Access to Higher Education students celebrate before heading to university


High achievers, who have worked hard all year to secure their dream place at university, celebrated together at Bath College’s annual Access to Higher Education Awards Ceremony.
The Access to Higher Education programme provides students with a nationally recognised qualification and an alternative career pathway for those who want to study at university.
Sixty-two students have successfully completed the intensive course, allowing them to progress to study on competitive degree-level courses.

Students gathered in the Shrubbery Restaurant to enjoy a glass of prosecco, catch up with each other after finishing the course, and collect their end of year certificates.
Staff chose Nicola Bailey, from Bradford on Avon, to receive the Roper Prize, presented to a student who has gone to exceptional lengths to complete their course.
Miss Bailey, 28, chose to study health and social care as an access student and has a place to study paramedic science at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.
She said: “Before attending this course, I was working full-time as a senior sports assistant at the University of Bath. For years, I had always wanted to be a paramedic, but I needed to get a C grade in English language and maths at GCSE.

“I worked hard at these courses part-time at Bath College, while still holding down a full-time job at the university, and I got the grades that I needed to enrol on the Access to Higher Education course.
“One of the hardest challenges was having the confidence and belief that I could go back into education and excel in this after leaving school 12 years ago.
“This course is tough and intense, however, having support from fellow students, and the support, commitment and enthusiasm from staff at Bath College makes completing it possible.”
Lesley Colonna-Dashwood runs Colonna and Smalls, a successful coffee shop and roastery in the centre of Bath, with her husband Maxwell. She studied for the Access to HE Science Diploma, and has a place to study physiotherapy at UWE.

She said: “The plan is to do a masters in veterinary science after I have completed the human physiotherapy degree.
“The business is now well-established and last summer I was able to take a back seat. I am still involved, but in an advisory capacity, rather than a hands-on role.
“I have always had a passion for equestrianism and when I was in my teens I aspired to be a vet, however life took a different direction for me and I pursued a different career.
“The Access to Education course is life-changing, it enables you to go and pursue what you have always wanted to do. The course has given me confidence, and even more enthusiasm about going to university than I had at the beginning.
“I know that there is a lot more work to do, and a long road ahead, but the course has given me the belief that I can do it.”

Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose attended the awards ceremony to meet students and hand out course certificates.
She told students: “Access is one of the hardest courses. We don’t really tell you that in the beginning, but at the end we congratulate you on passing it in style. I believe doing the access course will give you that stepping stone for a very bright future, so congratulations to you all.”

Football Academy, News

New women’s football academy: Manager Charlie Griffin chosen as head coach


Bath College has chosen football manager Charlie Griffin to coach teenagers joining its new women’s academy in September.
The academy, in partnership with Bath City FC, will help to meet an increasing demand for women’s football from young players in the past few years.
Charlie, who is manager at Cirencester Town, has been coaching at the Bath City Community Sports Foundation for over six years.

Charlie Griffin with Alex Gaiger (Deputy Head of Department for Sport, Leisure and Care) and Dan Bowman, football coach at Bath City Community Sports Foundation
He began playing professional football at a young age and his CV includes playing for Swindon, Wickham, Stevenage and Bath City.
The former striker said: “At the Bath City Community Sports Foundation, we’ve built up the girls’ football team and we’ve seen it grow over the years.
“This programme will be different for the players. To start with they might ache a bit, but we’re there to help them move up a level and improve them as a footballer.

Football players at an open training session for the women’s academy, at Odd Down Playing Fields 
“This is a great opportunity to work with the college, and for these girls it gives them a real focus. If they can look to the world cup and the England women’s team, and see a progression route, that helps to inspire them.
“I started off at four-years-old kicking a ball around. I was at the Bristol Rovers academy until I was 16, when I was released, but I never gave up and worked hard to get signed for Swindon.
“That’s what I tell the girls who train with us, never give up and that determination will pay off. We would love one of these girls to play in the women’s premier league one day, because the talent is out there.”

Sam Spong, sports student Ellie, and Paul Blenkinsopp (from Bath College).
Players training at the academy, which is unique to Bath, will train three times a week at the Bath College gym and Odd Down Sports Ground.
They will play matches on Wednesday as part of the ECFA (English Colleges Football Association) and will study for a Level 2 or Level 3 BTEC in sport.
Lecturer in sport, Paul Blenkinsopp, said: “It is great for the college to have Charlie leading the coaching of our new women’s football academy.
“He not only brings a vast knowledge from the men’s professional game, but has been coaching girls for five to six years as part of his role at the Bath City Community Sports Foundation. This knowledge and understanding of women’s football will be vital for our first year, but also as we look to grow and strengthen the programme over the coming years.
“There are still places available on the women’s academy and I encourage anyone who is interested to contact me for more information.”
To find out about the women’s football academy, register online, call (01225) 312191 or e-mail paul.blenkinsopp@bathcollege.ac.uk.


Erasmus trip: International business students head to Prague to experience life working abroad


Students studying international business had the chance to put their skills into practice, helping companies with market research, events assistance and online communication in Prague for a month.
Six Level 3 students were chosen for the trip, organised by REY Europe as part of the Erasmus scheme, set up to support and fund young people who want to experience what it’s like to live and work abroad.

