Animal care students design new space for Sparky the barn owl


Animal care students at Bath College have created a new space for Sparky the barn owl – one of the college’s oldest and most-loved birds.

Seven work-based level 3 animal care students were asked to furnish a new aviary for Sparky who has been at the college since 1997.

She has been housed in several aviaries, and spent time with the animal care department in Keynsham when it was based at Ellsbridge House.

The new aviary, a spacious modern design, is part of an upgrade to facilities at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus in Radstock.


Students were asked to think about what to place inside the aviary and have worked hard to make it a suitable habitat for Sparky.

Work-based animal care student Roxy splits her time between studying at Bath College and volunteering at an animal rescue centre in Frome.

The group of work-based students spend their time at a variety of places, including Chew Valley Community Farm and the Bath Cats and Dogs Home.

Roxy, 17, from Peasedown St John, said: “I like looking after owls, I like their different characters and the way they show off. Everyone knows Sparky at the college.

“We had to think about placing the water bowl so she didn’t get wet, because her feathers aren’t water-proof. It’s nice that she has this much space.”


Bath College supervisor Katie Parfitt said: “This group carries out a lot of practical work in the animal care department and between the seven of them, they designed and put together the interior fittings for Sparky’s new aviary.

“They all worked well as a team, helping each other when needed with this physical task. I’m very pleased with the outcome and Sparky seems very happy being able to use all parts of her new aviary.

“She’s making use of the potted trees and branches that the students put in, and she even has her own tepee made from branches for her to shelter under if she gets caught out in the rain.”


Students join press photographers for visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury


Two students from Bath College were invited to join press photographers and capture a visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury on film.
Sebastian Roberts, 18, and Louise Wakeham, 17, are both studying Level 3 photography and volunteered to cover the archbishop’s visit to Bath Abbey on November 9.
The archbishop visited for a talk on the Footprint Project – a £19.3 million project to stabilise the ground beneath the abbey floor and heat the abbey using energy from Bath’s famous hot springs.
In the afternoon, he led a special Eucharist service attended by 800 people with singing from the abbey’s choir of boys and girls, as well as local schoolchildren.

Picture by Louise Wakeham
Sebastian and Louise were given passes to attend the event along with Bath College photo technician Joseph Wooltorton, who was on hand to offer advice.
They gained a valuable insight into what it’s like to cover a big event, the chance to snap pictures for their portfolios, and an opportunity to network with professional photographers.
Louise, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, said: “Quite a few people were taking photographs, including The Times Magazine, so it gave us a chance to talk to them.
“You have to be quick to take a shot, especially when you’re shooting in manual mode, you don’t get second chances.
“Joe came down with us for the day and he was with us to give us some pointers. It was a busy day, but a great learning experience. It gave us an insight into what the photography business is like.”

Picture by Sebastian Roberts
Sebastian, from Radstock, Somerset, said: “It was quite nerve-wracking and it was a very big responsibility.
“I enjoy anything photography-related. Being a photographer makes you appreciate everything that’s around you. This course at Bath College is introducing me to a huge array of different options: lifestyle, fine art, sport, portraiture and marketing.
“I like the practical side of the course and going out to experiment, because experiments are the things you learn from.”
Arran Hodgson, Photography Course Leader at Bath College said: “We have lots of live experiences on the photography course.
“These opportunities give our students a taste of what it’s like to work as photographers and pick up tips from the professionals.”
For information about photography courses at Bath College click here.


