Bath College graduates celebrated at Bath Abbey

The achievements of more than 70 Bath College graduates have been celebrated at Bath Abbey.


Students wore the traditional academic dress of caps and gowns to be awarded their qualifications in front of family and friends.


This was the third time the College has hosted its graduation at Bath Abbey and the formal procession and ceremony was enjoyed by more than 200 people.


Graduates had completed courses at Level 4 or higher in a wide range of subjects including computing, early years, fashion and textiles, music and professional qualifications.

College Principal Matt Atkinson said he was honoured to be celebrating the achievements of the HE students:


“This ceremony allows us to celebrate the huge effort put in by our students to balance their work, life and study commitments in order to gain qualifications which increase their employability in the future.


“It also gives us the opportunity to recognise the critical role that we as a college play in contributing to the West of England Economy.


“We have engineers, computing specialists, accountants, teachers, construction professionals, creative industries specialists, early years professionals and others graduating – which demonstrates the wide variety of staff we are committed to producing for local industry.”


Among those graduating was George Capon who completed the University of London BSc (Hons) in Business at the college.


The 22-year-old moved to Bath from Taunton to complete the three year course and made such a good impression that the college have now employed him as an Information & Enrolment Assistant within their Student Advice team.


George said:


“The reward of graduating with my Business BSc feels fantastic. It’s been a terrific 3 years at Bath College who have not only provided me with support throughout my degree but a job alongside it.


I cannot thank all the staff, both academic and non-academic, enough for how amazing they have been; as a result of this, Bath is now my home.


I’m looking forward to a future, hopefully remaining in Bath, and the new prospects I now have open to me.”


Karen Fraser, Director of Student Services and Marketing added:


“The Bath Abbey is a fabulous setting in which to celebrate the successes of our graduates. Its grandeur helps to demonstrate the immense achievements of our students; we are so proud of them.”


Bath College is able to provide a wide range of well-respected higher education courses through its excellent working relationship with the University of Bath and Bath Spa University.


For more information on Higher Education courses on offer at Bath College please call 01225 312191 or visit Higher Education Courses


Access to Higher Education Celebration

Recently at the Komedia Club in Bath, the success of the students in their Access to Higher Education course was celebrated. The event was attended by Margaret Roper as guest of honour, alongside Governors, The Principal and  the Access staff of Bath College. The award ceremony was the climax of much hard work and marked the end of one journey and the beginning of the next. The students will now head off to an impressive array of Universities in the new academic year.


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Green light given to renewable energy courses

New training and development opportunities are being offered to meet the demand of the ever-increasing job opportunities in renewable technologies.


Bath College has been working closely with Bath and North East Somerset Council to support the emerging renewable and sustainable technologies for several years.


But the recently-merged College is now going “even greener” as it becomes a training hub for a new series of courses in solar thermal, solar panel and the principles of renewable technologies.


This month’s free courses are open to everyone, but are particularly targeting unemployed young people who want to set up their own businesses.


There is a real demand for workers in the renewable energy industry as more and more people rely on the power generated by sources like the wind, waves and sun.


It comes as the UK’s green economy is worth £128 billion and the Government has a target that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources by 2020.


Martin Reeves, Senior Curriculum Leader in Construction, said the courses were focused on making sure people’s homes were ‘fit for the future.’


He said: “This is a very exciting time for Bath College as we work with industry partners to help build a sustainable future.


“The renewable energies industry offers so many exciting job opportunities and we want to help match people to the jobs that are out there.


“The College is pleased to be at the forefront of renewal energy training. We are proud to be ambassadors of sustainability.”


Bath College formerly worked in partnership with Norton Radstock College to run the Green Skills Academy.


Several one-day and short courses proved to be popular, including air source heat pumps, water harvesting and sustainable construction. Up-skilling programmes for trades people were also held, as well as ‘toolbox talks’ for the public to learn more about renewable energies.


The Green Skills Academy met all its initial targets, including purchasing specialist equipment for training purposes and providing training to more than 10 unemployed people and more than 150 16 to 18-year-olds over two years.


Bath College recently hosted a presentation to spread the word on its free external wall insulation course. More than 15 plasterers and renderers attended and signed up for the course, which is being run in conjunction with Energy at Home and Low Carbon South West.


