East Sussex College is calling on its local communities to get involved and share the love during this year’s Love Our Colleges Week.

Love Our Colleges Week 2020 (Monday 19th to Friday 23rd October) aims to celebrate the brilliant things that colleges do, day in, day out, to build communities, boost businesses, and support individuals.

All next week, the college will be taking to its social media channels to share messages from students, positive stories, and offer support and advice to anyone looking to retrain during the current Covid-19 pandemic. The college is calling for the local community to get involved by liking and sharing these messages across the week, using the hashtags #LoveOurColleges and #LoveESC to tell their own stories.

On Friday 23rd October, the college will be welcoming local MPs to the campuses in Hastings and Eastbourne, to meet students and staff on brand new T-Level courses. MPs will find out about this exciting opportunity that puts learners’ futures at the fore.

Rebecca Conroy, Acting CEO of East Sussex College, said, “We’re really proud to support the Love Our Colleges campaign. It is a fantastic opportunity to share and celebrate the opportunities we can offer young people and adults in our local communities.

“It has been a challenging year, but we are extremely proud of the way that our college community came together to support key workers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our tutors and students created PPE and raised money, while we offered the Kings Building at our Eastbourne campus to the Chemotherapy Unit at Eastbourne DGH.

“We are passionate about helping the economic recovery of East Sussex, which is why we dedicated £1million of our adult education budget to create a range of free online courses. These courses will give people valuable skills to help them get back to work following furlough or redundancy. It has been incredibly successful so far, and we will soon enrol our 1,000th student onto this programme.

“So I urge our local communities to get behind us during this week, share our stories, get in touch to see how we can support them, and spread the love.”

East Sussex College is a member of the Association of Colleges (AoC). The AOC wants to see colleges and funding for them prioritised nationally and locally, to aid the recovery from the pandemic, that will be vital to the future success of the country.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said, “This year has been unprecedented in every way, but colleges have risen to all the challenges thrown at them. Colleges Week is a celebration of all the amazing things colleges do day in day out for students, employers and communities. It’s also about recognising just how important colleges are as we rebuild for a better future through retraining, skills and education.

“Despite educating 2.2 million people every year, including more than 600,000 16- to 18-year-olds, colleges have been neglected in recent years. The Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this month to expand the training system with colleges at the heart of the skills agenda is welcome. All colleges need now is the investment from the government to be able to support even more people and employers. That will improve the life chances of millions of people, but it needs college funding to be at the forefront of the upcoming spending review.”

This year’s Love Our Colleges Week theme is “At the centre of” – a focus on colleges building communities, boosting businesses, and supporting people.

Each day, the college will share stories on its social media channels centred around each daily theme.

Monday – At the centre of …the economic rebuild.

– Sharing news about our £1million pledge to support adults affected by unemployment with training to help them secure new roles

Tuesday – At the centre of …growing and supporting individual sectors.

– Sharing six inspiring stories from our students about how we support the key local economic sectors

Wednesday – At the centre of …innovation and designing the future.

– Sharing news about our pledge to work towards offsetting our carbon emissions

– Sharing news about our new T-Level qualifications providing a new pathway to in-demand careers

Thursday – At the centre of …supporting people and supporting communities.

– Sharing our student video explaining why they think college is important to them and the communities that they live in

– Sharing an inspiring story about a student who set up her own business during lockdown

Friday – At the centre of …the COVID-19 response.

– Sharing inspiring stories about our community spirit during lockdown

– Inviting MPs to our college campuses to see our T-Levels in action.

Love Our Colleges Week takes place from Monday 19th – Friday 23rd October and you can get involved by following the college social media accounts on @WeAreESCG on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube. Please use #LoveOurColleges and #LoveESC in any posts you share.