Bath College footballer picked for three-month Bristol City trial


Bath College footballer Saikou Janneh has been offered a three-month trial with Bristol City after impressing talent scouts.
The 16-year-old is a first year student at Bath College who came to England from Gambia, West Africa, three years ago.
Talent scouts spotted Saikou after he scored five goals in one game for the Bath City Football Academy.
The Bath City Football Academy gives young footballers the chance to play at Twerton Park in the South West Youth Counties League and study at Bath College.
Saikou was offered a week trial at Bristol City and performed well, leading to an extension to his trial for a further three months.
The teenager said: “I was really pleased when they said I could keep playing for them. Hopefully this will continue – my family are really proud of me.
“I have always played football, I played football in Gambia but at Bath College I’m learning about things like tactics and how to control the ball.
“I have made good friends and the teachers are good as well. They’ve given me the chance to do this trial by rearranging my timetable.”
Saikou is studying sport and public services on Bath College’s vocational access programme (VAP) designed to help students progress to a level 1 or level 2 course.
He has been working hard at the college to improve his English, to help him in lessons and with assessment work.
Sports lecturer Paul Blenkinsopp said: “We have been able to move some lessons and develop a bespoke timetable to support Saikou’s footballing commitments.
“He will continue to study at the college and train with the Bath City Football Academy. We hope that it does lead to something more for Saikou.
“He is a very grounded individual and is always looking to improve. His commitment and determination is an example to all aspiring footballers.”
James with Saikou
James Moon, VAP lecturer and category 2 manager of the Bath City Football Club, said: “Saikou has come from an environment where if you want to earn anything, you have work hard for it.
“He has a great opportunity and I believe that with the support from his family, college staff and his coach Billy Clark, Saikou will continue to work hard, learn and develop into an exciting prospect.”
If you’re interested in joining the Bath City Football Academy in September 2017 and would like to receive information about trials click here and fill out the form.

Students Union

November – Change it

One of our big targets this year is to make it easier for students to give us feedback and have a positive effect on college life.  This month we have been busy making this happen with the launch of our new learner voice website “CHANGE IT”.  The team have been working hard promoting it with lots of free goodies.  However this is just the launch of months of hard work.


So what is it?

Change it is our new way to get students to have their say.  You can submit your idea, or vote on the ideas of others. If enough people back it, we will try to make it happen, it’s really that simple.  So if you have an idea that could improve college for everyone make sure you post it.  The website is www.changeit.bathcollege.ac.uk , let us know what you think.


This month I also stood in the pouring rain with a bunch of students dressed as Santa’s doing their bit for charity at the Bath Christmas lights turn on.  It was great fun and I have to thank all those that braved the weather and refused to give up.


Vice President Tesh is also doing her bit for charity this month as she is aiming to raise £50 for Children In Need. Keep an eye out for what’s going on.




Product design students work with Designability to create new assistive technologies


A project with the charity Designability has inspired students at Bath College to think about assistive technology and the way their creations can be used to help others.

Designability, based in Bath, is a national charity working with people, carers and health professionals to research and design new life-changing products.

Its creations include the Wizzybug – an innovative powered wheelchair with simple controls designed to give children as young as 14 months the freedom to move around.

Level 3 product design students were set a challenge by Designability to create new items for staff at Bath College with a range of different needs.


They were asked to think about assistive technologies for three real-life clients, understanding the challenges of using a guide dog, cycling with osteoarthritis and deafness.

Students kept in contact with their clients, talking to them about their varying needs and getting feedback on designs before presenting their ideas to Designability.

Cai Smith, Jack Mitchell and Matt George were all involved with the project and will be applying to study at university after developing a passion for product design.

Products presented to Designability included a bag which can be put on a bike and also be pulled along, doubling up as a back support and seat.


19-year-old Cai created a dog clicker with a finger trigger. The product makes a noise before a dog is rewarded, helping a guide dog user to train their companion.

He said: “This course prepares you better for university than any other course I know. I did first year AS level product design at sixth form and it was completely different. This course is more practical.

“Working with real-life clients gives you the motivation you need as a designer. Being able to visit them to get feedback is probably the most useful thing. It’s definitely inspired us.”

Bath College lecturer James Purslow said: “One of the challenges for our students is getting to grips with how the user will approach their design. Working on a brief like this ensures that aspect is at the forefront of their consideration and focuses their thinking.”

Rob Hanson, from Designability, said: “The Bath College students have displayed a mature, empathetic and creative response to their brief by engaging with their clients and identifying their needs.

“They have shown impressive model making skills and, more importantly, shown the initiative to use their prototypes to gather real, critical design feedback from end users.

