Because of the strange, unexpected and at times tragic events that have gone on throughout the year, 2016 has gained itself a reputation of not being a particularly great year. We’re sure this isn’t the case for everyone though, so we want to look back at the positives from our year, and hopefully inspire you to look back at your year and see that it wasn’t all that bad.

People

When looking back at the year, it’s impossible for us to not immediately think about the people involved, we couldn’t do what we do without you! As well as our wonderful returning learners who have continued to learn with us through 2016, we’ve had a huge number new learners who decided 2016 would be the year they gained a new skill or hobby. If you’re one of those new learners, welcome! We hope to see you in 2017 and for many years to come. As well as helping you to learn new skills over the year, we’ve also done our best to help you save money. We did this with our two loyalty schemes, Club60 and Premium Club.

Club60 offers customers aged 60+ a 5% or 10% discount based on how much they spend and has been an offering from us for a while now. It continued to be a success this year with many new Club60 members. Premium Club was launched in October and allows learners aged 19-59 to accrue points as they enrol on courses, leading to 5%, 10% and 15% discounts on future courses. This has also been a success since its launch, with thousands of members to date.

It’s not just the people we teach that have been important to our year, it’s the people who do the teaching too. We don’t need to emphasise how important our many fantastic tutors are, and we’ve greatly enjoyed going out to meet them and find out more about them for our Tutor Interviews throughout the year. Going into 2017, we’re always looking for new tutors to join us so take a look at our current Tutor Vacancies.

Courses

A very important part of what we do throughout the year is obviously our courses! Although our courses run through the year, our new academic year always starts in September so we’ll focus on that. From September, we launched over 4,000 courses for the year, with hundreds of brand new courses and over 700 courses running at the weekends. Our course schedule this year has been as flexible as ever, meaning you really don’t need to make sure your evening diary is free to be able to attend a course, as we have courses in the morning, afternoon and evenings and on all days of the working week as well as on Saturdays.

Centres

The third key component to what we’ve done this year is the 15 centres from which we’ve delivered our courses. Over the last year we’ve been taking you on a virtual journey throughout Kent to all of our centres, as part of our Centre Highlights. We looked at the history of all of our centres, and told you more about what makes each of our centres unique. For example, did you know that our Sittingbourne centre originally served as a bomb shelter during the First World War, and the bunkers are still accessible by lifting up a floorboard in one of the rooms? Another event this year regarding our centres has been the development of the Tunbridge Wells Cultural Hub, which you can find out more about here.

Achievements

Speaking of people, it’s been a year of achievement for many people connected to KAE. For example, back in June we faced an Ofsted inspection and passed with flying colours, achieving an overall rating of Grade 2 (Good).  2016 has seen achievements from both our learners and tutors. In September, KAE Learner Jessica Watkins was a winner of the Learning for Work Award at the 2016 Festival of Learning Awards. Congratulation again to Jessica, you can read her full story here.

As for achievements from our Tutors, last month we spoke to Floristry Tutor Julie Davies who had just been recognised as the Floristry Tutor of the Year at the 2016 British Florist Association (BFA) Awards! This time next year, we’d love to write about even more achievements from people connected to KAE so keep us up to date through our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

We hope you have a great Christmas and New Year, and have enjoyed 2016 as much as we did! We’d love to see you at one of our centres in 2017, so take a look at our courses for next year by clicking the button below.

Courses in the New Year

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