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Bob Rashley's 2021 Business Growth & Plans

Today we're talking to Bob Rashley who is a Part Time & Distance Learning Coordinator at Bath College. He organises and oversees the day-to-day running of all part time qualifications at Bath College. This involves everything from enrolment, to advertising, designing the learner experience and taking care of quality processes. He is based at both the City Centre and Somer Valley campuses in Bath and near Radstock respectively.

April is here – what are your business plans/products/services this month? How does this month fit into the ebb & flow of your year? 

Every April I always read Robert Browning’s Home Thoughts From Abroad, it’s a poem about the beauty of England in April,

OH, to be in England now that April ’s there         

And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware,    

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf             

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough          

In England—now!

April is a great time for trying new things, we are continuing our plan to expand on our course offerings with new online courses in Climate Change and Environmental Awareness. I hope that seeing everything springing into life and spending more time on lockdown walks has increased the interest in all things green.

Are you in a business which is either opening up this month – or preparing to open up? 

Regarding my role in the college we are opening up towards the end of April with qualifications in Marketing, Human Resources and other part time taught courses. Also, we never closed our doors to our distance learners. These courses are flexible to start whenever, so we have seen a boom in numbers since this time last year as people have found themselves furlough or just spending more time at home.

What are you most looking forward to as the country tries to ‘open up’ – this can be business or personal?

As the country opens up I am looking forward to more people seeing the benefits of blended learning. We don’t have to live in the year 3,000 to have an online lesson via video call, backed up by periodic learning conferences. Also, furlough has given people time to reassess their careers I’m hopeful that as we move to more openness they will look to FE providers like Bath College as training providers. I am planning to meet that demand head on.

What do you do personally to support your health and wellbeing? 

Working from home makes it difficult to separate work life from home life. I always work in the same place in my dining room so that I can close the door on it when I need to recharge at the end of the day. I have found mindful activities which allow me to focus on one thing have helped me during the pandemic. This has been long distance running, cultivating my chili pepper seeds and reading the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson – a chunky but absorbing read!

Do you see your product/service as one which supports the health and wellbeing of others such as your clients? 

My department, Part Time Learning & Skills offers a myriad of courses which can support the wellbeing of others in subject such as Floristry, Counselling, Mental Health Awareness, and more. April is also Autism Awareness month, so it’s a fantastic time to do our Understanding Autism L2 online course. It’s been popular and there are still many who do not understand both the benefits and the challenges of knowing, supporting or employing people who are on the spectrum. Only 16% of adults with autism are in full time employment, so it’s time we tapped into that potential.

As the year goes on, will you take health and wellbeing more seriously going forward?

As I progress through the year I will definitely take mental health and wellbeing seriously. We have had an explosion of interest in our courses in Mental Health First Aid, Counselling and Youth Mental Health. This shows me that the topic is looming large in the zeitgeist at the moment and will factor into decisions we make on what kind of courses are in demand when we design curriculum.

Have you got any big events - personal or business - you are preparing for later this year?

We are restricted in terms of events due to Covid, but we do have plans to expand all our part time offerings, so watch this space!

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