Students had the opportunity to work at the following places: Radio Prague, Ivana Rosova Fashion Group, Albinus Grammar, the Centre for Economic Research and Graduate Education – Economics Institute, and the British Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic.
Second year student Charles Hickman, from Bath, is finishing his two-year course at Bath College this summer and has a place to study marketing management at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He was chosen to work for the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and had the chance to attend a showcase at the British embassy in Prague.
Charles, 19, said: “The showcase was a chance for Czech distributors to meet hair, beauty and care UK businesses. The BCC had to represent the businesses who didn’t attend in person but sent over some samples and information.
“One of my internship roles was to represent these brands and attract attention from the Czech companies. The building was beautiful and I enjoyed having to use my sales skills while working among a team of brilliant people.”

Students also had the chance to travel around Prague and take part in activities, including a visit to the zoo, paddle boats on the river and shopping.
International business students Anika Chowdhury and James Coombs spent their time in Prague working for award-winning fashion designer Ivana Rosova.
Anika said: “The highlight of my placement was creating the social media calendar for Ivanna and also when I was added as admin to the pages, as this made me feel like she valued my opinion which I really appreciated.

“I’m used to going on social media for my own personal use, but I didn’t realise that a lot of market research goes on behind each and every post that you see from a business.
“I learnt that working for someone who is lovely (and doing something you enjoy) really makes a difference, and it has made me look forward to working a lot more. I plan on travelling a lot more and going to university.”
James said: “Prague is such a beautiful city, with many activities and things to do. I enjoyed being able to catch a tram and going to any location in under 15 minutes. In the next few years I want to travel more and visit cities in Europe and America, especially Norway, Berlin and Los Angeles.”
To find out about studying international business at Bath College click here.


Art and design show: Young artists, designers and photographers display their work


Visit Bath College to see the work of young artists, designers and photographers who are exhibiting their final major projects.

The annual end of year exhibition is the product of two years’ worth of experimentation and development for art students.
Every year
, students are given the chance to transform workshops and corridors in the college by displaying their artwork.


This year, the college is celebrating the work of talented students studying product design, graphic design, 3D design, fine art and fashion and textiles.

Over 100 pieces of work will be on show, making it an ideal time for prospective students to visit and see the wide
range of art specialisms available to study at the college.

For many students, the exhibition is the chance to show off their work before leaving the college to progress onto further education.

Product design students Matthew George and Mitchell Wilson hope to continue working together, as both students have offers to study 3D design at Plymouth University.

Matthew, 17, has created a collapsible shelter for deployment in disaster zones and refugee camps as part of his final major project.


He said: “When a disaster happens, people start to improvise with shelters before aid organisations arrive. This is a transition shelter, it’s something that can be set up quickly and is easy to expand, pull out and secure.

“Studying at Bath College has challenged my perceptions. When I first started, I wasn’t open to how you can be creative and the creative process. Now I know that you need to explore your interests before you settle on an idea, because you never know what you will discover.

“I’ve enjoyed having the freedom to explore different aspects of design and I’m looking forward to university where I’ll spend the first year gaining practical skills in making and modelling.”

Work created by FdA Fashion and Textile students is on show at 44AD until June 16th

Product design lecturer James Purslow said: “The product design students have presented a really strong body of work this year.

“Students have created a wide range of concepts, from modular protective casings for expensive electronic devices to an architectural piece, which is intended as a college extension to accommodate apprenticeships and higher education.

“The work has been produced and presented to an exceptional standard for this level of their education and more than a few would be commercially viable.”

The exhibition, at Bath College’s City Centre Campus on Avon Street, is open from Wednesday June 21st to Friday June 23rd (10am to 5pm). Members of the public are also welcome to visit on Saturday June 24th between 10am and 4pm.


Apprentice of the month: Anna Parkinson from Rotork


Bath College works with over 260 businesses, who employ over 450 apprentices, making it the largest provider of apprenticeships in the Bath and North East Somerset area. 
Anna Parkinson, our Apprentice of the Month, is working at engineering company Rotork, a major employer in Bath and a market leader in industrial valve actuation and flow control. Find out how she’s benefiting by working and studying as an apprentice here. 
Can you tell us how your apprenticeships scheme works?
Throughout the apprentice scheme, time is allocated to working in a number of departments in the company to gain experience with all aspects of the organisation.
The first year of the apprenticeship is spent in college gaining a performing engineering operations (PEO) qualification and a BTEC Level 2 in engineering. In the second year, the BTEC in engineering includes a day release from work, and the other four days of the week are spent in the company doing department rotation.

During the third and fourth year, a HNC qualification in mechanical and/or electrical engineering is taken on. During this time, the apprentice moves around the departments within the company completing various jobs and projects. Once the four years are completed, if there is a suitable job available, the apprentice is offered it within a certain department at Rotork.
What was the progression route for you into an apprenticeship?
I joined Rotork in August 2015 as a technical apprentice and I graduate in August 2019. On completing my A-levels in maths, physics and chemistry, I chose to do an apprenticeship at Rotork rather than going to university. I chose to do this to stay ahead of graduates, gain valuable experience and continue with further education while being paid.
What does a typical day look like for you and what’s the best bit about your day?
Regular changes to my day-to-day activities means each day holds something different, making the job interesting. Learning new skills is a regular occurrence and I was warmly welcomed into the company by all members of staff.

