Students gain international outlook with trip to China

Computing students at Bath College have spent three weeks in China developing an international outlook on their chosen career.


The Bsc (Hons) Applied Computing students have been inspired to work overseas after gaining first-hand knowledge of the opportunities available in East Asia.


Seven students spent three weeks in Shanghai, as part of Bath College’s exchange partnership with the Shanghai Technical Institute of Electronics and Information (STIEI).


The College has been sharing good teaching practice with STIEI for about three years but this was the first visit for students.


The Computing students were joined on the China trip by three engineering apprentices from Bath-based company Rotork and the College’s Learning Development Coach Gwyn Chamberlain.


They spent two weeks living in university halls of residence and attending lectures while carrying out a research project into the domestic use of ‘the internet of things.’


This was followed by a week’s work experience in Shanghai’s Rotork office, which included helping with day-to-day jobs in the sales department and IT department.


Student Jodie Collier, 22, said: “I’d never been away for that long before and I was completely out of my comfort zone, so it really increased my confidence.


“If it wasn’t for the College, I would never have had an opportunity like this. I want to work in software development or project management and now I find myself considering further travel.”


Student Chris Mulgrew, 21, said: “The trip taught me how to adapt to a completely different environment. The software was obviously in Chinese and there were huge cultural differences, but whatever happened, you learned to fit in.


“I’m now looking at teaching English or IT abroad. I loved everything about China and it’s made the world feel like a smaller place.”


Student Lewis Hack, 20, added: “This trip is a real CV boost, it will hopefully open up job opportunities for us all.”


The Computing students became close friends with STIEI students and are likely to be remembered for their on-stage rendition of Take That’s ‘Back For Good’ at a karaoke night.


They also got to squeeze in some sightseeing, visiting the Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai Museum, as well as gardens and Temples.


Jodie said: “It’s a huge and very busy city; it’s completely different out there. There’s always a sea of people around you.


“But everyone is very welcoming, friendly and extremely accommodating. They couldn’t do enough to help us.”


Lewis added: “We were guests in their country and they really looked after us. At times it felt like we were celebrities!”


Bath College’s Higher Education Lecturer John Curry said the experience had helped students prepare for the international workplace.


He said: “The exchange visit has been a great learning experience for the students. They’ve been introduced to one of the places the working world could take them.


“I hope the two institutions can continue to work together and future Computing students can benefit from similar trips.”


Four staff exchanges between Bath College and STIEI have taken place. Staff from STIEI were in Bath for three weeks in the summer last year and Bath College’s Level 3 Business students will visit Shanghai in October this year.


The College also has links with Shanghai SIPO Polytechnic and Shanghai Jiguang Polytechnic College.


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Pictured above: Bath College’s BSc (Hons) Applied Computing students on an exchange trip to Shanghai.


Students find out where their future career could take them

Students have been given an insight into the latest technology developments in the refrigeration industry.

The 15 Refrigeration VRQ2 students from Bath College have enjoyed a site visit to show them how the industry is rapidly changing.

They toured Space Engineering’s plant manufacturing facility in Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire, to find out more about refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.

It is hoped that the visit will inspire students to take advantage of the highly-skilled opportunities in one of country’s fastest growing industries.

Plant Manufacturing Director Tony Mills explained the production process, talked about innovative designs and answered students’ questions regarding future developments.

The visit also gave students the chance to see the evolution of refrigeration plant technologies and how this is driven by the customer, mainly the big supermarkets.

Students also got to grips with the scale and application of systems used in the industry and the constant strive for a greener economical way of utilising heat energy.

Student Chandler Davison said: “The visit to Space Engineering was enlightening and brought into realisation how fast the industry in which I want to be part of is changing and adapting to new rules and regulations.

“It was great to be shown round the whole factory learning the more advanced ways of refrigerating and cooling products and how using non-harmful gases to the environment is the future.

“The sheer scale of the refrigeration equipment used was great to see and walking around gave us a wider perspective on the jobs available to us in the industry.”

Student Brad Jefferies added: “The visit was very educational and taught me a load of things about both space engineering and refrigeration in general.”

