Business student steps up to become college principal for the day


A Bath College student with a thirst for business has stepped up to take on the job of college principal for the day.
Staff at the college have been handing over their roles to students during the first-ever Student Takeover Week, organised by the Students’ Union.
Teenager Oliver Watkins successfully applied for the top role on offer and spent a day with Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson.
The Level 3 business student attended a senior leadership meeting and was asked to investigate the issue of smoking in the college.
Oliver, 19, had to decide if the college should continue to have a dedicated smoking area, or should become smoke-free.
After doing some research and interviewing students, he presented his ideas to Mr Atkinson and Carole Stott, Chair of the Board of Governors.
Oliver said: “I decided by 2020 the college should become smoke-free.
“Being principal is a big job, it’s easy coming up with ideas but the hardest thing is choosing the best idea and making sure you have the best decision. That’s when you really have to weigh it up.
“The role of principal is something you wouldn’t normally see as work experience, so I submitted my CV and went for an interview.
“At the start I had some nerves, but when I got into the role I started enjoying it. I enjoyed the responsibility of taking charge of an issue in the college.”
Students are also working with the college’s graphic designer, web development officer and sports development officer for Student Takeover Week.
Oliver, from Bristol, finishes his course this summer, but will continue to study for a Higher National Certificate (HNC) at Bath College.
As a student, he has made the most of his time at college, volunteering with the National Citizen Service (NCS) and helping the Bath branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) complete a high street survey.
He said: “The best thing about college is the opportunities. Some of these things, if you didn’t hear about them, you wouldn’t think of them – being at college has shown me what’s out there.”
Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “It was great to hand over the reins to Oliver for the day. I was really impressed with his skills and contributions, and was delighted to work with him for the day.
“Giving our students a say in key decisions is really important to me and I am very pleased with the recommendations that Oliver made to myself and the chair of governors.”


Students receive prizes from the Bath Decorative and Fine Arts Society


Four students have received prizes from the Bath Decorative & Fine Arts Society recognising the progress they’ve made this year.
Stonemasonry students Joshua Underwood, Stephen Shears, Morwenna Harrington and Mike Colston have all impressed staff with their progress.
They were presented with vouchers to buy stonemasonry tools at an informal awards ceremony followed by drinks and snacks.
Students have just a few weeks left at Bath College, but several will return to study stonemasonry at a higher level in September.
First year student Morwenna, 22, worked in hospitality and catering before she switched to study Level 1 stonemasonry.
She said: “I signed up to the course on a whim, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I ended up really liking it.
“I was doing a job I didn’t really enjoy and wanted something more rewarding. I happened to know a stonemason who encouraged me to give it a go.
“The tools will make a big difference, the more tools you have the more you can do. I imagine I will get some lettering tools with the voucher, it’s helpful to have a good variety.”
Second year apprentice Michael Colston lives in Bristol and works for stonemasonry and construction company Farrel Cooper.
He said: “I’ve ended the year on a high point. I was told to come in, so I had a feeling I might have been chosen.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot this year and it shows at work. My boss says I’m getting better and sometimes I’m trusted with my own projects.
“It’s an ancient skill, stone carving. It’s so easy to go wrong, if you make a mistake you may have to start again. That’s what makes it more challenging.”
The Bath Decorative & Fine Arts Society is affiliated to the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies (NADFAS).
Chair of the society, Lynden Lever, presented the prizes at the college’s construction skills centre along with committee member Margaret Morgan.
She said: “Part of what NADFAS does is to promote young artists. Because Bath is a beautiful city featuring Bath stone, we decided to do something for the young stonemasons.
“We’re very pleased to be able to offer our support.”


Media make-up student receives job offer to work at French opera house


A student at Bath College has been offered a life- changing opportunity to work as a hair and make-up artist in France.

Caitlin Brennan was part of a group of Level 3 complementary, spa, beauty and media make-up students travelling to Lyon to work in local hotels, spas and salons.

The 18-year-old worked at the Opéra Nouvel, home to the Opéra National de Lyon and the Lyon Opera Ballet, and impressed the team so much she was offered a job.
Caitlin, from Keynsham, was part of meetings for a new production, helped with children’s hair at a full dress rehearsal, and face painting for a visitor open day.
She said: “The opera building was huge. It went up 14 floors and then went underground five floors. Underground, there was a full stage – it was absolutely massive.
“On Saturday they had an open day at the opera and I was outside face painting. 12,000 people passed through the opera house – they had different queues going in for tours, so there were queues everywhere.
“Having that work experience behind me is amazing, to say I worked in an opera house in Lyon. My best friend is working on a cruise ship at the moment and it makes me want to travel.”
Students travelled to Lyon as part of an Erasmus Plus trip – an EU programme offering opportunities for students to study, work and train abroad.
They were hosted  by the Lycée professionnel du Premier Film, a French school in the heart of Lyon, and received an invite from the mayor to represent Britain at the city’s annual war commemoration day.
Caitlin, who was working abroad for the first time, received her job offer on the last day of her work experience.
She said: “On the last day my tutors came to see me and Astrid, the lady I was working with, showed them around. We were on the way down and Astrid offered me a job, she said I could come and work there.
“I’m going to send her an e-mail to say I’m considering it if the offer is still there. I would learn French in France.”
Bath College lecturer Diane Rowe, who was part of the trip, said: “It was an extremely successful visit for the college and the lycée.
“Our students have come back with a lot of confidence in themselves. Caitlin has a real get up and go attitude, and she has very good manners.
“At the open day she was in the middle of the queues face painting. She worked her socks off and the language barrier wasn’t a problem, she got through it.
“They were so impressed with her they said ‘we would love to offer you a job if you learn French’. She would be a full-time make-up artist.”


Auditions for TV show The Voice held at Bath College


Students at Bath College have auditioned to star in one of the UK’s biggest TV singing competitions.

