Bath College chaplain Rob Popejoy to appear on Songs of Praise


To watch Rob on Songs of Praise (on BBC iPlayer) click here.
Famous for his religious tattoos, Bath College chaplain Rob Popejoy has caught the eye of the Songs of Praise production team and is due to feature on the BBC One television programme on Sunday.
Chaplain Rob is part of the student participation team at Bath College and works to give students pastoral support through one to one mentoring sessions, as well as larger lessons and tutorials.
He has tattoos covering most of his body, including a picture of Jesus on his chest, and made the headlines back in 2014 when he was photographed bare-chested for a student project.
Called the ‘holy hipster’ and a ‘tattoo-loving vicar’, Rob was filmed by the Songs of Praise team last week for a short feature in which he talks about his tattoos and shares how he became a Christian.
Rob said: “My testimony came out, I talked about that and there was a lot of discussion about the church and how it’s represented in the secular world. One of the things I was asked is ‘are you trying to make God cool?’
“My tattoos are part of my personality. I’ve been getting tattoos ever since I had an active faith. Generally I have stuff that points towards a benchmark in my life, like being baptised and the year I came back to church.
“For my first tattoo I chose the words ‘for glory’ on my left arm. That was me stating what my life should be and what God wants me to be about.
“I didn’t choose to get tattooed to make myself cooler as a chaplain and I don’t do it to be a Christian witness to people, but it does happen to be a good by product of this – it’s a good conversation starter.”
Rob, who leads the Remembrance Day service and the Christmas carol concert at Bath College, also works as a youth pastor at St Michael’s in Twerton.
He had his tattoos filmed by the Songs of Praise team and was also filmed leading a tutorial for Bath College media students.
Rob said: “I think there should be a chaplain in every educational establishment. Even if you take religion out of it, I think there’s a need to provide pastoral support.
“I offer pastoral support to students and staff, mainly students, and promote awareness of other faiths to encourage an active dialogue around religion and faith – to challenge people into a deeper thought process.
“I’m both nervous and excited to see how I’m portrayed as a chaplain on Songs of Praise. In the Christian church world there are so many denominations, but you’ll find that we’re all believers.
“Yes, the crew came to film me, but if you go to another ‘young’ church, for example in London, there are other people like me with beards and tattoos. The difference is that they don’t have a job that gives them the same profile.”


Life at Bath College: Music student and SU team member Katie


If you’re in the last year of your GCSEs you’ll be thinking about where to study next. Perhaps you’ve picked up a prospectus for Bath College, browsed our website online or added the date of our next open day to your calendar. All of this will give you a good idea of what it’s like to study at Bath College, but what do our students think?
Over the course of the year, we’ll be interviewing current students about their time at Bath College and finding out what student life is like. Our first interview is with Katie, a Level 3 student studying music performance. Katie has just returned to college as a second year student and is volunteering as equality and diversity officer as part of the Students’ Union team.

Do you remember coming into college as a first year – what was it like?

It was quite daunting, mainly because a lot of people on my course knew each other. A big group of them came from the same secondary school. I thought it was going to be quite hard to make friends but it was a lot easier than in secondary school.
I did a year of A-levels and I didn’t get on with it at all. It’s hard to motivate yourself if you don’t enjoy what you do. I found this course at Bath College and it suited me better.
It’s a lot better at college because you’re treated your age. Unless you misbehave, you’re going to get treated as an adult. Your tutor will help you if you’re struggling, but you have to ask for help – which makes you a lot more independent. After a while you start to learn quicker because you’re learning independently.
What’s the best thing about returning to college – what are you looking forward to this year?

I worked a lot in the summer, so I was looking forward to coming back to college and getting on with things. It’s been good to catch up with friends.
I’m looking forward to my Final Major Project. You can do whatever you like, as long as it’s a large project. Most people do an EP launch but I’m going to try and do a big student party. Kez (Students’ Union President) wanted to do an SU party and a lot of people will use it to launch their EPs.
This year, we’re doing a lot of community work. After my course finishes, I’d like to study music therapy. It’s good to get things to put on your CV to show what you’re interested in.
What have you started to do in class?