Refrigeration Lecturer Simon Robinson said:  “The students came away very inspired and keen to understand more about complex refrigeration systems in a very specialist area of Building Services Engineering.

“Space Engineering has used Bath College to train their refrigeration apprentices for a long time, and we want to continue to help assist their training needs in the future.”

Space Engineering Services provides refrigeration, mechanical and electrical services to a wide range of UK customers across the retail, public, industrial and commercial sectors.

The company specialises in greener refrigeration systems that operate using the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide.

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Pictured above: Refrigeration students from Bath College touring the facilities at Space Engineering. 


Company donation aids student learning

An overseas company has donated hundreds of pounds worth of equipment to help students gain the practical know-how needed for the world of work.

Refrigeration students at Bath College now have some of the latest controllers at their fingertips, thanks to the generous donation from Eliwell.

The company, which is based in Italy, has donated 20 high-tech refrigeration controllers, which cost about £50 each.

Simon Robinson, Refrigeration Learning Coordinator, presented the Level 2 Refrigeration students with the new controllers and asked them to install them as part of the lesson.

The students have to build a small refrigeration system, incorporating a control panel, and the controllers will make this as realistic as possible for them.

Level 2 Refrigeration student Jacob Cooper, 28, of Bristol said the controllers would really help with the practical side of their learning through electrical installations.

He said: “A controller is a crucial component as it pretty much controls the whole of the refrigeration cycle. It can be set to monitor the temperature to make sure it remains stable.

“These new controllers are a lot easier to use and will be a lot more reliable in giving us exact measurements.

“It’s brilliant to be able to use controllers like this as they are just what is used in the industry. It means we are using the latest technology.”

Simon had emailed the company’s headquarters in Belluno, Italy, to tell them about the practical learning of students.

Business Development Manager Alessandro Padrin said he would be pleased to donate 20 of the latest controller models to the College.

The College plans to continue to work in partnership with Eliwell to help create a realistic learning and training experience for students.

Eliwell has operated for more than 30 years and offers products, control systems and services for refrigeration units, both commercial and industrial, and for air conditioning.

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Pictured above: Refrigeration students put the new controllers to good use.



Students learn from industry leaders

The best way to find out about the vital tools used in the refrigeration industry is to ask the specialists.

That’s why Level 2 and 3 Air-conditioning and Refrigeration students were keen to ask questions when one of the world’s biggest distributors of air-conditioning pumps came to visit.

Mike Davies, account manager at Aspen Pumps, was invited to Bath College as a guest speaker.

His talk and question and answer session not only gave students first-hand knowledge of the industry, but also inspired them on their future career paths.

Students learnt about condensate removal and how pumps are used in different scenarios across the industry in over 100 countries worldwide, from Europe and America to the Middle East and Australasia.

They also found about the latest pump technology, which includes anti vibration and silencing, voltage variations and how pumps can be installed when space is limited.

Simon Robinson, Refrigeration Learning Coordinator, said: “Students at Level 2 and 3 thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed but very interesting talk.

“Mike gave a very enthusiastic and comprehensive talk on the product including definitions, type selection and maintenance.

“This is exceptionally valuable to the up and coming engineers of the future.”

Simon added: “Speaking to the students after gave me a great sense of satisfaction and awareness of the importance of this training day, as questions that can’t always be answered were answered by the specialists.”

Level 2 Refrigeration student Kieran Hall said: “It was really good to be able to install the pumps discussed on the training board and to actually take time to see how they should be installed and how the pumps work.”

Aspen Pumps, which is based in East Sussex, is the worldwide distributor of condensate pumps with 95% of the worldwide market and believe in educating the users of their products to extend quality and innovation.

Aspen-pic Aspen-1

Pictured above: Students learn about the vital tools used in the refrigeration industry.


Take a look at Bath College’s new Somer Valley Campus

ind out what the newly merged Bath College can offer you with its increased range of full-time, part-time, university level and professional courses.

The College is opening the doors of its Somer Valley Campus for the first time to show prospective students how they can achieve their goals through study.