The Fundamental Principles of Renewable Technologies course is on June 15-16, Solar PV Technologies is on June 22-26 and Solar Thermal is on June 29- July 3. They are all Level 3 qualifications and will be held at Bath College’s City Centre Campus.


For more information on green skills courses running at Bath College, call 01225 312191.


Same course, grade and university for married couple

Married couple Candita and Mike Wooten are preparing to go to university together after passing the same college course with the same grade.


They are now a step closer to their dream careers after “giving education another go” and returning to Bath College as mature students.


The couple achieved 100% distinctions in their Access to Higher Education Diplomas and will start Bournemouth University in September.


Candita, 22, enrolled on the year-long course in 2013 and Mike was inspired to follow in her footsteps when he saw how much she was enjoying learning.


She deferred her university place for a year so that she could “swap places” with her husband and he could take the same course.


Candita will be studying midwifery at university, while Mike will study social work. They will be moving from Bath to Bournemouth with their three-year-old daughter Leia.


Mike, 23, said: “I was working full-time in McDonalds when I decided to do the same as Candita and go back to College.


“It wasn’t planned, it was only when I saw her doing so well on the course that I realised that I also wanted to give education another go.


“Growing up in care, I’d always thought about being a social worker to help others but I didn’t ever really have anyone telling me to do well in school.


“Then I saw Candita going places. She was working hard and earning the top grades while enjoying it all. That’s when I knew, she inspired me.”


The couple say “it’s as if it was all planned” as “it all turned out so well” with their roles reversing from one year to the next. When one of them was at college, the other one worked full-time.


Candita said: “I’m surprised at how things have turned out, but it’s great that we’re both sharing this journey.


“I was at College for a year; then I worked as Mike went to College for a year. And now we’re going to university as a family.


“It’s not going to be easy for both of us to juggle education and childcare, but this is what we have to do. We will continue to rely on each other as we work towards our new careers.”


Bath College’s Access to Higher Education course helps mature students to develop their skills, confidence and educational potential in preparation for degree or diploma level study.


Candita said: “I’ve always wanted to go to university, and it’s always been my dream to become a midwife.


“After my A-Levels, we got a flat together, I ended up working in insurance and I just thought university wouldn’t happen.


“But going back to college was great. It was intense but such good fun, I think I enjoyed the pressure!


“I can’t recommend the Access to HE course enough, it’s opened up doors for both of us.”

UK Masonry Skills Challenge


Bath College comes third in national stonemasonry competition

Stonemasons from Bath College have proved they are among the best in the country by securing a top spot in a national skills competition.


The College scooped third place in the UK Masonry Skills Challenge, thanks to the work-ready skills of three of its stonemasonry students.


They went head-to-head with students from colleges across the UK in the highly-respected competition with a panel of industry judges.


The competition, which is run by The Stone Federation, creates a typical industry scenario where students have to follow detailed instructions under timed conditions.


Each student was given a drawing, a piece of stone and the materials to make the necessary moulds and templates. They then had an eight-hour time period to put their mallet and chisel skills to the test.


They were judged on criteria such as neatness of work, measurement precision, health and safety and time keeping – all essential requirements for today’s stonemasonry industry.


Judge Sean Collins of Boden and Ward Stonemasons said: “The competition is open to those training for a career in stonemasonry and it really helps to prepare them for the industry.


“It’s an industry-standard competition which tests whether students are ready for the workplace.”


A total of 27 students entered the competition in two regional heats. The southern heat was held at Bath College’s Construction Skills Centre.


The three students who represented Bath College were Toby Brook, Jordan Walsh and Alex Willis.


Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner said it was an honour for Bath College to come third in the overall college category.


He said: “It’s a tough competition with a very high standard of work, so our success is testament to the hard work and dedication of our students.


“All the students did very well, putting into practice what they had learned in the classroom. We’re very proud of what they’ve achieved; they were a real credit to the College.”


View our Stonemasonry Courses


Ofsted praises Bath College’s employability focus

The employability of students is at the heart of just about everything Bath College does, according to Ofsted.


