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Staff Spotlight – Meet Nikki from Inclusive Learning

27 October 2023
We caught up with Deputy Head of Inclusive Learning, Nikki Keegan-Lovelace, to learn more about the department and what opportunities students have.

Ensuring your young person gets the best education and the right support to continue their progression is core to our Group’s approach. In order to achieve that, we’ve designed a range of courses which are designed to ensure your young person develops the skills they need, through our Inclusive Learning departments. Students can either progress onto a vocational programme at College, or go on to work in their community, through a supported internship or dedicated work placement.

We caught up with Deputy Head of Inclusive Learning, Nikki Keegan-Lovelace, to learn more about the department and what opportunities students have.

When did you start your career in education?

I began my education career with the East Kent Colleges Group many years ago. I volunteered at first and then became an LSP (Learning Support Practitioner). I have since worked in a variety of roles such as a lecturer through training providers and government programs. I have only recently returned back to the group to take on this exciting opportunity helping run the Inclusive Learning department. 

What is Inclusive Learning? 

Inclusive Learning is one of the departments available at EKC Folkestone College. This department is for those students with additional learning needs or those who need support. On our courses, they can learn all sort of skills to help prepare them for the future and adulthood. 

What opportunities do students have in Inclusive Learning?

In this department, our Discovery groups go out and do stuff in the community that will prepare them for eventual work placements, whereas our higher level programmes, such as Step into Work and Leap, give them the skills to learn in an internship or a main College vocational programme. As part of this, we work very closely with all the other College departments such as Catering, Construction and Painting and Decorating to help give students an idea of where they would like to go in the future. We also help students achieve their English and Maths, led by our highly supportive team, with a wide number of LSP’s who can support. 

What do you love about working in Inclusive Learning?

I love that the programs here are bespoke, which means that every single student has their needs met. Our team are also dedicated and have years of experience in their fields. Our staff such as our progression mentors, counsellors and Industry Liaison staff make sure our students can gain every opportunity possible during the course. I also like that parents can get involved with the College and our curriculum, with events such as our Open Days and Coffee Mornings that we hold throughout the year. It is great to hear feedback from parents about how their children are doing at home thanks to the things we teach them in College.

What are you excited about this year?

Over this coming year, we have lots of projects planned. One in particular is our new greenhouse, which has just arrived. Students will now be able to build skills all year round through this, alongside working in our garden to grow their own produce. This in turn will lead to some great enterprise activities where students will go and sell these items in and outside College. Our Catering department are also looking forward to using herbs grown in the greenhouse for their own use, which will aid the wider College. We are also getting involved in more and more community projects, such as the recent Kingsnorth Garden Project.