“The students’ passion for product design is clear in their design solutions that not only solve real problems, but also look great and have market potential.”


Students create designs for the British Florist Association awards ceremony


Picture above: Students competing at the South West regional heats for the Chelsea Florist of the Year

Students at Bath College were chosen to create table designs for the British Florist Association (BFA) awards ceremony – one of the biggest nights of the year in the industry.

The BFA is the only recognised floristry industry association, with 8,000 members, and the prestigious ceremony attracted many of the industry’s major suppliers and exhibitors.

All level 3 students worked on the designs, and seven students travelled to the ceremony, at Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwick, to assemble the table pieces and make finishing touches.

Floristry lecturer Jo Matthews said: “Students came up with the theme based on the logo and colours of the BFA and wanted to make their own structures to achieve maximum impact and show off their skills.

“We haven’t been asked to create designs before. It was a great honour and gave the students a fantastic opportunity to take part in a prestigious event, working alongside international and well-known designers.”

Bath College was awarded the title of RHS Chelsea Floristry College of the Year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2016.

This month, the college held the South West regional heats for the Chelsea Florist of the Year – welcoming competitors from colleges and businesses across the region.

Bath College floristry
students Linda Sorensen and Lucy Overment came second and third in the over 25 category, with Lora Stevens coming third in the under 25 category.

There are another five heats taking place across the country, and the 16 highest scoring competitors will go through to the final. Competitors were asked to create a structural design to decorate the Tate Modern and a hand-tied bouquet for the gallery’s curator.

They also watched a demonstration from florist Laura Leong, who showed them 10 different Christmas designs.

Jo Matthews said: “Everyone really enjoyed the regional heats. It’s always nice to be part of something like this.

“The students helped set up and it was great to have support from our floristry technician Katie Whittle who gave up a Sunday to help organise things.”

Students at Bath College will hear about the results of the regional heats in April.


Students pick up ‘life skills’ on National Citizen Service programme


Bath College is using the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme to challenge students and give them a new set of skills outside of the classroom.
First year IT and sports students have just completed the government- backed scheme – designed to improve confidence, personal discipline and team spirit.
The group spent time together on a three-day residential trip in Swanage, where they look part in raft building, jungle craft activities and coasteering.
Students also worked in teams to come up with a social action project, to make a difference to the communities they live in.
As part of this, sports students have been working with St John’s Primary School in Bath to develop and deliver a new sports programme.
Alex Gaiger, Deputy Head of Department for Sport, Leisure and Care, said: “Students worked with the children helping them develop new and exciting skills in a range of different sporting disciplines.
“They have received some excellent feedback from the school and plan to develop the relationship further by arranging future sports activity days.”
On November 11, IT and sports students received certificates from Ed Hodges, Director of Joining Forces Training, after completing their National Citizen Service.
Joining Forces Training is the leading provider of NCS for Bath and North East Somerset, designed by ex-military instructors.
Mr Hodges said: “NCS is about lessons you can’t learn in the classroom, we’re trying to build and develop life skills.
“Whatever these students decide to do after college, they need to have a CV or a personal statement and they need to demonstrate those skills employers look for outside of academia.
“We really enjoy doing working with the Bath College groups because the students come from such a wide variety of backgrounds.
“The idea is that they will work together better throughout their course because they’ve had these shared experiences.”
Level 1 and level 2 engineering students from Bath College’s City Centre Campus and its Somer Valley Campus also went away on an NCS residential trip to Cardiff on November 6.
The group are now working on their social action projects, and Bath College is working with Joining Forces on a new NCS programme for Step Up students.
Amy Patterson, Employability Adviser at Bath College said: “NCS is an exciting programme that perfectly fits with our Bath College values, and our overall aim to help students use their skills to become valued and generous members of society.
“The team at Joining Forces go above and beyond to make sure our students have an experience that challenges them and develops their awareness of what it means to be part of a community. We’ve seen fantastic results over the last few years.”
Joining Forces is organising a Christmas programme for 16 to 17-year-olds from Bath from December 16 to December 21.
For more information, click here.


