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News

Teaming up with Menu Gordon Jones: Ceramics students plate up their own meal

 

Ceramics students at Bath College teamed up to work with Michelin-trained chef Gordon Jones and create plates for his award-winning restaurant.
 

Gordon, of Menu Gordon Jones, was keen to find replacements for his quirky restaurant plates, which were made in Thailand. A chance comment during a meal at his restaurant in Bath led to Love2learn ceramics students Gwyn Chanter and Julie Watt forging a deal – ‘you make the plates and I’ll supply the food’.
 


 

Gwyn and Julie took up the challenge and sourced an American glaze, which was food safe and matched the original colour of the plates.
 

They took advice from their tutor and mentor Julia Warin about shrinkage after firing and experimented with methods and materials.
 


 

Both students found it an exciting and educational challenge to take on, and a month later they presented the finished plates to Gordon and his manager and partner Amelia.
 

Having done this, they are looking forward to a meal from the tasting menu at Menu Gordon Jones in a couple of weeks’ time.
 

Julie, who has been studying ceramics as a Love2learn student for six years, said: “The original plates were hand-made, so we had to work out the size and how to achieve something similar.
 


 

“We made four plates to begin with, each with a small size difference, just to see the finished size after firing (so that we knew what we were working with).
 

“I enjoy making things at the college and it’s also about the people here. It’s a nice group of people- we all get inspired by The Great Pottery Throw Down when it’s on TV and try to replicate things.
 

“I enjoy thinking about decorative effects. When I first started, I thought it was all about making the pot, but there’s a world of decorative techniques out there and you learn quite a few over the years.”
 

News

Stonemasonry apprentice shortlisted for the 2017 Young Builder of the Year Awards

 

A stonemasonry apprentice at Bath College has been shortlisted for the 2017 Young Builder of the Year Awards.
 
Morwenna Harrington is through to the next stage of the awards, organised to celebrate the achievements of young people in construction.
 
She is one of 15 finalists in the 18 to 24-year-old category and has been invited to the House of Commons for a special awards ceremony.
 

 
Morwenna, 24, is in her third year studying at Bath College after securing an apprenticeship with Bristol Stonemasonry last month.
 
She said: “When I first started stonemasonry I couldn’t really lift a hammer. I didn’t know if I’d made the right choice, but I put in extra time and caught up. I’m pretty happy with my decision now.
 
“As a stonemason you’re using both parts of your brain, it’s a good mixture of creativity and maths. I enjoy working in the banker shop because you can get into a zone and focus on what you’re doing.
 
“It’s the last year I could have applied for the awards, so I thought it was worth a go. We had to write a bit about ourselves for the application form, but I wasn’t expecting to hear anything back.
 
“I’m quite nervous about going up to London, but I’m pleased to have been shortlisted. Anything like this looks good on your CV.”
 

 
Applications for the Young Builder of the Year are open to students and apprentices from across the UK aged 14 to 24-years-old.
 
The competition aims to show how young people from a variety of different backgrounds, including males and females, can succeed in industry.
 
The winner will receive a prize fund and all shortlisted finalists receive a certificate and tools vouchers.
 
Morwenna will travel to the House of Commons with her parents and stonemasonry lecturer Paul Maggs on October 18.
 
She said: “When I first signed up to stonemasonry I assumed there wouldn’t be as many females, but there were more than I expected.
 
“It’s a perception that women don’t study stonemasonry, but I haven’t found it to be a problem. If you’re a female and you’re thinking about a construction course, this shouldn’t hold you back in any way.
 
“I look back at the drawings I did in first year and I think ‘I can do that easily now.’ It’s not just about females and males, there’s a good range of ages on my course and people from different backgrounds.
 
“It’s the same in my job, the people I work with are really nice and we’re doing some interesting work.”
 
Stonemasonry lecturer Paul Maggs, from Bath College, said: “Morwenna has always worked hard to achieve her goals and I believe she will go a long way in the stonemasonry industry. Who knows, maybe she could be running her own company in the not so distant future.”
 

News

College event: Help hairdressing student Mitchell fundraise for a standing wheelchair

 

A student left paralysed after a motorcycle accident is fundraising for a standing wheelchair to help him train as a hairdresser.
 
Mitchell Chalmers needs £4,900 for the wheelchair, which would make a big difference to his learning as a student at Bath College.
 
He was just 22-years-old when he came off his bike at a motocross racing event three years ago, suffering severe spinal injuries as a result.
 
Going back to college, to train for a profession and secure a job, is an important step along his road to recovery.
 
Mitchell, who is paralysed from the stomach down, said: “I’d been riding since I was eight-years-old and I’d got to British Championship level.
 
“I loved it and I still love it now. I feel I have had so much taken away from me and I need to fight and get something back.
 
“It’s been hard to find a job since my accident, but I think I’m young enough to try something new and being in a wheelchair won’t stop me.
 
“I have a dream to become a hairdresser so I can support myself financially, I’m quite creative and I think there’s a real art to hairdressing.”
 
The standing wheelchair will give Mitchell extra height and support, making it easier for him to lift and cut peoples’ hair.
 
Students in his class are getting behind the appeal and are planning a fundraising event at the Bath College salon.
 
For the week after half-term, starting on Monday October 30, students are organising a rowing machine challenge.
 
Participants will pay £1 to see how fast they can row 1,000 metres, with a prize for the fastest time.
 
Friends and family have already supported Mitchell, raising £700 with a charity raffle and barbecue at the Crossways in Midsomer Norton.
 
He is more than halfway to reaching his target of £4,900 after collecting £2,020 from 63 supporters on his JustGiving page.
 
