Preston College has spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to shake up its image – by inserting an apostrophe in its name.
From today, the Fulwood-based further education institution will be known as Preston’s College.
The £25,000 marketing move is part of a major drive to try to improve the college’s reputation locally to reflect the increase in academic standards and facilities in recent years.
Legally, the name will remain the same.
A spokesman said that before changing the name discussions were held with focus groups – including past and current parents and students – and industry experts to come up with ways of relaunching the college and encouraging more people to see it as the place to study.
A host of other changes, including a modernised curriculum, are also being made.
Bosses say the institution already ranks among the nation’s top further education centres but locally has to compete against Cardinal Newman College and Runshaw College in Leyland, which have topped the national leagues tables for several years.
The rebranding will see a new logo, and space has been taken on the back of local buses and billboards to advertise the new name.
A new website has also been set up.
A spokesman for the St Vincent’s Road college said: “The new brand name has been introduced to communicate a vision that has its sights set on establishing the college as one of the top enterprising colleges in Britain, as well as reflecting the college’s heritage and continued commitment to enhancing its contribution to the Lancashire community.”
Preston has become the latest member of the leading Gazelle Group of Colleges. This is a select group of 20 colleges across the country at the forefront of using enterprising skills and courses to make their students among the most employable in the country.
The changes also include big plans to improve the number of courses on offer, including a large number with work experience, work placements and ‘live’ work briefs from employers built in.
The Fulwood campus, which caters for 17,000 students and adult learners, has undergone a major programme of refurbishment and new build in the past few years and plans for a £3m enterprise centre was announced at the end of last year.
Dr Lis Smith, principal and chief executive at Preston’s College, said: “Our clear vision is to become one of the UK’s leading ‘enterprising’ colleges.
“This will place a strong emphasis on vocational as well as academic skills for students and being ‘workplace-ready’ through genuine interaction with employers throughout the learning experience.”
She said the college was determined to change with the times and wanted to make sure the public had the right impression of what was on offer.
Dr Smith said: “We want our track record for student employability to be second-to-none – as many students and parents recognise this approach is absolutely critical in 21st Century Britain.”
She added: “The most in-demand jobs in 2012 didn’t exist in 2002. The world is changing fast and our job is to keep the college at the cutting edge of this
“We want our learners to be among the most employable students in the country.”