We’re doing music and film, which takes a lot of patience. We’ve been given a silent film clip and we have to put sound effects in. Getting it perfect is painstaking. The aim at the end is to have a 30 second film clip with sound and we have to compose our own music.
We’re also doing song writing lessons once a week. We get given a different genre to explore. The first one is hip-hop! It’s going to be a challenge, especially because we have to record it ourselves, but I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun when we get in to it. It’s good because it widens your appreciation for music.
Can you tell me about being part of the SU – what are you planning for this year?

My position is equality and diversity officer. My job is to make sure everything is available to everyone and to be a point of contact for people. I’ll be doing quite a bit round anti-bullying week and mental health awareness week.
I’m hoping to set up a peer support group, but it might take a bit of time because there isn’t one at the moment. Having something run by students might make people more comfortable talking about issues. At my secondary school we didn’t have anything like that and I would have benefitted from it.
What was the freshers’ fair like?

Freshers’ fair was a success compared to last year. It was busier than last year and we have a few more people signed up who are looking to join the SU. Hopefully another girl will be interested because Kez and I are a bit outnumbered in the office – we need a bit more girl power!
At first it was quite hard to coax people in to talk to you. But once you got a group talking to you, other people saw it was ok. Hopefully the NUS card numbers will go up as well. There are really good places like Apple who will take the discounts. And it’s really cheap – it’s £12 for the year. You don’t realise how much you can save until you have it.
Do you have any tips for new students?

Just to do as much as possible. If someone asks you to do something say ‘yes’ because a lot of things only come up once a year and in the 2nd year you’ll be a lot busier.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people you don’t know. Getting involved in things that aren’t course related is really good fun. We have an Airhop trip coming up in October and there will be more trips like that throughout the year. I can’t wait – the foam pits should be interesting!


Students’ Union President Kez attends launch of new teenage chill out room


Local charity Time is Precious invited fundraisers to the launch of a new sensory room and teenage chill out room at Bath RUH on Friday.
Students’ Union President Kez Hawkins received an invite to the launch, as a thank you to students at Bath College who have been fundraising for the charity.
Kez was part of a team of fundraisers who collected sponsorship by abseiling down the side of Bath College’s Macaulay building in July.


Students chose Time is Precious as their charity of the year and worked hard to fundraise, collecting over £2,000 for the teenage chill out room.
The room will give teenagers in hospital a space of their own, complete with £4,000 worth of IT equipment, TV monitors and wifi.
Time is Precious has also bought an Xbox and PlayStation to take into hospital wards, to be used by teenagers recovering in their beds.
The charity was set up by Nicky and Neil Halford in memory of their son Ben to help families facing long stays in hospital with terminally ill children.
As part of this, Time is Precious has opened a sensory room with lights, sounds and games for younger children at Bath RUH.
Nicky said: “It will make a big difference for families. From my point of view, being in hospital myself, I know how stressful and hard it is. We don’t get paid for the charity work we do, we just like to see the money being used and to be helpful.
“We never expected to fund big projects like the sensory room and the chill out room when we set up five years ago in memory of our son Ben. To see the charity grow has been amazing. Thank you for all your help and support.”
Kez with charity patron Will Thorp
As well as the charity abseil, students fundraised for Time is Precious through bucket collections, cake sales and a lunchtime ‘Gunk the SU’ event.
Kez said: “It was really nice to see the end product after fundraising for Time is Precious. All the time and effort students have put in, we have seen that it’s going to make a difference – it’s such a great space.
“The reason we chose to fundraise for Time is Precious and the chill out room is because we represent the college and students. At any point a student could end up in hospital (or someone close to them). If this happens, the chill out room could help them through a difficult time.”

Students Union

September – Here we go again




Kez here, back again as Student Union President for my second year.  I’m hoping we can hit the ground running in this year and get much more happening.  We have an awesome team who are all ready to make change.  Our job is to make your experience at the college even better.


September is always a hectic month but it’s always great to see all the new faces  and to get around meeting you all in the induction (still as scary as ever) and tutorials.  Make sure you check out what we have planned for the year and get involved where you can.





Companies invited to the launch of the Bath Academy of Business


Bath College is launching a new business academy to give students valuable industry experience at top companies in the South West.

Over 30 companies have been invited to attend the launch of the Bath Academy of Business at Bath College on September 29th.