Students take on board advice from international music producer Eats Everything


International music producer and disc jockey Eats Everything, real name Daniel Pearce, swapped Ibiza nightlife for a lecture room as he made a guest appearance at Bath College.
The globetrotting artist – who was born and lives in Bristol – talked to students from the college’s music department about his success in the industry, and shared his experiences of live touring, using different music software and working with producers.
The visit was one of three ‘Food for Thought’ school and college lectures given by Eats Everything in the region, with the aim of inspiring a new generation of young music producers from across the West Country.
It also forms part of the ‘Eats Meets West’ November tour – intimate gigs in town and cities that make up the best of the West. This includes Bath, his hometown of Wotton-Under-Edge, and a small café in Weston-Super-Mare, which was chosen after his fans voted for the seaside town in a Facebook competition.

Eats Everything said: “With a busy touring schedule, I rarely get to spend time in the green and pleasant West Country that I love so much. Being able to meet local students today and seeing them inspired by music was absolutely amazing.”

Music lecturer Adam Gazla said: “At Bath College, our students develop cutting edge skills and technical knowledge, taught by tutors with industry links in a friendly and inclusive environment.

“In a competitive industry, it’s really helpful to have someone so successful (who comes from the South West) visit and give us advice on how to stand out and break through.”


Advanced Engineering donates equipment worth £7,000


Refrigeration and air conditioning students will have access to the latest equipment thanks to a generous donation from Advanced Engineering.
The company, based in Hampshire, has given Bath College six Bosch Promax reclaim recovery units, worth £7,000, for use in the refrigeration and air conditioning workshop.
Sales engineer Ethan Blackwood and sales manager Luke Levens visited the college to deliver the equipment and recycle old equipment.
Mr Levens said: “We’ll look after them for three years, we’ll service and keep them running as part of a long-term project investing in supporting colleges.
“It’s giving the students the best start to their career with the best machines in the market. Promax is a market leader known for its quality.
“Once they get used to using this equipment, they can keep using it after college. The students are the future of the industry and it’s only right that we support them.”
Advanced Engineering is the UK distributor for the Bosch Promax units, which are used to remove refrigerant from cooling systems.
Last term, Mr Levens visited to speak to refrigeration students about the company’s products and he has another talk booked for April next year.
Bath College lecturer Simon Robinson said: “It’s a big donation for us because this is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment.
“It’s important to have the right equipment, and when we have employers visit they can see that we’re working with the right industry people.”
Bath College is one of 15 colleges in the UK offering air conditioning and refrigeration qualifications, from Level 1 to Level 3.
The majority of students studying refrigeration and air-conditioning are apprentices, who are sponsored by their employers.