A typical day would involve progressing and completing a variety of jobs given to me by my line manager or supervisor, along with progressing a technical project if applicable. The best bit about the day is the satisfaction that the work I’m doing is beneficial to the department and the company; working within friendly teams is another highlight.
 What do you think the benefits are of studying this way?
As an apprentice, I get the best of both worlds: my passion is STEM subjects and I am continuing to apply this in a working environment. Rotork’s technical apprenticeship scheme has greatly improved my analytical and practical skills in engineering, especially maths-based problem solving skills. People can leave university with large debts and no guarantee of a job, but with an apprenticeship I am one step ahead with my career.
Click the picture to hear from apprentice of the month Scott Jardine

How are you supported in the workplace and at college to achieve your qualification?
Bath has become a very well-established college for engineering, with more and more people taking courses in the subject. The college has great resources available for my use, including personal computers, a library and a student advice centre. My course lecturers, who teach me, have been very helpful, organised, and professional throughout my learning experience.
Within the workplace, I have a mentor and have regular reviews with my assessor; the support I receive is excellent.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you feel as though there are plenty of opportunities to progress? 
My ambitions for the future are to graduate from my HNC in electrical engineering and continue higher education and work-based training. I would like to develop my roles and responsibilities whilst incorporating travel with my job. I see this as a great way of learning and exploring the many divisions and sectors Rotork cover, leading to the long-term goal of becoming a manager for a department with customer facing interaction.

Do you feel as though your apprenticeship has opened doors for you?
Absolutely: I have a foot in the industry at such an early stage in my career, and am developing personal skills which is massively beneficial. I am experiencing working in many areas of the business and identifying what suits me – this isn’t experienced at university.
On the social side, I have a close group of friends (the apprentice team) and we are lucky enough to attend events; Christmas dinners, nights out, joining sports teams, the annual dinner and dance. Rotork sponsors Bath rugby and I was fortunate to be able to watch a match in the corporate box.
I am treated the same as any other member of staff and have enjoyed meeting new people from all levels of the business, enabling me to build professional contacts that’ll benefit my future. Once I’ve completed the apprenticeship, I’ll have credentials and transferrable skills that will be valued anywhere I go.


Students create stone bench to mark important twinning anniversary


A bench created by stonemasonry students has been given a central spot in the Parade Gardens, overlooking Pulteney Bridge and the weir.
Students studying Level 2 stonemasonry were tasked with this important project to mark the 40th anniversary of Bath twinning with Aix-en-Provence in France.
Parade Gardens
They worked hard to get the bench ready for an unveiling ceremony attended by Monsieur Alain Chabert, President of Aix International Relations Twinning, and his colleague Madame Isabel de Castro.
The bench, designed by stonemasonry student Hayley Egan, features a poem by Aix poet Michel Cahour, which is carved into the seat.
Monsieur Michel Cahour attended the ceremony, along with stonemasonry student Jack Green, stonemasonry technician Tanya Josham and Daisy Walsh, Head of Department for Technology at Bath College.
stonemasonry students
They were pleased to see the bench in place at the popular Parade Gardens, where it will be used by residents and visitors.
Stonemasonry lecturer Paul Maggs said: “We had a week to produce it, so the students pulled together and stayed on late to get it done. I’m really pleased with the result, it’s placed in a really good position opposite the statue of Bladud and the pig.
“Working on a job like this (which is outside the college curriculum) is important to increase students’ skills. They were under pressure to get it completed, which gave them a taste of what it’s like to work in industry.”


Stonemasonry apprentice impresses at the UK Masonry Skills Challenge


Congratulations to stonemasonry apprentice Joshua Underwood who came second in the southern heat of the UK Masonry Skills Challenge.

Joshua, an apprentice at Architectural Stone in Cardiff, came first in the annual Bath College stonemasonry challenge in March.

After this, he was selected to compete in the UK-wide skills competition, along with apprentices Shaun Forbes and Daniel Owen.


Daniel Owen and Joshua Underwood in the stonemasonry workshop at Bath College

The overall results were:

First: Theo Brogan from Building Crafts College
Second: Joshua Underwood from Bath College
Third: Emma Sheridan from Weymouth College


The competition was judged by James Preston, a former student at Bath College, who is now a director at Sally Strachey Historic Conservation, and Chris Berridge (also a former student who won gold at the WorldSkills Competition in 2012).

Competitors were provided with a drawing, a piece of Portland stone and materials for making the necessary moulds and templates.

This is not the first time Joshua has done well in the UK Masonry Skills Challenge. In in 2016, he came third in the southern heat and went on to compete in the Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Daisy Walsh, Head of Technology at Bath College, said: “This is great news for Joshua and for Bath College. The team’s hard work has really paid off.”


Student achievements in the community celebrated at Employability and Volunteering Awards


Students at Bath College have dedicated thousands of hours to volunteering this year, supporting schools, community projects and fundraising events.
To celebrate, and to recognise the importance of giving your time to help others, the college held its annual Employability and Volunteering Awards ceremony.
Students received certificates for volunteer of the month, department awards and the platinum award – for those with over 75 hours of volunteering.

Nominations included performing arts student Aaron Hooper, who volunteers every week for Somer Valley FM and is the Sports and Societies Officer for the Bath College Students’ Union.
Hairdressing student Katie Nelmes was also chosen for a platinum award after spending 288 hours volunteering, including as a volunteer for Entribe – a community enterprise project in Snow Hill.
Stonemasonry students Deborah Harrison, Jonny Stoker, Morwenna Harrington and Carl Minney were presented with the award for volunteering group of the year.
The group worked hard to create a stone bench for Bath City Farm. A competition was held for the best design, which Deborah won, and she chose her team to help her complete the project.
Jonny, who is studying for a Level 2 stonemasonry diploma, said: “We all enjoyed working on the project, we learnt a lot and feel this was a unique experience, even though it was challenging.”

