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News

Government minister mentions Bath College in the House of Lords

 

Government minister Nick Boles has used careers advice provided through the Bath Education Trust as an example of the way forward for other schools and colleges.

 

The government’s Minister of State for Skills and Equalities was speaking in the House of Lords to the Select Committee on Social Mobility.

 

Appointed in June, the committee is considering how social mobility affects the transition from school to work for 14 to 24-year-olds.

 

During the session, Mr Boles mentioned careers advisers at Bath College, who visit all schools signed up to the Bath Education Trust (BET) to give students impartial information and guidance.

 

Speaking about careers advice, Mr Boles said “one of the most interesting models” available is the Bath Education Trust, which is run with “the active and willing participation of” schools and educational providers in Bath.

 

He said: “What we should be encouraging is different LEPs, different combined authorities to come forward and be more proactive.”

 

The BET Futures Careers Service is operating in Beechen Cliff School, Hayesfield School, Oldfield School and Ralph Allen School.

 

Louise Croft, head of the BET Future Careers Service, said: “It is good to hear ministers talking about the work we do with our BET partners.

 

“It is important that all young people have access to impartial advice about all of their options post 16 and post 18.

 

“Our work with the BET schools facilitates this.”

 

Mr Boles spoke alongside education secretary Nicky Morgan at the final evidence gathering session held by the Select Committee on Social Mobility.

 

He was asked about funding for further education, career pathways for young people who do not study for A-levels and the new apprenticeship levy.

 

The minister also talked about a local enterprise adviser network, through the new Careers and Enterprise Company, which aims to recruit volunteer enterprise advisers from large and small companies to offer schools and colleges an insight into business.

 

The committee will report on its findings by March 23.

News

New animals settle in at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus

 

Rescued rabbits Scooby and Velma have been given a new home at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus.

 

The pair were adopted from Bath Bunny Rescue, based in Twerton, and are being used to teach students how to handle large rabbits.

 

They are settling in at the same time as a pair of rosella parakeets, a blue-tounged skink and a Syrian hamster named Oreo.

 

Scooby

 

Students studying animal care at Bath College look after hundreds of animals every day, from rodents to chickens, fish and reptiles.

 

However, Scooby and Velma are the biggest rabbits at the college.

 

Supervisor Katie Parfitt said: “I saw that Scooby and Velma were larger rabbits, which we thought would be excellent for teaching correct restraints in animals.

 

“I like to help rescues as I believe it is very good for students to work with animals that may not have had the best start in life.

 

“They can see the progress made and the techniques used to gain an animal’s trust. This helps give them skills for careers in rescue centres.

 

“It’s lovely to see Scooby and Velma grooming each other’s faces and siting side by side eating hay together. They both really love food and can’t get enough carrots!

 

“As rabbits are such sociable animals it is always best if possible to keep two together.”

 

Scooby and Velma

 

The land-based department at Bath College was refurbished from September to October to include new animal tanks and cages.

 

Now the college has the space to home animals like Sidney, a three-year-old male skink, who likes to eat fruit, insects, small birds, eggs and dead mice.

 

Miss Parfitt said: “Due to the investment that has been made in upgrading the animal accommodation we had space and a lovely large vivarium, so we acquired him.

 

“We have lots of lizards and snakes, but the skink is a good link between these and is something different for the students to learn about.

 

Sidney

 

“To prepare students for a career in the animal care industry they need to realise there is an awful lot of feeding and cleaning carried out every day of the year.

 

“All animal care courses, from entry level up to level 3, have both practical duties and practical handling sessions timetabled into every week.”

News

Deck the College competition winners announced

 

Staff at Bath College rose to the challenge when they were asked to decorate their departments for Christmas.

 

Teams in Bath and Somer Valley entered into the festive spirit of things for the annual Deck the College Competition.

 

They enjoyed some Christmas fun, transforming their offices into grottos, winter wonderlands and an exam centre for Santa.

 

At Santa’s Union, decorated by the student participation team, chaplain Rob Popejoy dressed up as an elf.

 

Learning support staff at Bath College also turned their office into Whoville, with a cardboard cut-out of the Grinch and Dr. Seuss quotes.

 

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Carole Stott, chair of the governing body at Bath College, judged the competition and announced the winners at the staff Christmas party.

 

The library team at Bath won second place for their German market and the IT team at Somer Valley fashioned a cosy log fire to win third place.

 

First place was awarded to the estates team at Somer Valley, who created Santa’s mission control centre.

