Bath College graduates celebrated at Bath Abbey

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


George said:


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


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


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


Karen Fraser, Director of Student Services and Marketing added:


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


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


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


Access to Higher Education Celebration

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


View the Photos


College Students to Showcase Industry Skills

Students from Bath College will showcase their entrepreneurial and industry skills at an exhibition to be held at Green Park Station in Bath on Thursday 2nd July.


The showcase will be the first time the college has run an event specifically where students demonstrate the skills and products they developed on their courses to members of the public who can also take part in some of the activities which are planned.


Matt Atkinson, Principal said, “The new Bath College is all about working with people to develop their skills and talent so they can thrive in their lives. This event is a fantastic opportunity for our students to put their skills on show and for them to network with the local community.”


Gardeners, nail & beauty technicians, web designers, media producers, DJs, and computer programmers will be amongst the new start-ups on show at the expo. The event is open to the public from 12-4pm and there will be a number of ‘have-a-go’ activities including bricklaying, DJing, programming robotic cars, animal handling and the opportunity to receive a free hand-massage, sample herbal teas and buy bread, Swedish candles and original artworks.


The students showcasing their skills are studying on a programme from a range of full-time or part-time courses at Bath College.


Green light given to renewable energy courses

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Same course, grade and university for married couple

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

UK Masonry Skills Challenge


Bath College comes third in national stonemasonry competition

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


View our Stonemasonry Courses


Ofsted praises Bath College’s employability focus

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Jewellery adult learners


Students recycle unwanted jewellery for charity

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

employability week competition


Students prove how employable they are

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


College students welcome coding into the classroom

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Two musical showcases to promote student talent

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Students take impressive first steps on career ladder

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Gracie Bond floristry student


Do you want to work with animals?

Students at Bath College want to tell you about their course that covers the health, welfare, handling and husbandry of animals.

They are keen to share their stories about why they chose to study Animal Care at the Somer Valley Campus.

All the students share a love of animals and name the practical side of caring for the College’s 380 animals as a course highlight. This includes 100 different species of pets and exotic reptiles, such as Stuart Little the bearded dragon and Elvis the Californian king snake.

Courses are very hands-on to give students the industry skills they need to go on to work in a wide range of animal environments. Career options include farming, game keeper, pet shop worker and veterinary nurse.

Students also gain vital on-the-job experience with weekly work placements at places such as HorseWorld, Noah’s Ark Farm and Grimsby Farm.

For more information on Bath College’s Animal Care courses, which start in September, look at the course information on the website at www.bathcollege.co.uk or call 01225 312191


Maisie Vanmeir, 18, of Bristol

BTEC Level 2 Animal Care

“I love animals; it’s as simple as that. I’ve liked being around animals since I was young and now I’m older, nothing’s changed.

“The course is great; I’d definitely recommend it as it’s so hands-on. You spend a lot of time with the animals, learning how to handle them, care for them and cleaning them out.

“I want to go on to find a job caring for animals around the clock. My dream job would be with the RSPCA so I can help neglected animals get back to good health.”


Katie Hell, 18, of Midsomer Norton

BTEC Level 2 Animal Care

“I’ve always been interested in animals. I grew up always having a lot of pets; over the years I’ve had cats, dogs, hamsters and fish. As a child I also remember loving going to the zoo with my grandparents.

“That’s why Animal Care was the obvious choice of course for me, there wasn’t really any other option. The course focuses on the College’s many animals; it’s a lot of fun.

“I really want a career working with big cats, I just think they are really unique animals, they show their emotions and are more predictable than smaller animals.

“I’d love to work in a safari park, that’s my plan.”


Charlotte Arnold, 17, of Midsomer Norton

BTEC Level 2 Animal Care

“I’ve grown up around animals so I always knew what I wanted to do at College. I remember coming to look around the College, seeing all the animals and applying straight away.

“I love being around animals and learning about the way they behave.

“I’d tell others thinking about the course to go for it. The animals are on site and the lessons are very practical.

“I want to go on to work with animals. I’m particularly interested in grooming.”


Farrah Williams, 18, of Frome

BTEC Level 2 Animal Care

“Even when I was at school, I knew I wanted to work with animals. I went to a College Open Evening and really liked what I saw.

“I was used to being around animals as I’ve grown up with cats, dogs, fish, hamsters and bearded dragon lizards.

“I’m really enjoying the course; I like the practical side of learning. I thought I already knew a lot about animals, but I’ve learnt even more.

“I’d like to put what I’ve learnt to good use and work in a pet shop or at kennels.”


