Stuck for a present idea? Give someone a course

Tes Editorial

Classes in belly dancing and an HNC in aircraft engineering. These are among the innovative presents on offer from Perth College, which has gone festive and launched "the gift of learning" for Christmas, writes Neil Munro.

The college is encouraging shoppers to invest in presents selected from more than 300 gift-packaged courses starting in the new year, some based at one of its five local learning centres in Perth and Kinross, and some via distance courses.

Each Courses for Christmas gift voucher comes with the option of being beautifully wrapped, accompanied by a personalised gift card with all the course details, and delivered direct to the recipient.

Mandy Exley, principal of Perth College, said: "The gift of education is invaluable. Learning lasts forever and can open the door to many opportunities.

"Our initiative gives everyone the chance to embrace exciting new challenges in 2009, whether for leisure, business development or to get on track for a new career.

"We believe no other college or university has run a campaign like this. It is fresh and has international appeal, as all our distance learning courses can be studied by students anywhere in the world.

"Courses for Christmas offers a gift that is useful, highly personalised and meaningful, and all at an affordable price, starting from Pounds 30.

"So, if a relative has been captivated by Strictly Come Dancing, then our ballroom dancing class would be a tremendous outlet for their enthusiasm," she added.

There is another serious aspect to this festive initiative. Lifelong learning officials in the Government's education department are challenging colleges to demonstrate how they are helping people deal with the economic downturn. The "gift of learning" is part of Perth College's answer.

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