Talent scouts for the new ITV version of The Voice visited Bath College to film music students singing and performing.

The show’s production team are listening to hundreds of aspiring singers before picking their favourites for the 2017 series.

First year music student Josh Hobbs, 17, from Bath, is among those hoping to get to the first stage of the show, the blind auditions.

Josh, who sang his own composition, said: “I was pretty surprised when I heard they were coming and I thought I’d give it a go.

“It’s a chance to get out there and sell yourself. To be on TV would mean a lot, it would be pretty amazing for people to hear my music.

“I’ve been writing for five years and I’ve been a singer for 11 years. I’m hoping to study with the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) after college.”

First year music student Charlotte Wicks, from Warminster, also auditioned, choosing to sing Lana Del Rey’s Video Games.

Charlotte, 19, hopes to become a singer songwriter following in the footsteps of Bath College alumni Gabrielle Aplin and Laura Doggett.

Gabrielle found fame after she was selected to record the soundtrack for the John Lewis Christmas advert in 2012.

Charlotte said: “Doing this kind of thing gives you a good experience of auditioning. It’s the only show I would do if the offer came about.

“The Voice is different, they don’t try and change your image. It’s not about how you look, it’s about how you sound.”

Music lecturer Tim Goode said: “The auditions caused a bit of a buzz in the college. I put the poster up and it got an immediate response.

“The students we have here are really talented and even the first years are quite seasoned performers. Some of them are in a position to take it to the next step.
“Our goal is to give them industry experience to survive when they cross that threshold. The musicians I know (who have made a career out of music) have been successful thanks to knowledge and experience.
“Gabrielle Aplin was chosen for the John Lewis advert after entering a competition. She put her name down for every opportunity, it happened because she made it happen rather than hoping it would.
“We give the students new opportunities every week. At this stage in their careers it’s about exposing them to difference experiences.”


Studying on Access to Higher Education programme leads to university success


Students studying on Bath College’s Access to Higher Education programme have secured their dream place at university.

The programme provides students with a qualification, allowing them to progress and study at degree or diploma level.

For many students, who have changed profession to follow a new career, studying on the programme has been life-changing.

Several of this year’s students are going on to study nursing, midwifery, paramedic science, diagnostic imaging, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and operating department practice (ODP).

Jasmin Elmes, from Radstock, decided to change career after caring for her granddad when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The 26-year-old worked in banking before the course and has a place to study adult nursing at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

She said: “When my granddad got diagnosed with terminal cancer it changed my outlook on life.

“I wanted a career that would be fulfilling and that my children can be proud of. I’m confident but I doubt myself, I didn’t think I would get a university place and I have.

“I’m just hoping to make a difference. Even if it’s the worst situation, the way you are with the family can make a real difference.”

The Access to Higher Education programme is aimed at mature students who have been out of full-time education.

Students study for a diploma in either health and social care, education, science, humanities or social science.

In most cases, students need to have a grade C GCSE English and maths qualification – which are also available to study at Bath College.

Student Tom Causer, 29, wants to become a paramedic and has an offer to study paramedic science at UWE Bristol.

He said: “I spent ten years working in IT and it got to the point where it wasn’t fulfilling. I was at the scene of an accident and I saw the paramedics doing what they do – that’s what kicked it all off.

“The course has been great for getting me used to academic writing, because it’s very different from writing reports for my old job.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting back into studying. Now I have an aim and I know where I want to go. It’s a big change, but at the end of the day it’s worth it.”

Harriet Owen, 28, from Bath, also has a place at UWE Bristol to study occupational therapy.

She said: “I have a four-year-old son and I was working as a health assessor for seven years. I wanted to do a bit more for me and for him as well.

“I have personally found it quite stressful being a single mum with a four-year-old, but there’s been a lot of support and the tutors have been really encouraging.

“There’s nothing else like this which allows you to get to university, it’s definitely worth it.”

Course coordinator Carolyn Guy said: “It’s great to see another cohort of Access to Higher Education students graduate from college and progress to study for degrees in the health sector, as well as a huge range of other subjects.

“They are academically well prepared and looking forward to the next stage in their careers. The access team has enjoyed working with students from diverse backgrounds and supporting the interesting range of ambitions they pursue.”


Apprentice of the month: Scott Jardine 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.  
Scott Jardine is studying at the college and working as a fourth year technical apprentice at Rotork, one of Bath’s biggest engineering employers. The 21-year-old is finishing his apprenticeship this summer and has been offered a full-time job with the company.
In this interview, he shares his thoughts on his time as an apprentice. To find out about apprenticeships at Bath College click here.