 

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Staff put up a map tracking Santa’s journey across the globe to deliver presents, surrounded by clocks set at different time zones in the world.

 

They decorated a Christmas tree with keys and laid out a diary to record sleigh and vehicle bookings, as well as Rudolph’s trophy for the reddest nose.

 

Mike Drewitt, from the estates team, said: “We just couldn’t believe it when we found out we’d won.

 

“We put it together from things we found, we didn’t spend a penny. We were all involved, it was a team effort. We’ve got to defend our title next year now!”

 

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Football Academy, News

Sports student Ollie Bassett signs professional contract with Yeovil Town

 

Bath College student Ollie Bassett has signed a professional contract with Yeovil Town just three months after making his debut with the first team.

 

The 17-year-old became Yeovil’s youngest ever football league player when he played for the team against Crawley Town in September.

 

He has secured a future with Yeovil Town until June 2017 and will also continue studying for a BTEC Level 3 sports qualification at Bath College.

 

Bath College lecturer Paul Blenkinsopp said: “It’s really good for him and it’s really good that we can say we have a professional player studying with us.

 

“I would say he’s very focused as a player. With Ollie, he’s a down to earth kid – there’s no airs or graces about him.

 

“He comes in to work hard and the staff get on well with him. He’s one of those boys where you’re happy it’s happened to him.”

 

Bath College runs two football academies in partnership with Southampton and Bath City FC, giving students the chance to play against top teams.

 

Players at the Southampton academy train with Yeovil two days a week and play for the Yeovil under 18s team on Saturday.

 

The signing signals a bright future for Ollie, from Packington, Leicestershire, who came to Bath after playing at Aston Villa’s academy.

 

He said: “After the Crawley game I didn’t know it was coming, but I thought there was a good chance.

 

“I played the following week against Hartlepool and I was just hoping they would offer me something.

 

“It’s a good opportunity. I didn’t get a scholarship at Aston Villa so I might have just packed it in, but Southampton gave me a second chance.

 

“It’s good to get a college course behind you in case it doesn’t work out. I have something to fall back on.

 

“I’m excited to start full-time next year. I’m looking forward to playing football five days a week.”

 

Ollie’s signing has created a buzz in the sports department at Bath College and has been an inspiration for other students there.

 

Mr Blenkinsopp said: “He could at the end of that, if he does well, get offered a three to four year deal. Or another club might see him and want to offer him something.

 

“As well as educating them, hopefully football-wise we’re giving them some good opportunities to progress. Obviously we want to get players back into football.

 

“Originally Ollie came from the Aston Villa Academy. He’s technically a very good player. He probably didn’t make it at Aston Villa because of his size, but over the next few years he will develop that.

 

“It’s good for our students here. It shows that it can be done for the ones that work hard there is an opportunity to get back into the game.”

News

Got Ya Back team create Christmas advent calendar to help students stay safe

 

Students behind the Got Ya Back campaign have created a Christmas advent calendar encouraging people to stay safe during the festive season.

 

The online advent calendar features Santa with his reindeers and behind each door is a safety message for students enjoying a night out with friends.

 

Got Ya Back is a partnership between Bath College, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Bath Spa University and the University of Bath.

 

IT students at Bath College helped kickstart the campaign in May after a number of river deaths involving young people last year.

 

Got Ya Back encourages students to carry ICE (in case of emergency) cards and is looking at ways of working with taxi operators and licensed premises to help get people home safely.

 

The campaign has been used at university fresher’s fairs and in January, Bath College students will be going into schools to talk to pupils about river safety.

 

Tips on the advent calendar include letting someone know what time you’re going to be back and leaving a club or pub with a group of friends.

 

Campaign manager and Bath College student Sam Maggs said: “We’re hoping the calendar can help spread safety tips that we all know and use to help others out.

 

“We want people to share their own tips with us and others, so the community of Bath can be safer. t’s also just some fun to get us all in the Christmas spirit. We want to be fun and engaging, not boring.

 

“We’d love for everyone to share our calendar with friends and family.”

 

Click on the calendar here.

News

Students organise sale in aid of the Hope 4 Harmonie appeal

 

Students studying life and independent living skills teamed together to raise money for the Hope 4 Harmonie appeal.

 

A group of students collected £78 after holding a cake and hand-made Christmas card sale in the Roper Building at Bath College.

 

The Hope 4 Harmonie appeal is raising money for Bath toddler Harmonie-Rose, who fell ill with a deadly form of meningitis just before her first birthday.