The evening will bring together potential partners and students who will hear about the college’s vision for the academy.

Companies are being asked to support students to gain experience in legal practice, HR, event management, retail, business administration, management and finance.

In turn, the Bath Academy of Business will boost the local economy in Bath by creating a talent pipeline for companies to recruit from.

Jon Domaille, Head of Department for Business, Media, Music and Performing Arts, said: “We are incredibly excited about this venture.

“Throughout the last two years, we have significantly developed our engagement as a department with the world of business, enhancing our student experience significantly.

“The academy is the next step for us. It will offer a unique environment for learners to study business within a challenging, competitive, innovative and aspirational setting.

“It is an invaluable opportunity for staff to engage with industry, ensuring that we are providing our learners with up to date and relevant skills that employers want and need.”

Companies attending the launch include: Sirona Care & Health, Curo, Royds Withy King and the Bath Spa School of Business.

There will be time for networking in the Futures Hub and a short talk outlining the college’s vision for the Bath Academy of Business.

Bath-based company Cognisess has already signed up to support the academy, and as part of this, will provide online games for students to play to improve their cognitive skills throughout their course.

Chris Butt, Founder and CEO at Cognisess, said: “Cognisess is very excited to be partnering with Bath College and supporting the launch of the Bath Academy of Business.

“It is a truly innovative step in supporting students throughout their time at the college with both personal and employability skills needed for the workplace.

“Our platform will work with students to understand, track and improve these skills so when they complete their course they will be able to compete in the jobs market.

“Each student will receive a Cognisess profile showcasing their talent and potential – helping employers find the right person.”

Employability Adviser Lucy Beattie works with the Futures Team to create employability opportunities for students at Bath College.

She said: “We’re looking for employers to give students an insight into what it’s like to work for them by offering work placements, company visits and student mentoring.

“Some businesses might come in once a year to offer their expertise and others might take people on a rolling placement, developing a long-term relationship with students.

“We will be working to make the partnership suit the business and develop our students’ full potential.”

The launch of the Bath Academy of Business begins at 5.30pm on September 29 in the Futures Hub, Roper Building, Bath College, Avon Street. To attend please e-mail Lucy.Beattie@bathcollege.ac.uk.


Students work alongside Michelin-starred chefs at charity polo day


Students from Bath College worked alongside Michelin-starred chefs at a fundraising feast in aid of Hospitality Action.
Twelve Level 3 catering and hospitality students were part of a charity polo day at Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire on September 11.
The day raised £50,000 to help Hospitality Action with its work supporting employees in the hospitality and catering industry.
Students at Bath College worked alongside seven award-winning South West chefs, who have six Michelin stars between them.
The team included Michael Bedford, from the Painswick Hotel, Martin Burge, from Whatley Manor, Josh Eggleton, from the Pony & Trap and Hywel Jones, from Lucknam Park.
Students also served food created by Sam Moody, from the Bath Priory, Richard Picard-Edwards, from Lords of the Manor Hotel, and Richard Bertinet, from The Bertinet Kitchen and Bakery.
The event began with a champagne and canapé reception, followed by a three-course lunch and an afternoon cream tea.
Catering and hospitality students acted as front of house staff and were joined by service professionals from The Abbey Hotel, Bath Priory, Calcot Manor, Lucknam Park, The Pig, and Whatley Manor.
This is the third time students at Bath College have attended Hospitality Action’s charity polo day to help with front of house.
Bridget Halford, head of department for hospitality, hair, beauty and spa industries, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for our students.
“Students really benefit from working closely with Michelin-starred chefs and service professionals from top hotels in the region.
“They’re gaining first-hand experience of catering for large numbers at a high-end event raising money for a worthwhile cause.”
Penny Moore, chief executive at Hospitality Action, said: “Tickets to the polo day sold out almost instantly, a true testament to the hard work everyone puts in.
“We’re set to spend a record breaking amount of money supporting those in need this year and it is events such as this that enable us to do so.”


Apprentice of the month: Jordan Griffiths from Weiss Technik UK

Bath College is one of a handful of colleges in the UK offering air conditioning and refrigeration qualifications from Level 1 to Level 3. All students studying air conditioning and refrigeration are apprentices, who are sponsored by their employers. Here we speak to Jordan who travels to Bath from Wales to study.


