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For the Telford Journal, April 2021


Free adult training courses are being offered at Telford College as part of our commitment to the Government’s new ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’.

The programme is designed to deliver fully-funded training to adults without an advanced technical certificate, diploma or equivalent qualification.

We are delighted to be able to deliver these level three courses, which remove barriers to learning for many people at a time when they need help the most.

We have five courses on offer – a foundation diploma in IT, a diploma in the principles of management, AAT accountancy, plus qualifications in maths and warehousing/logistics.

Each will involve a mixture of on-site and remote learning, with the majority starting in September. You can find more information

We are working more closely than ever with the local business community to develop and deliver qualifications which meet their ever-changing skills requirements.

Through initiatives such as the new Telford Skills Group, and our recently launched Engineering Hub, we have regular dialogue with local businesses.

I received a letter from the prime minister Boris Johnson, thanking Telford College for its efforts and saying: “You will play a leading role in ensuring that more people have the skills they need to get on.”

And that is absolutely key, as we all seek to adapt to what has happened over the past year.

Telford offers the best of both worlds – a mix of urban and rural lifestyle with a real melting pot of skills, and a young and multicultural population.

Our role at Telford College is to support employers to develop the sort of workforce they require, and help to retain important skills in the town.

In partnership and collaboration with these businesses, we must build vital pathways to the kind of higher quality and better paid career opportunities the people of Telford need.

It’s about equipping people for careers in sectors such as cybersecurity, AI and robotics, virtual and augmented reality, cloud computing, wireless technologies, 5G innovation, and a whole lot more.

With new waves of investment still bringing in hundreds of jobs to the town, we are in one of the fastest growing economies in the Midlands.

But statistics show that in many instances, young people in Telford & Wrekin have aspirations which are lower than the national average.

So we need to put this right, and open more people’s eyes to what is possible, right on their doorstep.

  • Graham Guest is principal and chief executive of Telford College

Graham Guest April 2020

Necessity is the mother of invention. That’s what the Greek philosophers believed all those centuries ago – and it’s proving to be particularly true across Shropshire right now.

Ever since the Government began to impose social mobility restrictions to tackle Covid-19, schools and colleges have been challenged to work differently.

We’ve had to adapt the ways in which we deliver our curriculum, methods for keeping in touch with students, and the rules by which they are going to be assessed in place of their all-important exams this summer.

But despite the many challenges that this all brings, it has been heartening to see communities come together, determined to find a way.

We’re seeing innovation, invention and imagination from those who – often for the first time – are having to turn part of their homes into a study or makeshift workspace.

Right now, we are in touch with Telford College students through a plethora of interactive learning services, including the Discord and Moodle teaching platforms. We’ve also set up private college Youtube channels which are allowing staff to share interactive tutorials, and we have secure chatroom facilities too – so students can communicate with each other, just as they would do in college.


We asked one of our current student council members Lindsey Ellis, a level five computing student from Hadley, how she felt things were working.

She said: “We can still get in touch with our tutors for help, and they can show us visually where we are going wrong which is useful because it accommodates visual learners and auditory learners. I think that this should continue to be used after the virus pandemic is over!”

Elsewhere, we’re seeing other heart-warming examples of Telford College students adapting their days, including Ryan James-Nield, one of our public services students, who is combining his studies with a creative fitness regime . . . and taking the opportunity to learn Japanese at the same time.

Ryan lives at The Rock, and explained how he maintains health and wellbeing alongside studying from home: “To keep fit I go on a 5k run around my local area and in the town park – keeping to social distancing rules.

“I also do some weight training where I shuffle a pack of 10 playing cards, and do three sets of 10 repetitions of a certain exercise the card corresponds to, like bicep curls, or shoulder presses.

“After lunch, if I feel I have done everything to the required standard, I will brush up on my Japanese skills – I am currently learning the Hiragana alphabet, and it’s coming along quite well.”

I would wholeheartedly echo Ryan’s concluding comments, when he offers this advice to students: “Don’t worry too much – just work the same as you would in college or school. Stay focused, and talk to some friends when you can – you never know what one simple ‘hello’ can do for someone.”

Principal’s Column Jan 2020

There’s so much choice in the education sector these days that it can sometimes seem difficult to know where to start.


We’re working hard to remedy the situation, by partnering with a number of other Telford schools and academies.


For example, the college has played a leading role in the launch of a new online portal called, which offers a one-stop-shop for locally-based education and training.


It brings together information on hundreds of learning opportunities, from A level and BTEC courses to apprenticeships, City & Guilds, and many other specialist programmes.


Users can search the database for learning opportunities in more than 60 subject areas, from art and aviation to computer science, engineering, politics, childcare, retail, and many more.