 

Doctors at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children saved her life, but were forced to amputate.

 

The fund will help the brave youngster adapt to life as a quadruple amputee, paying for special equipment, prosthetics and home modifications.

 

Foundation learning lecturer Charlotte Henley said: “This is the first time these students have raised money for the Hope 4 Harmonie appeal.

 

“This is part of an enterprise project they are part of – they have to decide what they want to sell. They did a survey to see what was popular, so that’s why they’re selling Christmas cards and cakes.

 

“They made everything from scratch.”

News

Bath College students volunteering for new green website Ecojam Bath

 

Bath College students will be volunteering for a new website launched to showcase green living in Bath and create an eco-friendly online community.

 

The new website, Ecojam Bath, allows visitors to look up green businesses, search for ethical jobs and tune into local news, events and discussions.

 

Two students will offer their help with the business as part of Bath College’s new innovation and enterprise strategy – to help students build connections with organisations in the city.

 

Media student Neve Fear-Smith plans to study journalism at university and will be writing news articles and blog entries for the website.

 

Marketing hopeful Issy Briggs has signed up to assist with promotional campaigns and events, raising the profile of Ecojam Bath.

 

Darren Rogers, enterprise and innovation manager at Bath College, said: “The intention is that we deepen the learning experience even further through engagement with start-ups, local businesses and inspirational entrepreneurs.

 

“It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Our students are embedded in local businesses, working in the industry they are training for, and the start-up businesses get support from our students to help them grow and become successful.”

 

The new Ecojam Bath website is a hub where people can connect with each other, share ideas and find out how to get involved in Bath’s green scene.

 

Visitors to the website can track down their local farmers’ market, give away or collect unwanted items and find restaurants with green credentials.

 

Rebecca Fox, Ecojam Bath’s project manager, said: “Bath has a vibrant green and ethical scene, and visitors to the site may be surprised by the diversity of what’s going on in their city.

 

“Ecojam Bath is run by volunteers and since our website launched a few weeks ago, I have been on the lookout for more volunteers who can help develop Ecojam’s presence in the community.

 

“By working with Bath College I can recruit volunteers with the right set of skills. Ecojam is all about supporting the local community, which is why I am delighted to be offering valuable work experience to Neve and Issy. I can’t wait for us to get started.”

 

Bath College is currently building up its portfolio of businesses and organisations that would be interested in offering work experience.

 

To find out more about the enterprise scheme contact Mr Rogers on (01225) 328673. Click here to visit the Ecojam Bath website.

 

You can also connect with Ecojam Bath on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

News

Bath College students hold Christmas market at Green Park Station

 

Students brought a buzz to Green Park Station at the Bath College Christmas market, filling the old station with music, gift stalls and festive fun.

 

The market involved students from across the college, who worked hard to make and sell hand-made gifts, food and flower arrangements.

 

Art and design students created their own products in class, producing cushions, mugs, bags, jewellery and t-shirts.

 

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Visitors also stopped to listen to first year music students perform and watch bricklaying students build a Christmas chimney.

 

The college’s student participation team and childcare students manned a stall where people could make their own Christmas decorations.

 

There were robots, food and floristry stalls and face-painting sessions.

 

Students were encouraged to take part in the market to make sure they develop business skills early on in their careers.

 

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Bath resident Jill Hodgson said: “I think it’s very good. It’ gets them out in the real world. I love the bricklaying. That’s really good to show what they are doing as apprentices going into industry.”

 

Garry Manning, managing director at The Self-Publishing Partnership, popped out of his Green Park Station office to buy some cushions.

 

To make the cushions, students created darkroom photographic cyanotypes, which were screen-printed onto hand-made cushions.

 

Mr Manning said: “I just thought I would see what was going on. I quite like a lot of stuff that’s here. I like good modern design.”

 

Technician Katie Dyer helped to run the floristry stall, selling poinsettias, lilies, table decorations and Christmas wreaths.

 

She said: “It’s actually gone really well. Because of the amount of glitter we have got, I think it’s attracting a lot of attention.

 

“It’s nice for the students to make something and bring it out, to be able to sell it and see how much interest they get in what they have made.

 

“They do the wreaths as part of their assessment in class and wrapping is something they learn so we can sell flowers in the college shop.”

 

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Dave Merriman, Head of Art and Design, said: “This is providing an excellent opportunity to see the development of young entrepreneurs. Some of the products the students have designed have been flying of the shelves.