Morwenna was also awarded the Principal’s Work Experience Student of the Year after working on the building site for the new casino and hotel at Saw Close and securing a company to support her as an apprentice next year.
Complementary therapy tutor Di Rowe won an award for Outstanding Support for Students: Tutor of the Year after organising numerous volunteering opportunities for students, including at the Bath Half Marathon, the Stroke Association and Hayesfield School.
The Students’ Union team chose Ryan Dunford as the Student Charity Fundraiser of the Year for his willingness to volunteer in his spare time.
Health and social care student Freya Game was also chosen for the Principal’s Volunteering student of the Year for her work with social services support, Time to Share and Keynsham Mencap Group.

Student Engagement Officer Hayley Hayward-Boyle, who works to organise volunteering opportunities for students at the college, said: “Most of us know how important our social life is. We value going out, meeting up with friends and doing what we enjoy.
“For disabled young people, the opportunity to go out with someone new or different can have a hugely positive impact. Freya gives this opportunity to many young people in a selfless and caring manner, dedicating her time to help others.”
Chris Butt, Founder & CEO at Cognisess, attended the awards ceremony to present the award for Outstanding Support for Students.
The award was presented to Jess Gibson, from Whitmore Plumbing, who has taken 17 students on work experience this year.
Careers and Employability Manager Ben Cocks said: “Students have fed back that their placements provided them with valuable industry experience and allowed them to put their learning into practice.
“Students also felt that they grew as individuals and felt more confident about pursuing a career in the sector. We really value the support of local businesses and the college has a real focus on celebrating success, so these awards have been great to be part of.”


Busy Royal Bath & West Show stands are a success for Bath College


Staff at Bath College welcomed thousands of visitors to their stands during a busy four days at the Royal Bath & West Show.


The college was part of the Imagineering marquee at the Somerset show, which won the gold award for best non-agricultural trade stand (over 12m wide).


Tutors specialising in refrigeration and air conditioning, electrical installation, stonemasonry, carpentry, plumbing, brickwork, IT and painting and decorating were all available to speak to visitors.

Bath College also had its own stand as part of the show, with families visiting to take part in activities organised by animal care, beauty and complementary therapy, and the art department.


The President of the Royal Bath & West Society, Michael Eavis, visited the Imagineering marquee to support companies and further education college exhibiting there.

Head of Technology Daisy Walsh said: “It was great to talk to people about the fantastic range of engineering, construction and computing courses we offer to suit learners from Level 1 through to degree level.”


IT apprentice studying at Bath College wins outstanding apprentice of the year at awards ceremony


Congratulations to Cameron Wallace, who was named outstanding apprentice of the year in the financial and business services category at the Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle Apprenticeship Awards 2017.
Cameron, from Bath, is a Level 3 IT apprentice working at Wessex Water and studying at Bath College. His role includes preparing laptops and PC desktops for colleagues across Wessex Water.
He was one of three apprentices shortlisted to take home the award and was chosen as the winner for his reliability, excellent communication skills and technical knowledge.

Cameron, who joined Wessex Water as their first IT apprentice, said: “I believe that I have convinced the team that apprentices are both useful and valuable assets to any team.
“My drive is to keep doing better. I regularly exceed the expectations set by my line manager and this is reflected by the extra responsibilities I have been given.
“On one occasion, I was asked to cover the IT reception desk. The desk services the whole 2,500 employees and this job would normally have been given to someone with either long-standing service or high technical ability.
“I also volunteer a lot of my time to the team, helping to complete tasks which are of vital importance.”
Wessex Water provides clean water for households in the South West of England and also deals with the removal and treatment of waste water. The company has 2,500 members of staff with 70 apprentices.
Cameron, 20, is being supported in his role by Bath College apprenticeship assessor and trainer Justin Hodges, who visits him in his workplace every three weeks.

The Bath College team at the Apprenticeship Awards
Speaking about his college work, Cameron said: “The apprenticeship will take me 18 months to complete.
“Justin sets me coursework that is related to my normal work, and I have to complete documents and questions to prove what I’ve done.
“The workload for the apprenticeship is demanding, especially alongside my work commitment, but I have the motivation to complete it.
“In the 10 months I have been on my apprenticeship, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Once I’ve finished my apprenticeship, I would like to continue working at Wessex Water in a full-time job.”

Cameron’s line manager Owen Train said: “Cameron has had a fantastic year as our new IT service and support apprentice.
“He came in to a busy, high pressure team and has worked really hard – showing initiative and proactivity to help us meet our targets.
“What stands out for me about Cameron is that he is willing to push himself to try new things and come out of his comfort zone.
“He is well-liked and respected by everyone on the team. I have also received glowing feedback from customers who experienced Cameron’s unique style of enthusiastic and friendly customer service.”


Floristry students win two bronze medals at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show


Students won two bronze medals at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, impressing judges with their colourful creations inspired by the theme city streets and summer skies.
Floristry students Linda Sorenson, Lora Stevens and Sarah Hampton all won the chance to compete at the world-famous flower show after scoring highly in the South West regional heat.
Linda, from Bristol, won a bronze medal in the Chelsea Florist of the Year competition and Lora, from Radstock, also won a bronze in the Young Florist of the Year competition.

