South Cheshire College


History: The college began in 1843 as the Mechanics' Institution, run by the London and North Western Railway Company. It moved to its current site in 1966, and after several name changes became South Cheshire College in 1982. Following a £74m rebuild, a new campus opened on the same site in September 2010.

Address: Situated on an attractive site in Dane Bank Avenue in Crewe.

Ambience: An award-winning college housed in a former industrial town which is famous for its railway history.

Who's the boss? Peter Swift has worked in further education for over 25 years and studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at South Cheshire College in the late 1970s.

Prospectus: 01270 654 654 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: S41

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Varies dependent on course and qualification. Foundation degrees ask for at least one A-level or equivalent. Mature students will be accepted with significant work experience.

Foundation degrees: Graphics and digital medial; business and management; coaching and sports development; complementary therapeutic practice for health and wellbeing; construction and surveying; engineering; enterprise computing; film production and management; hospitality management; public and community services; supporting teaching and learning; travel and tourism management.

Vital statistics: The college is home to around 6,000 students, 3,000 of whom are full-time. It offers a full range of courses, ranging from A-levels and vocational qualifications to foundation degrees. The majority of students are aged between 16 and 19. University-level courses are in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Chester and Liverpool John Moores.

Added value: Magnificant new campus. There's a 300-seat theatre, six-court sports arena, restaurant, hair and beauty salons, fitness academy, shop, nursery and travel centre. Students use facilities to train during their courses. The college has also developed strong links with many local businesses through its employer engagement programme, which organises student visits, talks by employers and also work placements. In October 2004 the college was awarded Beacon status, and has been named in the Sunday Times' 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Teaching: In 2008 the college received an excellent Ofsted report, gaining 'outstanding' grades in all five areas that were inspected.

Any accommodation? None provided by the college, although a student adviser may be able to assist students in looking for private accommodation.

Cheap to live there? Quite - you can grab a room in a shared student house in Crewe for between £60 and £80 per week.

Transport links: The college is on most local bus routes and is only a five minute walk from Crewe railway station, where you can hop on trains to pretty much anywhere in the UK. Transport for full-time students under the age of 19 is subsidised.

Fees: Most foundation degrees cost £5,000 per year.

Bursaries: You can apply for financial assistance from the college's Learner Support Fund.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: There are lots of pubs and bars offering cheap nights out, and the many delights of Manchester aren't far by train.

Sporting facilities: A range of facilities on the brand new campus.