 

“It’s great to see them taking a collective responsibility for the market, as well as learning about things other than creativity – for example, financial recording, keeping sales and communicating with the public.”

News

Former student shows IT group around Somer Valley FM radio station

 

Former student Luke Barnes showed a group from Bath College around Somer Valley FM.

 

Students studying Level 3 IT visited the radio station in Midsomer Norton to take a look at IT facilities.

 

They listened to a presentation about running a radio station and the legal requirements of broadcasting.

 

Students tested software used to program broadcasts and learnt how the radio station backs up its programmes every day.

 

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Mr Barnes, the radio station’s production and systems manager, also introduced students to station manager Dom Chambers.

 

Somer Valley FM is a non-profit organisation and all income is invested back into the radio station to keep it running.

 

Students talked about volunteering at the radio station, which only has two full-time members of staff and relies on hundreds of volunteers.

 

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Lecturer David Wills said: “This trip demonstrated to students the high degree of enterprise needed by staff to found and run a local SME company on a non-profit basis.

 

“The experience was appreciated by students as it gave them an insight into different range of possibilities for work placements and a chance to talk to enthusiastic entrepreneurs who are local and accessible.”

News

Catering students host imaginative 80th birthday party

 

Students at Bath College threw writer and former lecturer Richard Ingham an 80th birthday party to remember at The Shrubbery Restaurant.

 

The restaurant, on James Street West, is run by catering and hospitality students at Bath College.

 

Seventy guests tucked into an eight-course menu inspired by popular dishes through the decades and sang for their supper between each course.

 

During the evening, guests donated £750 to the charity Dream Big Ghana, which builds compostable toilets in villages in Ghana.

 

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The evening started in the 1930s with Martini cocktails and finished in the year 2000 with coffee and cupcakes.

 

Students prepared a modern twist on 1940s rabbit pie, 1950s Brown Windsor Soup, and 1970s boil in the bag cod.

 

Mr Ingham, of Devonshire Place, Bath, taught at Chippenham Technical College and his wife Jacqui Buffton served as vice-chair of Bath College’s governing body for many years.

 

The 80-year-old plays in a blues band, The Amazing Street Band, and was keen to get everyone singing songs by Vera Lynn, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

 

Matt Finch, teaching and learning manager at Bath College, led the singing and provided musical accompaniment.

 

Mr Ingham said: “The evening was absolutely magical.

 

“We’ve had a few birthday parties at the college over the years, because we’re interested in further education and because the college has provided such a great service.

 

“College staff were integral to the planning of this extraordinary event and the students were better than good – really skillfull and caring.

 

“The food was wonderful. We gave them a challenge and they were all up for it.”

 

Chris and Sally Croudace collected the cheque for £750 on behalf of their son Dougal, who set up the charity Dream Big Ghana in 2009.

 

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The former Frome College pupil went on a gap year to Ghana and fell in love with the fishing villages of Dzita and Agbledomi.

 

He founded Dream Big Ghana to give villagers somewhere safe and hygienic to go to the toilet. After a year, the compost can be used to fertilise crops grown by the villagers.

 

Dougal also runs a not-for-profit eco-lodge, which attracts volunteers and placement students from around the world.

 

His dad Chris said: “The birthday bash held at Bath College was such good fun.

 

“The icing on the cake was the wonderful sum of £750 raised by Richard and his friends for another compostable toilet.

 

“It’s only through the active support of people like them that villagers in Dzita and Agbledomi have access to a proper loo and the hand washing facilities they need to be healthy.”

 

Bridget Halford, head of hospitality and catering at Bath College, said: “It was a pleasure to cater for Richard and his family.

 

“They have a strong connection with the college – we also catered for Richard’s 70th birthday party. The students worked hard and did themselves proud.”

News

Full-time job offered to 18-year-old Project SEARCH student

 

A teenager with a speech impediment has overcome all the odds to land a full-time job operating the county’s green recycling vans.

 

Roxy Garraway was given a 10-week work placement at the recycling centre on Midland Road, Bath, as part of Project SEARCH.

 

The programme, run in partnership with Bath College, Bath and North East Somerset Council and Sirona Health and Care, helps young people with learning difficulties and disabilities secure paid permanent jobs at the end of a year-long employability programme.

 

Miss Garraway was low in confidence when she started Project SEARCH. But she worked hard and impressed her boss at the recycling centre, who gave her a full-time job after she finished her work placement.