All three students worked exceptionally hard to create their floral kites, made using fresh flowers and plant material, attached to intricate wire structures wound with brightly coloured wool.
Linda was one of two college students selected to compete for the title of Chelsea Florist of the Year, with most of the places for the final going to professional florists.
She said: “I didn’t expect to win a medal, as when I arrived to set up at Chelsea it was clear that all the entrants had worked so hard to create their exhibits. The details and the thought that had gone into all the designs was very impressive.

“I was positioned to stage my exhibit between two lovely florists from the north. Jillian, from Scotland, had been to Chelsea before and had previously won a gold medal and Becky, from Preston, was the other college student.
“They were both very lovely and the three of us supported each other throughout. I hadn’t expected this camaraderie and it was a bonus on top of being in Chelsea Florist of the Year.”
See all the competition designs on the British Florist Association website.
Lora’s design on the British Florist Association website

Lora, 24, also won her first medal at Chelsea Flower Show. She has been studying floristry at Bath College for two years and finishes her Level 3 qualification at the end of June.
She said: “I won a bronze medal, which I still can’t believe. Some of the judges commented that it was innovative, looked like it could fly, had great movement and construction and was well-made.
“I’m so happy to have found a passion on flowers and can’t wait to continue my journey in floristry. I have two little girls, so it has been a challenge studying and competing at Chelsea, but I hope they are proud of my achievements.”
Linda, who enrolled on a floristry course at Bath College, after working as a nurse for 30 years, was just a point from gaining a silver medal.
She said: “I knew it was an achievement to compete in the finals, but it was only when I was talking to one of this year’s gold medal winners that I discovered how difficult it is to qualify. She had been trying to get into the competition each year, after previously competing six years ago.
“We took turns at opening our envelopes and sharing the experience together. When I got my score card from the judges, I found out that I was one point away from a silver medal.
“I was absolutely delighted because I did better than I ever thought I would. There were tears of joy for all of us and it was very rewarding.”


Voters at the Natural Stone Show choose stonemasonry competition winners


Students at Bath College made it hard for industry experts to choose the winner of this year’s Lovell Stone Group competition.
A group of 16 full-time and part-time Love2learn stonemasonry students took part in the competition and spent a week creating carvings.
They were given some Hartham Park Bath stone and asked to create a piece of sculpture that best represented the city of Bath.

Company directors chose four designs to put on display at the Natural Stone Show at the ExCeL arena in London, the only UK exhibition and conference dedicated to the natural stone industry.
Students Sam Bradley, Jeni Wood, David Lambard and Josie Baher all had their work displayed for the chance to win a cash prize.
Three-hundred people at the Natural Stone Show voted to choose the winner, with the prize going to Love2learn stone carving student David Lambard.
He said: “It was nice for the college to give us those three days to produce the piece and also to be put under time pressure, so that you had to produce something in that time.

“Before I joined the stone carving class I had no previous experience, but I’m a builder by trade so I am very practical. The class is very sociable and it’s about doing something creative that’s only for me. I’m not producing something for a client, it’s my creation. Having the pieces displayed at The Natural Stone Show was fantastic.”
Jeni, who also had her work displayed, is a sculptor living in Combe Down. Her design, called Respect, was inspired by the area’s mining history.

She said: “It’s a lovely village within the city to live in and there’s a lot of respect for the miners because they were the making of the village.
“It’s just good to have the opportunity to spend the extra time working with the stone and working with a great group of people. In the evenings everyone walks round to talk to people and see what they’re working on.”

Simon Hart, Managing Director, for the Lovell Stone Group, said: “We were really impressed with the response we got for the competition.
“The plan was to shortlist three people, but the quality of the stone carvings presented a real difficulty so we decided to take four peoples’ work to The Natural Stone Show.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking transporting them after the hard work students had put in, we wrapped them up extra carefully, so I’m really pleased they’ve made it back to Bath College safe and sound.
“Three hundred people voted at the show, we had a really good response and a really close result. If it had been a general election, it would have been a hung parliament!
“We’d like to thank all of the students for taking part. The Natural Stone Show takes place every two years, so we’d like to make this a biannual event with the college.”

Stonemasonry lecturer Paul Maggs and Love2learn tutor Sam Flintham supported the students during the competition.
Paul, who teaches full-time students at the college, said: “We were delighted to be offered the opportunity for students to participate in the stone carving competition sponsored by the Lovell Stone Group.
“The students have worked enthusiastically to showcase their skills with outstanding results.”


Good luck Eintracht Frankfurt! Music students create song for German football final


Music students at Bath College have been working with football fan Carole Banwell on an unusual and quirky project.
The students are helping Carole, General Manager at Bath City FC, to record a song in German ahead of the country’s FA cup final.
They hope that the song, dedicated to SG Eintracht Frankfurt, will catch the attention of German football fans on social media and wider afield.
Bundesliga club SG Eintracht Frankfurt are playing rivals Borussia Dortmund in the final in Berlin on May 27.
Carole, who was appointed General Manager of Bath City FC in April, was an Eintracht Frankfurt season ticket holder when she lived in Germany in the 90s.
She said: “Eintracht and Bath City both play in black and white stripes and the song is Bath City’s gesture of fan friendship from one black and white striped club to another!”
Level 3 music performance students Harry Cook, Michael Dance, Cameron Webb, Penelope Harris and Arron Francis wore black and white Bath City FC scarves to record the song in the music studio at Bath College.
The lyrics, written by Carole, talk about the team heading to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin and how they should feel confident about lifting the trophy.