Mitchell, from Radstock, said: “The wheelchairs are made specifically for your height and weight. I’ve had a demonstration and it felt really good.
 
“One of the biggest struggles is funding equipment to help me do the things I was able to do before. I don’t think there’s enough help out there.
 
“When I set up my JustGiving page, everyone pulled together to help. It’s been amazing really – the funds shot up in the first two weeks.
 
“For some time after the accident I shut myself away, but coming to college and meeting new people has given me a real confidence boost.”
 
To support Mitchell visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mitchell-chalmers.
 

News

Students showcase ocean’s bounty for Seafood Week

Photographs by Philip Edwards
 

Hospitality and catering students served up a fishy feast for Seafood Week.
 
Running from October 6 to October 13, Seafood Week celebrates the variety and quality of seafood in the UK and is supported by businesses nationwide, including supermarkets, restaurants, processors and fishmongers.
 

 
To mark the occasion, Bath College held a three-course Ocean Bounty dinner, supported by Billingsgate Seafood School, at the Shrubbery Restaurant.
 
Designed to challenge students’ skills in preparing and serving seafood, the menu included seabass, Cullen skink soup and yuzu and wasabi cured salmon.
 
Deputy Head of Hospitality Ryan Hanson said: “We’ve had e-mail compliments from several diners who were waxing lyrical about the quality of the meal and the service.
 

 
“The students got a real buzz out of preparing the menu, researching for sustainable fish stocks and using that knowledge to create and produce dishes for the event.
 
“This focus on seafood is a great chance for students to work with species they may not have used or tasted in the past, and they are getting great feedback from their customers, which is a huge achievement.
 
“I’m very proud of them and the work they have produced. They have bright careers ahead.”
 

 
Dishes at the Shrubbery Restaurant are prepared, served and cooked by Bath College hospitality and catering students under professional supervision, with a focus on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.
 
Heather Middleton is Marketing Manager at Seafish, the organisation responsible for running Seafood Week.
 
She said: “Part of the Seafood Week campaign focuses on educating future generations about the benefits of fish and seafood. By engaging with college chefs and teaching them how to prepare seafood, our hope is that our future chefs will develop a lifelong passion for producing seafood dishes.”
 

News

Apprentice of the month: Veronica Savaia from Figo Hair

 

Veronica Savaia is a Level 2 hairdressing student working at Figo Hair and studying at Bath College. She has been working at the salon, near the Royal Crescent, since June and attends college one day a week.
 
Can you tell me about your apprenticeship?

I shampoo clients’ hair and help with blow-dries. I do the hair up hairstyles for the salon, no-one else does them so I really enjoy that. I do hair for weddings and proms and it’s nice to be part of peoples’ special day. Even when I’m at home, I’m practicing and watching videos so I know how to do different styles. I also have my family and friends in the salon to do their hair. I’m still building up my client base, but they know what I’m capable of.
 

 
Why did you apply for an apprenticeship?

I always wanted to do hairdressing, even before I reached the age of 14 and started working. I used to work in another hairdressers where I had a Saturday job. I like art and I’m quite creative. I chose an apprenticeship because I wanted to be in a working environment, to get my foot in the door and gain experience with clients.
 
What do you learn when you come into college?

At college we do practical sessions in the morning and theory in the afternoon. We talk about clients, how to greet them and how to behave in the salon. We also practice hairstyles on a hairdressing block. Some people say if you can complete a hairstyle on the block, you can do it on anyone because it’s harder – it depends on the hair, but the blocks aren’t sectioned in the same way as human hair. It’s been good to meet other students who are at the same level.
 

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy being part of the team. We have five to six people working in the salon each day, and because we’re a smaller team I can build up a good relationship with people. We get a lot of young clients and clients who are retired. We’re really precise about what we do, and we talk to clients to try and make them feel at home. It’s about their experience visiting the salon, as well as the haircut. I enjoy seeing regular clients come in.
 
What advice would you give someone considering an apprenticeship?

It’s really important to think about the kind of salon you’re working in. You might want to start a career in hairdressing, but you need to find somewhere you enjoy working and somewhere you’re able to grow. Studying for a hairdressing apprentices takes two years, instead of one year on a full-time course. However, you’re earning money, you’re already gaining work experience and you’re treated as an adult. If you’re studying a full-time course, it might be harder to find a job with less experience.
 
What are your hopes for the future?

I already have my job, and they want me to stay there when I’m qualified. I earn less as an apprentice, but when I’m qualified (and I’m working on more clients) I’ll be paid more. I’m happy with where I am at the moment, because I know this will be good for me in the long-term. In the future, I could have the option to open my own salon using the experience I’ve gained.
 

News

Bath College re-opens crèche and gym facilities for new academic year

 

Bath College’s crèche and gym facilities have re-opened this month.
 
The crèche and gym, at the college’s City Centre Campus, offers parents affordable childcare and the chance to develop their fitness.
 
Parents can drop off their children at the crèche and visit the college gym, which includes running machines, rowing machines and cross trainers.
 

 
For this academic year, both facilities have been moved to a new ground-floor room in the main building which has been newly decorated.
 
The project, set up in November last year, is run by sports staff and childcare students and gives them the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.
 
Members of the sports team, who will be supervising the gym, will be on hand to carry out gym inductions and offer training advice.
 

 
Level 1 childcare students are also planning an exciting range of activities at the crèche, including arts and crafts, messy play, sensory exploration and story time. They will develop their skills under supervision from tutors.
 
Childcare lecturer Abigail Holt said: “The crèche and gym project has allowed us to work with parents to provide excellent childcare within the local community.
 
“It has given our students the opportunity to build on their confidence and develop skills related to sports coaching and the early years sector.
 