Why did you choose to study for an engineering apprenticeship?
I have always had a passion for engineering from a young age. I also chose to study engineering because I was keen to follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, who run a family owned metal fabrication business in Bristol.
Where did you find out about your apprenticeship?
I found out about Rotork and their apprenticeship scheme by attending Bath College’s annual skills fair, which is an opportunity for young people aged 15 to 25 to meet a wide variety of industry-leading companies all under one roof.
It was a great way to meet all local companies and speak to them face to face. Rotork featured regularly in the local newspaper for large investments into their apprenticeship scheme. This showed me the business was doing well and they wanted to employ young people to benefit Rotork’s future, which made me want to work there and be a part of the journey.
What was it that attracted you to study as an apprentice?
As an apprentice I get the best of both worlds. I was taught engineering and experienced this in a working environment whilst being paid. People can leave university with large debts and no guarantee of a job, but with an apprenticeship I was one step ahead with my career.
What have you learnt as an apprentice at Rotork?
As an apprentice at Rotork I have learnt that it is important to work together in a team to share ideas and experience. I have gained valuable knowledge and experience thanks to a blend of workplace training and college learning. I have become more confident with communication and can now effectively liase with customers, suppliers and people with different responsibility levels.
What support have you had from Bath College?
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.
Have there been any highlights/ what have you found most interesting?
Rotork’s technical apprenticeship scheme has greatly improved my analytical and practical skills in engineering, in particular my maths problem solving skills.
I found my voice was heard and my involvement was valued from managers, who put their trust in you to carry out tasks. I was treated the same as any other member of staff.
I have enjoyed meeting new people from all levels of authority, this has enabled me to build professional contacts which will greatly benefit my future.
You’ve now been offered a full-time job as a graduate engineer – how does it feel to secure a full-time position and to continue at Rotork?
It’s a great feeling knowing I have secured a full-time job. I’m working as a graduate engineer on a global project, using Microsoft Dynamics AX Software to develop and implement a single integrated standard system. This will support Rotork’s key business processes, activities and reporting of all the Rotork sales and marketing, valve automation centres, and centres of excellence across the globe.
What are your aspirations for the future?
My ambitions for the future are to graduate from my Higher National Certificate in Electrical Engineering and continue higher education and work-based training.
I would like to grow 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 big goal of becoming a manager for a department with customer faced interaction.
Do you have any tips for someone considering an apprenticeship?
I would thoroughly recommend an apprenticeship because you have a foot in the industry at such an early stage in your career, which is massively beneficial. You can experience working in many areas of the business and choose what suits you – you cannot do this at university. Once you’ve completed the apprenticeship, you’ll have credentials that will be valued anywhere you go.


Interested in an apprenticeship? Let us know!




What are the next steps to becoming an apprentice?


Our programmes are designed for young people who have either found an employer who will take on an apprentice, or for those looking to find an employer.
Please complete the form below giving details of the apprenticeship you want to take and the employer who has offered you a placement.



Register your interest in becoming an Apprentice using the form above.

College Placement Officer contacts you to discuss the next steps.

Interviews, start dates and enrollments are arranged for you.

You begin paid employment through the programme.



Staff praise student shortlisted for national accountancy award

A Bath College student shortlisted for a national accountancy award has been praised by staff for her dedication to her course.
Tatyana Labno is about to complete a Level 4 qualification with the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians).
She was a runner-up for AAT Student of the Year, and was shortlisted for her work ethic and her determination to finish her exams.
The 24-year-old, from Frome, started at Bath College studying for her Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications.
She completed these in just one year, instead of two years, and continued to study for a Level 4 qualification while she was pregnant.
After taking one of her exams, Mrs Labno went into labour and gave birth to her daughter Yanika at 10pm the following day.
Mrs Labno, who was back in class a few days later, said: “Being nominated for this award is a big encouragement. When people notice your performance it makes you work harder.
“When I was younger school wasn’t my favourite, but I always loved to learn new skills. Studying at Bath College has been amazing.
“When I started I wasn’t as confident and I doubted myself, but luckily my teachers had no doubts and supported me throughout my studies.”
Donna West, AAT coordinator at Bath College, said: “we have over 150 students at the college and we are proud of all of our students’ achievements.
“Tatyana was nominated because of her immense determination to complete three AAT levels in two years of studying (at the same time as having her first baby).
“This is a massive achievement. We hope that Tatyana will continue to study with us for on our ACCA course, the next level of accountancy offered by the college.”
AAT tutor Sue Wride taught Mrs Labno Level 4 accountancy.
She said: “I am so impressed by Tatyana. She has passed every exam on the first attempt, which is an achievement in itself.
“Tatyana works full-time, studies two evenings per week at the college, and also has a young baby to care for.
“She is incredibly supportive of others in the classroom and will help to explain subjects in her native language (Bulgarian) to support others.
“Amazingly she never stops smiling. Other students comment on her enthusiasm, she is a role-model for us all.”


Students to combine end of year showcase with new album release



Students are releasing a new album to celebrate young musical talent and the end of their time studying at Bath College.
Bath College is holding an end of year show for music performance students at Moles nightclub on Monday June 6.
Students completing two years’ worth of study at Bath College will be performing and feature on the new CD.
Music student Emma Pettit, 18, from Chippenham, has put the album together and is helping to organise the gig.
She said: “It’s really put my artistic skills to the test – I was asked to design something that looked current and would stand out on the shelf.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Bath College. They give us so many great opportunities and I’ve enjoyed focusing on management and promotion in my second year.
“The staff are so great at supporting us all in our decisions and can advise us on a professional level to make sure we’re ready to enter the music industry.
“Producing the album has filled me with a great sense of pride. I did cry when everyone applauded it. That really made the whole process worthwhile.”


Bath College has a number of notable music alumni, including Gabrielle Aplin, Bite the Buffalo and Laura Doggett.
Miss Aplin went on to sign a deal with Parlophone Records and steal the nation’s heart with a Christmas number one in 2013.
The showcase at Moles will feature bands and acoustic singers, catering to a broad range of musical tastes.
Those playing include The Harry Miller Band, Tea and Biscuits, Just Parsons, Grace Paterson and Hope McKeever.
Music fans are encouraged to meet the performers, chat with them about their music and link with them on social media.
Music lecturer Ginny Saunders said: “The end of year show is one of our favourite nights in the college year. It’s a chance for every student to show how far they’ve come as performers, with everyone taking to the stage either as part of a band or as solo singer-songwriters.
“Throughout their two-year course students are regularly encouraged to put on live shows and release their own music.
“They work towards developing outstanding songwriting and performance skills, as well as learning ways of promoting and marketing themselves in a hugely competitive global industry.
“The end of year show, along with the release of the end of year album, is a chance for us to celebrate student talent.”
The new album will be available to buy for £3. Doors open at Moles at 6pm on Monday June 6.