 

The 18-year-old will get her first pay cheque just before Christmas.

 

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She said: “I love being a part of this team. We have a laugh, we get on and we always look after each other. It’s really helped me with my confidence.

 

“Before I didn’t want to work, I would rather ask my mum for money. But when I started on the programme I realised what I wanted to do – I wanted a job.

 

“I’m looking forward to working full-time because at the moment I’m only on an agency job. I’m out in the van. I go to peoples’ houses and collect stuff they don’t want anymore.”

 

Young people aged 18 to 24-years-old are placed on three 10-week work placements as part of the Project SEARCH programme.

 

Miss Garraway started her first work placement at the council’s parks department, before going on to work at Haycombe Cemetery and the recycling centre.

 

She received support from a Bath College tutor in the classroom, learning about appropriate dress, conduct and attitudes in the workplace.

 

Sirona job coach Sarah Rendell also visited Miss Garraway during her placements to give support, advice, guidance and check on her progress

 

She said: “Roxy is a completely different lady now and this has been noticed by her family too.

 

“She has gone from a young lady who used to sit in class with her hands over her face to someone who is confident approaching customers and ensuring the council recycling system works properly.

 

“She went through a competitive interview process. She had to apply for a job and she’s been successful.

 

“Roxy will be reliable no matter what the weather and I know she is capable of progressing in that job. It could quite feasibly be a job for life.”

 

Miss Garraway plans to use the money she earns to take driving lessons and would like to learn to drive the recycling lorries.

 

Glyn Jones is the teenager’s manager at the recycling centre.

 

He said: “She has worked hard even though she has a speech impediment she’s pulled herself through and her confidence has really grown.

 

“She’s prepared to take on any task you ask of her.”

 

Students on the Project SEARCH programme may find themselves on an internship at the historical Roman Baths, Pump Rooms and Assembly Rooms, as well as other council departments.

 

They are more likely to find employment opportunities thanks to the programme.

 

Mrs Rendell said: “This is work experience with a difference. They are not paid, but they are gaining valuable employability skills and they end up with a reference from the manager.

 

“It works like a long working interview, which is much fairer for someone with learning disabilities. It completely widens out what they do with their life. It gives them an opportunity they would never have had otherwise.”

 

For information about Project SEARCH click here.

News

Visit the Bath College Christmas Market at Green Park Station

Students at Bath College are bringing Christmas to Green Park Station with a festive market selling hand-made gifts and food.

 

The market, on Thursday December 3, will involve students from across the college, including music, floristry and art and design students.

 

In the college’s art and design department, students have been hard at work designing products to sell, from cushions and mugs to bags and scarves.

 

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Visitors will be able to buy Christmas bouquets and wreaths, as well as jams, pickles and hot drinks to warm their hands up.

 

There will be winter wonderland workshops for children with face-painting, a tombola and entertainment from music and performing arts students.

 

The Christmas market follows on from a summer market at Green Park Station, where students showcased their skills during free ‘have-a-go’ activities.

 

Darren Rogers, enterprise and innovation manager at Bath College, is keen to make sure students develop business skills early on in their careers.

 

He said: “Products will be made locally by local students who are working and training here to develop their careers.

 

“This is a clear indication of where the college is headed in terms of making enterprise one of its key priorities for learners.

 

“It’s a great chance for our students to understand the production process, from design and making through to selling the finished product at a market to real customers.”

 

The market will run from 12pm to 6pm.

News

Bath College hosts Chelsea Flower Show regional heat

 

Bath College played host to top florists and floristry businesses at the Chelsea Flower Show South West regional heat.

 

Student Emily Smith shone during the competition and could go on to compete for Young Chelsea Florist of the Year.

 

The 17-year-old from Bath College impressed with a bouquet decorated with seashells, coming second in the under 24s category.

 

Over 30 people took part in the competition. They were asked to make a bridal bouquet inspired by a seaside wedding.

 

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Bath College student Louise Waters also entered the over 24s category, producing a towering design inspired by ice cream cones.

 

Other college students attended on the day to watch a floristry demonstration and lend their support to competitors.

 

Lecturer Jo Matthews said: “It’s always intense because you’re eagerly awaiting the results.

 

“For our students here, they really had their eyes opened to seeing something completely different – not industry floristry but competition floristry.

 

“Competition floristry is more creative. It’s a showcase of your talent so it means larger designs and more technical ability.

 

“I was very proud to see them both enter, because they haven’t got the experience of a lot of other competitors who have been entering competitions for years.