“So far, the project has been a rich learning experience for all the students involved and we’re looking forward to seeing it develop further.”
 
Students will be opening the crèche and gym on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am to 11am. To book a place e-mail gymandcreche@bathcollege.ac.uk, or pop into the College Shop, in the main building of Roper Reception.
 

News

Students serve at prestigious event raising over £50,000 for charity

 

Students at Bath College served top industry professionals at a charity polo day raising over £50,000 for Hospitality Action.
 
Seven award-winning chefs from the South West came together for the event in September at Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire.
 

 
The event, which sold out in record time, was catered for by:
 
• Richard Davies, Calcot
• André Garrett, Cliveden House
• Robby Jenks, The Vineyard
• Hywel Jones, Lucknam Park
• Niall Keating, Whatley Manor
• Rob Potter, The Manor House
• Tom Jenkins, Abbey Hotel
 
Well-known industry figures, including William Baxter CBE, Harry Murray MBE Chairman of Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa and Philip de Ternant Managing Director of Creed Foodservice, attended the event.
 
Hospitality and catering students from Bath College acted as front of house staff alongside service professionals from the Abbey Hotel, Barnsley House, Calcot, Cliveden House, Lucknam Park, The Manor House, The Painswick, The Pig and The Vineyard.
 

 
Guests enjoyed a Tattinger Champagne and canapé reception, before the final of the Sidebottom Cup. Afterwards, they tucked in to a three-course lunch, which included roast belly and cider braised cheek of Wiltshire pork, sage and caramelised onion risotto, tender stem broccoli and Brillat Savarin cheesecake.
 
Hospitality Action offers assistance to those who work, or have worked, within hospitality in the UK and find themselves in a crisis.
 
Hywel Jones, Executive Chef at Lucknam Park Hotel, said: “I am proud to have been involved with this event for a number of years now.
 

 
“This year, as we celebrate Hospitality Action’s 180th birthday, it felt even more special than normal. I was joined by some fantastic chefs – and I’m sure they’ll agree we were lucky enough to work with some great ingredients, provided by Walter Rose and Sons butchers, Total Produce and Flying Fish Seafoods. It’s great to see so much generosity and support for such a worthwhile cause.”
 
Andrew Foulkes, General Manager of the Abbey Hotel, Bath, and Hospitality Action South West Board Member said: “I used to attend this event as a guest, but in recent years I jumped at the chance to help organise it.
 
“The Polo Day exemplifies everything I love about the industry and it is great to see everyone pull together to ensure its continued success. Yet again tickets sold out almost instantly which is a true testament to the hard work everyone puts in.”

 

News

Sports student Katie Robbins wins Target Sprint National Final

 

Photographs by Lee Webb
 
Sports student Katie Robbins is looking to build a career as a professional athlete after winning the Target Sprint National Final 2017.
 
Katie, who won the junior women’s category, is new to Target Sprint, an international sport which combines running with shooting.
 
Race participants alternate between running and shooting, running 400 metres three times and shooting five targets twice.
 

 
Level 3 sports student Katie is in her first year at Bath College and also trains with Sedgemoor Training, Yate Athletics Club and Lodge Sports.
 
The competition was her first national competition since she started learning to shoot and training for Target Sprint in March.
 
Katie said: “It’s a new sport, they do it in other countries and it’s been introduced in England in the past year or so.
 

 
“I train at Yate Athletics Club and we had a coach from Target Sprint watching, and he picked a few of us for a training day.
 
“I went to the training day, to have a go at shooting, and somehow I could do it – I had a natural talent for it.
 
“I’m used to athletics competitions, I run 300 metres in the county competitions and I’ve done a few Target Spring competitions, but this was my first national competition.
 
“I was really pleased to win. I wanted to try my best, I was hoping to get third or fourth, so to win it was quite a shock.”
 
Over 70 athletes from across the country took part in the Target Sprint National Final, held in Yate on September 9.
 
The sport is growing in the UK, which is good news for Katie, who is hoping it will be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
 
Katie, from Bristol, is looking for sponsorship to help her with kit and travelling as she prepares to trial for the World Championships next year.
 
She’s also attending a Team GB selection day on October 8, where GB coaches will select juniors and seniors for further training.
 

 
Katie said: “I’m enjoying the chance to study at college and continue my education alongside my athletics training.
 
“I always wanted to stay in sport and develop, but I didn’t think about shooting – somehow I just got into it. The fact that I’m doing shooting as well as running is fun. It’s a challenge and it’s something different.
 
“It’s going well at college and I’m finding it interesting. At the moment we’re studying sports psychology, anatomy and physiology, team sports, fitness testing and fitness training.
 
“It gives me time to think about what I’m doing as an athlete before I put it into practice.”
 

News

Hospitality and catering students impress at the Bath Good Food Awards

 

Guests at the Bath Good Food Awards gave hospitality and catering students a standing ovation for their work in the kitchen and front of house.
 
The Bath Good Food Awards are held to recognise the best of the city’s restaurants, cafes and producers, with more than 40 prizes awarded in one evening.
 
Students worked alongside guest chefs preparing a three-course meal for the awards, held at the new Apex City of Bath Hotel.
 

 
Guests enjoyed canapés created by Executive Chef Soyful Alom, from The Mint Room, followed by dishes from head chefs Chris Cleghorn, Ben Abercrombie and Rupert Taylor.
 
Those attending included restaurant owners, food critics and industry experts, including Michelin-starred chefs Nathan Outlaw and Angela Hartnett.
 
Former students Amy Best and Josh Yoell have been employed as commis chefs at the Apex Hotel and were also working on the night.
 