Horticulture students create pop-up garden for the Royal Bath and West Show

Students from Bath College have bought a slice of sunshine to the Royal Bath and West Show with a beach-inspired pop-up garden.

The garden, designed by Level 2 horticulture student Isaac Gregory, is one of eight gardens on display at the show this week.

Named Beech on the Beach, the design uses trees and a mixture of blue and yellow flowers to mimic the colours of the sand and sea.


Students grew flowers and plants for the pop-up garden in the glasshouse at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus.

Horticulture tutor Rupert Horsey said: “I’m pleased with the way it looks.

“The thing I like about it is that Isaac designed it. It’s his vision and we have helped him to realise it. All of the bedding plants have been grown by the students.”

Organisers are expecting more than 100,000 visitors at the Royal Bath and West Show over the next few days.


Visitors to the show will be asked to vote for their favourite pop-up garden from June 1 to June 3, with the winner announced on June 4.

Bath College also has a stand at the show, featuring African snails, prickly stick insects and a corn snake from the animal care department.

Staff are available to talk about courses at the college, and beauty students are offering face painting, hand massages and nail art.

Bath College offers a range of horticulture qualifications, including part-time Love2learn courses and gardening diplomas.

Apprenticeships are available and the college is working to develop a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in horticulture.

Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “We are delighted to be showcasing our students work at this year’s Royal Bath and West show.

“Our college is all about skills for employment and this is a great opportunity for our students to be stretched to demonstrate their professional skills and abilities.”


Students plan acoustic showcase at the Bonzo Lounge


Students are working with Bath Festivals to organise an acoustic showcase giving new musical talent the chance to shine.

Music students at Bath College are holding the night at the Bonzo Lounge, Keynsham, on Friday May 27th.

Local bands and musicians performing include Stone Cold Fiction, The Harry Miller Band, Tea and Biscuits, and Chloe Tyghe.

There will also be an open mic and people will be encouraged to stand up and share their music with the crowd.

Student Emma Pettit is studying for a Level 3 extended diploma in music practice and is in charge of communications for the event.

The 18-year-old, from Chippenham, has an offer to study music event management at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM).

She said: “This opportunity with Bath Festivals was a really good way of getting involved and seeing if I was making the right choice for university.

“It’s given us a sense of responsibility, we’ve been handed the budget and we’ve had to do it ourselves, we haven’t been told how to do it.

“It’s an open mic session, so that’s a great chance for people to get their name out there. It’s going to be a really fun night.”

Student Chantelle Hazel,17, from Keynsham is also hoping to study music and event management at BIMM in Bristol.

She said: “We’ve had to find the venue, book it, find some bands to play, hire equipment and make a schedule for the night.

“I’ve had to make sure everyone knows what’s going on. It was scary at first, but now I would feel more confident doing something like this.

“It’s got me ready and raring to go for my university course.”

The event at the Bonzo Lounge has been put together as part of the Bath Education Trust (BET) Award programme.

Hazel Plowman, Learning and Participation Co-ordinator at Bath Festivals, has been working with students on the event.

She said: “We did a workshop in January based on planning your own event and some of the students signed up to carry on and organise something.

“We’ve just been here to steer the ship. They have been very conscientious and enthusiastic, it’s been a real pleasure working with them.”

The acoustic showcase takes place on Friday May 27th from 7pm to 10.30pm. Entry is free.


Bath College wins RHS Chelsea Floristry College of the Year


Bath College has been named RHS Chelsea Floristry College of the Year – making it the top place to study floristry in the country.

A team of floristry students from the college joined exhibitors and world-renowned designers at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week.

They spent weeks creating their exhibit, a reclining lady with a full skirt of flowers, complete with a floral headdress and parrot.

Chelsea Flower Show pic1

This hard work paid off when judges awarded the college with a gold medal and the prize for best college floristry exhibit.

Floristry student Emily Smith also took part in the Young Florist of the Year competition and achieved a bronze medal.

The 17-year-old was selected to compete in the final after being awarded 90 points out of 100 at the Chelsea Flower Show South West regional heat.

For the final, she was asked to design a floral headdress with a Brazilian carnival theme which could be worn by the judges.

She said: “It was a really hard competition. Four of us hadn’t been to Chelsea before, but the others were seasoned veterans who knew what they were doing.

“I wasn’t expecting to get a medal at all, so to get a bronze was really good. I felt really happy, really relieved that I had a medal. There were so many phone calls afterwards.

“After meeting the other girls, it’s made me feel more at ease doing different competitions. I would love to do it again.”

Emily Smith - Award2

Bath College was given a place at Chelsea after winning RHS Hampton Court Floristry College of the Year in 2015.

The college was one of four colleges chosen to compete at the show, with judges marking exhibits on ideas, colour, composition and technique.

Floristry tutor Jo Matthews was delighted to see her students’ work recognised at the world’s biggest flower show.

She said: “It’s great to see the students have the opportunity to compete. This will give them a really good grounding for their future careers.

“For us as a college we have done Hampton Court twice and then Chelsea.

“We have won gold three times and best college three times, which is really special. Not many people get a gold medal.

“The students are absolutely ecstatic. It’s all about precision and they worked very hard as a team. We can now call ourselves the top college for floristry in the UK.

“I’m very proud of them and it’s great to be at Chelsea.”

Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “I am extremely happy for the staff and students. This achievement formally recognises what we have known for a very long time – that floristry at Bath College is truly outstanding.”


