Hundreds visit the Bath College Futures Apprenticeship and Jobs Fair

Hundreds of people had the chance to network with employers at the Bath College Futures Apprenticeship and Jobs Fair.


Over 800 pupils and college students came along with parents and carers to find out about career opportunities at the event on March 23.


They were able to choose from over 50 stallholders, from a wide range of industries such as travel and tourism, construction, law, healthcare and retail.


There was the chance to try out an ejector seat, brought by QinetiQ, and taste flambéed pineapple from the Bath Hotel and Restaurant School.


Apprenticeships at Rotork, a major employer in the South West, were on hand to speak to people and brought in an actuator to display.


Bath Mayor William Sandry visited the event and had a go at stonemasonry with the help of Bath College apprentice Michael Colston.


He said: “The Apprenticeship and Jobs Fair was a genuinely impressive event. It was great to see such a diversity and quantity of both local and national employers, all of whom had good quality apprenticeships on offer to the visitors.


“The event was very well attended and all the visitors were able to talk to existing apprentices who all seemed enthusiastic, engaged and happy in their roles and were great ambassadors for apprenticeship programmes.”


As well as speaking to stallholders, visitors had the chance to take part in mock interviews and listen to several short talks. A number of experience placements and interviews were offered on the day.


The government has a target to recruit three million apprenticeships by 2020, and during the event, Bath College hosted the Ambition 2020 torch.


Katherine Lusty, from the Co-operative food store in Radstock, said: “Today wasn’t all about offering jobs, it was about educating people about what else is available in retail – not just stacking shelves and working on tills, but the varied career paths in finance, logistics and HR, as well as general retail.”


Employability officer Lucy Beattie said the event had helped introduce apprenticeships to students and dispel some of the myths surrounding them.


She said: “It was a great networking opportunity and there was a real buzz around the college. The employers gave really positive feedback and benefitted from speaking to a huge number of people.


“Parents were scouting for opportunities for their children and plenty of links were made between employers, the college and visitors.


“Several people at the fair were offering higher-level apprenticeships, up to degree and masters level, showcasing what is on offer in our community.”


Interested in an apprenticeship? Let us know!




What are the next steps to becoming an apprentice?


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



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

College Placement Officer contacts you to discuss the next steps.

Interviews, start dates and enrollments are arranged for you.

You begin paid employment through the programme.



Apprentices put the focus on customer service at Gradwell Communications


Taking on apprentices has altered the way business operates at Bath-based company Gradwell Communications.
The communications technology company has taken on five apprentices from Bath College over a two year period.
Each of these has gone on to work full-time at Gradwell and have helped to put customer experience at the heart of the company.
Martin Lippiatt has tracked the career progression of all five former apprentices, who started out studying for a Level 2 customer service NVQ.
He said: “We used to take on technical people that weren’t necessarily customer focused, so the rapport that needs to be built with customers wasn’t necessarily there.
“We flipped that round and said ‘let’s get customer focused people in and we can teach them the technical side of things.’
“It’s much easier to recruit. Going through agencies can be really expensive and sometimes it doesn’t work out, but with the apprenticeship scheme they can learn from us and we can develop them in a way that fits with Gradwell.”
Rory Larsen-Baker was 18 when he applied for a customer service apprenticeship at Gradwell through Bath College.
As a new recruit, he started out helping customers with product queries, and last year he was given a new job as technical account manager.


Rory Larsen-Baker - Gradwell
He said: “It’s similar to the customer services job, but it pinpoints you in a different direction. I call up new customers to see how they’re getting along.
“I didn’t have a job at the time and I was looking for something IT based. It was a lot more of an adult environment, at least compared to school.
“You got a lot more freedom and responsibility, which was what I needed at the time. I’ve already recommended trying an apprenticeship to other people. It’s a great thing to do.
“I know quite a few people who need jobs and are looking for them. Part of the reason is they have the qualifications, but not the work experience.
“With an apprenticeship you get both – it’s experience and qualifications.”
Mr Lippiatt said: “With the apprenticeships, a lot of people still have this idea that they will be photocopying and making coffee all day, but it’s a proper experience.
“Our apprentices study for customer service NVQs and their time with us allows them to put into practice what they’re learning at college.”


Interested in an apprenticeship? Let us know!




What are the next steps to becoming an apprentice?


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



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

College Placement Officer contacts you to discuss the next steps.

Interviews, start dates and enrollments are arranged for you.

You begin paid employment through the programme.



