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Kirklees College welcomes back students with Antony Gormley sculpture and Andy’s Man Club

As we move into September and a new academic year, Kirklees College is an exciting place to be. Not only do we get to welcome students back to our specialist facilities at Taylor Hill and our Engineering facility in Huddersfield, but students will also be welcomed back to the new Pioneer Higher Skills Centre in Dewsbury.  

Opened during the pandemic, our HE and Access to HE students haven’t had the opportunity to fully take advantage of this exciting and versatile learning space to its full extent. With specialised environments for IT, counselling, hair and beauty, art and design and a fully equipped learning resource centre the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre is set to take centre stage in moving forward this academic year.  

Not only has Kirklees College had the pleasure of welcoming our new principle Mr Palvinder Singh this summer, but we also had the brilliant sculpture ‘WORK’ installed at the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre. Created by Sir Antony Gormley, world-renowned for his work on the Angel of the North, the piece was precisely positioned on the North facing roof overlooking the skyline of West Yorkshire. Sir Antony Gormley himself said he was, “delighted to mount WORK on the roof of the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre as a celebration of our hands-on making culture.”  

Kirklees College would also like to take this chance to acknowledge the challenges that all students, staff and partners have had to overcome during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that these challenges shall continue to be present moving forward, but we champion all partners for the hard work and positive attitudes that have been ever present.  

We are well aware that a focus on mental wellbeing is key during these unprecedented times and we are delighted to begin working with Andy’s Man Club this year. Hosting weekly meet-ups for anyone struggling with their mental health in Huddersfield, the charity will also be a key part of our induction week for HE students, delivering sessions and sharing stories with our students.  

The club was put into motion as a one-off meeting between nine individuals in Halifax, but those involved felt there was ‘a magic in that room’ and knew that it was something that needed to be shared. From there the organisation has gone from strength to strength working tirelessly through Andy’s memory to grow these clubs, which now operate at over 55 groups across the UK, and they’re still growing.  

The meetings are free to attend and going forward the Club will have a much more prominent role within the college, delivering sessions and promoting that it is okay to talk about your feelings and ask for help if you are struggling with your mental wellbeing. The club can be contacted through their website or via email at info@andysmanclub.co.uk 

It is estimated that the rate of suicidal thoughts increased from 12% to 14.5% in young people during the COVID 19 pandemic. Although this doesn’t seem like a large increase in percentage, the short time that this rise took place in is a cause for concern, highlighting the increased need to bolster already sub-standard mental health facilities across the education system.  

 

Jake Jackson, Outreach Officer, Kirklees College

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