 

“Emily was really shocked to win second place and I think Louise was very proud to be involved and learn a lot from it.”

 

Sixteen florists from regional heats across the country will be chosen to compete for a national title at the Chelsea Flower Show.

 

The college already plans to be at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, where it will compete for College of the Year.

 

Last July, Bath College won Best College in Show and a gold medal at the Hampton Court Flower Show.

 

Judges awarded Miss Smith 90 points for her bouquet and it is hoped she will have the chance take part at Chelsea.

 

Mrs Matthews said: “We have to wait until April and they will announce who is going through to Chelsea, but I’m pretty sure Emily will go through with those marks.”

News

Stonemasonry apprentice shines in national skills competition

 

A stonemasonry apprentice at Bath College has shown he is among the best in the business by securing a top spot in a national skills competition.

 

Toby Brook won highly commended in the national finals of the 2015 WorldSkills UK competition and has been selected for the WorldSkills UK training squad.

 

The 19-year-old went head to head with some of the country’s most skilled stonemasons during the three-day competition, held at the Birmingham NEC.

 

Competitors were given a drawing, asked to produce templates, mark up a stone and carve it by hand following industry standards and specifications.

 

Toby impressed judges at a competition at Bath College’s Construction Skills Centre and went on to compete in the southern skills heats, which he won.

 

At the national skills competition, he was chosen to train for the next international WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

 

Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner said staff at the college are proud of Toby, who is just completing his Level 3 apprenticeship.

 

He said: “Toby was unfortunate not to be in the top three. The points difference between Toby and the winners it was minimal, but he’s been highly commended and he’s been selected to be in the world skills squad.

 

“To do well in these competitions you have to have the right attitude. You have to be able to problem solve, work within the given time frames and put in a lot of hard work because it’s very tiring.

 

“Over the three years I have known him he has always been motivated to achieve the highest possible standards possible.

 

“We expect high standards of work here, but in the competition they have a certain amount of time to reach that high standard.

 

“In industry they might have to get a job done in two or three days and by training them for these competitions it gives them employability skills.”

 

Toby is completing his apprenticeship with Wells Cathedral Stonemasons, who will be supporting him with the next stage of his training.

 

He said: “I did work experience with them and I ended up getting a job. They are very supportive, they trained me up along with the college,

 

“The competition was hard work. It was quite nerve-racking with the pressure of people watching, but it was very enjoyable at the same time.

 

“I’m very glad that I entered.”

 

Simon Armstrong, director at Wells Cathedral Stonemasons, said: “Toby’s done very well and we’re delighted.

 

“We weren’t surprised, however, since we know how good he is and his inclusion in the UK squad is brilliant. We’ve had squad members and team members before over the last decade, so he’s continuing a sort of tradition.

 

“The competitions are great for the apprentices. They’re in our workshops working away and sometimes it’s difficult for them to know how good they are, but once they pit themselves against apprentices across the country it shows.

 

“Toby has proved himself to be one of the best apprentices in the country.”

News

Student lanterns light up the sky during annual procession

 

Students at Bath College were proud to show off their creations during the annual Holburne Lantern Procession.

 

Hundreds of people carrying hand-made lanterns took to the streets of Bath for the procession, organised by the Holburne Museum.

 

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At Bath College, students studying for an NOCN Diploma in Independent Living Skills took part in lantern making workshops.

 

They made a giant owl and a werewolf, inspired by the theme for this year’s lantern procession – an enchanted forest.

 

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Bath College student Daniel Wiltshire came up with the idea of creating a werewolf and Sammy-Jo Lakey suggested the owl.

 

Students studying Independent Living Skills at Bath college have a range of learning difficulties.

 

The workshops will go towards their diploma to show how they have developed team-working skills.

 

Two teams worked together to make the willow structure needed for the two animals, before covering these in paper.

 

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Jane Samson, from the college’s foundation learning department, said: “It was a challenging task for them.

 

“They had three sessions and they had to get a lot done in that time. It’s a bit like a production line –there’s a lot of component parts that have to be made.

 

“It was difficult for them to imagine what it was going to be like and what it was going to look like when it was done.

 

“Seeing the lanterns lit up on the night was great. It’s so good for their confidence – they were buzzing.

 

“It’s lovely to be in the lantern parade because it carries you along. All the people waving and taking photos is great, it keeps you going.”

