Virtual Open Day will showcase best of UCP


An open day is being hosted on November 7 Photo: UCP

When I studied, in the previous century (shudder) the internet itself was still in its infancy. No-one had a mobile phone or a laptop and we were still about eight years away from social media.

So on the day I decided to return to the world of lecture theatres - albeit just for one day - I knew I would see a few changes, many of which would have been present even pre-covid.

That said, there will be some differences between this and any other year. As an example, the IT suites I saw had X symbols on alternate screens, to socially distance students, who are wearing masks.

A one-way system means that people can never pass on the stairways; arrows show people around on the ground floor, with a one-way route around to the Costa cafe.

There are hand sanitisers, and staff are wearing visors or masks while administering lectures. In addition, students do not need to be on-site for the whole week as timetables at UCP are structured into two days a week, so students are currently on-site for one day and online for the other day.

The students I saw were full of praise for how UCP had handled things, but away from Covid what also struck me was how well-adjusted, friendly and interesting they were.

Some of them already knew exactly where they were headed in life, and which tools they were gaining from their course. At that age all I was interested in was Tomb Raider and Britney Spears, with a vague perception of wanting a career in writing...

That said, the ones who hadn't quite worked out their next step were also complimentary of the support and advice they were getting.

I spoke to students of accountancy, early years and education, business management and forensic investigation. Some were engaged in foundation degrees, and weighing up a top-up year into a full degree at UCP.

Emily, who is in the second year of studying forensic investigation, said: "We focus on crime scene recording and recovery; the practical elements include a crime scene house, where evidence is recovered and looking at case studies of large-scale police investigations as to how they are conducted.

"I would like to go into being a SOCO (Scene of Crime Officer) and this degree will give me a really strong chance of that because it will have me practicing what I'm doing. I've already managed to secure a special constable position which will allow me to do part-time hours in that, alongside my degree."

Tanya, who is doing the same course, moved from York and appreciates the direct route down to Peterborough, where she stays in student flats with en-suite rooms.

The course linked well to her A-Levels, and the small class sizes are convenient mean that it is relatively easy to access tutors for any advice or queries.

Ellie currently works part time at a nursery in Crowland, and is on the path towards a top-up level 6 qualification in Education Studies with the aim of becoming a room leader, deputy manager, and eventually manager.

She said of the one day she has at UCP: "We have a lot of (delete) time to work on assignments here and so there's not too much work to take home. My boss is very supportive and allows me to have time in the office, to complete anything I need to do on my course."

Katy is also doing her foundation degree in early years and education, in her second year, and chose the course because of its convenience.

"I was settled in life at a young age. I had a partner and a house and wanted to stay close to my family by staying home and local.

"I went to an open day and discussed the course with staff and previous students, and that just confirmed that I wanted to be a teacher and this was the easiest route for me.

"It's lovely here and everyone gets on - there's so much support from staff."

I spoke to two mature students, who put their careers on hold to bring up their children - now those same children are delighted that their mothers are going 'back to university', and fulfilling long-held ambitions.

Ryan is studying accounting and finance, and said of his first two years in the course: "It's been intense but in a good way, and the teaching is very good. If you ever have questions the lecturer is always there to provide the answers.

"I'm nervous about the current economic situation and haven't started looking yet, but the employability hub here have found quite a lot of opportunities for me to look at in the next few weeks."

He added that he has been well-supported with additional materials to help with his dyslexia.

Fellow coursemate Joe echoed the positive thoughts about the course, adding that he will be looking to do a Masters degree, and that UCP will supply extensive information into further employment, full-time jobs, and internships.

He said: "What I like about UCP is that their courses are integrated into what the demand for the city is, and working with local businesses is what attracted me to stay in Peterborough."

Overall then, a positive morning at the centre, which has adapted well to these strange times - and so have the students.

University Centre Peterborough has two open days this year, on Saturday, November 7 (10am to 1pm) and Wednesday, December 2 (5.30pm to 8pm).

The campus itself will be closed to visitors so both days will take place online, but you will still get to speak to staff by booking 1:1 meetings at your preferred times. There's also a series of other virtual 1:1 sessions on other days, where you can find out more.

You'll be able to attend talks about UCP, student finances and the UCAS application process. These will take place every 30 minutes and last approx 20 minutes with the opportunity to ask questions.

For more information click here

UCP open day - November 7