Music tutor Tim Goode said: “Studying music at Bath College is all about engaging in industry and learning how to work to industry briefs. The students were asked to create a high-quality product in a short amount of time, which is what you have to provide in industry every day.
“It’s been a great experience for them and they have worked hard to complete the project. My knowledge of German football is limited, but I wish Eintracht Frankfurt all the best in the final. I have a writing credit, so if it all goes well you may see me on my private island in the Bahamas!”
Carole said: “Eintracht Frankfurt are my German team, so I was delighted when they made it to the final of the competition. Bath City FC has been doing quite a bit of engagement work with the college recently and we hope to continue this as the club settles into its new position as a community-owned club and looks to engage with the wider community.”


Dorothy House ‘Before I Die’ wall inspires students to write down their life goals


Students, staff and celebrity visitors added their hopes and dreams to Dorothy House’s Before I Die wall for Dying Matters Week and Mental Health and Awareness Week.

Olympic champion Amy Williams and James Moore, Acting Head of Creative Learning at the Theatre Royal Bath, were among the first to write on the wall on Tuesday May 9th.

The team from Dorothy House set up the wall, a four-sided chalk board, just outside the entrance to the college.

Life goals written on the board included humorous and profound thoughts, shedding a light on peoples’ life goals:

• Live the life I choose
• Hold a panda
• Become a meme
• Have the power to give peace to the world
• Write a book
• Sail the Whitsundays in Australia
• Make pancakes for everyone

The wall was popular at lunchtime, with people gathering to read, photograph and discuss what others had written.

Dorothy House, based in Winsley, near Bath, offers end of life care to patients and support for their families.


Before I Die walls were inspired by Candy Chang, a New Orleans artist who created the “Before I Die…” wall concept.

After losing a close friend, she channelled her grief and began working on an abandoned house in her neighbourhood. She covered the crumbling house with chalkboard paint and stencilled it with the prompt, “Before I die I want to…”

Dying Matters Week aims to get people talking about death, which can be a taboo subject, and to make it easier for people to talk about end of life care.


Amy Williams, Olympic Skeleton Champion and TV sports presenter, who left her own mark on the wall, said: “I always like to encourage young people to follow their dreams and set life goals, that’s why I’m glad to support Dorothy House’s ‘Before I Die…’Wall event and meet the students and staff at Bath College. The subject of death and dying is too often ignored by society so any effort to bring it into normal conversation has to be a good thing.”

Laurel Penrose, Principal of Bath College, said: “We are delighted to invite the local hospice, Dorothy House, to come and meet our students to help them understand why it’s important to talk about death and dying.”

Stephen Dale, Head of Community Partnerships at Dorothy House Hospice Care, said: “Our ‘Before I Die’ wall aims to encourage everyone to focus on living life to the full and exploring their dreams and hopes for the future.

“It also helps to start a conversation around death and dying with young people and helps to normalise the subject as part of everyday life. This event provides an opportunity for the college community to come together and focus on their life goals and how they want to make their mark on the world.”


Erasmus trip: Students spend a month living and working in Greece


Students got a taste of what it’s like to live and work abroad during an Erasmus trip to Crete.

Twenty students studying beauty, spa and complementary therapy spent a month on the island completing work experience.

Within days of their arrival, at Rethymnon, they were trained and working on paying clients at local hotels and salons.


Spa therapy students had the chance to work at a five-star hotel and beauty students gained experience using high tech laser therapy equipment.

Erasmus is a European Union programme offering opportunities for students to study, work and train abroad.

Students stayed in self-catered apartments, within walking distance of most placements. Some even hired cars and bikes in order to see the island, visiting Milli Gorge, nature parks and the beach.

Lecturer Lucy Baughan said: “All the students made friends with their employers and colleagues, socialising outside the workplace with them.


“The hotels offered all the students jobs if they ever want to return and were very sad to let them go. The students did extremely well representing the high teaching standards we have at Bath College.

“During their stay they had to live independently, including cooking, travelling and time keeping. They all supported each other as a group, putting messages on Facebook if they were going out somewhere to eat and inviting others to join them.
“Everyone returned home happy and grateful for experience, with several students hoping to repeat it next year. We are in discussion with the hotel chain who would like to send therapists to us for training and to visit our local spas.”

Care Academy, News

Preparing for employment: Students take part in hundreds of mock interviews


Students from across Bath College have been preparing for employment with a series of mock interview sessions.
The college’s Futures Team organised 137 interviews over two days for students who will finish their courses in the summer.
Students studying sport, performing arts, business and travel and tourism got a taste of what it’s like to face scrutiny in an interview situation.
A wide variety of businesses offered to help on the day, including the Bath Building Society, Barclays, ESPA UK and solicitors Lyons Davidson.

Employability adviser Lucy Beattie said: “This was an invaluable experience for students. To have employers who they hadn’t met conduct real interviews and give feedback will hugely help them when they come to job and further education interviews.
“The interviews helped them learn how to answer standard interview questions, and to see their CVs from an employers’ point of view.
“The feedback has been hugely positive, with at least three employers wanting to see candidates again to interview for real jobs and work experience being offered on the spot.”
Health and social care students also took part in a day of interviews with industry professionals as part of the Bath College Care Academy.

