Newcastle College has announced a brand-new initiative to ensure its refugee students are given a warm Northern welcome.

During October, the College hosted a series of interactive workshops as part of its refugee support initiative, enabling students from across its campus to share knowledge and explore each other’s cultures.

The week-long programme, which saw refugee students exchange cultural insights and traditions with their student peers across a range of activities including cooking, fashion, sport and wellbeing, is in addition to the College’s fundraising campaign to support Action North and North East Refugee Service (NERS) alongside a donation drive to help provide essential items to those in need.

Student, Lucimara who took part in the learning exchange, said: “I loved being able to participate in the class! It went really well. I learned how to make soup, learned how to cut ingredients. It was a great experience for me.  I believe that learning is always precious.”

The College has set out its commitment to adapting its skills, employability and wellbeing support as part of a long-term project to support the unique challenges that refugee students experience. The College has committed to the new initiative alongside its parent group, NCG and the seven colleges within it.

Scott Bullock, Principal at Newcastle College, said: “During the pandemic and lockdown, we’ve seen just how much of a lifeline and sense of belonging that routine, structure and education can offer. We’re more aware of the role the colleges can play in their community and whilst we are in a period of rebuilding following the return to campus, we can’t lose sight of the impact we can make on a wider scale. Projects such as our refugee student support initiative have demonstrable impact for our communities, and it is our desire to go further and do more; something that we have committed to through the Newcastle College Strategy to 2030.”

“This will be an ongoing programme of support and our intention as we move forward is to work even more closely with our community leaders to understand their needs and how we can best support our neighbours, making best use of our facilities, our expertise and our greatest asset – our people and students.

“It is a very exciting time to be leading a college, particularly an anchor institution as large and as influential as Newcastle College; our ability to offer flexible, practical training aligned to jobs and to develop the personal and citizenship skills of our students is exactly what this city, region and country needs.”