Why did you decide to study for an apprenticeship?
I was in college in Wales studying electronics and trying to get into work. I went on work experience with Weiss Technik UK and they offered me an apprenticeship. I didn’t know anything about refrigeration, but I had a go and I started to enjoy it – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
I thought an apprenticeship would be a better alternative than university, because I would earn and learn at the same time. At the end of the course you come out with a trade and a skill.
What do you do on a day to day basis at work?
I work four days a week and I come into Bath College once a week. I work on climatic chambers. Car manufacturers need to test cars in low temperatures, to see how durable the car is. We produce refrigeration systems which allow storage rooms to be set to temperatures as low as minus 60 °C.
We build the refrigeration system in the factory, test it to make sure everything is fine, take it to the customer, and install it. One day I might be working on a job in the factory and another day I might travel to work onsite.
We go away for the week, stay in hotels and do the work. The company is contracted for work abroad, in places like China and Brazil, so I might get that opportunity once I’m qualified.
Why did you want to study this course at Bath College?
Weiss Technik UK is based in the Ebbw Vale, so I travel into study at Bath College. This is the only Level 3 course I could find, it’s a very specialised subject and not every college offers a Level 3 qualification.
I find refrigeration is more hands-on and it’s more specialised. When I was doing electronics there were three courses and there were 60 students studying the course. There’s just a few of us in this refrigeration class, so I get more time with the teacher and it’s easier to find a job afterwards. Companies are crying out for refrigeration engineers.
What does Bath College do to support you in the workplace?
I have site visitors from the college, they come to see me working to make sure I know my trade and I know what I’m doing. I also have trained engineers at my workplace who show me what to do. It’s just good to get stuck in and work with my hands. I’m not just sat at a desk and it’s not just theory – you’re actually doing something. It’s prepared me for work.
What’s your dream for the future?
I want to move abroad and work. I want to get a job and set up my own company in America or Australia and employ other people (maybe other apprentices). We’ve had a lot of people come in as quest speakers telling us what they have done. When I talk to people who have gone on to own their own company I think ‘I could do that’. This is just the start of my journey.


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.



Bath College student picked to represent Great Britain in the European Championships


Gymnast and Bath College student Tia Collins has been picked to represent Great Britain in the European Championships.

Miss Collins, who is starting her second year at Bath College studying Level 3 nails, will compete with TeamGym GB at the European Championships in October.

She was initially picked as a reserve and earned a place on the senior women’s team after months of intensive training with the team gymnastics squad.

Being part of the European Championships is a dream come true for the 17-year-old who started out as a gymnast 12 years ago and trains at Majestic Gymnastics in Bristol.

Miss Collins said: “This has been my dream since I was four years old. I have worked for two years to earn a place on the GB team.

“When I found out I was a reserve I was happy, but not happy enough. I worked my hardest each training session to prove I should be part of the team.

“My goal in gymnastics was to represent my country and now I finally get to do this. I’ve worked so hard and believed in myself, and now I have the opportunity of a lifetime.”


Miss Collins will perform in front of thousands of people at the championships in Slovenia, which take place from October 12 to October 16.

Over the summer, she has been training with TeamGym GB in Crew and Nantwich, spending eight hours a day Monday to Thursday learning new skills and techniques.

Miss Collins said: “We had a selection event where the top judges came in and watched us perform to see if we would get a score high enough to go to the Europeans.

“Training with TeamGym GB has been the most amazing experience of my life. The support from the coaches and other gymnasts has inspired me to become better.

“Sometimes training was tough and muscles were sore but having the mind set to carry on has got me where I wanted to be!

I’m looking forward to going out with my team and showing everyone what we can do.”

Miss Collin’s family continue to support her with her gymnastics career and her coach Michelle George, from Majestic Gymnastics, has set up a crowdfunding page to help send her to the championships.

Mum Zena Collins said: “TeamGym is not a funded discipline in the UK and Tia doesn’t get any sponsorship.

“This is the biggest accolade in the Team Gym competition calendar and to be selected to represent Team GB is a proud moment for Tia, her family and Majestic Gymnastics.

“Please show your support however you can.”

To visit Tia’s crowdfunding page click here.

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