Employers visiting the college included Creative Youth Network, St Monica Trust, Way Ahead Care, Dimensions, Youth Connect and the Royal United Hospitals Bath.
Freya Game, 19, is a first year student studying Level 3 health and social care, and took part in the Dimensions group interview.
She said: “It was really helpful talking to them and being able to give us tips. It wasn’t as intimidating as I expected and I’d feel a bit more confident going into this kind of interview situation now.
“I’m not sure what area of care I want to go into yet, but I would consider working with Dimensions because this has been really interesting.”
Nick French, recruitment manager for St Monica Trust, is looking for 100 care workers for Keynsham’s Chocolate Quarter.
He said: “It’s just nice to get that connection with people who are at the beginning of their careers.
“I understand how difficult it is when people are starting out in their careers. It’s a catch 22 situation: it’s difficult to get the job without experience, and it’s difficult to get the experience.
“It’s about seeing what people can bring to the role, and from my point of view, what you can do to improve the recruitment process as an employer.”

Motor vehicle students studying for a Level 2 diploma were part of interview sessions with Mon Motors on Thursday April 4.
HR manager Sally Wade, dealer’s personal assistant Toni Preston and sales manager Barry Russell gave up their time to meet the students.
They prepared feedback, assessing students on the way they answered questions and how they prepared for the interview.
Lecturer Glyn Mountjoy said: “It gives them that experience of being interviewed by professionals in the motor industry. Some of the students were nervous because it’s the first time they have been put in front of anybody in an interview situation.
“The course is there to progress them into employment and this is part of it. The feedback will show how they can improve on their interview skills.”


Apprentice of the month: Hajraah Qureshi from the University of Bath


Hajraah Qureshi is a Level 3 business administration student studying at Bath College and working within the Faculty of Engineering and Design at the University of Bath. At the moment, the University of Bath has three apprentices working onsite, including Hajraah.
When did you start as an apprentice at the University of Bath?
I started a Level 2 apprenticeship in January last year and finished this in December. I’m now studying for a Level 3 apprenticeship, which will finish in June 2018.
When I first started, I had just finished my GCSEs. I started my A-levels, but I didn’t finish them because this opportunity came up and an apprenticeship was my first choice.
For my Level 2 qualification, I moved around different offices within the university. I started work in the undergraduate office, which gave me a basic understanding of the university and the services it offers. For my Level 3 qualification, I’m doing longer placements. I have been working in the Marketing office since December and will stay on till April.

Has it been useful to work in different offices – where are you based now?
Yes, I’ve gained a lot of experience in different areas, so for my Level 2 coursework I was able to choose from a range of different units. Moving around helped me to realise how different departments are connected and also helped me to give useful information to students (because I’d worked in those different places). At the moment, I’m based within the marketing team, working on news articles, blogs and social media in general.
Why was it important for you to study as an apprentice?
It feels more professional when you’re working as an apprentice and it’s helped me with my independence, because I commute to work.
The most important thing was having the opportunity to be paid while I learn. When I was looking for an apprenticeship I asked advice from family and friends. They said ‘these days people value experience’. My cousin did an apprenticeship and she was telling me how much she enjoyed it and how she found it better than A-levels.
You still get a qualification which is the equivalent of your a-levels, and it seemed more fun to go out and learn about things. Being here is like being on a work placement, you’re meeting new people all the time. It’s nice going into work in the morning knowing you have projects to be working on and people to be talking to.
What are you working on within the marketing team?
A typical day is quite busy. I ask students to write blogs about their experiences and I’ve just finished an Instagram competition. I’ll be looking at whether this content made any different and how many followers we’ve gained.
At the moment, we’re transitioning to new website software, so I’m moving content and writing up newer, updated articles. One of my projects is to write guidelines for e-mail communications with students, so there are many projects that pop up. I always leave time to do my coursework at the end of the day too.

Do you feel as though you’ve grown in confidence since starting your apprenticeship?
Yes, definitely. Some of my friends are still doing their A-levels and then they will go to university so I do feel as though I have a head start in terms of gaining experience.
When we have meetings I put forward my opinion and they say ‘we can do that’. My team values my opinion and I feel comfortable telling them what I think.
I always try to use things I have learnt from other offices to help my new team. The university is a really comfortable place to be working in. I was expecting it to be really strict coming here, but it’s easy to relax and everyone is really friendly.
What are your plans for the future?
I definitely want to get as many qualifications as possible.
Hopefully I’ll be able to complete my level 3 apprenticeship and progress to level 4. I’ve had a lot of different options to do training at the university, I’ve been on general training programmes and university specific ones. For example, mental health and first aid.
It’s good to get as much experience as you can and make the most of your apprenticeship programme before you get a job
Do you have any advice for someone looking for an apprenticeship?
Ask for help with your application, there are lots of people around who will be able to support you. I asked my career adviser whilst I was at school. And when you start your apprenticeship, don’t be afraid to ask questions because you’re there to learn.
Try and get some experience, which will help you when you apply. When I was in year six, I worked in the reception office. I also tried some teaching at a local mosque and did some work experience at the MoD, which was a very different environment. That experience helped me to get my apprenticeship.


Students win four medals at the South West SkillBuild regional heat


Students at Bath College beat some tough competition to win four medals at this year’s South West SkillBuild regional heat.
SkillBuild is the UK’s largest construction skills competition, designed to test the ability of promising young students going into industry.
This year, over 1,000 young people will compete in 15 regional heats across the country to win a place in the SkillBuild National Final.