All are welcome at the Open Evening at the College on Wells Road, Westfield, on Thursday, May 14th from 5pm to 8pm.

It is the ideal opportunity for people to take a tour around the former Norton Radstock College and to see the fantastic facilities.

Somer Valley staff are committed to preparing students for a growing range of exciting careers in the great outdoors. Courses include Animal Care, Aboriculture, Horticulture, Equine Care and Veterinary Nursing.

The long-term focus for the campus is to meet the demands of the local labour market through vocational training, including manufacturing, engineering and construction.

The Open Evening will feature a range of taster activities and visitors will be able to talk to teachers and careers advisors about learning and progression opportunities.

Current students will also be on hand to answer questions and talk about how the college has helped them.

Principal Matt Atkinson said: “This is our first Open Evening at Somer Valley and we invite everyone to come along.

“We want to show you what Bath College can offer you and where gaining new skills could take you.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the courses we offer and to get a real feel for College life.

“As a College, we remain focused on making students work-ready by providing education and training to meet the needs of the region.”

A bigger and better Bath College was launched last month with the merger of Bath College and Norton Radstock College.

The College now provides vocational and educational training for more than 3,000 full-time students and around 10,000 part-time students across the broadest range of subjects.

Find out more at the Somer Valley Campus Open Evening on Thursday May 14th, from 5pm to 8pm.

Pre-register for the Open Evening online at
www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk or call 01225 312191 for more information.

Bath College’s City Centre Campus will have its own Open Evening on Thursday June 11th from 4pm to 7pm.

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 Pictured above: Animal Care students currently studying at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus; Katie Hell,18, and Maisie Vanmeir, 18.


Equine students play crucial role in caring for rescued horses

Students are being given first-hand experience of caring for abandoned and neglected horses to help them get ahead in the equestrian industry.

Equine students at Bath College are being given the chance to turn their love of horses into fulfilling careers with weekly on-the-job experience.

The College’s Somer Valley Campus is working in partnership with HorseWorld in Bristol, which is the UK’s leading charity caring for horses, ponies and donkeys.

Students spend at least one day a week helping to rehabilitate the rescued horses. Each animal has an individual programme of rehabilitation, including veterinary care, dentistry, farriery, as well as handling and training to improve their chances of being re-homed.

Equine lecturer Lil Ough said the students played a hands-on role at HorseWorld to make a real difference to horses in need.

She said: “We’re very lucky to have such a close working relationship with HorseWorld as it greatly benefits the students.

“There are hundreds of horses needing rehabilitation which puts students on the front-line in the equine world.

“The work is hard and varied, but students learn to build up relationships with the horses to improve any fitness and behavioural issues.

“It gives students a real feel to what it’s like to work in the industry. Students get to leave College with the practical skills and knowledge to follow a rewarding career in the equine industry.”

Horse Care students at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus study the anatomy and biology of horses, including handling, feeding, health, welfare and grooming.

The Equine Management course covers stable management, coaching skills and the leisure and tourism-related aspects of the equestrian world.

Students progress into employment within the equine industry, including horse breeding on stud farms, grooming, teaching at riding schools, or in one of the many career opportunities available in the horse racing industry.

Aaron Boniface, a Level 2 Equine Studies student, said he looked forward to working with the rescued horses each week.

The 18-year-old from Chew Magna said: “I’m really enjoying everything that I’m learning. The course combines classroom teaching with practical experience at HorseWorld.

“I’m hoping to go into equine dentistry. It would be great if I could get an apprenticeship to continue my on-the-job experience.”

Level 1 Equine Studies student Ella Boyce, 17, of Bristol said: “I’ve always loved horses, so I’m studying what I love.

“Being at HorseWorld is the best part of the course as it’s so hands-on, you learn while out in the field.

“It’s been great being in a working environment and it’s made me realise I’d like to work in grooming.”

Find out more about Bath College’s Equine courses at its Somer Valley Campus Open Evening at South Hill Park, Westfield. Prospective students are invited along on Thursday, May 14 between 5pm and 8pm to talk to staff and students, tour the facilities and find out which course is right for them.