Bath Soup Project launched at the Bath College Shrubbery Restaurant


A new crowdfunding project raising money for community organisations in Bath with a simple bowl of soup is off to a flying start.
The first Bath Soup Project, held at Bath College, raised £510 for a peer mentoring scheme run by the Southside Young Advocates.
Guests paid £5 on the door and were served with a free bowl of soup made by the students and a chunk of bread in the Bath College Shrubbery Restaurant.
Pictures by Aaron Eagling-Vose 
After networking, they listened to a pitch from five community organisations and voted on who should receive the money collected.
The Southside Young Advocates are working in local schools to set up a peer mentoring scheme and talk to teachers about bullying.
Kai Fletcher, 17, from the Southside Young Advocates, said: “Bath is a city with a large number of vulnerable young people needing support with complex issues. Southside Young Advocates feel passionately about spreading their message and providing a service in our local communities.
“We know there have been times in our lives where we would have greatly benefitted from a programme similar to what we plan to offer, so we are committed to ensuring others do not experience the same struggles alone.”
Also pitching on the day were Vegmead, the Bath Stroke Support Group, Bath and North East Somerset Dementia Action Alliance and the Work Skills Centre at Three Ways School.
International business students from Bath College are volunteering with the Bath Stroke Support Group and led the pitch for the charity.
Students from the college also gave up their time to serve the soup, provide musical entertainment and document the event with photography and video.
The event attracted plenty of support from local businesses, including Picnic Coffee, Lovejoys, Waitrose, Morrisons, The Thoughtful Bread Company, Mitie, Morgan Brinkhurst Consultancy, Mailboxes ETC and The Business Exchange.
There were a number of important visitors, including the Deputy Mayor, the Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, and three visiting peers from the House of Lords.
Julie Poll, Business Connector, Bath & NE Somerset, said: “The Soup Project is a crowd funding event for community projects and originates from Detroit.
“I saw this initiative firstly as an opportunity to bring together people who share a desire for a better community and secondly to fully demonstrate the themes we all focus on in our business connector role – education, employability, enterprise and community cohesion.
“I am most grateful to my fellow team members – Mike Plows, from the Volunteer Centre, Simon Brand (volunteer) and Lucy Beattie, from Bath College.
“It was absolutely fantastic to hear the pitches. The room was buzzing and it was difficult to make a decision on the winning project. In my opinion they were all winners – they are all volunteers trying to do amazing things for their community.”
Lucy Beattie, employability adviser at Bath College, was part of the team working to make the first event a success.
She said: “It was an amazing networking event for people interested in supporting local organisations and a great opportunity for Bath College students to be involved in a real-life project.
“The Southside Young Advocates won £510 with an impressive pitch, but all the charities benefitted. In fact, a local builder spoke to us about resurfacing a car park and building an outdoor seating area for the Works Skills Centre at Three Ways School.”


Students work with some of the city’s best chefs to create delicious four-course menu


Students at Bath College had the chance to work with some of the city’s best chefs at a four-course networking dinner for professionals in the hospitality and catering industry.
Organised by the Chefs’ Forum, the dinner was held at the Bath College Shrubbery Restaurant and included a special ‘pay what you can’ lunch raising £1,000 for industry charity Hospitality Action.
The Chefs’ Forum was created to mentor, motivate and inspire young talent by connecting chefs with education providers and industry suppliers in the South West.
Top chefs at the event included David Campbell, Executive Head Chef at The Royal Crescent, Bath, Head Chef Daniel Moon, from The Gainsborough Hotel, and Michael Topp and Martin Black, from The Manor House Hotel.
Lucknam Park chefs Elly Wentworth and Dean Westcar also volunteered their time. Elly, Junior Sous Chef at Lucknam Park, is appearing on MasterChef: The Professionals, airing on BBC2 on Tuesday November 8 at 8pm.
Students from Bath College joined forces with the visiting chefs and learners from Hit Training to finish and plate each of the courses, and to serve eighty hungry guests.
Bridget Halford, Head of Hospitality at Bath College said: “Today’s Chefs’ Lunch was an amazing experience for the students. It was a real privilege for them to work with such talented chefs from across the Bath area and a fabulous opportunity for the students to showcase their skills to local employers.
“Every seat in our restaurant was filled and an impressive £1000 raised for industry charity, Hospitality Action, we are delighted with this!”
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose said: “I have been really impressed with the food and organisation of today’s Chefs’ Lunch at the college.
“The Chefs’ Forum supports the college in an extremely positive and productive way, specifically in terms of raising the profile of our learners and our fantastically equipped facilities to potential employers in Bath and the surrounding area.
“The meal was delicious and it was an excellent opportunity for our students to network with top chefs, suppliers and learning peers.”
The Chefs’ Forum chose to stage a ‘pay what you can’ event to give chefs the chance to sample the very best in local cooking, at a price they could afford whilst making money for Hospitality Action.
Hospitality Action helps chefs and hospitality professionals overcome problems with stress, debt, drug and alcohol issues.
Participating chefs and sponsors all donated ingredients, driving down the food cost and allowing The Chefs’ Forum to raise vital funds for industry people who fall on hard times.
Sponsors included: A.David, Total Produce, Kingfisher Brixham, Walter Rose & Son and Easy Jose.
Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum, said: “The work Hospitality Action does is vital in offering support to hospitality people when they fall on hard times.
“It is great that The Chefs’ Forum can help in raising the profile of Hospitality Action to chefs on a regional level, highlighting the work it does.
“It is great to know that the money raised will go towards helping those in need. This lunch was a fabulous chance for current and future chefs and front of house professionals to witness first-hand, industry-leading cookery and first class service where cost was not an obstacle to them doing so.”
The Bath College Shrubbery Restaurant in Avon Street is open to the public and is well-known amongst local foodies for its delicious three-course lunches and fine dining banquets.


