Wakefield College celebrates 150 years of educational excellence…

Wakefield College is celebrating 150 years of providing education and training. The College, which traces its roots back to the 19th century, is planning a range of activities over the coming months to mark the occasion including the unveiling of a memorial timeline, competition with local school and an exhibition showcasing the history of the College. The College has also revealed a new commemorative logo as part of the celebrations. The hashtag #WakeyCollege150 has been set up so everyone can join in and make their own contribution to the celebrations.

The foundations for the College were laid in 1868 with the establishment of The Industrial and Fine Art Institution that was set up thanks in part to the profits from the Wakefield Industrial and Fine Art Exhibition three years earlier. The new institution aimed to benefit the young people of Wakefield by providing a practical education giving them skills necessary to survive nineteenth century industrial life. Buildings and land for the institution were purchased on Bell Street for the princely sum of £680!

The turn of the 20th century saw an era of consolidation for the organisation with the birth of the Wakefield Technical and Art School comprising junior and senior departments. The 1950s saw the birth of Wakefield Technical and Art College which saw the establishment offer a range of courses in subjects including mining engineering, chemistry, household cookery, dressmaking and domestic handicrafts.

The further expansion of the College in the 70s and 80s saw it take charge of a campus in

Hemsworth as well as the former Technical and Mining College in Whitwood to become the Wakefield District College of Further Education. The early 90s saw the College adopt its current name, take control of the of former Thornes House Grammar School and gain independence from local authority control allowing it to steer its own course.

Today Wakefield College is home to over 8000 learners studying the widest range of courses in the district including both vocational and academic courses all the way up to degree level. Millions of pounds have been invested into the College in recent years including the opening of the £24m Castleford Campus and more recently the launch of the £7m Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre – the new home of the University Centre at Wakefield College. The College also has plans to transform the former Archive of Deeds Building and has also ambitious plans to apply for permission to award its own foundation degrees.

Commenting on the sesquicentennial milestone for the College, Principal Sam Wright said: “This is a monumental moment in the history of Wakefield College as we celebrate 150 years of providing education and training. It’s a proud moment for myself, staff and students both past and present. Thousands of students of all ages, abilities and backgrounds have walked through our doors and transformed their lives through learning. We’d love people to join in and share their own experiences of the College with us.

“The College today continues to play a pivotal role in the educational and economical

regeneration of the district and we continue to be as committed as ever in helping learners realise their ambitions for careers or further study.”

PICTURED: Wakefield College Principal Sam Wright with Health and Social Care Students (L to R) Jade Coney, Devon Pinnell, Tyler Perkins and Holly Boyce

For more information contact Amir Ilyas, Senior Marketing Officer: 01924 789733  a.ilyas@wakefield.ac.uk  www.wakefield.ac.uk