We specialise in providing the support you need to achieve your goals. Based in your own area of the College, Fast Forward students have access to amazing mentors, learning support assistants and tutors to help you every step of the way.
The New York trip in February is open to all our Fast Forward students. It's an amazing opportunity to have an unforgettable experience, create new friendships and build up a number of skills, like problem-solving, navigating the city and budgeting for the trip.
Fast Forward courses help you to learn new skills, make new friends and reach new goals you never thought were possible. We'll create a flexible programme that is unique to you, with lots of extra support from our tutors, mentors and learning assistants. By the end of the course you'll be ready for your next step, whether that's a higher level college course or a great job!
You'll choose one practical subject to focus on from a list including areas such as Motor Vehicle, Hairdressing and Art & Design, and much more. Alongside these practical skills, you will also improve your English, maths and digital technology skills, and gain new employability skills like communication and teamwork.
By the end, you will discover abilities you didn't know were there, gain confidence and have a better idea of what course and career you want to do.
Gerry was an Associate Director of the third largest advertising agency in the world but made the career change after feeling she wasn't making a big enough difference. With a wide range of qualifications and a degree in English & Art from The Roehampton Institute, she decided to put them and her experience to use and help others.
A move from London to Swindon saw her return to college and learn new skills in construction; that in turn inspired renovation work on her own house, with colleagues even helping her lay the garden patio! The college was so impressed they asked her to set up a DIY course teaching out in the community; this experience changed her life, and that's where her new journey into teaching started.
"My job is the best! I get to work with some remarkable people and teach some really fantastic students. It is amazing when a student suddenly understands something new.
Many of my students have been told they are useless or worthless; I get to prove to them that they are neither. We have lots of students that have gone on to bigger and better things, all because the Fast Forward department cared, gave them a chance and believed in them.
There is a course at Abingdon & Witney College for any student, as long as they want it and are prepared to work at it, no matter what their prior qualifications are."
Matthew holds a degree in Education from Beloit College, Wisconsin, USA.
In his twenties, he spent three years teaching English in Japan. Prior to his current role he worked in a public library in Wisconsin, in an academic library at Oxford Brookes University and at the Story Museum in Oxford.
Matthew now is now a Learning Support Assistant on the Fast Forward programme.
"I love how enthusiastic and passionate the staff are here at the College, about working with our students an ensuring they have all the extra support that they need, when they need it.
On Fast Forward, students get the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. This opens up a lot of opportunities and they discover skills they never knew they had, and together we work on the skills that they struggle with.
It could be their confidence, communication, social skills, anything. It's up to us to build these up, alongside continually improving their career skills."
Tracey trained as a Florist after leaving school and eventually found her way into teaching, joining the College at the Common Leys Farm teaching floristry to adult learners.
She moved roles at the College to become a Work Experience Coach in the Fast Forward department when her children started school, and jumped at the opportunity when the Lecturer vacancy became available.
"The biggest benefit for Fast Forward students is routine; having a sense of purpose to get up in the morning, having something to focus on, and whilst in college forgetting about any external issues.
To know that they have support at college for anything they have going on is absolutely huge for our students. That, and getting an education to support their future.
I love the diverse students who learn in Fast Forward. They teach me things about life and give me reason for coming to work to help them."
My course had lots of variety such as maths and English, enrichment, tutorials, trips and vocational lessons. This has prepared me for my future and I have learned a lot of new skills and gained in confidence.
I really enjoyed working in the College shop and my work experience on reception. I also had a supported internship with the College in which I spent four days a week on work placement and one day a week in college.
These opportunities all gave me a lot of experience.
Wood Green School
I came to Abingdon & Witney College in September 2016 and I started in Pathways 5, which is a study programme for students with learning support needs. That course helped me to begin to think about what I wanted to do with my future.
After this I went to the Abingdon campus to do Performance and Production Arts, but I struggled with it, so I started Fast Forward which is a supported vocational programme to help me build the skills I needed for life and work, and I really enjoyed it.
In September 2018 I came back to Witney and did Fast Forward for a further year to improve my maths and English and because of my hard work and effort I received a Student of the Year Award in 2019!
Now I am doing a supported internship which will hopefully help me to get a paid job.
Fast Forward is very relaxed and friendly which helps so much with my anxiety. The staff are really lovely and kind and they make learning good fun and keep me engaged so I never get bored like I did in school.
They are really supportive and approachable and I feel I can talk to them about anything. My confidence has really improved and I've already built a good friendship circle.
Once I feel ready, I'd like to go on to a health and social care course and would like to work with children with disabilities one day.
St Birinus School
I really enjoy making new friends and learning new things. College feels like another way of developing my skills, as I am learning about adult life a bit more and not just what is on the course.
The lessons I find are easier to understand and when there are problems, our teachers are quick to support us. They treat us like adults and not like children too and I'm gaining good independence skills whilst I am here.
I like that I have the chance to retake my GCSE English and maths as they I know they are important but it didn't work out first time.
Going to a College Open Day opened my eyes to the opportunities here. The facilities are good, you have a lot of freedom and I'm making friends.
It's an interesting subject where you learn skills to increase the chances of being employed, including getting work experience alongside college, and you get to do some fun and exciting things. I've really enjoyed our trip to Bournemouth and going to Thorpe Park too.
Overall it's a more open course than I thought it would be, because I'm developing more than just one skill. It's not only the main course; I'm also improving my maths for example.
I have part-time job alongside my studies but a hairdressing apprenticeship is what I would like to do in the future.
We've helped Fast Forward students move on to study college courses full-time, find volunteering opportunities and with the help of external organisations, set up valuable supported internships.