Branden Higgins, 16, of Bath

BTEC Level 1 Animal Care

“I wanted to come to this College as my sister and cousins came here, it’s a family thing.

“I like the practical side of the course because I can never spend too much time with the animals.

“I really enjoy looking after animals, feeding them and cleaning them out.

“I’m looking forward to staying on at College to do Level 2 Animal Care. Then it would be great to travel with my love of animals.

“I want to go to Australia to study and take photos of wild animals. I’d be in the middle of nowhere with just the animals.”


Lizzy White, 16, of Bristol

BTEC Level 1 Animal Care

“I knew I wanted to do an Animal Care course and there were no other Colleges nearby offering anything similar.

“Being with the animals at College is like being out in the country as you forget where you are sometimes.

“I just love being around animals, I own my own pony and I have five chickens and four cats

“I want to come back to College in September to do my Level 2 Animal Care. Then I want to end up working with animals.”

WEB Twitter chicken WEB SV Animal Care students

Pictured above: Animal Care students look after the 380 animals at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus.


Stroke survivors express themselves through art

Stroke survivors are being encouraged to pick up a paintbrush and learn how to use art to express themselves.

Bath College works closely with The Stroke Association to run a 14-week community learning course covering the basics of art.

The introductory art course teaches learners, many of them pensioners, how to use art to help ease the frustration of not always being able to communicate.

It is the first time many of the learners have painted since leaving school and they talk about the enjoyment of ‘finding their focus,’ ‘increasing their confidence’ and ‘feeling included.’

Around 12 people attend the weekly sessions which are usually held at the Bath Bowling Club. Learners also recently enjoyed a visit to the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath where they got to learn in a fitting setting surrounded by the professionals!

Retired music teacher Jenny Walker had a stroke eight years ago and spent 10 days in hospital unable to speak.

The 83-year-old of Batheaston said: “It’s been a difficult journey of recovery and I still have eye sight and communication problems, but I now appreciate how every day is precious.

“This is why learning is so important to me. I may be getting slower but I’m enjoying life even more!”

Jenny said she loved trying new things and she enjoyed the social side of learning with a group of people who had become friends.

She said: “I still can’t believe I’m painting for the first time since I was at school aged about 15.

“It feels really exciting to be learning. I really enjoy painting and I’d love to paint a picture to go on the wall at home.”

Course tutor Liz Bennington said: “People are getting the chance to go somewhere different and to try something different.

“Many of them now have a new appreciation of art and they have been given the confidence to express themselves.

“The course works really well as people also enjoy the social side and the weekly classes give them more independence.”

For more information on these courses, which are held throughout the year, contact Bath College on 01225 328822 or visit www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk

WEB Stroke Association WEB art classromm

Pictured above: Adult learners taking the ‘Basics of Art’ course run by Bath College’s Community Learning in conjunction with The Stroke Association. They are pictured on a visit to Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.


Manager looks to recruit from her old college course

Former student Sonya Fanson has returned to Bath College to look for new recruits for an international cosmetics and spa company.

The 36-year-old said it felt like she was “turning back the clock” as she re-visited the classrooms where her career started.

Sonya, who is now the Global Spa Recruitment Manager at LUSH, talked to the College’s Complementary Therapy students about her rapid progression from a student into management.

She told students what employers were looking for, shared interview tips with them and encouraged them to: “show bags of enthusiasm” and “reach for the top.”

Sonya said: “These are just the types of people who could be working for LUSH in the very near future.

“We are always looking for therapists and it’s great to see so much enthusiasm from Bath College students. It’s easy to see how passionate they are about the industry.

“Having completed the course myself, I know they have the right skills. They could be just what the company is looking for.”

Sonya left school and worked in management consultancy for nine years before deciding to return to College at the age of 27.

She “followed her dream” and studied Complementary Therapy at Bath College from 2006 to 2007 which she described as “a completely new challenge.”

Sonya worked as store and spa manager at the LUSH spa in Poole, Dorset, for four years before setting up the company’s People Support department with a specialist interest in recruitment. She is based at the company’s headquarters in Poole but travels to LUSH’s 800 stores in 51 countries.

LUSH currently has seven spas across the UK and is set to open its seventh underneath Bath’s Union Street store on June 1st.

Sonya said: “I got the job at LUSH because of the Bath College qualification that I had.

“I wanted to come back to inspire current students and show them a possible career path.”

Sonya will also be one of the judges at the South West’s Complementary Therapy competition, which takes place at Bath College’s Academy Spa on June 23.

Training and professional therapists are encouraged to enter before Friday (May 22) in the categories of Aromatherapy, Body Massage or Reflexology.