Bath College named as Apprenticeship Training Provider of the Year


Bath College is celebrating after being named as the best apprenticeship training provider in Bath and Bristol at a glittering awards ceremony.
The college was chosen as Apprenticeship Training Provider of the Year at the Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle Apprenticeship Awards 2016.
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.
Over the last year, the college’s apprenticeship team has increased its provision, working with over 60 companies to offer apprenticeship programmes in nine new business areas.
Barney Willis, Head of Department for Services to Business, said: “It’s the third time in the last four years that we have won this, which is a fantastic achievement.
“It’s a great reward for all the staff because we put a huge amount of work into the apprenticeship programme and we’re thankful that this has been recognised outside the college, adding credibility to the work we have done.”
Bath College was nominated for Training Provider of the Year alongside South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and Weston College.
Apprentice Kyna Wyatt, from Bath College, was also nominated as a finalist for the Outstanding Service Industries Apprentice of the Year.
Judges choosing the final award winner were looking for evidence of apprenticeship growth, as well as a commitment to building relationships with businesses.
They were interested in how training providers encourage individual apprenticeship development and celebrate the achievement of apprentices.
Mr Willis said: “We focused on how we help the small employers. A lot of organisations tend to move toward to the large employers because of the benefits this brings, but we have 173 small employers on our apprenticeship programme.
“That’s only right because if you look at apprenticeships statistically 85 per cent of apprenticeships are with small employers, it’s clear that without their involvement we wouldn’t get as many apprentices trained in industry.
“That’s probably one of the reasons we won the award. We also focused on how we have increased our apprenticeship provision. Following the merger with Norton Radstock College we have been able to look at different areas and it’s widened our appeal.
“Our strategy this year has been to continue to align our offer to the LEP identified priority sectors so that we’re truly helping those sectors that are experiencing difficulties in recruitment and skills and meeting the needs of those employers.”


Interested in an apprenticeship? Let us know!




What are the next steps to becoming an apprentice?


Our programmes are designed for young people who have either found an employer who will take on an apprentice, or for those looking to find an employer.
Please complete the form below giving details of the apprenticeship you want to take and the employer who has offered you a placement.



Register your interest in becoming an Apprentice using the form above.

College Placement Officer contacts you to discuss the next steps.

Interviews, start dates and enrollments are arranged for you.

You begin paid employment through the programme.



IT Student is the first college student to be hired at Publitek


Picture: Alexandra Sorton (Account Director), Toby Radnedge-Eddleston,  Lexi Hatziharalambous (Account Manager) and Sally Jones (Board Adviser).


Student Toby Radnedge-Eddleston has a bright future ahead of him after securing a job with a Bath-based global marketing communications agency.


Toby, from Bath College, is due to start work as a Digital Media Executive at Publitek in Brock Street, near the Royal Crescent.


The 17-year-old from Corsham is the first college student to be hired by Publitek, which specialises in business-to-business (B2B) technical marketing.


He is due to finish an IT extended diploma Level 3 at Bath College and was offered the job after an interview set up by the college.


Last year, Bath College set up the FutureSpark Academy to offer students opportunities with technology companies in the South West.

Toby, who is set to finish his studies with top grades, will be monitoring and reporting website traffic and managing advertising campaigns for the agency’s clients.


He said: “I really like the creative side of IT. My college course developed my skills and helped me expand what I was doing outside of college.


“I have my own blog and that’s a big part of why they liked me. It really did seem like a good offer and I didn’t have anything definite I wanted to study at university.


“When I was at the interview, they were saying there’s room to do different things. They were also supportive if I wanted to do a degree later on. It’s nice to see that someone thinks I’m right for the job, that I’ve got something offer.”


Sally Jones, Board Adviser at Publitek, interviewed a number of Bath College students and was impressed with Toby.


She said: “We work in a specialist area – electronics and engineering. Many of our team are degree-qualified engineers and we need people who can really understand and write about technical concepts.


“This is the first time we’ve taken someone from college. This is for a new role in the company and we’re sure that Toby is going to develop and grow in the job. He is clearly very bright and open to learning.”




Picture: Luke Nix and Tom Alcock


Bath College IT students Luke Nix, Tom Alcock and Dawid Cejrowski have also secured their futures as apprentices with Westgate IT.


The students, who are due to start at the end of May, will be helping companies set up and fix IT systems.


Luke, 17, from Bath said: “The thing about apprenticeships is that you’re there to learn. When you go into a job they expect you to do everything straight away, but in an apprenticeship you’re learning as you go.


“When you’re in college and you’re getting close to the end of your course you want to be out there putting into practice what you’ve learnt.


“I’m looking forward to starting at the bottom and working my way up. The college provide a good reference if you work hard and get on with your tutors.”


Daisy Walsh, Head of Department for Technology, said: “It is great to see that employers are approaching us to fill really interesting positions in their organisations. We also have students on long-term placements in other digital and web design agencies via the college’s FutureSpark work experience programme. Toby is a great example of the demand for outstanding IT students in the digital marketing sector.”


Beauty student picked for Team Gym GB as a reserve gymnast


A beauty student at Bath College has been picked for Team Gym GB as a reserve gymnast for the European Championships 2016.
Tia Collins, who is studying for a Level 2 NVQ, will take part in intensive training as a reserve for the team gymnastics squad.
The 16-year-old started as a gymnast 12 years ago and trains at least 15 hours and a minimum of three days a week with Majestic Gymnastics in Bristol.
Over the last 12 months, she has been visiting Bracknell Gymnastic Club to take part in GB regional squad training.
She said: “When you go out in public people don’t really realise you’re a gymnast and you can just stand and backflip.
“It’s quite hard fitting in college work with training, there’s an exam for every module, but I was keen to study beauty.
“My teammates are just like family. We perform in front of thousands of people that we’re competing against and I enjoy all of it.
“When I found out I’d been selected I was just bouncing round the place.”
Tia, from Majestic Gymnastics in Longwell Green, has been trialling for Team Gym GB for a year. She went through three phases of intensive training and reviews to be selected as a reserve in the final stage.
Her training will step up ahead of the European Championships in Slovenia, which takes place from October 12 to October 16.
Tia said: “Throughout this training I’m just hoping to get better. It’s going to be constant training to learn new skills, new moves and new techniques.
“If someone doesn’t get accepted or has an injury I could have a chance, but I’m going to the European competition anyway.
“I’m looking forward to it, watching and seeing what it’s like. I will still be going as a reserve so if anything happens I would have to step in.
“I think it’s going to be huge. There will be gymnasts from all over the world.”


