If you’re looking for a UK college experience with a difference, then consider one of the many exciting and varied programs at Neath Port Talbot College (NPTC) in Wales.
Though you may never have heard of any of its 12 campuses in places like Neath, Ystradgynlais, Port Talbot or Llansamlet (or even be able to pronounce them), NPTC has developed a strong reputation for high-quality education, as well as for giving its students the best possible opportunity for the next stage of their lives.
NPTC is one of the largest further education providers in Wales and consistently outperforms some of the UK’s better known institutions, on top of earning a reputation as the leading college in Wales.
What exactly does this mean? Well for one it means a 99 percent pass rate in A levels. It also means low tuition fees, quality courses and excellent training opportunities.
Above all, it is also a college where students come first through support services, excellent facilities, smaller class sizes and the career advice provided.
Exceptional student performance
When it comes to A Level success, NPTC is second to none in Wales. Figures released by the Welsh Government report show NPTC’s A Level pass rate as 99.2 percent, while 42 of the 45 subjects taken at A Level had a 100 percent pass rate.
This is not a one off either, with consistent results over 11 successive years.
NPTC CEO Mark Dacey, said, “These excellent results, which consistently show a 99 per cent pass rate year on year are a fitting reflection of the outstanding commitment and effort of both our students and staff…
“We are very pleased to have achieved a consistent and sustainable set of A Level results for over 11 years. Very few education providers could boast this sustainable standard over this period of time.”
But it’s not just in Wales that NPTC has demonstrated a strong reputation for the quality of education it provides, because the pass rate at the college has also exceeded the national benchmark.
An exciting and varied programme
NPTC offers a variety of full-time A-level programmes, as well as a broad range in higher education. This means there is really something for every kind of student, as well as skill and interest level. Courses are offered in schools such as Engineering, Tourism and Management, Hospitality and Agriculture, IT, Construction, Sport and Public Services, Hairdressing, Health, Social and Childcare and Visual and Performing Arts.
In the two-year A Level programme students can study up to four A level subjects to gain the necessary qualifications for entry to a UK university. This includes subjects such as economics, accounting, biology, chemistry, dance, drama and computing.
Many of the NPTC courses are designed to be as flexible as possible to work around a student’s family, work or living situations. All courses have a wide range of subject choices and training opportunities to help students find a rewarding career path.
For example, seventeen-year-old Natasha Fenton left school with few qualifications, but undertook Pathways Training at NPTC to gain qualifications and a placement at a sign printing company.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do before I left school – the traineeship has helped me to find a job I really love. I now have a permanent job and feel very lucky,” Natasha said.
Value for money
The cost of courses at NPTC depends largely on the level of course and attendance pattern, but tuition fees are generally quite low at between £5,000-£10,000 per annum.
International students should contact the college for details about their fees.
As detailed above, NPTC students have a choice of completing A Levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships. While the choice is varied, the underpinning value at NPTC is the quality of education.
All staff are chosen for their qualifications and experience. For example, in the School of Foundation Studies, NPTC staff cater for students with sensory, physical or other impairments and are chosen for their specialist skills.
Student services and support
NPTC offers a range of student support services to make sure a student’s time at the college is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. The Neath, Afan, Newtown and Brecon Beacons campuses offer a range of personal, social and academic advice, as well as guidance services. This may include everything from study support to career advice, or counselling/welfare.
Learner Services at the Neath and Afan Campuses are available for students to seek career advice and Careers Wales advisers are available at the Newtown and Brecon Beacons campuses.
NPTC also welcomes international students and provides free English language support along with academic and pastoral support. A one-year International Foundation Programme is also offered at NPTC to prepare international students for entry to a UK university.
As no college is ever purely about education, but the growth of the whole person, NPTC offers a variety of activities that can be as related or unrelated to study areas as desired. A range of clubs and societies offer a variety of cultural or sporting activities that may include drama, music, art, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, or sustainability.
NPTC campuses are safe and inexpensive places in which to live and study. The college is organised across 12 campuses with the main one being just 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of Neath. The locations include Neath, Afan, Pontardawe, Queen Street, Maesteg, Swansea, Llandarcy Academy of Sport, Brecon Beacons, Llandrindod, Newton and Ystradgynlais.
These campuses include outstanding learning facilities with state-of-the-art resources. For example the Neath and Afan campuses have a Learning Resource Centre with a library, IT and study facilities. The Neath campus has various outdoor pitches and courts for a range of sports while the purpose built sports facility at the Llandarcy Campus has multi-purpose indoor training facilities including sport testing and physiotherapy.
Attending NPTC isn’t just about acquiring a world-class education; it’s about expanding your potential, meeting a diverse range of people and, above all, having fun. As a unique and innovatively-cultured college community, NPTC is continually developing and improving the way it works to give you the best chance to excel in your chosen field of study.