New college principal’s message is ‘prepare for work’

Aylesbury College Principal Karen Mitchell
Aylesbury College Principal Karen Mitchell

The new head of Aylesbury College has said it is a priority that her students prepare for the world of work.

Karen Mitchell took over as principal and CEO at the college in September.

She first joined the college in 1998 in a part-time role, moving up the ranks to vice principal of learning and quality in 2010.

The college is in a strong position, with a ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted and excellent student success rates for last year.

Karen said: “We’re planning more involvement with local employers and the community to help shape our curriculum and the employability skills of students.

“An absolute priority is to ensure our students are prepared for the world of work with a good attitude, alongside good skills.

“We must also support our students with excellent careers guidance in this challenging job market.”

Karen is a product of Further Education herself – she left school at 16 years old and after a spell in Early Years education, she worked as a nurse in trauma care for 20 years.

Karen’s own background has clearly influenced her views on education - making sure learning is relevant and purposeful, and understanding that not all students learn in the same way.

Karen is concerned that some young people and their parents are not aware of the choices available to them in education at 16+.

She said: “Young people do not have to stay in school after their GCSE’s, they have options such as an apprenticeship, training or coming to college where we have a wide variety of courses that can lead directly to employment.”

Summarising her overall vision for the future she said: “To reach an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grading, to ensure that our college is outstanding in all that it does and produces high quality students with aspirational careers.”