Apprentices head to The Skills Show to compete in national finals


Three apprentices from Bath College will compete at The Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham after performing highly in a challenging set of regional heats.
Attracting thousands of visitors every year, the Skills Show is the UK’s largest skills and careers event. It plays host to the finals of the national SkillFRIDGE competition and the WorldSkills UK national finals.
Adam Jackson, an apprentice with Space Engineering, and Steven Monk, an apprentice with the Bath-based company Ambient Engineering Limited, have both been entered for the SkillFRIDGE finals.
Stonemasonry apprentice Joshua Underwood, is also competing against other stonemasons in the WorldSkills UK national finals after coming third in his regional heat.
Steven, 30, was the winner of the second SkillFRIDGE regional heat, held at Bath College. He said: “We will take it in our stride and do the best we can.
“The competition isn’t going to be easy, but it’s good experience. When you’re working in the industry, every job you do is at a different site and presents itself with different issues, so you have to be adaptable.”
SkillFRIDGE is a national competition for apprentices studying air conditioning and refrigeration from Level 2 to Level 3. Both Steven and Adam, 31, have been part of a training programme organised by Toshiba for SkillFRIDGE finalists.
The programme covered technical knowledge and practical skills in relation to residential and light commercial air conditioning, including installation, servicing and maintenance.
Adam said: “My employer was really pleased to see me get through to the finals. I’m looking forward to networking, seeing some of the new equipment and finding out what’s changing within the industry.
“Simon entered us into the competition because we were the best students he has. We’re showcasing his teaching and the type of students he has. It’s nice to have that sort of confidence in your skills. To be picked says something quite positive about us.”
Stonemasonry student Joshua Underwood was in his first year of studying at Bath College when he was picked for the WorldSkills UK national finals.
In March, Joshua, who works as an apprentice at Architectural Stone in Cardiff, was chosen to receive tools from the Worshipful Company of Masons in London as an outstanding first year student.
The 25-year-old said: “In the regional competition at Weymouth, I thought I had done really badly and I came third. That was a surprise. I have only been doing this for a year and a half, so there are a lot of mouldings that I haven’t worked on.
“I was one of the last people to start working on the stone in Weymouth, I spent a lot of time doing the templates, marking up the stone and thinking about what it would look like – that approach obviously worked.
“I will be nervous on the morning of the competition, but I’m pleased to be doing well in the trade. It’s great studying at Bath College. Everyone helps each other and everyone is like-minded. I learn a lot here.”
Daisy Walsh, Head of Department, said: “I’m thrilled that our students are able to demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning at Bath College. I wish everyone success at the Skills Show.”
The Skills Show takes place from November 17 to November 19.


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.



Students trained to host and run workshops at TEDxYouth@Bath


Students studying performing arts, international business and media are getting ready to welcome 900 young people to TEDxYouth@Bath.

TEDxYouth@Bath is a one-day event aiming to spark conversation and spread debate through inspirational speakers and workshops.

The students, from Bath College, will be helping to host the event and run workshops in the lunchtime break.

TEDxYouth@Bath is one of the first organisations to partner with the college after the launch of the Bath College Academy of Business.

The Academy of Business was launched in September to give students valuable industry experience, and in turn, boost the local South West economy.

Students will work alongside 20 inspirational speakers at TEDxYouth@Bath, including BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.

At the workshops, they will be encouraging people to get involved testing a vlogging booth, creating cartoons and writing a postcard to be sent to yourself in a year’s time.

