Suffolk New College has four campuses in Ipswich, Otley, Halesworth and Leiston and supports around 5,000 students of all ages and backgrounds.

After securing the Further Education Provider of the Year accolade at the first ever EADT Education Awards in November last year, the college has come flying out the blocks once more in 2024.

This year, student highlights include a trip to Ghana to support an educational project, an anti-knife crime awareness game of basketball and a masterclass with some top chefs from The Dorchester hotel.

The CEO and principal of the college was invited to Downing Street earlier this year, and the Suffolk Rural campus welcomed thousands of visitors to its annual Spring Family Farm Day.

Next up the college will welcome thousands more visitors to its annual Big Day Out event and will also be at the 2024 Suffolk Show. But what makes the college special to the people who have chosen to study there? We talk to 10 students to find out why they love it.

The college is very inclusive and diverse 

Carissa Hawkins, 17, from Ipswich is on a Level 3 media studies course.  

“I originally did a science course, but it wasn’t for me, so I switched to media as it allows me to be creative,” said Carissa. 

“I chose this college as I felt comfortable here and the teachers are helpful. 

“The best thing about the college is the opportunities it gives you and it is very inclusive and diverse – that’s why I would recommend it to others.” 

Ipswich Star: Sam EavansSam Eavans (Image: Suffolk New College)

College helps me realise my dream

Sam Evans, 21, is from Halesworth and is studying on a Level 2 mechanics course.

“I specialise in hands on physical work and have thrived here,” said Sam. “I love it – the teachers are super supportive. Compared to when I was at secondary school, the college is more patient and understanding. Here students are allowed to thrive.

“After this course I’m off to do motorsport engineering as a diploma and then an apprenticeship at Silverstone. Suffolk New College On The Coast in Halesworth is helping me realise that dream.”

Ipswich Star: Jamal GoodchildJamal Goodchild (Image: Suffolk New College)

I like it so much I want to end up working there

Jamal Goodchild, 17, from Leiston is on a Level 1 construction course.

“Construction is what I’ve always wanted to do, and the college is giving me everything I need,” he said. “The course is varied, the people are amazing, and everyone is welcoming. Teachers are there when you need them, and you get extra help if required.

“Next up for me is an apprenticeship, and there is also an opening at the college as a technician. I like it so much I want to end up working there.”

Ipswich Star: Sadiq IbrahimSadiq Ibrahim (Image: Suffolk New College)

I’d like to become a football coach for Ipswich Town

Sadiq Ibrahim, 19, from Ipswich is studying on an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course.

Sadiq said: “I really enjoy the college and the teachers are very helpful with everything. The best thing about the college is the people. Next year I want to move to a sports coaching course. My plan is to eventually coach for a big team like Liverpool or Ipswich Town – that is my dream.”

Ipswich Star: Kaitlyn GeraghtyKaitlyn Geraghty (Image: Suffolk New College)

The college community is close knit, kind and supportive

Kaitlyn Geraghty, 18, from Great Yarmouth is on a performing arts Level 3 course.

“I have made more friends here than I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “It’s a fun environment and its great being able to focus on one subject. The best thing about the college is the community feel – it’s close knit, kind and supportive. Staff not only make sure you get your work done but they also make sure you are okay as a person, and the college has a really nice atmosphere.

“After the course I’m looking at going to university in London or Edinburgh with the long-term aim of becoming an actress on stage or screen.”

Ipswich Star: Nox Sousa-ManuelNox Sousa-Manuel (Image: Suffolk New College)

Teachers are very patient and they get the best out of us

Nox Sousa-Manuel, 18, from Ipswich is on a Level 3 media studies course.

“I chose this course because you can learn so many skills like marketing, social media and how to work with different people on group projects,” Nox said.

“The facilities at the college are amazing for media, the environment is very safe, and I love my teachers – they are very patient and get the best out of us.

“After the course I want to either get on an internship or go to university. My dream job is to become a freelance director.”

Ipswich Star: Martin DimitrovMartin Dimitrov (Image: Suffolk New College)

Kickboxing world champ and business student has eyes on a legal career

Martin Dimitrov, 19, from Ipswich is on a business Level 3 course.

In his spare time, Martin is a talented kickboxer who won a world championship belt last year and is currently training for another world title fight in May. He said: “I’m doing well and aiming to get a distinction on my course, and I’m going to study law in the future.

“The best thing about the college is the teachers are good, you get lots of different skill sets and it gives you an opportunity to do something with your life.”

Ipswich Star: Hannah Preyser-ThorpeHannah Preyser-Thorpe (Image: Suffolk New College)

Teachers are always there to help you 

Hannah Preyser-Thorpe, 22, from Ipswich is studying on a preparing to volunteer course at Suffolk Rural.  

She said: “I started last year – and it’s been going really well. It’s very environmentally friendly and most of the course is based outdoors. 

“The best things about the college are meeting new people, being outdoors and seeing all the animals. Teachers are always there to help you. 

“I’m here for three more years, and the college will help me get a job in the future – hopefully as a gardener.” 

This course is a good grounding to help me start my own business 

Charli Creek, 19 from Ipswich is on the equine management Level 3 pathway.  

“I wanted to study equine, and this college was the best fit,” Charli said. “It has great facilities and they have been very understanding and supportive.  

“As part of my course we have been to the Suffolk Punch Trust and the Newmarket Racing Museum, and we also have mentors at other local yards. The teachers are encouraging, and I’ve learnt a lot.  

“Long term I want to get a job in the equine industry and hopefully start my own business helping horses – and this course is a good grounding to help me get there.” 

Ipswich Star: Vee Kowalczyk (left) and Charli CreekVee Kowalczyk (left) and Charli Creek (Image: Suffolk New College)

Being in such an open space is good for your wellbeing 

Vee Kowalczyk, 20, from Ipswich is also on the Level 3 equine management course at Suffolk Rural.  

Vee said: “I originally went into agriculture at the college – and away from college I started working on a farm that had three horses and I fell in love with them. Then I started on an equine course. 

“I like Suffolk Rural – it has a nice atmosphere, and being in such an open space is good for your wellbeing.” 

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