st Mar 2019

Sixteen students have embarked on an exciting new opportunity that South Somerset District Council has offered in partnership with Yeovil College.

Yeovil College and South Somerset District Council have joined forces to offer sixteen lucky people the opportunity to enrol upon a free Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business, which usually costs in excess of £4000. Out of the students participating on the course, nine are from a mix of local small companies to large engineering and retail businesses. There are two from South Somerset District Council, two from Yeovil College, two from other public sector organisations and one from a local charity.

The course allows people to develop business and management skills alongside areas of specialism, from Marketing and Communication to Customer Care and People Management. This opportunity is perfect for those that have commitments to their jobs but wish to pursue a higher level of education. The course offers two options for students whereby after the first two years there is a stepping off point which will allow learners to graduate with the HNC qualification or continue into the third year to achieve the full HND. This then can be ‘topped up’ with a final year to achieve the full degree.

Sara Reeves, Curriculum Area Manager for Business at Yeovil College, said: “We are delighted to launch this exciting initiative in partnership with South Somerset District Council, where together we will fund sixteen free places within our HND Business qualification, with an option to progress to the full degree. We are committed to upskilling the people of South Somerset, and retaining talent within the local area, and this is a perfect example of how working as part of a strong partnership can achieve this.”

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for economy at South Somerset District Council, said: “This partnership with Yeovil College will give students the business skills they need to enhance their contribution to the local economy. Building our skills base is very important for the future and SSDC’s sponsorship of these college places will benefit individuals, businesses and the wider economy of South Somerset. Providing this training opportunity aligns with one of the Council's corporate values which is - to support people and communities to enable them to help themselves.”

Katie Whitty, Apprenticeship Coordinator at Yeovil College, joins the team of sixteen and is excited about her future: Katie said: “I am really excited to be starting my SSDC sponsored Business HND with Yeovil College! In my role as an Apprenticeship Coordinator, I am hoping that it will enhance the provision currently given to employers by having a better understanding and appreciation for the way in which their businesses work. I believe this course will equip me with the tools I need to deliver a first-class service to our employers, as well as the learners and potential Apprentices I work with. By learning more about strategy and decision making, I should be in a better position to advise employers on how to shape their businesses by educating their workforce through Yeovil College.”

Maxine Wilson, an employee at South Somerset District Council who has enrolled on the course, said: “I'm really thrilled to have been given the opportunity to take part in the HNC/D Business course. For me personally and professionally, this came at the right time as it coincides with my move into the newly formed Strategy and Commissioning team. The course units will correlate with the new varied areas of work I will be involved in and I will be able to use my practical experience in my assignments. The course will help me to develop new skills which I can utilise at SSDC now and in the future.”