Hospitality and catering students at Bath College picked up two awards on the night, with Best Front of House going to Marley Melton and Best Kitchen Student going to Maddison Dodd.
 

 
Ryan Hanson, Deputy Head of Hospitality, Spa Industry and Landbased at Bath College, was asked to judge entries for this year’s awards, dining at venues to help select the final winners.
 
He was also on a panel to judge candidates for two sponsored bursaries, to fund extra professional development for up and coming stars.
 
The bursary, sponsored by A. David was awarded to Luke Shepherd, from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, and Lynne Atkins, from Henry’s Restaurant in Bath.
 

 
Ryan, who will also be a judge at the Bristol Good Food Awards in November, said: “The students were brilliant on the night.
 
“There were a lot of industry professionals in the room and they were warmly received when they went up on stage at the end of the evening.
 
“I had a lot of people asking me ‘how can we get the students in to work for us?’ They really did themselves proud in the kitchen and front of house.
 
“They worked hard and consistently. To be honest, you wouldn’t have known they were students because they looked like professionals.”
 
Speaking about his experience judging, Mr Hanson said: “It’s been really interesting going to critique different establishments and identify winners, but also to see how much good work is going on in the city.
 
“An awards ceremony like this means places get the recognition they don’t get on a daily basis. It’s nice to give credit where credit’s due.”
 
Hospitality and catering students are now preparing for an Ocean Bounty dinner, in association with the Billingsgate Seafood Training School.
 
The three-course dinner, on October 5, starts at 6.30pm and will be held at Bath College’s Shrubbery Restaurant. Tickets are available for members of the public at a cost of £19.50. Call (01225) 328502 to book.
 

News

High scoring students through to national SkillBuild finals

 

Above: Oliver Takhar with painting and decorating lecturer Graham Walmsley
 
Students from Bath College will compete against the best in the country after being picked for The SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final.
 
Oliver Takhar and Joshua Underwood were among the highest scoring competitors for this year’s SkillBuild regional qualifiers.
 
They are busy preparing for the demanding three-day final, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham in November.
 

 

Painting and decorating student Oliver will compete against seven others to win The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition.
 
He scored 79.5 out of 100 in the regional qualifiers, using paint, wallpaper and stencils to accurately follow a detailed plan drawing.
 
Oliver, 19, from Frome said: “When I found out I was through to the finals it felt really good, because I wasn’t expecting it. I’m just excited about competing and this competition will be over a couple of days, so it’s much bigger than the regional qualifiers.
 
“I’m pleased I entered, I wouldn’t have done it without encouragement from the college. I’m going to practice everything that could come up.
 
“When I left school, I spent two years training to become a mechanic, and then I changed track completely. Now I’ve found something that I can do and I’m enjoying.”
 

 

Joshua with stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner holding prizes for the UK Masonry Skills Challenge.
 
Stonemasonry student Joshua Underwood is competing at the SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final after coming second in the final of the UK Masonry Skills Challenge, run by The Stone Federation.
 
He took part in the challenge alongside Bath College students Shaun Forbes and Daniel Owen, with the team winning first prize for the best college when their scores were added together.
 
Joshua, an apprentice with Architectural Stone in Cardiff, said: “When I first started competing I was nervous, but now I know how the competitions work and what the judging is like.
 
“The competition environment can be quite distracting. They encourage you to work so that the spectators can see what you’re doing, but I make sure I’m concentrating on the work in front of me.
 
“It’s good to have this experience on your CV, it goes a long way with certain firms and clients. I enjoy speaking to the competition qualifiers and getting an insight into the industry nationally.”
 
If Oliver and Joshua are successful in the finals, they could have the chance to represent the UK abroad as part of the WorkSkills UK squad.
 

 
Last December, former Bath College student and stonemason Toby Brook was part of a the UK team at EuroSkills 2016 – the largest skills competition in Europe.
 
Painting and decorating lecturer Graham Walmsley said: “I think it’s important that students are challenged at every opportunity to produce the highest possible work they can.
 
“The judges assessed each entrants’ work to a strict marking criteria which would have doubtless included how neatly they approached the tasks over the five-hour time limit.
 
“It’s going to be a tough three-day final against students who have been studying for longer than Ollie, but I have put together additional training sessions to help him develop.
 
“He has a very calm disposition and rarely gets flustered when working. Good results are seldom achieved when decorating is carried out in haste, something which he’s fully aware of.”
 
Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner said: “Joshua’s dedication has led to him being recognised as one of the best apprentice stonemasons in the country.
 
“Joshua achieved one of the highest marks in the country when he competed in the regional qualifiers. The judges recognised his ability to interpret drawings, to execute the task in time and complete the job to a very high standard.
 
“He has the motivation to achieve the best possible standards and is improving all the time. He’s a testament to teaching and learning at Bath College, and he joins a long list of accomplished stonemasons who have trained here. We wish him all the best for the finals.”
 

News

Inspirational student shortlisted for the Association of College’s Student of the Year Awards

 

Inspirational student Rachelle Wabissa has been chosen as one of three finalists for a national award celebrating high achievement at further education colleges.
 

Rachelle, who has just finished studying at Bath College, has been shortlisted in the adult student category for the Association of College’s Student of the Year Awards.
 

The 22-year-old studied on the college’s Access to Higher Education programme, before securing a place to study social work and applied studies at the University of Bath.
 


 

She was nominated for the award by Access to Higher Education lecturer Carolyn Guy, in recognition of her drive to succeed and her determination to overcome difficult personal circumstances.
 

Rachelle, who has won two scholarships to study her degree, said: “I’m so happy to be shortlisted because it’s a big deal. Even if I don’t win the award I can put it on my CV, my family was very proud of me.
 