Telford College is one of six sites already promoting its courses, and the hope is that more will sign up very soon.



Telford College principal Graham Guest, with Dr Gill Eatough

It can be daunting to try to pick your way through the offerings from different schools, academies and colleges, so we are delighted to support Telford 1619, which brings everything together in an easy-to-search format.


You simply choose the career you are looking to study, and the search engine does the rest.


And the message is clear . . . whatever your career dreams might be, there’s an opportunity to follow them right here in Telford. You don’t have to travel away from home, and rack up thousands of pounds of student debt.


The website also includes a careers advice section, which signposts people to services such as Telford Job Box, which offers mentors and employment support, and has links to the National Careers Service.


That’s not the only example of the college’s current partnership working. Our collaboration with the Learning Community Trust – which includes Hadley Learning Community, Ercall Wood and Charlton secondary schools – is also going from strength to strength.


We’re working together to create new curriculum pathways in key areas such as health, engineering, sport, and aviation; and helping to make the transition from school to further education a much smoother one.


We were delighted to welcome LCT staff to our campus earlier this month for a successful personal development day, which involved more than 900 tutors.


Not only does this collaborative approach allow us to discover more about each other’s organisations, it also helps us to develop a greater understanding of the local business sector, recruitment issues, and what we all have to do to equip Telford students with the skills to succeed.


And at the end of the day, that’s the most important objective of all…


Graham Guest | Principal and CEO | January 2020

Principal’s Column September 2019

“It’s been a fabulous couple of weeks for both students and staff at Telford College.


First of all, we recorded our best-ever A level results with 100% pass rates in a host of subject areas, then followed it up with GCSE maths and English figures which were once again well above the national average.


A high level of maths and English attainment is particularly important, as these are the qualifications which open up the widest possible range of higher-level course and employment choices for young people.


Now, though, with results season coming to an end, our focus turns to ensuring that the next generation of students are connected with the right courses to match their skills, and meet their aspirations.


There has never been more choice on offer to young people in Shropshire, whatever their grades. So my message is: if you have a specific career in mind, don’t jump into a snap decision until you have checked out all your options.


Students celebrate fantastic A level and GCSE results


The doors of our Haybridge campus are now open, from 10am to 4pm every weekday, before the start of the new academic year, for anyone wanting to drop in and talk about their results, and discuss further education options in more detail . . . academic, vocational, or through an apprenticeship. 


It’s been rewarding in recent days to hear so many of our students talking about how much they have enjoyed their time at Telford College.


We know that creating the right kind of environment and atmosphere is crucial to our success, so it is satisfying to hear students speak about meeting so many new friends, and praising the support they have received from tutors and mentors.


So, looking ahead, we will be starting the next academic year in great shape, with exciting new courses including aviation engineering – the only ones of their kind in the Midlands.


It’s all about matching our courses with the skills which local companies need, constantly evolving, and never being complacent in our quest to improve.”


Graham Guest | Principal and CEO

Principal’s Column September 2019

It is humbling, and hugely rewarding, to witness the achievement of our students at Telford College.


For example, take our inspirational group of higher education students who, in many instances, juggle employment and busy family lives with their quest to learn new skills.


A few days ago, we gathered to celebrate our 2019 graduates across a range of courses including business, engineering, music, health and social care, early years services, and supporting children in primary education.


Many of them combined their studies with full-time jobs, childcare and family responsibilities, and were supported by our tutors in overcoming other significant personal obstacles.


Not only are their stories incredibly inspirational, but they also serve as a reminder that you don’t need to rack up thousands of pounds of student debt, or travel many miles away from Shropshire, to achieve a degree.


One of the benefits of the merger between TCAT and New College Telford last year is that it has allowed us to create a complete one-stop-shop for all forms and levels of academic and vocational learning – full-time, part-time, apprenticeships, and much more.

Students celebrate at their graduation; guest speaker Heather Noble with Adele Mayhew; all smiles for Sarah-Louise Taylor from Shifnal; Julie Hellowell-Jones; Abigail Allen.
Students celebrate at their graduation

Our higher education programmes can be topped up into a fully-fledged BA honours degree with a further year of study – and that is what many members of our class of 2019 have now gone on to do.


There are many different reasons why people sign up to these courses. For some, it’s a chance to further their qualifications to increase earning potential, while for others it’s a chance to retrain for a totally new career direction.


As a result, our courses attract people from widely differing ages and backgrounds, benefiting from smaller class sizes and the support of the University Centre Telford at Southwater.