The education regulatory body has praised the innovative ways staff give students the best possible chance of joining and sustaining their chosen career paths.


Her Majesty’s Inspector Nick Crombie said the College’s students were benefitting from the well-defined strategic and operational focus on “enterprise, entrepreneurship, innovation and employability.”


Students aged 16 to 18 were said to achieve well in their chosen subjects, while gaining and applying essential employability skills.


The Ofsted inspector highlighted how the College has good working links with a range of employers, encourages work experience across all industries, is responsive to current skills needs, hosts skills fairs which have led to students gaining employment and apprenticeships, offers non-partisan careers advice and is an active member of local business partnerships.


This integral approach to work-ready skills was said to be helping to prepare students for their next steps, including progression into higher education, training and employment.


The work of staff and students to further ingrain employability into all aspects of the student experience, from pre-entry through to the end of the course, was also praised.


These findings will be used to form part of Ofsted’s Regional Annual Report and will be referred to while compiling the South West’s next strategic plan.


Principal Matt Atkinson said employability was at the heart of Bath College’s provision.


He said: “Making our students employment-ready is our aim and our priority.


“We are focused on giving students the work-ready skills to meet the demands of the local labour market


“We ensure the day to day focus on employability remains strong by working closely with high-quality employers from Bath and across the region.


“We work with industry experts, host employer events and design course curriculums to meet the needs of the people who are going to employ students.”


Bath College was given its best-ever Ofsted report in 2013 with inspectors concluding the College was good with outstanding features. It was given an overall grade of 2 (Good).

Jewellery adult learners


Students recycle unwanted jewellery for charity

Students at Bath College have put their creative skills to the test by recycling unwanted and broken jewellery to raise money for a cancer charity.


Advanced Design and Craft students took apart necklaces, bracelets, earrings and brooches to create new innovative pieces of costume jewellery.


The one-off student designs were displayed during Bath in Fashion and will now be auctioned off to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Research.


The ‘Reloved Campaign’ was run in conjunction with Fabulous jewellery shop in SouthGate, which collected returned/ex-stock jewellery and asked customers to donate unwanted items.


Part-time students Scarlet De La Croix, Debbie Downs, Nico Stead and Susan Harker completed their re-modelled designs in about two months, with a lot of the work being carried out in their free time.


Susan said: “Having all the unwanted jewellery was like opening a Pandora’s box.


“It was exciting to dive in; I tried to get my hands on anything sparkly; I must have grabbed about 30+ pieces to work with.


“I tried to create a ‘looking good, feeling better’ piece to tie in with the breast cancer theme. It’s a really big piece that is a fashion statement.”


Debbie said it had been great experience to keep to the industry brief, while raising money for charity at the same time.


She said: “We were given a large choice of old pieces of jewellery and we could select anything that caught our eye.


“I went for the shells and pearls and anything else relating to the sea. I was thinking something along the mermaid theme and it went from there.


“The end result doesn’t actually look anything like my original idea, but I’m pleased with it. I’ve created a piece of jewellery totally from scratch and I’ve learnt how to adapt to an evolving design process.”


Course tutor Melanie Sproat said students worked with a large amount of unwanted jewellery made out of various materials from coloured acrylics to gold plate.


She said: “Students had to identify materials from the items of jewellery, deconstruct them then incorporate them into new designs.


“They generated completely new ideas for jewellery and came up with a range of eye-catching designs.


“It was quite a challenge but students did a great job. They created some very sophisticated costume jewellery for a great cause.”


Becky Johnson, Retail and Training Manager at Fabulous, said she was pleased to see the students had risen to the design challenge.


She said: “We collected a massive box of jewellery and handed it over to the students.


“I’m very impressed with their designs; they have completely transformed the unwanted items.


“The finished results are great; the students have created some innovative and beautifully crafted pieces of jewellery.”


The Advanced Design and Craft course is part of Bath College’s Love2learn part-time programme. There are a wide range of art and design courses available, many of them running in the evening and at weekends.


Courses on offer include fashion design and textiles, interior design, glass-making, painting, photography and sculpture.


For more information on part-time leisure courses is available here or phone 01225 312191. There’s a 10 per cent discount for online enrolments.

employability week competition


Students prove how employable they are

Students have been given the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their employability with a week devoted to getting a head start in the job market.