“I passed the access course, I got into university, I got the scholarships and then this! It’s been an amazing time – my heart can’t take it all!”

 

Bath College’s Access to Higher Education programme is a year-long intensive course which provides students with a qualification, allowing them to progress and study at degree level.
 

Rachelle was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and came to the UK when she was 10-years-old as an asylum seeker from South Africa.
 

She enrolled on the Access to Higher Education programme last September, and was diagnosed with tuberculosis four months into the course.
 

Despite being ill, she continued with her studies and helped with a pioneering project to integrate technology into tuberculosis treatment.
 

At university she plans to specialise in end of life care, but her dream job would be Director of Political Affairs of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
 

Rachelle said: “Colleges are really important because not everyone can succeed at A-levels. The access course gives you a second chance.
 

“At college, there are people who want the best for you and are willing to accommodate your personal struggle. The mental health support I had was really regular; I could talk to them whenever I wanted.
 

“It’s nice when people ask ‘how were you able to do that?’ Because I had aspirations for myself, I was able to work hard and achieve.
 

“Since I completed the access course, my sister has decided she wants to be a chemical engineer. It’s great to see how my siblings have been inspired, even though they saw the worst parts of my journey.
 

“I thought I couldn’t do it, but I did. I had a great time. It was one of the best years ever and the friends I made, I still talk to every day.”
 

The winners of the Student of the Year Awards will be announced at the AoC’s annual conference dinner on November 14.
 

Rachelle’s tutor Carolyn Guy said: “Rachelle has the potential to be a real academic, as she has a very sharp mind. In class she participated fully, asking insightful questions and challenging traditionally held views.
 

“As well as her studies, she became a course representative, representing the views of her fellow students. She was exceptionally supportive of her peers and very sensitive to their needs.
 

“What is inspiring is that despite considerable adversity, she has demonstrated that it is possible to succeed. She is an outstanding role model for other young people.”
 

News

Opening ceremony held to celebrate new Somer Construction Centre

 

An opening ceremony, held to celebrate Bath College’s Somer Construction Centre, gave guests the chance to see students working in brand new workshops and classrooms.
 
The state-of-the-art facility, at the College’s Somer Valley Campus in Radstock, was built with support from the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership.
 
It is being used to teach 500 students and apprentices studying bricklaying, construction, carpentry and stonemasonry, as well as plumbing, electrical installation and refrigeration.

 

 

Guests were invited to an official opening, carried out by The Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Cherry Beath, followed by a tour of the building and a canapé reception.
 
Stonemasonry student Niall McCabe, 25, is a second year apprentice studying at Bath College and working at Bristol Stone Masonry.
 
He said: “I was quite surprised to see how big the building is. The facilities are better, especially the banker shop, there’s a lot more space for people.
 
“Carving stone is a very satisfying job. It’s nice to be part of the first group of stonemasons to move in – we’ll be able to put our mark on the place.”
 

 

 

Designs for the two-storey Somer Construction Centre were approved last year, with contractors Midas Group Ltd starting work in January.
 
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose said: “We’re very proud of our new centre, which marks a significant investment in training and education at our Somer Valley Campus.
 
“Learning in this space, with the help of tutors who are industry experts, will give students and apprentices the best possible start to life at college and enable them to succeed in their chosen trade.
 
“Studying construction can lead to a wide-ranging career designing, creating and managing buildings. Our aim is to be known as a centre of excellence for the South West, helping to boost economic development and employment.
 
“We look forward to working with local employers, who will be able to come to Bath College to find their future workforce.”
 

 

The West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership supported the new build with an allocation of £2.73 million.
 
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support this new construction centre using Local Growth Fund funding via the West of England Joint Committee.
 
“Construction is an important sector and we are committed to working with businesses and colleges to support improving skills to help grow the industry and attract new jobs to our region.”
 
Nationally, the construction industry needs to hire more than 400,000 workers every year for the next five years in order to fill a skills gap and build enough homes to meet demand.
 
Limited places are available for students to sign up to a course at the Somer Construction Centre this September. Prospective students can also begin applying for a place to study in September 2018.
 
Visit the new centre at Bath College’s Somer Valley open event on Thursday September 28th from 4pm to 8pm. Click here to register.
 

News

Students become Dementia Friends before going on work placements

 

Students at Bath College are supporting an initiative to make Bath and North East Somerset a dementia friendly place to live.
 

The college has signed up to support Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) and has produced an action plan with key pledges.
 

As part of this, Level 1 students studying health and social care and childcare have completed dementia friends sessions.
 


 
There are around 4,500 people living with dementia in Bath and North East Somerset, and this number is predicted to rise in the future.
 

During the sessions, students learnt what it’s like to live with dementia and how to speak to people affected by memory loss.
 

Sarah Williams Martin, Chair of BaNES Dementia Action Alliance, said: “Our aim is to make the whole of Bath and North East Somerset dementia friendly, so it’s really important that organisations like the college get involved.
 

“A lot of students will be going on to work in care homes, and it will help them to have an understanding of dementia before that.
 

“They’ve all been given a dementia friends badge and we’re encouraging them to tell people about what they’ve learnt.
 

“We’re also running sessions in schools for young people. The idea is that if you empower young people, they won’t be afraid of dementia and it removes any stigma.”
 

First year student Trinity Collins said: “I found it really interesting listening to Sarah, she’s a volunteer and she’s using her own time to help people. It’s something that I’d be interested in getting involved in, that’s why I asked about work placements.”
 

The DAA works with businesses and organisations across England to help them review their procedures and become dementia friendly.
 

