An adult education college in East Lancashire has been ranked by the government as the best place in the country to be a successful adult student.

Lancashire Adult Learning (LAL), the group which runs Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College has finished first in a Department of Education analysis of learner performance in education, training, and apprenticeships.

Examining data on scholars aged over 19, the National Achievement Rates Table assesses learning on its most important objective of all – students successfully passing their courses.

A remarkable 96 per cent achieved that, making LAL number one.

Lisa O’Loughlin, chief executive of LAL, said: “Whilst we warmly congratulate our staff on these figures, we also salute the employers who have helped develop our curriculum as well as offering a taste of the workplace in professions such as railway maintenance.

“Most of all though, we credit those students who have recognised the importance of gaining relevant skills and even showed the bravery to pursue a totally different career path.”

Haider is one of those who changed tack and made a comeback after being laid off during the pandemic.

Now 23 and working as a medical lab assistant in the NHS, he excelled in a health and social care course and has ambitions to become a biomedical scientist.

He said: “I have gone from being unemployed to pursuing a career in pathology. It’s fantastic and I owe my tutors and the college so much.”

The number one position, obtained between August 2023 and March 2024, is another feather in the cap for the college group which is also number one for ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) qualifications at all ages and levels; number one in Lancashire for apprenticeships in the education and training sector; number one in Lancashire for adult apprenticeships in the retail and commercial sector; and number one in Lancashire for apprenticeships in the arts, media, and publishing sector.

Nationally, the report showed 1,308,800 adults aged 19 and over had participated in government-funded further education and skills learning in 2023/24.

Females accounted for 59 per cent of these students and participation in higher level learning had increased by 4.9 per cent.

Ms O’Loughlin continued: “We are constantly looking at our offer and listening to the employers and students we work with.

“The latter have recognised the importance of vocational, hands-on learning and the relevant transferable skills you can gain.

“They are also clearly attracted to us by the bursaries on offer and flexible ways of learning. But we will not be resting on our laurels.

“Whilst these figures are positive news for the group and indeed the community it serves, we will do all we can to ensure everyone in East Lancashire can fulfil their potential.”