Speak to employers at the Bath College Apprenticeships and Jobs Fair


Over 50 employers will be on hand at an Apprenticeships and Jobs Fair, held at Bath College on March 23.

The event is an opportunity for school pupils, students, young people and parents to speak to regional and national employers.

Top companies signing up to take part include First Group, BT, the MoD, Halsall Construction and Premier Inn.

Current apprentices working at Curo, Bath Aqua Glass and Bath College will be at the event to take about their experiences.

There will also be opportunities to take part in mock interviews with some companies, such as The Pig Hotel near Bath.

Parents and young people can book into short talks about apprenticeships from 4pm to 6.30pm.

The event will give visitors the chance to find out about a wide range of apprenticeships, including degree-level apprenticeships.

Law firm Lyons Davidson will be one of many companies advertising current vacancies.


A5 - Futures Apprenticeships and Jobs Fair v8 - JAN 2016
The Bristol-based firm provides a law apprenticeship that can lead to becoming a qualified solicitor or going onto university.

During the event, Bath College will host the Ambition 2020 torch, which is travelling between employers and apprenticeship providers.

The government aims to provide three million apprenticeships by 2020 and Bath College has its own target of 800 apprenticeships by 2020.

Employability adviser Lucy Beattie is organising the event.

She said: “I’m really excited by the range of employers and opportunities we have to showcase at the fair.

“I’m sure if I’d had the opportunity to be paid while I learnt a job I would have jumped at it.

“Before I started organising the fair I had no idea you could be an apprentice in such a wide range of career pathways, from jewellery making to stonemasonry, engineering, business administration, landscaping and working in the health care sector.

“I hope that the opportunity to meet employers face to face will help dispel some of the myths around apprenticeships.

“This is about showing that apprenticeships offer an opportunity for everyone.”

The Futures Apprenticeship and Jobs Fair is free to attend and open to school and college pupils from 12pm to 3.30pm.

From 4pm to 6.30pm, the event is open to parents, young people and members of the public.

To pre-register for the event click here.


Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson to leave at the end of the academic year


After nine years at Bath College, Principal Matt Atkinson has announced he will be leaving at the end of the academic year.
Mr Atkinson, who has led the college since August 2007, joined Bath College from Andover, where he was Acting Principal for 15 months.
Under his leadership, the college has strengthened its reputation, delivered new buildings and, most recently, completed a merger with Norton Radstock College.
Mr Atkinson, who will continue to live in Bath, plans to set up a business offering leadership support services to education providers.
He said: “Leading the college over the past nine years has been the significant highlight of my long career in the college sector.
“The experiences I have had here have been career defining and over my time here I have become very attached to the college and the areas we serve.
“Having led the college into the next phase of its development, I have decided that now is a good time for to pursue new interests in the college sector.
“The college sector is undergoing a period of significant change at the moment and I intend to offer a range of leadership support services to colleges and other organisations to help them deliver strong and effective organisations.
“I am grateful to staff, governors and students for their support in making the college a better place to learn and work.”
Mr Atkinson’s highlights during his career at Bath College include opening the new multi-million pound Roper Building, on James Street West, in 2012.
A year later, the college received its highest inspection rating in six years in an overwhelmingly positive Ofsted report.
Since then, the college has maintained an Ofsted rating of good and has built up links with local businesses, increasing its number of apprenticeship programmes and making sure that students gain key employability skills.
Carole Stott, Chair of the Board of Governors at Bath College, said that the college had gone from strength to strength under Mr Atkinson’s leadership.
She said: “Following the recent successful merger with Norton Radstock College, Matt and the board have developed ambitious plans for the new Bath College. Together we remain committed to delivering on those ambitions.
“The board has discussed the process of appointing Matt’s successor and the post of Principal and Chief Executive will be advertised in April 2016.
“The board’s priorities over the coming year are to continue to embed the merger, deliver the new vision and strategy and ensure the ongoing success of Bath College.
“The board is enormously grateful for Matt’s leadership and commitment to this college. Matt has positioned the college so that it is an essential partner for business and the local communities.
“The quality and reputation that the college now enjoys owes much to his leadership.
“We wish Matt all the best in his next endeavour and are determined to secure someone of equal calibre to lead the college during its next important phase and fulfil our role supporting our local community.”


Students help to tidy the Kennet and Avon Canal


Students from Bath College have been working hard to make sure cyclists, walkers and boat users can enjoy a trip along the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The students, who are studying for a Step-Up Diploma at the college, have been volunteering their time to clear the canal since September.