It is working with Bath College as part of the Bath Care Academy, set up to make sure students are prepared for a career in the health and social care sector.
 

There are also plans for students to work with retailers on a slow shopping scheme, introducing a dementia-friendly environment in store.
 

Care Academy Coordinator Sally Wilson said: “We’re working with our Care Academy partners to provide training and work experience opportunities, helping students to find employment and to learn more about the broad range of roles and career pathways within the sector.
 

“Dementia is an important issue for the health and social care industry, and we have signed a dementia pledge for all of our students to complete the sessions this year.
 

“A lot of our students will be undertaking work experience with those experiencing dementia and this deepens their understanding and gives them a head start.”
 

News

Students learn on the job with apprenticeships at Bath Audi

 

Four students who studied at Bath College have taken the next step in their career and secured employment at Bath Audi.
 
First year apprentices Morgan East and Malique Hayward are working at the car dealership in Peasedown St John alongside second year apprentice Dan Church and trainee service technician Josh Cocks.
 
All four students began learning their trade by studying vehicle maintenance and repair at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus.
 
Working at Bath Audi will take them to the next level as they specialise in carrying out services, MOTs and repairs for Audi owners.
 

 
Dan, 19, from Midsomer Norton, said: “I enjoy working on cars, I have always wanted to work with them, so this is perfect for me.
 
“You get paid to learn and you’re doing something you enjoy. I get on well with the guys in the team, there’s always someone in the workshop to show you what to do if you need help.”
 
Morgan, 17, said: “I worked in a local garage, which gave me a taster of what it’s like to work in the motor industry. After that I knew what I wanted to do and I’m hoping to make it a long-term career”.
 
All apprentices with Audi learn at the National Learning Centre, a state-of-the-art training facility in Milton Keynes. They also need to have a C grade at GCSE in English and maths.
 
Barry Russell, After Sales Manager at Bath Audi, works with Bath College, visiting to speak to students about apprenticeship programmes.
 
He said: “Every car that comes into us has a health check and if there’s additional work they’ll see to that as well.
 

 
“I’m impressed with these four. They get on with the job and they’re always willing to learn. They’re also local, and I like to employ local people.
 
“We like to grow our own and make sure they’re learning about our product. In college, students get a good grounding, but they’re working on a variety of cars and it’s not current technology.
 
“With Audi, the cars are so technical and the technology is moving fast, particularly when it comes to electric cars. Every month something new comes out.”
 
Glyn Mountjoy, Automotive and Engineering Learning Coordinator at Bath College, said: “Our aim is to get our students work ready. We want to prepare students for the ever-changing environment of automotive engineering, and see them progress to a position where they can become apprentices.
 
“At Bath Audi, Barry Russell has been very supportive giving our students the opportunity to experience high-end modern technology at Audi on work experience.
 
“He has also visited during employability week as a guest speaker, providing our students with an insight into what dealerships look for when recruiting. This gives our students a better chance of moving into the industry.”
 

News

Apprentice of the month: Arthur Parsons from S M Parsons Ltd

 

Arthur Parsons is a Level 2 stonemasonry apprentice at Bath College working with the family firm S M Parsons Ltd. The firm, run by Arthur’s dad Steve, specialises in stone restoration projects and stone cleaning. Stonemasonry runs in the family, as Arthur’s brother also works for the company and used to study at Bath College.
 
Can you tell us why you signed up for an apprenticeship?
My dad encouraged me to start a career in stonemasonry. I spent a couple days out of school with him and really enjoyed the work, so I decided to enrol at college. I went straight into an apprenticeship from school, I was 16 at the time. I was one of the only ones at school going off to do an apprenticeship, but it’s something that I would recommend. It’s enjoyable and if you have an interest in something, you should follow that.

 
What do you do in your job as a stonemasonry apprentice?
I work with my dad, my brother and one other person. There’s four of us and we all get on well. We’re based in Bristol and we do a lot of restoration work on old houses. We can be working on the interior or the front of the house taking off the paint and cleaning so that we reach the old stone behind. I like doing the cleaning jobs because it’s interesting to see what’s underneath and what it looks like afterwards. Sometimes it’s quite a surprise.
 
What do you enjoy about working and what does a typical day look like?
I study two days at college and work three days a week. I’m on the second year of my apprenticeship, so I’ll be qualified by the end of the year, but you can continue onto another qualification. The type of work depends on the type of job; at the moment we’re fitting a fireplace. We cut the stones in the workshop and then fit it together onsite. I enjoy the practical side of things, working on a specific job and being able to get on with it.
 

Bath College’s new Somer Construction Centre
 
How are you finding your time at Bath College and what are you learning?
In my first year at college, I started with learning how to make a rough block smooth. We also learnt how to create a chamfer, an ashlar stop and how to work on different types of stone. It’s useful to learn the theory in college because it backs up what you’re learning on the job. I get on well with the people in college, they’re a nice team and I’ve enjoyed moving into the Somer Construction Centre. The facilities are better and we’ve got more room to work in.
 
Do you think your apprenticeship has helped you in your career?
I feel as though I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve started to know what I need to complete a job and what time I can do it by. It’s good to see that’s I’ve improved. I want to continue working with my dad long-term or maybe running my own business. My dad has said I’m doing well and he’s happy with what I’m learning here.
 

News

Pygmy goats win prizes at Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show

 

Bath College’s pygmy goats did well at their first competitive showing, winning five rosettes at the Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show.
 
Smokey, Bubbles, Twix and Galaxy are firm favourites with staff and students in the animal care department at the college’s Somer Valley Campus.
 
The show, which attracts hundreds of people each year, was their first outing and was a chance for staff to meet other breeders and owners.
 