News

New FutureSpark Academy will match students with leading technology companies

A new academy at Bath College will match students with technology companies in the South West to make sure they are learning industry relevant skills.

 

Thirteen business companies have signed up to the FutureSpark Academy, a partnership between Bath College and business website TechSPARK.

 

They will offer students at the college a range of work placements, either one or two days a week for a minimum of three months.

 

Companies signed up include SearchStar, Memberoo, Nova Modus, That Media Thing, Ordable, Rocketmakers and web designers Deep Blue Sky.

 

They cover a wide range of interests from environmentally friendly companies like Trakeo to Lifejak, a company building software for large-scale events.

 

CelebVM, which offers personal video messages from celebrities, is looking for someone to help build up its social media presence.

 

Students will also work with The Yogscast, a network of YouTube broadcasters, who are looking for a video production assistant and a web developer.

 

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Employability advisor Amy Patterson has been working with companies to finalise job descriptions for students on work placements.

 

She said: “The idea is that it’s not just a week’s work experience. We want these companies to adopt a student into their company.

 

“The first week might be a bit tricky training them up, but after that they will be treated as a member of staff.

 

“We’re lucky enough to be in a digital creative hotspot, it’s one of the biggest ones outside London. There’s so much going on and more could be happening, but there’s a skills shortage.

 

“If we can make sure we have this strong relationship with businesses, we can make sure what we teach our student is want they need in order to get into the workplace.

 

“We can make sure our students are work-ready.”

 

Martin Lippiatt, from Gradwell Communications, met students from the college for the first time at a networking event on November 17.

 

He thinks the academy is a good way for companies to train students who could go on to become future employees.

 

He said: “He said: “I think it’s a great idea. The reason we’re getting involved is because the college students are an untapped resource really.

 

“There are a number of people studying in college or university, but employers are still reluctant to take on the students once they have graduated because they have no work experience.

 

“It’s a good way of plugging the gap. We have done the apprenticeships scheme before with Bath College and that has worked out really well.

 

“What we’re finding when we advertise is that many people are technical, but not a lot of people are customer focused, so it helps with that as well.

 

“When they come in we give them training with regards to being more customer- friendly so they can advise our customers better.

 

“If they’re looking for a job in this area, we’re one place that they could consider.”

 

Miss Patterson said: “The event was about giving them an opportunity to meet students. The students were working at the computers so they could show them what kind of thing they do.

 

“It’s not just about the students, it’s also an opportunity for the employers to get someone fresh from college, someone who could be a developing star.

 

“The students really responded well to it and we had some good feedback. People were quite impressed by what our students could do.

 

“Hopefully by Christmas we will have people in their roles ready to start in January.”

News

Dog grooming salon opens at Somer Valley Campus

 

Animals care students at Bath College won’t have to go far for work experience with a commercial dog grooming salon onsite at the Somer Valley Campus.

 

The new salon, run by Heather’s Pet Care, has opened offering grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats, as well as a collection and drop off service.

 

An open-plan teaching room at the college has been refurbished and redecorated to house a bath, drying table, finishing table and cages.

 

Manager Heather Thomas will run the salon as a commercial business and will also show students how to care for animals.

 

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She said: “It’s brilliant getting involved with the college and helping the students.

 

“I want to help the students get where they need to be, because I was there myself back in the day.

 

“When I started animal care, my course was nothing like this. This would have been awesome having work experience onsite.

 

“This is going to be a working environment – it’s going to be exactly as it would be in the workplace.”

 

Ms Thomas, a qualified animal behaviourist, started off her business from home nine years ago and now manages 15 members of staff.

 

Since then, she has seen an increase in the number of customers asking for dog grooming with a rise in the popularity of poodle cross-breeds.

 

With a busy business to run, she will be asking students to help manage the reception desk and waiting room, as well as helping in the salon.

 

Ms Thomas said: “Cockapoos are probably our most popular breed after Labradors.

 

“Dogs crossed with poodles don’t malt. The by-product of this is you do have to have them groomed otherwise their fur ends up matted.

 

“I got my first member of staff when I fell pregnant. I needed someone to cover for me and six months after having my baby I started recruiting more staff.

 

“When you’re busy you don’t have time to step back and do a reality check. The other day I got a second to myself and I thought ‘blimey I’m managing all this’.”

 

Jayne Withers, head of Land-based studies at Bath College, is looking forward to seeing the first customers come through the door.

 

She said: “It’s quite unique to have a commercial business operating in a college.