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Pictured above: Equine students from Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus with the rescued horses at HorseWorld.


Brave students come face-to-face with dangerous reptiles

Students at Bath College have got up close and personal with some of the world’s most dangerous animals.

Animal Care and Animal Management students at the Somer Valley Campus came face-to-face with an alligator and crocodile as part of their course

Around 40 Level 1-3 students got to meet the reptiles and hold them during a visit by Pete Blake of Reptile Zone in Bristol.

Mr Blake showed students how crocodilia can be cared for and kept in captivity.  He has a Dangerous Wild Animals licence and also keeps 50 venomous snakes from across the world.

Animal Care Coordinator Wayne Clarke said the talk was organised to help educate students about animals they wouldn’t normally come into contact with.

He said: “The students really enjoyed the experience, although there were quite a few scared faces when it came to handling the reptiles.

“It’s not everyday students get so close to some of the world’s most dangerous animals so it was a great opportunity for them.

“The information given to them about how to care for these animals will be useful in their future careers.

“There is a widespread misunderstanding about reptiles. Holding the animals has hopefully reduced their fears and given them a better understanding.”

Even Principal Matt Atkinson tried to put on a brave face as he posed for ‘snaps’ with Ali G the baby alligator.

He said: “Seeing an alligator walking around a classroom like a dog was one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen.

“When I was asked if I’d like to hold the baby alligator, I initially said ‘no.’

“But then I changed my mind because I wanted to impress the students!”

Bath College runs a range of Animal Care courses giving students the theoretical and practical knowledge to succeed in the industry. Courses cover the health, welfare, handling and husbandry of animals.

The Animal Care Centre at the Somer Valley Campus is home to a wide range of rodents, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish and creepy crawlies.

Call the Student Advice Centre on 01225 312191 for more information if you are interested in Animal Care courses.

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 It's a snap! Students and Principal Matt Atkinson put on brave faces as they posed with a baby alligator.


Businesses work together to improve online marketing

Business leaders have come together to share their ideas on how they can reach a wider audience through online marketing.

More than 20 company representatives shared good practice at the latest breakfast business event organised by Bath College.

The networking event saw business leaders from across Bath and North East Somerset learning how to make the most of online marketing.

Engineering, computing, tourism and service industry businesses were represented at the event at Newton Farm Café in Newton St Loe.

Guest speaker Kate Doodson from Cosmic Ethical IT talked about the latest trends, while several businesses shared their own experiences of using websites, social media and videos.

The event was organised as part of a European project called Connect-VET, which aims to develop innovations in the vocational education and training sector.

The on-going project hopes to improve the connections between employers and students during their studies and increase their readiness for entrepreneurship.

Project leader Rosaleen Courtney, who is based at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus, said: “Our guest speaker, Kate Doodson, used everyday language to give practical tips on how to select and apply latest developments.

“By the end of the event, people were buzzing with bright ideas.”

Celia Gay, who runs the Newton Farm shop and café, explained how the business used its website and social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for marketing purposes.

Celia said: “We recently produced a video of the farm to show the range of products and facilities we offer as we see video as an increasingly important way to attract customers.”

Mike Owen and Grant McMinn, students at Bath Spa University, also explained how they had helped to develop branding, video and a website for Bath City Community Sports Foundation as part of their course.

Further discussion followed on how the University and Bath College can help local businesses through work placements and apprenticeships.

The importance of superfast broadband and business clusters was also discussed with Chris Head, Director of the West of England Rural Network and local businessman, David Bland providing information on progress in the area.

Bath College, formerly Norton Radstock College, has been working alongside the West of England Rural Network, the Local Enterprise Partnership and Bath Spa University on the Connect-VET project for almost two years.

The group shares good practice with partners across seven different countries, including Finland, Italy, Spain and Estonia.\


Pictured above: Employers from across Bath & North East Somerset shared online marketing opportunities at a Bath College business event at Newton Farm Café. 


Hair & Beauty students impress judges with their creativity

Hair and Beauty students at Bath College have put their creative and practical skills to the test in an industry-standard competition.