For more information about Complementary Therapy courses or next month’s competition, email Diana Rowe at rowed@bathcollege.ac.uk or call 01225 328538.

WEB Sonya Fanson story

Pictured above: Former student Sonya Fanson (second from left) with Bath College’s Complementary Therapy Lecturer Diana Rowe and students.


Daily lives are recorded through photos

Adult learners have been using their cameras to capture the highs and lows of their lives.

Older members of the community attended a digital photography course that encouraged them to record what it is like to live in the Chew Valley.

They were taught how to use digital cameras to tell the story of their daily routines in and around their homes.

The pictures captured their daily chores such as the housework, feeding the cat, making meals and looking after the grandchildren.

Learners also used their cameras to voice their concerns and raise issues of interest such as the lack of public transport and fly-tipping.

The seven-week community learning class was run by Bath College’s Adult Community Learning in conjunction with the Age UK B&NES charity.

Each learner built up a documentary style collection of photos in the hope they can be exhibited to show others what it is like to live in the Chew Valley.

Annie Sherborne, 66, said: “The course has changed the way I look at things as I now see how living out in the country is itself a form of art.

“I now love taking pictures and I’m going to try to continue to capture how the farming landscape is changing.”

Pat Howland, 55, added: “I’m really pleased with the photos I’ve taken.

“I’ve gained a lot of confidence and I can now show what I’m thinking or doing with the help of a camera.”

The eight learners were taught new camera skills such as composition and lighting, as well as how to store, edit and print images.

They met weekly at the ‘Hub in a Pub’ at the Stoke Inn in Chew Stoke to discuss the photos they had taken that week.

Tutor June Wentland, who is a Bath and North East Somerset’s Reader Development Officer, said the learners were grateful for the chance to express themselves creatively.

She said: “It’s all about people getting in touch with their creative side and telling their own story.

“These people have the chance to record their everyday lives through pictures, it’s life in Chew Valley today.

“Their portfolios are a wonderful recording of daily routines and they depict very personal messages.

“Some people had never used a digital camera before but now they are very interested in photography and want to carry on snapping away.”

The Hub in a Pub is a partnership between Bath College’s Community Learning, The Stoke Inn, Age UK B&NES, Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Library Service.

For more information on Adult Community Learning courses run by Bath College, call (01225) 328720 or email courses@bathcollege.ac.uk

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Pictured above: Adults kept a photo diary of their lives as part of a digital photography community learning course run by Bath College.


Seven students go on to work for the same company

Former Bath College students are playing a crucial role in ensuring families across the south west continue to have an uninterrupted electricity supply.

Seven arboriculture students from the Somer Valley Campus work around-the-clock helping with the trimming and felling of trees to ensure the safety and reliability of power lines.

They are all employed by Hi-Line tree surgeons; which has contracts with Western Power Distribution to keep vegetation clear of its electricity infrastructure.

Hi-Line’s Human Resources and Training Manager Kirsty McNicol said the ex-students worked hard to minimise any potential problems across the south west from Bristol to Dorset to Cornwall.

She said: “We employ 230 people and 80 per cent of our work is for Western Power which means the ex-students play a crucial role in keeping electricity at people’s fingertips.

“We are called out at all hours of the day and night as trees adjacent to overhead power lines can be a public safety risk, especially in severe weather.

“So when we look for new employees it’s crucial we find the best people for the job. We don’t want to start our training from scratch, we want people who know the basics and have that initial qualification.

“Employees who have both the theory and practical experience are invaluable to us; that’s why we know we can rely on Bath College. We’re lucky to have such a good relationship with the College.”

Gary Sims is one of Bath College’s former students now working at Hi-Line having completed his Level 2 NVQ in Arboriculture in 2009.

The 30-year-old from Paulton, who works as a climbing arborist, said: “I’d always wanted to get into arboriculture since I saw a large tree being dismantled in the school grounds. I just remember being impressed with all the harnesses, ropes and chainsaws.

“After school I started working elsewhere doing something completely different, but it was always in the back of my mind, I never forgot what I had seen.

“I decided to go back to College in my 20s and I really enjoyed the course; I learnt so much and couldn’t wait to put it into practice.

“It’s a great job, you cannot beat working outside, the job satisfaction is huge and I get to see lots of new places, often from great heights!”

Ed Clark, 28, has worked for Hi-Line for eight years having completed his NVQ Level 2 in Arboriculture at Bath College in 2004. He has worked his way up from a tree cutter to a team leader to a tree surveyor.

The former student from Radstock said: “I didn’t really know much about the career until I did some work experience with the cutting tree team at the council. That’s how I got into it as I knew I wanted to study it at College.