Employability Week at Bath College included several exciting events to give students the skills that employers want – and to teach them how to prove they have them.


Students from all subject areas were given valuable tips and advice for personal development. This included CV writing, interview tips, and learning what employers want from students.


The Employability Passport Scheme was also launched to encourage students to build up employability skills and earn bronze, silver or gold passports. The passports aim to get students’ careers ‘off to a flying start.’


The event was part of Bath College’s commitment to preparing students for the world of employment. Staff work hard to ensure students have the work-ready skills to match the demand from the local labour market.


A highlight of Employability Week was the Dress To Impress Competition to promote the importance of suitable interview outfits.


Students had no more than an hour to make their interview clothing selection from Next in Southgate, Bath, then present their chosen outfit to a panel of judges.


They could pick whatever clothes they wanted, including shoes and accessories, for a fictional job vacancy as a PR/Social Media Co-ordinator at a large fashion company.


Level 3 Travel and Tourism student Ellen Samikwa was chosen as the winner for her blue skirt suit selection and matching shoes. She won a £100 Next voucher.


Ellen, 18, said: “It was great; we could pick out anything we wanted to wear.


“I went for something tailored, something that would help me stand out and make a good first impression.”


Employability Week was organised and run by Apprentice Emma Datson, Careers and Employability Manager Louise Croft and the College’s careers advisors.


Emma said they wanted to give students the chance to gain the essential skills and experiences to make them stand out from the crowd.


She said: “The students have been very positive about raising their employability skills.


“They joined in with all the activities and events knowing that they will ultimately help to boost their careers.”


The College’s first Employability Week was such a success that it is expected to become an annual event.


College students welcome coding into the classroom

Students at Bath College are learning to create their own digital worlds as coding is put at the heart of their IT education.


They are being taught how to tell a computer to perform complex tasks to keep up to date with the changing technological world.


The College is dedicated to arming students with the power of coding as today’s job market is dominated by computer software.


Level 2 IT students are being taught that once they know how to code, the only limit on what is possible within computing is their imagination.


It comes as the next generation’s world is predicted to be even more online and digital with more web-controlled devices.


Coding – which is seen as the new language of the world – also develops the students’ maths, problem-solving and logical-thinking skills.


During the first year of their IT courses, Bath College students are using an onsite programme to pick up the basics through a series of activities that increase in difficulty.


The website (code.org) features videos, puzzles, group activities and game designs recommended by the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.


Students are then encouraged to go on to use coding to build useful applications and websites.


Student Amiee Daws, 16, said she liked how coding was incorporated into the course to try to get them ahead in the industry.


She said:  “I didn’t really know a lot about coding but I’m learning in a very hands-on way.


“Learning with the website has demystified coding and broken it down into simple terms for us.


“I think I’ve become a better logical-thinker and I’m hoping I can put what I’ve learnt about coding into practice when I get a job.”


Student Jordan Kent, 18, said coding would help with his future career as he hoped to go on to university then get his dream job at the Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.


He said: “It’s great to learn coding as it’s essential for solving problems.


“We’ve covered all the basics of coding by learning how to break things down into more manageable problems.


“The coding puzzles are good fun; it feels like we are playing and learning at the same time.”


Student Kieran Lye, 18, said he’d learnt how code works and how important it is to website development.


He said: “It’s good because you work at your own pace with the online coding puzzles going from easy to complicated very quickly.


“You can direct just about everything through coding; it’s about being logical and learning the importance of commands.


“I hope these new IT skills will help me to get a job after College.”


Two musical showcases to promote student talent

Students at Bath College are out to impress as they showcase their skills to some of the south west’s biggest names in the music industry.


Music students are gearing up for two public events on consecutive nights to try to impress industry leaders as their course draws to an end.


The students have organised the two events themselves to share their talents in areas such as performance, music sequencing, sound recording, acoustics, composition and DJing.


Music Technology students will host an ‘Isotropic’ electronic music and visual exhibition on Thursday, June 11 to network and share their profiles with industry professionals, performers, producers, promoters and record labels.


