FURTHER education in Barrow has seen radical change in the past few decades as the range of vocational qualifications and the way they taught has been transformed by the needs of industry and emerging technologies.

We are taking a look at what was Barrow College of Further Education - once spread across several sites but now known as Furness College at the Channelside Campus.

On October 4 in 1984 The Mail described how county councillor George Hartshorn officially opened a college extension offering some of the best teaching workshops in Britain.

Cllr Hartshorn, chairman of the college governors had led a delegation to the Department of Education and Science in London to get £1m for the Howard Street project.

Cumbria County Council was to spend another £925,000 to improve college buildings on Abbey Road.

The results of those major changes could be seen in March 1990 when students in carpentry and joinery examinations scored a 100 per cent success rate - compared to the City and Guilds Craft Certificate national average of 70 per cent.

It was noted: "All the successful candidates are from Furness and employed by local firms.

"Course tutor Graham Hodgson attributes the outstanding results to the commitment of students and lecturers alike."

Work experience plays an important part in the development of many students and at the end of May in 1989 teenagers from a business and finance course laid on a feast for representatives of 40 businesses in Furness as a thanks for taking on trainees.

Course tutor Sue Harrison said: "Without the business links we wouldn't survive - it makes all the difference to the course.

"The students join the course as youngsters lacking confidence but they leave as mature adults.

"Much of the credit for this transformation belongs to their experience working in a proper business environment."

In 1991 teenagers from Walney School and Barrow College joined forces as part of a link course to provide a lunch in the college restaurant for guests who included Barrow mayor Cllr Jim Park.

The Mail, on March 18, noted: "Cooking and serving the meal was part of a foundation course for a City and Guilds catering diploma."

The menu was vegetable soup, roast chicken with peas, carrots and potatoes, followed by chocolate pudding.

Canteen supervisor Christine Gillam said: "They have all done a splendid job.

"Not only have they cooked the meal on time but they have done all the washing up as well."

Among the guests were Lee Copeland and Jimmy Capstick from Barrow soccer club and Barrow Town Hall chief executive Bob McCulloch.