Interview: Stonemasonry student secures apprenticeship with The Prince’s Trust

Tom Wiggins, 29, from Gloucestershire has just secured a place as an apprentice with The Prince’s Trust. In this interview, he tells us about studying stonemasonry at Bath College and why he decided to switch careers, study something new, and become an apprentice.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


I left a Gloucester sixth form college in 2004 with 10 GCSEs and A-levels in German, Media Studies and Information Technology.


We were all encouraged to apply for university, even though many of us held no particular desire to go into higher education.


At the time, there was very little emphasis on apprenticeships and trade skills, and so the option to go down this route was never offered.


Going to university was the in-thing, but it did many of my classmates a disservice. They went into unfulfilling jobs in retail when they could have been establishing a good early grounding for a career in the trades and other skilled jobs.


I started working in the head office of a mortgage company in February 2005 and I didn’t leave until May 2013. I didn’t particularly like it there, but I found myself being surrounded by people who shared a similar view – it wasn’t ideal, but it paid the bills.


I’d like to say that there was a light bulb moment or a flash of inspiration that caused me to choose stonemasonry, but it was slower and perhaps less cinematic than that.
I’ve always been a creative person. I enjoyed drawing as a child and at 17-years-old I discovered the joys of writing, so I’ve always had an appreciation for different types of hand skills.


Why did you start studying stonemasonry at Bath College?


I started studying stonemasonry in September 2013.


After eight years of working in an office, I realised that I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I didn’t like what I was doing, so I moved on. And for me, it paid off. At 27-years-old I was a mature student, and so I was relieved when I found that I had classmates who were not only around my age but some even older.
The course has always attracted students both young and old, and while it’s true that a young brain can pick things up quickly, but it is quite often the ones with a little bit of life experience who go on to make the best students.




Which company are you working with? How has that helped you progress?


I’ve been working for a stonemasonry firm about three miles from where I live. It was by no means an easy job to get – I had to be proactive.


Over the course of two years, I went to visit them on a couple of occasions, as well as ringing them and sending in my CV. I was careful not to pester them, but I made them known I was there and available for work at any point.


My time there has helped me come on leaps and bounds at college. The course is two days per week, so what you do when you’re not at college is very important.
Before I got the job in stone, I found I was lagging behind my classmates who were already out and working in the industry, but then the job allowed me to catch up.


I had to quickly learn how to use power tools at work, while college focuses primarily on hand tools. However, I did get to use my hand tools a great deal as well at work.


On top of that, looking at a piece of stone for an extra three days a week helped me sharpen what the industry calls the mason’s eye – an ability to see the very subtle variations in shade of a stone that indicates its high and low spots.


The more I worked stone, the more I could see, and the faster and more accurate I got. And it’s these two qualities – speed and accuracy – that make a good stonemason.


What has been the best thing about the course?


The teaching and facilities at the college have been great, but the very best thing has been making so many great friends.


The camaraderie and kindness between everyone on this course has been off the scale. Stonemasonry is a very niche industry so everyone knows everybody else and it feels wonderful to be part of a small community of people who are passionate about working, conserving and restoring stone.


Ray and Paul are both master masons and Tanya, our technician, is also a Bath College trained stonemason, sawyer and experienced stone carver.


So suffice to say, there’s a huge wealth of experience on our campus and everyone is so approachable and happy to help or lend advice. It’s been a pleasure from start to finish. I’d go back to September 2013 and do it all again in an instant.


Can you tell us about the apprenticeship with the Prince’s Trust?


It was Ray, my third year lecturer, who encouraged me to apply for it. It’s an eight-month apprenticeship that begins in July and ends in February.


It starts off as a summer school in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow where we’re given lessons in construction, geometry, and a series of hands-on workshops.


After the summer school, we will all play a role in a “live build” on the grounds of a Glasgow estate. This means that all of the chosen apprentices (who might include carpenters, lime plasters as well as stonemasons) will be part of a construction project from start to finish.


When that’s complete, we will disperse and begin our work-based placement in our chosen fields. It’s a very prestigious and sought-after apprenticeship and I’m eager to give an excellent representation of myself as a newly-qualified mason and alumni of Bath College.


How did you feel when you were offered a place on the programme?


The application process went very smoothly. I submitted my written application at the end of February and had the interview at the end of March.


Some applicants had a telephone interview, but I had to go to London for a face-to-face interview. I was lucky enough to know one of the interviewers – he leads the Bath College placement at Woodchester Mansion – so I’d already established a good rapport with him.


Having him there proved less nerve-wracking than if I’d been sat across from interviewers I didn’t know. I was over the moon when I heard I’d been accepted.
Knowing that I’ve got a great adventure ahead of me, it’s changed my outlook on the whole year. It’s a little scary, but scary is always good.


What are you most looking forward to about your apprenticeship with The Prince’s Trust?


I’m looking forward to building on the lessons we’ve had at the college in geometry and classical architecture.


At college, we draw all the components we make. Before we work any stone – be it a plinth, a windowsill, a ball finial or a piece of tracery or any of the other jobs that we’ve done – we draw it and make a full set of templates and moulds first.


There’s a huge amount of geometry involved in designing a building – most of which we learnt from the Greeks – so I’m looking forward to using and developing those skills during the design stage of the apprenticeship.


Would you recommend studying at college to others?

For me, the college experience has been a resounding success and one of the most positive experiences of my life. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s important for prospective students to choose the course they enjoy the most – the course that feels most natural to them. Why be mediocre at something you don’t really like when you can be great at something you love?