 

“We have high expectations for the students and want them to be thoroughly prepared for the world of work.

 

“It’s about bringing the general public into the college environment.

 

“At the moment, there’s a big push towards enterprise and being aware of how the college can work with commercial organisations.

 

“The new salon will serve the community and bring people into the college, boosting the reputation of the college and the department in turn.”

News

Apprentices learn from leading manufacturer Aspen Pumps

 

Leading manufacturer Aspen Pumps visited Bath College to show refrigeration apprentices the latest technical equipment.

 

Second and third year apprentices listened to a talk and learnt how to select, install and maintain condensate pumps.

 

Aspen Pumps, based in East Sussex, is the worldwide distributor of condensate pumps – a specific type of pump used to pump water.

 

Students learnt about condensate removal and how pumps are used in different scenarios across the industry in over 100 countries worldwide.

 

Simon Robinson, refrigeration and electrical learning co-ordinator, organises at least five technical talks for students each year.

 

He said: “Students had great exposure to equipment they will encounter in their refrigeration careers, essentially making them more competent engineers.

 

“It’s fantastic because it’s specialist information that we can’t necessarily be on top of – it’s straight from the manufacturer.”

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Students care for animals at Bath City Farm

 

A new course at Bath City Farm is offering adult learners a practical insight into animal care.

 

Students are learning how to feed and handle animals on the farm as part of the course, organised by the adult community learning team at Bath College.

 

Helen Fisher, deputy manager at Bath City Farm, gave students a tour of the farm’s animals during an introductory session in early November.

 

Many already volunteer at the farm, a registered charity which runs a number of different volunteering, education and training projects.

 

Some are part of projects at the farm, including the EarthWorks project – for people with mild to severe learning disabilities.

 

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Ms Fisher has been running animal care courses at Bath City Farm for a number of years and has seen how they help to increase confidence.

 

She said: “People don’t feel comfortable if they have been out of work or school for a long time.

 

“At first they are quite shy of the animals and shy of talking, but once people understand that everyone is in a similar situation that really helps.”

 

Students will study animal behaviour to overcome any worries they may have about handling animals.

 

If they want to progress, Bath City Farm is offering an advanced animal care course during the spring – which could lead to a course at Bath College.

 

MS Fisher said: “Each week they are going to be focusing on one of the animals on the farm – they will learn how to clean them out, handle them and give them health checks.

 

“In the spring there’s an advanced animal course and careers advisors from Bath College will come in to discuss courses that are accredited.

 

“It’s a gentle way of getting there, rather than going straight in for a Level 2 animal care course.”

 

Full-time carer Jo Welch is hoping to start a new career working with animals and has enrolled on the course as a first step.

 

She said: “There’s a vet course at Bath College so I thought I would do this and see how it goes. I just want to get a little bit more knowledge about animal behaviour.”

 

Jeff Fanstone volunteers at Bath City Farm every Wednesday, offering his expertise in horticulture by helping to maintain the allotment.

 

He said: “I feel as though I should know more than I do. We get a lot of people come round and ask us questions about the animals.

 

“Really I just want to know the basics – feeding and handling them.”

News

Bath College raises over £900 for Children in Need

Students at Bath College have teamed together to raise over £900 for Children in Need through cake sales, street collections and a music gig.

 

Early year education students at the college’s Somer Valley Campus kicked off a week’s worth of fundraising activities.

 

They dressed up for a street collection in Midsomer Norton, collecting nearly £300 for projects supported by the Children in Need appeal.

 

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At the college’s city centre campus, business and IT students enrolled on the college’s Vocation Access Programme held a cake sale.

 

A collection in the centre of Bath raised over £260 thanks to childcare, performing arts and beauty students who dressed up as superheroes.

 

In the college’s music department, students organised a gig and on Friday it was childcare takeover day.

 

The day, organised by students studying childcare, included face painting, guess how many sweets in the jar and guess the name of the teddy.

 

Staff members Sarah Demirci, Jess Lewis, Abi Holt and Lesley Hart helped with the day and joined in by dressing up as superheroes.

 

Staff at the college braved the Pie a Pudsey stand where they had custard pies thrown at them and were filmed for social media.

 

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Student engagement officer Scarlett Mosnier said: “Everyone has been really generous and everyone’s contributions make a big difference.

 

“For the students dressing up and collecting money, it’s a confidence boost throwing yourself out there and seeing what comes of it.

 

“It’s something great to be part of. They can see the programme on television and see how they have contributed to something massive.”

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