 
Level 2 and Level 3 animal care students worked hard to bath and groom the pygmy goats, to get them looking their best for the show.
 
All four goats scrubbed up well, with three-year-old goats Smokey and Bubbles winning 1st and 4th in their age categories. Smokey also won 4th in the overall pedigree female category.
 
Animal care staff Katie Parfitt and Gemma Hancock supervised the showing and won 1st and 2nd in the novice handler competition.
 
Katie said: “They had a lovely day, they met a lot of other goats which they seemed to enjoy because they’re sociable animals.
 
“It’s quite competitive. The judge checks their mouth, teeth and feet, to check they’re in good condition, and then looks at them in profile to judge their size according to breed specifications.
 
“I enjoyed talking to like-minded people about their animals. We’re thinking about breeding our goats next year, and we met a lot of people who were able to give us help and advice.”
 

 
Bath College offers a wide range of animal care courses, from foundation learning to Level 3, alongside veterinary nursing diplomas.
 
As well as the pygmy goats, the college is home to a large number of reptiles, birds and popular pets, including rabbits, hamsters and chickens.
 
All animal care courses have practical duties, so that students spend time looking after and learning how to care for different species.
 
Jayne Withers, Head of Hospitality, Spa Industry & Landbased, said: “We are so proud of the results for our first showing, which is all down to the students and staff looking after the show preparation and continuous welfare of Smokey, Bubbles, Twix and Galaxy.”
 

News

Access to Higher Education programme leads to a new career as a physiotherapist

 

Studying at Bath College helped former student Vicky Baldy succeed at university and secure a job as a full-time physiotherapist.
 
Vicky has just finished studying at the University of the West of England and has a job working at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.
 
The 31-year-old achieved her university place after enrolling on Bath College’s Access to Higher Education programme in 2013.
 

Read about this year’s Access to Higher Education Awards Ceremony. 
 
Students on the programme leave with a nationally recognised qualification allowing them to progress and study at degree level.
 
Vicky, who studied the Access to Higher Education programme full-time, gained a 2.1 degree and was also chosen by the university to receive The Mullany Prize for Excellence.
 
The £250 prize recognised her work as a student representative for her year group and co-founder of the Physiotherapy Society.
 
Vicky said: “Clinical placements were a key component of my course. They allowed me to apply my knowledge and practical skills on real-life patients, helping my confidence to grow as a therapist.
 
“Being a student rep offered me lots of opportunities, such as talking to 100 students at a careers day about university life and how to succeed.
 
“I was the co-founder of the Physiotherapy Society, and for my final year I was voted to be the President. I set up a student physiotherapy clothing brand, which turned out to be a big hit with the students.
 
“I also organised two summer balls and a graduation ball, and was awarded the ‘Innovation in Representation Award’ at the Students’ Union Awards.
 

 
“I found the teaching and skills I gained at Bath College made the transition to university a lot smoother. The support and guidance I received encouraged me to pursue my dream career.”
 
Vicky was also the Roper Prize winner at Bath College’s Access to Higher Education awards ceremony four years ago.
 
Carolyn Guy, who teaches Access to Higher Education at Bath College, said: “Vicky was an outstanding student who remained completely focused throughout the Access to Higher Education course.
 
“The course enabled her to achieve her ambition to become a physiotherapist and she took every opportunity to excel.
 
“While a student here, she was awarded the Roper Prize for overall excellence and we’re delighted that she has now found employment as a hospital physiotherapist. She’ll be a real asset to the profession.”
 

News

Snap and Stroll group: Photographers share images at new exhibition

 

Snap and Stroll students will share images reflecting the way they see their local community at a new exhibition opening in Bath this month.
 

Led by Sally Collister, from In the Picture Participatory Photography CIC, the course is organised by the Adult Community Learning team at Bath College and is suported by Creativity Works.
 

It was created to benefit a wide range of people, including those who are in recovery from or experiencing mental health challenges.
 

By Irene Burchell
 

Students spend eight weeks exploring their town, learning how to take photographs and making a new group of friends in the process.
 

The new exhibition will combine photographs taken by two groups, based in Bath and Radstock, and will open at the Guildhall on August 22nd.
 

Students are busy choosing the final images for the exhibition and discussing how they will be displayed with university student Katie Constantine.
 

By Kazvan
 

Irene Edgell, from the Radstock area, is taking part in the course for the second time and was part of a group trip to Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park.
 

She said: “It’s been really good to continue on the course. The only thing is the weather, every time we’ve walked round it’s been raining!
 
“The first course came at the right time for me because I had lost my husband. It gave me something to do and I enjoy being part of the group.
 

By Sarah Ward
 

“I wanted to come back to learn how to put my photos on the computer. I’ve got a lot of memory cards and I wanted to learn how to organise my pictures.
 .

“Once you do this course, you start looking at pictures with a photographer’s eye rather than snapping away. It’s interesting to see how the final photos are chosen and hung to show off out hard work.”
 

Sally, from the Picture Participatory Photography CIC, said: “I’m so pleased to see how much participants have progressed.
 
“Many have gone from having little experience using a camera or computer to taking, uploading and editing the beautiful images you’ll see in the exhibition.

 

“Spending afternoons exploring with camera in hand and discussing each other’s’ images has been a real pleasure and there’s been a lot of laughter.
 
“Many participants have noticeably increased in confidence and benefited greatly from being part of a supportive group.”
 

The exhibition opens at the Guildhall (from 9am to 5pm) on August 22nd and runs until September 25th. For information on the Snap and Stroll course click here.
 