Interested in an apprenticeship? Let us know!




What are the next steps to becoming an apprentice?


Our programmes are designed for young people who have either found an employer who will take on an apprentice, or for those looking to find an employer.
Please complete the form below giving details of the apprenticeship you want to take and the employer who has offered you a placement.



Register your interest in becoming an Apprentice using the form above.

College Placement Officer contacts you to discuss the next steps.

Interviews, start dates and enrollments are arranged for you.

You begin paid employment through the programme.



Laurel Penrose appointed as new Principal and Chief Executive at Bath College


Bath College has appointed a new Principal and Chief Executive to take over leadership of the college in the early autumn.

Laurel Penrose will take up her post on the senior management team following Matt Atkinson’s departure at the end of August.

Mr Atkinson, who has led the college since August 2007, is leaving to set up a business offering leadership support to education providers.

Mrs Penrose is currently the Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Principal at North Warwickshire & Hinckley College (NWHC) and South Leicestershire College (SLC).

Before this, she was Vice Principal for Curriculum and Quality across the partnership, leading the development of a vocational curriculum working with employers and universities.

Mrs Penrose said: “It is an honour to have been appointed as Principal and Chief Executive of Bath College.

“I have already experienced the warmth of the college’s welcome and been delighted to hear the positive views of students concerning the support and delivery given by staff.

“It was a pleasure to walk around the college and experience the confidence and enthusiasm of colleagues. I am really looking forward to working with staff to further progress the college and build on current good practices.”

During her time at NWHC and SLC, Mrs Penrose acted as the quality nominee for five Ofsted inspections, working to improve success rates to put the college in the top 15 per cent of colleges nationally.

She led the creation of a rapidly expanding secondary school academies chain, of which she is now director.

In addition, Mrs Penrose worked to develop an enterprise zone training centre in engineering and an advanced engineering centre, receiving bids totalling £11 million from the LEP and local authority.

As Principal and Chief Executive for Bath College, she will oversee plans for a £3.3 million state of the art construction skills centre at the Somer Valley Campus in Radstock.

Mrs Penrose said: “I had the benefit of walking around the Somer Valley campus last week and the potential for this provision is evident.

“The securing of funds to build a new construction skills centre is a significant step towards fortifying growth in this vocational area.
“I am looking forward to working with the senior management team to realise this great opportunity.”

Carole Stott, Chair of the Board of Governors at Bath College, said: “I am looking forward to Laurel joining Bath College and working with the staff and the board to build on the excellent work of Matt Atkinson.

“She brings many years of experience in further education, including senior leadership in a large college group. Laurel will continue to build the college’s strong partnerships across our community.

“I know that all staff will want to join with me and all the governors in congratulating Laurel on her appointment and welcoming her warmly to the college on her arrival later this year.”


Adult learners develop business skills on Roots to Work course


A new course at Bath City Farm is using gardening to help unemployed adults develop business skills away from the classroom.
Organised by the Adult Community Learning team at Bath College, the Roots to Work Course takes three days a week over a two-month period.
Adult learners are growing plants to sell at the St John’s Spring Fair, and have been challenged to make a profit for charity.
The group have been growing a wide range of herbs and plants, including oregano, chives, rosemary, basil, nasturtiums, lemon balm and squash.
They have been refreshing their IT and business skills by keeping track of costs and helping with marketing for the fair on June 3.
Stephen Richardson, 42, from Bath is looking for customer service jobs and found a place on the course through the job centre.
He said: “I’m not a gardener, I’m more interested in the organisational and IT aspects of this course, but it’s interesting – it’s something new to learn.
“At the job centre they send someone to tell you about how to find work. You sit there listening, but you’re not actually doing anything.
“This course is much more practical. You get that sense of achievement, you can say ‘yes I’ve done this’ and when they ask you what you’ve done recently in an interview you can tell them. We’ve taken ownership of the project.”
Tea, coffee and vegan cakes will be on sale at the Spring Fair, along with a wide range of items on offer from charities, including Bath Cats and Dogs Home, Bath Mind, the RICE charity and Age UK.
Horticulturist Carol Stone is helping adult learners grow plants for the sale at Bath City Farm.
She said: “They have done a brilliant job, everyone has been very focused and motivated. We’ve produced quite a lot in a short amount of time.
“We’re looking to see if a practical skill like growing, taught alongside IT and business lessons, can increase peoples’ confidence finding employment.
“It’s about getting outside, meeting new people and learning new skills, because being unemployed can be isolating.
“A lot of people on the course are highly qualified, so we try and work with people in a way that recognises their different skill levels.”
Anna Ferguson, Activities and Community Outreach Coordinator at St John’s, said: “We are delighted to be involved in such an innovative and exciting project. I look forward to see the plants the learners have grown, and no doubt will be buying a fair few.”
The Spring Fair takes place at St John’s Hospital, Chapel Court, on Friday June 3 from 11am to 3pm.


Apprentice chosen to represent Britain at EuroSkills Gothenburg 2016


Talented stonemason Toby Brook will represent his country at Europe’s largest skills competition as part of the WorldSkills UK squad.

The former Bath College apprentice earned his place on the squad after winning highly commended in the 2015 WorldSkills UK competition.

He is just one of 19 apprentices chosen to enter EuroSkills Gothenburg 2016 and will be the only British stonemason competing.

Toby, 19, completed his apprenticeship at Bath College last summer and is continuing to develop his craft working at Wells Cathedral Stonemasons.

He said: “I had two days training at Bath College and after that, Kevin Calpin, WorldSkills trainer for stonemasonry, decided who to take to Europe.

“I was surprised when I got through, because I imagine it was close. I shouted it out when I got the e-mail and everyone patted me on the back.