It was fantastic to hear so many of this year’s graduates speak in glowing terms about the support they received from our tutors, using words like ‘absolutely amazing’ and ‘great at making you realise what you can achieve’.


Julie Hellowell-Jones, who works at Ercall Wood Academy, said: “I left Telford College not only with a foundation degree, but also with new friends and a new career path.”


The message is clear – it’s never too late to learn, and you don’t need to travel outside Telford to follow your career dreams.”


Graham Guest | Principal and CEO | September 2019

Principal’s Column November 2019

“We are delighted to have formed partnerships with so many local organisations, to provide our students with valuable work experience.


One of our thriving link-ups is with the BBC’s ‘Introducing’ team, which is giving our music and media students some truly amazing opportunities.


In recent weeks they have been spending time at the BBC Shropshire studios to film and sound engineer live performances by the hottest new talent across the county, such as Rainbreakers and Ruby Allen. 


Members of the Introducing team have also visited our Haybridge campus to talk to students, offering an insight into their career journeys, and day-to-day working routines. 


Keen drummer Molly Grigg, a member of college band The Final Calling, is studying level three music and sat in on one of the sessions.


She said: “I didn’t know much about BBC Introducing before the workshop, but it seems like an incredible opportunity, and the radio side of things really interested me – it got me thinking about a different career path.”


Scotty Powell, a creative media level three student, also enjoyed the BBC workshop, saying: “It was really inspiring. I found it interesting learning about their career paths and how they progressed into the BBC.



Molly Grigg, music student and drummer
Students at the BBC studios


“I’ve realised I want to do a job that I really enjoy, and video editing or sports broadcasting would be my dream.”


This sort of feedback proves what a massive difference these kind of partnerships really do make.


We already have a long history of bands and artists from our college being played on BBC introducing Shropshire and other BBC radio stations, but this link-up opens up yet more opportunities, such as supporting live sessions and editing video content.


It means students can say they have sound engineered for a live music broadcast on the BBC, and filmed and edited content to be broadcast on their social media channels. This is incredible for their CV’s and UCAS applications. We were also involved in the latest BBC Music Day showcase event at Albert’s Shed, in Southwater, and are looking forward to working with the venue in the near future to provide yet more amazing real-life work experience for our music students.

Graham Guest | Principal and CEO | November 2019

Principal’s Welcome October 2019

Principal's Welcome

It is always humbling, and hugely rewarding, to witness the incredible achievements of our students here at Telford College.


We’ve reshaped our curriculum to meet the needs of the local business community, working in partnership with some of the area’s biggest companies – and the benefits are very clear to see. Covid-19 has presented many challenges, and our blended learning curriculum – combining remote studies with classes on campus –  reflects the need to balance safety with student achievement.


Since the creation of Telford College, our A level results have improved year-on-year, with 100% pass rates in a host of subject areas. Our GCSE maths and English figures are also well above the national average each year.

A high level of maths and English attainment is particularly important, as these are the qualifications which open up the widest possible range of higher-level course and employment choices for young people.


Our 7th Form, based on a traditional 6th form, but taking the concept to the next level – blending traditional A level courses with direct links not just to universities, but crucially to industry mentors from local companies – is proving to be a great success.


Huge investment in university-standard facilities at our Haybridge campus means we offer academic, vocational and apprenticeship programmes which pave the way for careers in more than 70 different industries.


For example, our engineering and construction programmes are helping to help tackle a skills shortage, and we have exciting plans to open a new maths and digital enterprise hub in the heart of Telford in 2021 as part of the town centre’s fast-developing new ‘station quarter’.


Meanwhile, at the Haybridge campus, our virtual and augmented reality suite also makes us one of the leading colleges in the country for developing skills in this exciting and dynamic hi-tech sector.


Cutting-edge technology has never been so important in these current times, but it is no good unless students are equipped with the basics: and that’s why we are proud to see our academic results improving year-on-year.


Having been a lecturer myself, I’m acutely aware of the importance of delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning, and motivating students to be the best they can possibly be.


And having run my own business too, I’m equally aware of the value of delivering the sort of practical, relevant skills in step with the needs of the local economy. These are challenging times, as we strive to deliver education in new, innovative and increasingly hi-tech ways to ensure that no student, whatever their background, gets left behind.


But there have never been so many opportunities for students, and I am honoured at having the opportunity to lead Telford College’s committed and experienced team during these dynamic and changing times.

Young people in Shropshire have never had so much choice on their doorstep; you don’t need to rack up thousands of pounds of student debt to achieve your dreams.


The message is clear . . . it’s never too late to learn, and you can follow your career dreams, right here in Telford.

Graham Guest


Graham Guest signature
Graham Guest, Principal and CEO