Students studying carpentry and painting and decorating travelled to South Devon to take part in their nearest regional heat.
First year students Shannon Symes, Dean Hale and Ollie Takhar took part in the new entrant and senior entrant categories for painting and decorating.
Alex Franklin entered the bench joinery competition as a senior competitor, and Jacob Lower and Ryan Cottle were entered for site carpentry.
All students worked well under pressure, but judges were particularly impressed by Dean, Ollie, Alex and Jacob who won four silver medals.
Alex, an apprentice at Hawker Joinery, said: “It was a brilliant opportunity to test my ability against a diverse group of people.
“The support I got leading up to the competition, from both the college and my employer, helped me prepare myself for the task and contributed towards my second place finish. I hope to have the opportunity to go back next year and aim for first place.”

For Dean, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year, coming second in his heat has boosted his confidence.
The 23-year-old said: “I wasn’t very well, so coming to Bath College to do this course has helped me turn my life around. It gives me confidence to know that I came second because I’m forever doubting myself.
“People tell me that I’m good at what I do, but when you enter a competition like this you can really test yourself. It’s down to our tutor Graham really, because he has helped us to get prepared.”
Ollie, 18, said: “I was a bit nervous, because I didn’t know what it would be like, but I got on with it and it turned out well. We started practising a couple of months ago, if we hadn’t prepared for the competition it wouldn’t have gone as well. I’m looking forward to entering again next year.”

Painting and decorating students are now getting ready for the Johnstone’s Young Painter of the Year competition in Bournemouth on May 17th.
Tutor Graham Walmsley, who teaches painting and decorating, said: “I’m very proud of our students. This is our second year of entering the competition, last year we didn’t get any medals but this year we did.
“It’s a great way to build their confidence, because it tests them against all the other painters and decorators in the South West.
“Shannon did really well. She needed another half an hour to complete her work and then she would have been challenging for a place.
“Ollie was a first year student in the senior category competing against a previous winner. We’re very pleased with the effort they put in.”


Florists from Bath College win the chance to compete at Chelsea Flower Show


Three florists from Bath College have won a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at the famous Chelsea Flower Show.
Linda Sorenson, Lora Stevens and Sarah Hampton will compete at the show after impressing judges during the South West regional heat.
Last year, a team of florists from Bath College won RHS Chelsea Floristry College of the Year and 17-year-old Emily Smith achieved a bronze medal in the Young Florist of the Year competition.

Lora and Sarah are among 16 florists from across the UK chosen for the final of the Young Florist of the Year competition.
Linda is one of two college students selected to compete for the title of Chelsea Florist of the Year, with most of the places for the final going to professional florists.
She said: “It was quite a surprise to get through. I entered the heat because it was an opportunity to make something very different from the type of thing you make in everyday floristry.
“I just wanted to have the experience of giving it a go. My design was quite simple, but the colours were very beautiful and I think that helped me get a good score.”
Florists entering the regional heats were asked to create designs inspired by a wedding for the curator of the Tate Modern in London.

They will be in the spotlight as thousands head to the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, from May 22nd to May 27th.
Linda, who volunteers at Roots Floral Designs in Bristol, enrolled on a floristry course at Bath College after working as a nurse for 30 years.
She said: “I felt it was time to try something new. One of my patients told me that she had done the Level 3 course at Bath College, and that got me thinking.
“I did a 10-week floristry course as a taster and became hooked. It is so exciting to have found another direction to take in life.
“Competing at Chelsea is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I’m hoping that I can make something beautiful and unique.

“The Level 2 and Level 3 floristry students exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show last year. It was a huge group project that many of us worked on.
“It’s far more daunting to be entering as an individual, but we are lucky that our tutor Jo Matthews is very experienced at teaching creative floristry.”
Sarah, who works at The Blossom Tree, Flowers and Gifts, in Market Lavington, said: “I was nervous competing in the regional heat, but I found it was a great experience overall and it was great to see everyone’s creations.
“Last year we entered as a college group and achieved the best college award. I’m looking forward to returning as I loved entering last year.
“I’m sure it will feel very different as an individual competitor, but I can’t wait to experience it with Linda and Lora.”

News, Students Union

Promoting healthy living on campus: New award for Bath College’s Student Participation Team

Bath College’s Student Participation Team has won an award recognising its work to promote health and wellbeing on campus.
Whether it’s a fruit kebab stall or a giant post-it wall, the team works hard to come up with creative ways to engage students. In recognition of this, they were invited to receive a Director of Public Health Award from Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The team submitted evidence from Bath College’s health and motivation month in January to qualify for the award.
Activities included a giant game of smoking hoopla to promote the college’s anti-smoking campaign. Anti-smoking kits were given out, including tangle toys, breath mints and information on quitting smoking.
Members of the Student Participation Team made postcards with motivational quotes to hand out at lunchtime, and started January with a float your hopes event. Students were given helium balloons and invited to write their hopes for the future on them.

Equality and Diversity Officer Katie Dunn was also keen to promote the importance of having a positive body image during mental health week. To do this, she covered a sofa with white fabric and asked students to write down their favourite things about themselves.
Student Participation Manager Rob Heyes said: “Judges liked the fact that a lot of the things we’re doing are very different. We’re constantly working to come up with creative ways to engage with students around the topic of health and wellbeing.”

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