Stone Student EDITED
“It’s a big achievement. I’m going to aim for my highest goal to get a medal, but I’m also looking forward to the chance to represent the UK.”

Taking place in December, EuroSkills will see young people from over 30 European countries come together to compete in over 35 different skills areas.

The competitors taking part in EuroSkills will also go on to compete for a place in the team representing the UK at the next WorldSkills competition in 2017.

Toby, who has already been hard at work practicing, will now complete an intensive training programme before the EuroSkills competition.

He said: “It’s going to be a lot of hard work. With every competition I’ve done so far, you don’t know what you’re doing until you get there.

“The higher you go the harder it gets. It’s a bit overwhelming to see where I was in my first year of college and to see where I am now.

“I never thought I would get this far. It does boost your confidence. When you’re in a workshop you don’t really know your skill.

“You don’t know how good you are until you’re competing against others.”

Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner, who taught Toby at Bath College, is proud to see Toby secure his place to compete in Europe.

He said: “Toby’s dedication to training and the stonemasonry industry has led to him being recognised as one of the best stonemasons in the country.

“He is a testament to the teaching and learning at Bath College and he joins a long list of accomplished stonemasons who have trained at the college.”

Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “We are so proud of what Toby has already achieved and are delighted that his ambition to excel in his chosen career continues to develop.

“Toby is a fantastic example to each and every apprentice stonemason in the country and everyone at Bath College is behind him 100 per cent.”

Government Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “The young people who have earned a place on Team UK are worthy ambassadors and show the great
things you can achieve with high quality apprenticeships and technical training.

“I congratulate each and every member of Team UK and look forward to hearing about their performance.”


Students share success stories at Volunteering and Employability Awards


Students from Bath College shared their success stories at an awards ceremony celebrating work experience and volunteering.

Young people across the college spend hundreds of hours volunteering at home and abroad, securing references and paid work as a result.

The event, organised by the Bath College Futures team and the Student Participation team, was held in recognition of their hard work.

Student Anne-Marie Caws volunteers at the Bath RUH every week making cups of tea and speaking to patients on the ward.

The 19-year-old, from Dilton Marsh, studies public services and has a place to study adult nursing at Plymouth University in September.

Anne-Marie Caws

She said: “I’ve been getting to know patients and how to communicate with them. Quite a lot of them don’t have visitors. I think they like seeing young people on the wards and a nice friendly face.”

Six students received a mug and a certificate from the student participation team after being chosen as volunteer of the month.

Bath in Fashion volunteer Emily Perry, peer mentor Sophie Wainright, and George Ormond, who cycled from Devon to Paris for charity, all collected certificates.

The Futures Team, which works to secure work experience and job opportunities for students, also handed out employability awards based on tutor nominations.

Award winners included fashion diploma student Jessica Hartrey, 17, who shadowed fashion stylists working on the Financial Times Magazine.

She said: “They printed my name in the magazine, so that was really good to see. Getting work experience has really spurred me on. I’m going to do a degree in fashion styling at Southampton University in September.”

Catering student Oliver Dunn was chosen for an employability award after being offered a job at the five-star Royal Crescent Hotel.

Oliver, from Keynsham, impressed head chef David Campbell when he volunteered at a function for the Bath Food Awards.

The 17-year-old said: “He messaged me and asked if I wanted a job, it was quite an achievement. I’ve always wanted to be the best I could be and do fine dining.

“It’s really rewarding when you see your food plated up and going out to customers. Going to college has really set me up and given me a basis for the future.”

Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “If anyone says ‘what is college about?’ this is what college is about. It’s about working with people to secure them good quality jobs for the future.

“There are some fantastic things going on across the college. We’re lucky to have some fantastic relationships with local employers, and now local employers are looking to use to secure their future workforce.”


Students offered full-time jobs at five-star Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa


Two students have secured full-time jobs at a five-star luxury hotel through the Bath Hotel and Restaurant School.
The Hotel and Restaurant School was set up to link students at Bath College with leaders in the South West hospitality and catering industry.
Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa committed to the partnership at a launch party last year and is the first to employ students from the college.
Connor Gale and Lucy Fry have a bright future ahead of them working at the award-winning hotel in Colerne, near Bath.
Lucy will work at the Michelin-starred Park Restaurant and Connor will be part of the team at Lucknam Park’s two AA Rosette Brasserie.


Eighteen-year-old Connor, from Bath, started work experience at Lucknam Park in October and will start full-time in July.
He said: “When I started at college, I would have been the student hiding in the corner. Coming here and seeing everyone’s attitude to work changed the way I was in college.
“It’s been truly amazing and I’ve become more confident in myself. If they’ve offered me a job here, I must be doing something right.
“I’ve only had two jobs in the past and this is by far the best, here it’s easy to get along with everyone – the guests and the staff.
“If it wasn’t for the hotel school I wouldn’t be here, so it’s a really good thing.”
Chris Kidd, Restaurant Manager at Lucknam Park, is keen to stand out as an employer and recruit young talent.
He arranged for Connor and Lucy to take part in staff training as part of their work experience, including wine tasting and cheese making.
Mr Kidd said: “It’s nice to see the potential in Connor and Lucy. For us, the Hotel and Restaurant School has been really good because we have a lot more access to the students at Bath College.
“I wanted Connor and Lucy to be involved in staff training because I wanted them to come and work for Lucknam Park. If I didn’t invest the time, they might have gone elsewhere.
“I hope they will stay for two years, hopefully longer, because we have the opportunities if someone is excelling – there’s the chance to work your way up.”
Bridget Halford, Head of Department for Hospitality and Catering, said: “The Hotel and Restaurant School is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to discover young talent and future employees.
“Connor and Lucy are coming toward the end of their studies at Bath College. They have worked hard and have secured their future with a top employer in the South West. We’d like to wish them luck in their new roles.”

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