“Now I travel around setting up the work for the tree cutting team. I have to survey the environment, carry out a risk-assessment and make recommendations, speak to landowners and try to get three metres of clearance.

“It’s hard work and the days can be long, but I just loved being outside; there’s no way I could work in an office.”

Representatives from Hi-Line, including Bath College’s former students, were invited to a breakfast event to celebrate the strong links.

The seven former Bath College students are: Ed Clark, Lewis Gingell, Joel Herbert, Mike Clarke, Ben Flower, Gary Sims and Elliott Bowerman.

Arboriculture Lecturer Martin Palfrey, who has worked at Bath College for 27 years, said it was an excellent example of student progression.

He said: “It’s great to see how so many of our ex-students doing so well with the same company. It’s a real testimony to the course and the College.

“It’s an interesting vocational area to train in and we make our students very employable. Our success rate speaks for itself.”

For more information on Arboriculture courses at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus visit www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk or phone 01225 312191.

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Pictured above: Students who studied arboriculture at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus and now work together at Hi-Line tree surgeons. 


Future engineers fly the flag for their industry

Students at Bath College have taken part in a nationwide project to highlight how refrigeration is one of the least understood but fastest growing industries in the world.

The engineers of the future worked with the Institute of Refrigeration to try to dispel the common misconception that the industry is about ‘nothing more the fridge in your kitchen.’

More than 20 Refrigeration and Air-conditioning students were consulted on how more school-leavers could be encouraged to study the subject or enter the industry as apprentices.

The students put forward ideas on the Institute’s proposals to nationally standardise refrigeration training so that it better connects to the wide-range of job opportunities.

The Institute, which is based in Surrey, is on an 18-month national tour of training facilities to see if they are compatible with the rapidly changing industry.

They are also working to spread the word on the scope of the industry and future developments, including the growth in using fossil fuels for sustainability.

Miriam Rodway, secretary and chief executive of the Institute of Refrigeration, said she was thankful for the input from students and staff at Bath College.

She said: “It’s not a very well-known industry and we are working hard to try to overcome this.

“There are 30,000 engineers in the UK, they are responsible for 10 per cent of all electricity nationally and it’s an industry that is rapidly growing.

“The engineers play crucial roles keeping businesses open but they often work quietly in the background.

“It leaves the majority of people thinking refrigeration is about nothing more than the fridges in people’s kitchens, when in fact, it’s about so much more.

“We want to get the message out there that there’s a huge demand for expertise in the refrigeration industry and so many opportunities for engineers.”

The one-day seminar at Bath College also welcomed national and international industry representatives from all areas of the refrigeration industry, including manufacturers, suppliers, exporters and air-conditioning.

Miriam added: “We want to work with Colleges to help develop the careers of students.

“We want to show them how they can move forward as there are so opportunities to pursue. We’re saying to them: ‘stick with it and you’ll reap the benefits.’”

Refrigeration Lecturer Simon Robinson said it was first time the Institute of Refrigeration had visited Bath College and it was a pleasure to be able to work so closely with the industry’s national body.

He said: “It was great for the students to meet so many industry experts and very interesting to see how the Institute wants to link education to the future of the industry.

“It’s important to raise the profile of refrigeration in order to attract more young people as the engineers of the future.

“Most people come into refrigeration through working in the building services as they don’t know enough about it when they are at school. They just think of fridges rather than the large-scale industrial side of the job.

“It’s such a specialist subject area, we want to help people, especially school-leavers, understand what the industry is all about.”

Industry representatives were from Space Engineering, Cool Concerns, Air Master UK, Climate Centre, Star Refrigeration, Danfoss, CG Mechanical and Harp International.

For more information about Refrigeration courses at Bath College visit the website at www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk

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Pictured above: Bath College’s Refrigeration students working with the Institute of Refrigeration.


Move over whizz kids, this is the age of the silver surfers!

Pensioners are showing the younger generation that their age isn’t holding them back when it comes to learning about the latest technology.

Men and women – some aged in their 80s – are attending weekly community learning classes to find their way around an iPad.

They are taking a four-week iPad course run by Bath College in conjunction with the Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens’ Association (BEMSCA).

Up to ten pensioners are learning how to shop online, send and receive emails and use Skype to communicate with their relatives all over the world.

Retired hospital worker Zubeda Shah, 77, says she’s now a proud iPad user as the course has taught her how to digitally store her knitting designs.

She said: “I wanted to keep up with the world. I’d seen my children on the internet and I wanted to be on there too.

“You can’t just give up and stop doing things when you are old. I’m not just going to start sitting still, I want to keep learning.