Then all Music students will come together on Friday June 12 to host the BA1 Records end of year live music show to celebrate their successes and achievements over the last two years. It will see every student performing on stage and promoting their websites, video and EP releases.


Music Lecturer Ginny Saunders said it was going to be a busy week with both the industry showcase and end of year show.


She said:  “The students will be showcasing their music and digital profile alongside live DJs and multi- media visuals.


“Industry professionals, performers, labels, producers, promoters, PRs & agents will be invited to meet our maestros and sample their current catalogues.


“It’s about bringing the industry into the College.”


She added: “We are always loud and proud when it comes to blowing our own trumpet as the College has seen students & ex-students enjoying considerable international success.”


Guests at the events will receive copies of ‘Now that’s What I Call BA1 Music!,’ a CD release featuring the a selection of tracks from second year students.


Bath College’s music department runs a variety of courses in both performance and production and has established itself as the forerunner in music education.


With four in-house studios and renowned DJs and producers among teaching staff, students are encouraged to record and release music, and stage live events and club nights across Bath and Bristol.


Bath College has seen music students and ex-students enjoying international success. For example, Gabrielle Aplin is signed to Parlophone, has toured internationally and secured the Christmas number one in 2013, and singer-songwriter Laura Doggett recently signed a major label deal and performed on the Jools Holland Show.


Meanwhile, Max Goff is on a world tour playing bass for Tom Odell, Lascel Wood made it through as an X-Factor finalist, and house producer/DJ Julio Bashmore is signed to Dirty Bird and has his own Radio 1 show.


Both evening events are open to the public and will be held in Bath College’s Performance Space.


If you would like to book a place at these events or want more information, contact Ginny Saunders on 07712 651679 or saundersg@bathcollege.ac.uk.


Students take impressive first steps on career ladder

Two Bath College students have beaten off competition to earn themselves their dream jobs.


Gracie Bond, 19, has been offered a job with a prestigious florist in Selfridges in London months before she’s even completed her college course.


While one of the College’s own apprentices, Amy Riddle, has gone on to secure a graduate-level job without even going to university.


Level 2 Floristry student Gracie has been selected as a Junior Florist at Phillipa Craddock Flowers, which is the only instore florist in Selfridge’s on Oxford Street.


Phillipa Craddock is an acclaimed international florist, known as ‘a genius in the world of floristry’ for her work at luxury fashion shows, celebrity weddings, product launches and photo shoots.


Gracie, 19, of Bath said: “I used my online portfolio to apply for the job, but I wasn’t even expecting to hear back let alone get an interview.


“It’s very exciting; I still can’t believe I got the job.


“Floristry is more of an art than a skill and it’s going to be a high-pressured and high-profile, but I’m really looking forward to it.”


Gracie is freelancing for the company at weekends until she starts work full-time at the end of her course in July.


She puts her job success down to what she has learnt at Bath College and having work experience at the Tallulah Rose Flower Shop in Milsom Street.


Gracie said: “I read Phillipa Craddock’s style reports on floristry blogs and now I’m going to be working for her.


“As a florist, she has her own natural style and does a lot of fashion shows and runways.


“I eventually want my own business so this is going to be great experience.”


Amy worked in the College’s International department for four years, studying for her Level 2 then Level 3 Apprenticeships in Business and Administration.


She now works as an International Relations Assistant at Bath Spa University.


The 21-year-old of Radstock said: “I saw the job advert said it was a graduate’s job but it just seemed so perfect to me.


“I’m so glad I was pro-active and took a chance by applying for the job. My on-the-job experience ended up counting for more than a degree.”


She added: “I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to others, look where it got me!”


Amy, who studied GCSEs and A-Levels at Norton Hill School, heard about apprenticeships through a careers advisor.


She said: “I just wasn’t convinced about going to university as I didn’t really know what to study. I also wasn’t really struck on leaving university with so much debt.


“I decided to become an apprentice instead because studying and working is the best of both worlds.


“But I never really felt like an apprentice, I was always treated as one of the team. I was given lots of responsibility and was allowed to make important decisions.”


Bath College has a focus on teaching work-ready skills to ensure students are able to meet the demand of the labour market.


Gracie Bond floristry student

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