Canterbury College made history on the 19th January 2012 by becoming the first further education college in the UK to sign an Armed Forces Community Covenant with the commanding officers of the army regiments based in Canterbury.
The Covenant represents all the armed services in the area. With the College they have pledged to work together for the benefit of their communities by signing the Covenant. The covenant is an agreement between Canterbury College and the Armed Services to foster closer relationships between soldiers, their families and the communities in which they live and work.
The College already helps the families of members of the Brigade of Gurkhas convert their Nepalese qualifications into English equivalents. Now it will offer help and guidance to Canterbury’s 650-plus military personnel and their families about its hundreds of courses that will leave them with a civilian qualification. They will also be made aware of the student-run public facilities available at the New Dover Road campus, including a childcare centre and hair and beauty salon The Canterbury Spa. The Army particularly will work closely with the College on joint projects, the sharing of skills and expertise and the mutual support of College staff and students.
The Covenant signing was attended by senior officers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (known as 5SCOTS); 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment (Canterbury’s local Territorial Arm unit known as 3PWRR) and Canterbury College’s senior management team including Principal Alison Clarke.
Speaking after signing the covenant, Alison Clarke said: “It is a great honour and privilege to sign the Covenant. I feel it’s an historic moment. We pride ourselves on being a College at the cutting edge of new developments, and we’re especially delighted to be part of this one. We really value the contribution that local Armed Forces have made to our community and thank them for the valuable work they do. This is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to work closely together to the benefit of the community as a whole.”
Lt. Col. Geoff Minton, commanding officer 3PWRR, said: “This really is a new chapter in establishing close relations between the Armed Forces and the College. Some of our members study or are employed by organisations such as Canterbury College. There are lots of ways that we can mutually benefit each other.”
The Armed Forces members were given a tour of the College, including the recently-opened multimillion pound A-Block. The officers were amazed at the facilities and discussed several new ways they could work together with the College.
The College facilities were a hit with Lt. Col. Neil Den-Mckay, who signed the covenant on behalf of 5SCOTS. He said: “I was impressed by the breadth, scale and quality of the College, and also by the professional manner of the students that I spoke to.”