The annual challenge at the Somer Valley Campus saw more than 25 Level 2 and 3 students showcasing their talents under timed conditions.

They had to impress a panel of professional judges by demonstrating their ability to work under pressure.

The competition, which counts towards the students’ coursework portfolio, aims to boost their confidence and creativity skills.

Jayne Withers, senior curriculum leader for hair and beauty, said the competition encouraged students to show their talents and inspire others.

She said: “The College’s annual hair and beauty competition is a fantastic showcase for our students to demonstrate the skills they learn at College.

“Working under timed competition conditions, it’s not easy, but the students once again impressed judges with their high standards and creativity.”

Level 3 Make-up Artistry students had to create a character based on the fantasy theme ‘Out of this World’. They used make-up, face and body art to come up with eye-catching designs such as space maids and sea life creatures.

Level 3 Hair students created the ‘total look’ with a colour, cut and finish, while Level 2 Hair students tackled a ‘long hair up’ style that was commercial and fashionable.

Level 2 Beauty students had just 45 minutes to use nail art techniques with an Easter theme.

Gemma Olsen was the winner of the ‘long hair up’ category after she put her 15-year-old daughter Karym’s hair in a French roll in the 60 minute timeframe.

The Level 2 Hair student decided on a career change and returned to College to train as a hairdresser after having four children.

Gemma of Chilcompton said: “It was awesome to hear my name being read out, this was my first big win.

“It’s given me even more motivation to go on to do my Level 3 Hairdressing then work in a salon.

“I’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser since I left school but I’ve been working in childcare as the hours fitted in with my own children.

“But now my children are 15, 12, 7 and 6 and all at school, I’m determined to work hard at College to get my dream job.”

The competition culminated in family and friends being invited to a prize giving ceremony at the Centurion Hotel.

The judges were Scott Green, who owns the ACU Hair Salon in Devizes, James Christopher, who owns JC Hairdressing in Midsomer Norton, Mark Hanock, of Gilmor Hair Supplies, and Mel Broom of The Body Painting Company.

Scott said: “This is the 13th year I’ve been invited to judge this competition and it’s been fantastic every year.

“This year was a very closely contested competition. We have had to make some difficult decisions as the talent has been so high.

“The students put so much hard work into their entries, it’s the pinnacle of their year.”

For more information on Hair and Beauty courses at Bath College, call 01225 312191.
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Pictured above: Students at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus with their entries in the annual Hair and Beauty competition.


Bath College is launched

Bath College launches today to mark the start of a new chapter of further education for Bath and North East Somerset.

The new multi-campus college comes into operation today (April 7) to give students more choice, greater opportunities and a wider range of facilities.

The ‘bigger and better’ college has been formed by the merger of Bath College and Norton Radstock College.

Bath College has the City Centre Campus in Avon Street, Bath, and the Somer Valley Campus in South Hill Park, Westfield.

The scale and influence of the new college, as well as its combined expertise, is expected to provide a real stimulus for economic growth.

Its focus will be work-ready skills to ensure students are able to meet the demands of the local labour market.

Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said the new college would be taking further education in Bath and North East Somerset from good to excellent.

He said: “This is an exciting time for us all with both students and employers reaping the benefits.

“The new college opens up so many opportunities; we now offer an even wider range of vocational and academic courses, in an even greater range of subjects.

“We are building on the strengths of the two colleges and moving forward to deliver outstanding learning and progression opportunities.”

He added: “As a merged college we will continue to be responsive to the communities we serve.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to make the people of Bath and North East Somerset proud of their new college.”

Bath College provides vocational and educational training for more than 3,000 full-time students and around 10,000 part-time students across the broadest range of subjects.

The merger has been completed in 18 weeks after the Department for Business Innovation and Skills identified it as the best possible option following Norton Radstock College’s inadequate Ofsted inspection.

Matt thanked staff, students, governors and community partners for working hard to keep the merger on schedule, and explained that today was ‘just the beginning.’

He said: “Today is the first day of our new college, a new college which marks the start of bigger and better things.

“Today is the start of a new future.”

For more information on Bath College, visit www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk

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