Ben Ramshaw, aged 21, has travelled more than 200 miles from home to take a level 3 ITQ course at Communication Specialist College Doncaster (CSCD).

The student, who has been studying at CSCD for one and a half years, chose the residential college in Doncaster because of its tailored timetable and its specialist provision.

Travelling from Meopham in Gravesend, Kent, to study was a big move for Ben but one that he’s not looked back from.

Ben said: “I picked to come here because it offered the higher-level course I was looking for in IT & Media with the level of BSL and other support I needed to help me, and because it also offered Maths and English as well, it had all of the vocational courses I wanted to focus on, as well as the classes aimed at improving my independence.

“I like how the people here talk to me and support me everywhere. I like how BSL is used to help me understand things clearer and this allows me to do more and explore more options.

“I like the range in options in my IT class, there’s lot of software and topics I can pick from and I get to select how I combine my topics to create my on units, the course is shaped around my interests which keep s me a lot more interested.”

Along with his level 3 course Ben chose to take courses in Maths, English and Accessing the community.

Ben added: “I’d like to do something linked to IT. Something in an office to get me started, using computers, repairing or working on computers or perhaps one day teaching other people how to use and fix them too.

“I like all the things I get to do here like, the gym and sports hall activities, I like being able to go out and be with other people, I feel more independent staying here.”

The onsite community made up of residential students from across the community makes CSCD a thriving hub of activity.

Martin Logan, ITQ level 3 tutor at CSCD said: “The ITQ level 3 award is an A-level equivalent qualification in the vocational area of IT. Our course combines digital office skills with a range of digital media options, engaging and educating learners on a range of topics from Word Processing and Presentation, through to digital imagery, video editing and animation.

“This is a popular course and is a real pull for students from across the country. Our ability to provide the specialist support the students need and create a timetable that works for them and meets their additional needs makes us stand out.

“The range of topics and the feeling of freedom towards this subject area is something our learners are often keen to explore. Every student in the classroom works on their own combination of topics and content at this level. Providing the feeling of an independent FE college experience but within the support of a specialist communication site, which also provides, BSL sign, SEN, and PSD support.  The range of industry standard software and range of pathways available makes the ITQ vocational course a popular area, providing students with a range of possibilities to improve their IT knowledge and overall confidence towards their future goals.

“Previous students have gone on to opportunities within the IT and administration industries via work placements, some have gone onto further college studies, while others have progressed upwards to university. We recently have students’ who have progressed to both Hull and Sheffield Universities, on degrees in 3D digital design and cyber security.

“I’ve worked at CSCD for seven years and worked previously in mainstream secondary schools for eight years. I love watching how much every student transform during their time with us and recalling with them how much more confidant and able they’ve become as each year progresses is the standout moment. It’s fantastic when a student achieves their qualification in this area, especially when they have struggled with education and personal barriers in the past but the greater value for me is in the people our students become along the way.

“It is fantastic to see how well Ben is doing in his studies and to see his confidence grow daily. His journey from home may have been a long one but the journey he is on with his studies makes it all worthwhile.”