Starting at Widcombe, they have been using the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust boat to clear hedgerows and paths, cutting back overhanging trees.

The group of ten have also repaired benches at the teashop in Widcombe and painted bat boxes, to encourage bats to roost.

Last month, the group helped plant 125 trees at the Caen Hill Flight, in Devizes, as part of the Caen Hillside Diamond Jubilee Woodland scheme.

The project, funded by the Forestry Commission, will see 30,000 trees and two wildflower meadows planted to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Bath College’s Step-Up Course is for 16 to 18-year-olds looking to gain independence and move into further study or employment.

Step-Up Coordinator Julie Tonks said: “The course helps to develop life skills, independence and confidence for young people that need more support to be in college.

“This project has given them valuable work experience and improved employability skills like timekeeping. It has also developed communication and teamwork skills.

“They have benefitted from new experiences, working with people they don’t know as well, and learning more about their local environment.

“For some of them, it’s the first time they’ve been on a boat or picked up a spade.”

Students Union

March – RAG


March has been crazy busy! Two weeks of RAG (Raise and Give) fundraising for a brilliant charity called Time is Precious. Some of the team and I over Somer Valley went to the extent of having gunk tipped over our heads to raise money!  Great fun but not my favourite day.  We also did a collection in Radstock town centre where we came across the BBC Wiltshire radio bus, nervously we took the opportunity to speak on live radio!!!! The Students’ Union first 60 seconds of FAME for 2016!  RAG week is just some of the fundraising we are doing over the year, so keep an eye out for our fundraising total.
We hosted an NUS conference with a few other colleges at our Somer Valley campus, I really like getting together with other colleges to share ideas and challenges, it was useful for new ideas and to find out how other colleges gather student voice.
Possibly one of our biggest stories of the year was facial palsy awareness week. I have been working closely with a student called Freya who wanted to do a stall event for the week to raise awareness of Facial Palsy. As part of the campaign we painted half our faces and got loads of other students involved.  Freya has gone on to do various interviews in the media and has really become an ambassador, read up on what she has achieved HERE
I have been busy organising a new idea called ‘Student Take Over WEEK’ I am planning for students to take over some main roles in the college. I can’t wait to start promoting it and getting students signed up. SO if you think you could be Principal for a day then keep an eye out!



In January some SU members delivered first aid awareness stall which led me to set up a free first aid course for 30 students! The event went so well, I’d like to thank St Johns ambulance for being so amazing and answering all the students’ questions. All the students who got involved were very pleased with their certificates. It’s something we are going to look to do more of next year.
It’s already that time of the year where we start recruiting for new Students’ Union members. I am about to go out and start talking to students, hand out flyers and get people signed up!!
I set up an Easter egg hunt around the college. It was funny watching students scrabble around trying to find the special tickets.
Have a great Easter holiday, eat lots of chocolates and relax. See you after half term!

News, Students Union

Student shares her story for Facial Palsy Awareness Week


A teenager born with facial palsy has made the brave decision to share her story as part of a national awareness raising week.


Freya Beaumont was born with unilateral congenital facial palsy – a condition which meant she couldn’t move the left side of her face.


As a young child, she needed two operations to help her smile and her appearance meant she found it hard to fit in at school.


Now a student at Bath College, Miss Beaumont is using Facial Palsy Awareness Week to highlight the difficulties of living with facial paralysis.


The 17-year-old, who is studying childcare, said: “Having facial palsy meant that I couldn’t smile and couldn’t close my left eye, in fact I had no movement at all on the left side of my face.


“When I was five I had surgery at a hospital in London, which was the first of two operations intended to give me a smile.


“While the surgery has left me with a lot of scars – the back of my legs, my chest and both my jaw lines, there is no doubt it has made a big difference.


“I wanted to take part in Facial Palsy Awareness Week because it’s something that I have lived with. I know how it can affect a young person’s self-esteem, as well as their emotions.


“I thought that if more people, especially young people, were aware of the difficulties, they would treat sufferers with more understanding.”


On March 1, Miss Beaumont set up an information stand at Bath College with the help of Students’ Union President Kez Hawkins.




She had half her face made up as part of Facial Palsy UK’s #FaceMyDay challenge and encouraged other students to join in the challenge.


The idea of the challenge is to get people thinking about how others react when they look different from those around them.