“It’s amazing really how everything is now so much faster… it used to take six weeks for a telegram to get from India to Africa, now communication is done at the touch of a button.

“It’s very different from what I’m used to, but fun.”

Joyce Wellington, 72, who attends the classes with her husband Rudolph, 76, said she had enjoyed moving from a laptop to an iPad as “there’s always something to learn.”

She said: “I can email and Skype, research things online, I’m on Facebook too. Using the iPad is great to keep in touch with my family in the West Indies.

“I am catching up with the young ones and proving to them that age is nothing but a number. Relatives ask me questions about the iPad and don’t expect me to know the answers, but I do.

“Even my great grandson had to admit he was impressed and said ‘well done nanny.’ That was nice; he’s only nine years old but thinks he knows everything.”

Many of the pensioners who attend community learning classes at Fairfield House in Newbridge have progressed from learning how to use a computer, then a laptop and now an iPad. The ‘Getting Started With iPads’ and ‘Moving On With iPads’ courses are both run by tutor David Kingston.

BEMSCA Project Co-ordinator Pauline Swaby-Wallace said she was proud of the pensioners for keeping up with the latest technology and admitted: “They know more than me.”

She said: “Five years ago the word iPad wasn’t even in their vocabulary, now they are using them to keep in touch.

“They’ve replaced writing letters with Skype, and it’s wonderful to see them using the internet as a day-to-day tool.

“We try to address the needs of the community with these courses and you can really see how much these people are enjoying developing their iPad skills.

“Our members are always looking for something new to do, they always want to learn, which is so good for them as they can be lonely and feel isolated.”

Bath College and BEMSCA have worked together for many years offering a wide-range of courses including arts and crafts, flower arranging, mosaic making and sugarcraft.

The College’s Adult Community Learning programme, which is responsive to the community’s needs, also includes courses in food hygiene, money management, and basic skills in English and Maths.

For more information on Adult Community Learning courses run by Bath College, call (01225) 328720 or email courses@bathcollege.ac.uk

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Pictured above: Pensioners learning how to use iPads at the Bath College community learning course at BEMSCA.


Find out about new courses at Peasedown Party in the Park

Bath College will be heading to Peasedown St John’s biggest annual event to help the community find something they’d love to learn.

The College, which has campuses in Bath and Somer Valley, is an official event partner at Peasedown Party in the Park on Saturday, June 13.

Staff will be at the all-day music festival as part of the launch of the new range of Love2learn courses at the Somer Valley Campus in Westfield (formerly Norton Radstock College).

The wide-range of one-day and short courses encourage people of all ages to learn something new. Courses on offer include art, printmaking, dog grooming, creative writing and an introduction to horticulture.

The merger of Bath College and Norton Radstock College opens up many opportunities to people across Bath and North East Somerset, with an even wider range of courses in more subjects.

Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “We pride ourselves on being a College at the heart of the community as we are very responsive to the communities we serve.

“Peasedown Party in the Park is a popular summer event known to bring the community together, so it’s the perfect place to launch our Love2learn provision at Somer Valley.

“We have lots of part-time courses starting in September, many of them in the evening and at weekends to fit around people’s busy lifestyles.

“With so much live music and entertainment, Peasedown Party in the Park is a great family day-out for the people of Peasedown and beyond.

“We’re proud to be supporting an event that is getting bigger and better each year and we’re very much looking forward to helping to strengthen the community spirit on the big day. We’ll see you there!”

Peasedown Party in the Park attracts up to 3,000 people and is now in its 7th year.

The village’s festival includes seven and a half hours of live music, including Bath Spa Brass Band, The Rockerteers and ex Bath College music students Too Much Lipstick.

There will also be lots of family attractions, quad bikes, a gladiator joust, food and drinks, stalls and Peasedown’s first Great Village Bake Off with celebrity baker Richard Bertinet, inspired by the BBC’s popular Great British Bake Off.

The festival’s chairman, Nathan Hartley, said: “Every year we have some of the very best organisations sponsoring and supporting our Peasedown festival – and this year is no different.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Bath College, which now runs courses in the Somer Valley as well as the city of bath, is a big part of our 7th festival.

“The festival team is extremely grateful for Matt Atkinson and the rest of the College’s support. I hope this new partnership will last long into the future.”

Everyone is invited to Peasedown Party in the Park on Beacon Field on Saturday, June 13, from 11.30am to 7pm.

For more information on Bath College’s Love2learn courses, call 01225 312191 or visit www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk

WEB Love2leran ceramics class

The new programme of Bath College's part-time leisure Love2learn courses will be launched at Peasedown Party in the Park on Saturday, June 13.

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