News

Bath Theatre Academy: Exciting new partnership between Bath College and the Theatre Royal

 

Bath College is pleased to announce an exciting and ambitious new partnership with the Theatre Royal Bath.
 

The newly-formed Bath Theatre Academy will offer students studying on the college’s full-time Level 3 UAL performing and production arts course a unique curriculum.
 

It will combine a practical introductory theatre programme with real-life industry experience to give students the best start in a competitive industry.
 

Photo by Philip Vile
 

The performing and production arts course will be delivered at both the theatre and the college, and is aimed at students aged 16 and over.
 

Students will have weekly use of professional rehearsal studios, as well as access to the world-renowned Theatre Royal Bath and its three dedicated performance spaces.
 

Jon Domaille, Head of Creative Arts and Enterprise at Bath College, said: “We are incredibly excited about this innovative partnership. This venture will provide our students with a clear ‘line of sight’ into the performing arts industry.
 

“To have professionals from the world of performance and production feeding directly into our curriculum is invaluable and will provide our learners with vocationally relevant, exciting and memorable experiences in a professional and creative environment.”
 


 

James Moore, Course Leader and Acting Head of Creative Learning at the Theatre Royal Bath, has designed the new course to work with the theatre.
 

He said: “The creative curriculum empowers students to begin making choices about the theatre makers that they would like to be, drawing on their interests and allowing for student lead progression.
 

“Working in a professional theatre will allow students to be fully immersed within the world of theatre making, enabling a fully rounded experience of the standards and expectations of a professional theatre maker.”
 

The new course will offer:
 

• Dedicated teaching from a variety of active and leading industry professionals

• Access to the full suite of spaces and resources at Theatre Royal Bath

• Professional mentoring and career advice from industry insiders

• A clear line of progression from course to employment or further study

• A commitment to students’ routes into the industry

 
Mr Moore added: “The students we will work with are dedicated and committed to the performing arts industry with a passion to create innovative and exceptional new theatre, on or off stage, and this course offers an unparalleled insight into the industry.”
 

Places are still available on the course, and applications for the Bath Theatre Academy can be made through Bath College. Call (01225) 312191 extension number 720 or visit the course page on our website. 

 

News

Students offered full-time jobs at five-star luxury hotel and spa

 

Two college students, Diana Pommills and Evie Mason, have secured full-time jobs at a five-star luxury hotel and spa in the centre of Bath.
 

Diana and Evie, who studied at Bath College for two years, are working as spa therapists at The Gainsborough Bath Spa, owned by YTL Hotels.
 

The Malaysian-based company owns and manages a prestigious collection of award-wining hotels and resorts across the world.
 

As new employees, Diana and Evie have a bright future ahead, with the chance to learn a range of different treatments from spa manager Kabir Aliri.
 

Diana with spa manager Kabir 
 

Evie, 18, chose to study Level 2 complementary therapy at Bath College after finishing her GCSEs and continued to a Level 3 qualification.
 

She said: “I was looking through the college courses and I thought ‘this course looks fun’. I enjoyed it, so I worked hard because I’d found something I was passionate about.
 

“From June to July, you have clients coming into the college every week and I think that helped me to build my confidence. I knew I wanted to work at The Gainsborough so I arranged some work experience.
 

“I really like the opportunities they give us and the training, because you can always improve. I’m meeting new people and everyone is lovely.
 

“It’s quite amazing really because a lot of people my age don’t really know what they want to do. I’m very lucky that I know what I want to do and I’m already working in my chosen career.”
 

For Diana, who came to Bath College as a mature student, studying to become a spa therapist was a chance to start afresh personally and professionally.
 


 

Diana, 42, said: “I moved to a new town to make a new start in my life, and within three months of being in Bath I enrolled on a course at the college.
 

“It was really hard and challenging, but the college helped me in many ways. My tutor Di Rowe was amazing and made me believe I could do it.
 

“I benefitted from the healing process of the course. We had to practice the treatments on each other, so I gained a first-hand experience of the benefits of complementary therapy.”
 

The Gainsborough is part of The Bath Hotel and Restaurant School, set up by Bath College to link employers with new and emerging talent through employability talks and work experience.
 

Diana was keen to apply for a position at The Gainsborough after meeting Melissa Mettler, who works there as a spa consultant.
 

She said: “Melissa came up to the college and I was blown away. My first question was ‘how do you get to do what you do?’ I just remember thinking ‘there’s something about her and the company she works for’.
 

“The Gainsborough is a good place to work, they invest in your training. I would like to keep progressing and to give something back by staying in the company.”
 

Next year, students studying complementary therapy and spa therapy will be given a tour of The Gainsborough and the Thermae Bath Spa, followed by a buffet lunch and a talk about working for YTL.
 

They will take part in a new programme of mock interviews and work experience placements, with the chance to win a weekend spa break for two at The Gainsborough as part of the college’s annual competition in April.
 

Bath College tutor Diana Rowe said: “We’re pleased to be working with The Gainsborough to give students an insight into what it’s like to work in an award-winning five-star hotel.
 

“Having this relationship with The Gainsborough has successfully motivated and propelled these students into employment.
 

Tutor Diana Rowe with former student Oscar Marcus who started work at The Gainsborough last year
 

“The fact that they had the opportunity to visit The Gainsborough, hear talks and speak to staff gave them the confidence to apply for the jobs.
 

“Employers are looking for well-rounded therapists and that’s something we work really hard to develop. In September we will have more numbers on the spa therapy course than ever before.
 

“The industry is booming and Bath is known for high-end hotels. There are some amazing career opportunities and fantastic progression routes into management.”
 

Click here to find out about studying complementary therapy and spa therapy at Bath College. 
 

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