Home / News / Success of Burnley College’s digital transformation of key events and student activities is recognised by experts

Success of Burnley College’s digital transformation of key events and student activities is recognised by experts

As the anniversary of much of our social, educational and professional lives moving online due to Covid-19 passes, Burnley College’s success in switching its many events – aimed at current and potential students and the wider community alike– has been recognised by a national expert.

Over the past year, College Tutors have worked tirelessly to ensure that every learner has remote access to the outstanding teaching and learning which has led to the College being recognised as Number 1 in the country in the Government’s official achievement tables for students aged 16-18. And Support Staff have created an innovative mix of educational, exciting and engaging activities, events, workshops and seminars for students to enjoy the unrivalled Burnley College experience from their own homes.

This determination to ensure students continue to be able to maximise their learning opportunities, enhance their studies, access support and enjoy the company of fellow learners online has led Jay Broughton, founder of leading national events company Funktion Events Ltd, to say:

“I’m giving Burnley College full marks for the way it has seamlessly transferred all its teaching and learning and events activity online for students.



While many organisations and businesses may have been overwhelmed at the prospect of creating a full schedule of online events in the most challenging of circumstances due to Covid-19, Burnley College rose to the challenge and showed just how it should be done.

Jay Broughton

Founder, Funktion Events

“As an events organiser with extensive national experience, we are only too well aware of how creating engagement, a sense of community and excitement online can be challenging and want to congratulate Burnley College on its success.”

As Covid-19 impacted on the education sector and industry in Spring 2020, the College led the way in sharing its expertise in creating digital platforms, online team building and best practice with schools and colleges across the nation, as well as local and regional employers and local government. Staff quickly recognised the need to continue to foster a community spirit among learners through a range of extra-curricular activities including:

  • Project Enterprise, an online, interactive business innovation challenge with Adam Corbally, star of hit TV show ‘The Apprentice’
  • A live Health and Wellbeing talk delivered by Clarke Carlisle, former Burnley FC player and mental health campaigner
  • Wide-ranging Entertainment, including comedy spots, magicians, live music (including star of ‘Britain’s Got Talent Jasper Cherry)
  • Weekly competitions and quizzes
  • Gaming, Debating, Mindfulness, Chatty Café, Podcasting, Charity Club.

Paul Whittaker, Head of Student Services at Burnley College, said:

“Our extra-curricular programme is recognised as being one of the very best and is highly valued by students, giving them the opportunity to explore their passions, find a new hobby, make new friends and develop their skills. We certainly wouldn’t let Covid-19 put a stop to that, so our staff worked hard to devise a programme which could be delivered online instead.

“Students – and staff- really threw themselves into the activities with everything from mindfulness to circuit training, from film clubs to book clubs, from gaming to quizzes. “

And, the College also ensured that potential students could enjoy a taste of the Burnley College experience by establishing social media pages devoted to sharing insights into life at College, offering the chance to complete subject-specific work and meet fellow students and staff. The College has also created a virtual tour of its amazing £100 million Campus and videos from staff introducing their chosen specialisms.

Burnley College also made the decision to switch its hugely popular annual Science Festival and Winter Wonderland events online during the pandemic – offering a range of free activities in which the community and local schools could participate. Thousands of people from across the globe took part – participating in live experiments using items found at home to craft activities and browsing goods created by local; retailers online.

Over 2020, the College also staged Open Events online; conducted student interviews; hosted guest speakers, including former England international footballer Jon Barnes; led a programme of student and staff development activities; offered health and wellbeing support and guidance; assisted in UCAS applications and provided a forum for local employers to meet and discuss their reaction to the pandemic.

Jay Broughton added:

“Online events and activities have never been more important to us as a nation. They’ve helped us to retain a sense of purpose and filled the hours of lockdown; they’ve created something to look forward to and been a distraction from the worrying news all around us. Of course, we’re all looking forward to the time when we can meet again and enjoy each others’ company but, until then virtual team events are here to stay and Burnley College is leading the way in staging them!”

Are you ready to become part of the success story at England’s number one College and achieve the very best results? Do you want to learn with Tutors who are focussed on you as an individual and share your passion for your subject? There is still time to apply for a place to start your studies in September. Visit our website at www.burnley.ac.uk or, to discover more about our great courses, email [email protected] or call 01282 733373.