Miss Beaumont was inspired to set up the stand after sharing her story on Facial Palsy UK’s website.


Her story struck a chord with parents caring for young children with facial palsy, who wrote to say how it had encouraged them.


In the future, she hopes to use her college course to work with young children in hospital, or become a healthcare assistant.




Miss Beaumont said: “I find it easier to talk about my facial palsy to family and friends, but sometimes I feel it’s difficult to talk to strangers.


“Psychologically my facial palsy has affected me in many ways. When I was little I didn’t appreciate that my face was any different from other children’s faces.


“But when I started school it soon became more apparent. Other children would tease, point, stare and laugh at me. I felt like I didn’t fit in.


“Over the last six months or so, I’m feeling much more positive about myself. My future is bright and the challenges I’ve faced have served to make me stronger as a person.


“I think people need to know that there are support groups out there for anyone who has facial palsy and wants to share their experience.


“I have always had a passion to help children who have special needs or disabilities and I would love to do this in my career after college.


“I can achieve anything I want to and I won’t allow my condition, or other people, to hold me back.”


Bath College comes out top at the Bath Good Food Awards

Photos by Ferla Paolo


The head of Bath College’s Hospitality and Catering Department has been named as an ambassador for food in the city.


Judges at the Bath Good Food Awards chose Bridget Halford as Best Ambassador for Bath Food, in recognition of her work with students at the college.


They handed Bridget a trophy at an annual awards ceremony, along with three of her students: George Ormond, Sam Battrick and Calleb Drake.


25006527329_7baaf6d2b3_h (2)


The three teenagers won prizes for the Best Cookery Student, Best Front of House Student, and Best Apprenticeship Student.


Students at Bath College prepared and served a three-course menu at the awards ceremony, held at the Bath Pavilion.


During the evening, they worked under the supervision of David Campbell, from The Royal Crescent Hotel, and Chris Staines, from the Allium Restaurant.


Top chefs and industry professionals at the ceremony enjoyed a hay-smoked salmon starter, slow braised beef, and a pudding made from rosemary cream, cider granita, honeycomb and rosemary pepper.


25078552210_405a58927f_o (2)


Bridget started her career at Henley College in Coventry and went on to work in all areas of the catering industry in Leicester, Bristol and London.


She has a passion for educating young people and will be launching a new two-year BA in Hospitality Enterprise with Bath Spa University in September.


Bridget said: “I’m incredibly proud of the students and what they have achieved.


“They had a really good night and they really enjoyed the experience. It’s great to showcase how good our students are.


“It was a surprise to receive an award. I was very honoured, especially as I was up against the Great Bath Feast and Bath Farmers’ Market.


“I enjoy seeing the students doing well. I like it when you get that student coming in at Level 1 in the first year.


“You watch them progress on the course and leave as a professional able to work in some of the best establishments, both nationally and locally.”


Plans go on show for new £3.3 million construction skills centre


Plans for a £3.3 million state-of-the-art construction skills centre at Bath College went on show at a public consultation last week.
The new centre, at the college’s Somer Valley Campus in Radstock, would be a one-stop shop for students looking to develop a career in the construction industry.
Courses on offer will include brickwork, building services, carpentry, construction, painting and decorating, plumbing, refrigeration and air conditioning, stonemasonry and electrical
It is hoped the centre will become a regional centre of excellence for the industry, creating a talent pool for employers to find their future workforce.


Elevations pic


Located on existing car park space, the new 2,665m2 centre will:
• Focus on full-time programmes for 14 to 16-year-olds and 16 to 18-year-olds, apprenticeships and higher education, alongside programmes for the unemployed.

• Help learners to gain the skills they need to secure and sustain employment in the construction industry.
• Support local economic development, job creation, business growth and regeneration.
The project will cost £3.342 million to complete. Funding worth £2.506 million has already been secured from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Local Growth Fund.
A planning application will be submitted shortly after the consultation, and the aim is to get the centre ready to open in early 2017.


plan pic Ground


Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “The new facility will prioritise the development of skills for employability, prioritise an increase in apprenticeships, and raise skills levels within the construction workforce.
“The centre will offer a variety of training in a range of trades and disciplines, which are needed by local employers and businesses operating in the West of England.
“Bath College will establish an employer panel to ensure that our course offering remains responsive to local employer needs.
“The project will support the vision of the newly merged college to create a specialist learning hub at the Somer Valley Campus, where skills are closely linked to economic needs in support of local economic development.”

Your Wishlist