Volunteer coordinators Charlotte Calkin and Julian Hussey are volunteering with students to pass on their advice and train them to run the workshops.

Recently, students took part in a presentation skills workshop with Charlotte, a communications expert and executive coach.

The group will also be working with live event specialists Judgeday, the team behind the Cornbury Music Festival and Womad.

Media students are getting involved by helping technical organiser Cathleen Lynott with the slideshows, sound and lighting.

Volunteer coordinator Julian Hussey said: “Every year we run our TEDx event, we try to involve more young people in making it happen.

“This collaboration with Bath College’s Academy of Business has given us a brilliant cohort of young volunteers who are not only critical to engaging their peers in the event but are learning so much in the process.”

Jon Domaille, Head of Department for Business, Music, Media and Performing Arts, said: “Whether you’re a performer or working within a business environment, the ability to communicate, be confidence, think on your feet and engage with an audience are all vital skills.

“This is why this project is so exciting and valuable for our students. It will provide them with the perfect opportunity to develop important employability skills and put these to the test in a live scenario.

“It’s been amazing watching the students working with TEDxYouth in preparation for the event. They are taking a tremendous amount from the whole experience.”


Apprentice of the month: Lauren and Tom from ESPA UK


This month, we have two apprentices for our apprentice of the month feature. Lauren Atwell and Tom Sproson are both working with the European Student Placement Agency (ESPA UK) as Level 2 business administration apprentices. They are coming to the end of their apprenticeships and will be finishing their time as an apprentice with a four-week work experience programme at a college in Austria.
ESPA UK provides six-month work placements for EU undergraduates, linking them with corporate companies and independent businesses throughout the UK. The company, based in Bath, was recently chosen as Business Employer of the Year at Bath College’s Celebrating Success Awards Ceremony for embracing the ethos of the apprenticeship scheme and giving Lauren and Tom some amazing opportunities.
What do you do in your job as an apprentice at ESPA UK?
We share similar job roles managing student registrations. As part of this, I make welcome packs for students coming to do internships and upload internship vacancies onto the ESPA UK portal. I also work with our marketing intern to come up with ideas for social media and I’ve arranged this year’s Christmas party.
I deal with student registrations and handle incoming CVs. I’m responsible for promoting internal vacancies to universities and responding to queries from universities. We both spend time answering calls and e-mails on a day to day basis. I’m also in charge of stationary, I make sure the office is stocked up with stationary supplies.
Can you tell me a bit about why you applied for an apprenticeship?
I didn’t really want to go to university, I didn’t want to study full-time, so I was looking for an apprenticeship. I was originally working in Canterbury in a travel shop before I came to live in Bath and spotted this opportunity. An apprenticeship is great because you’re getting work experience and a qualification at the same time – you don’t get that at university.
I was looking for something to increase my skill level. I thought I would try an apprenticeship to take a step up and make myself more desirable as an employee. I had a couple of jobs beforehand. I worked in a nursery, in an admin job and then I got an engineering job, which involved a lot of heavy lifting. I found this opportunity and I’ve never looked back since.
What was it like starting out as an apprentice?
I didn’t know what to expect when I first started here, but from the first interview with Madeline and Colin I knew they were genuinely nice people. They have lived up to that reputation, they have made it easy for us to grow and develop. If you looked at me a year ago, I was a different person. I’ve developed my confidence and my ability to communicate. Before I used to be anxious and nervous, even speaking on the phone and in meetings. I can’t thank them enough, my apprenticeship has been a really positive experience.
I’ve learnt how to improve myself within a business environment. I’ve taken on new responsibilities and learned how to listen to feedback. Communication is very important in this particular environment. I’ve learnt how to communicate with colleagues so that we’re working together and not overlapping on jobs.
How excited are you to be travelling out to Austria?
I’m very excited. It will give us an insight into the way that ESPA works. I will be challenging myself, learning from a new experience and gaining new skills – and that’s really valuable. Before I came to ESPA I hadn’t travelled a lot. Now I’ve travelled to Milan and I’ve been to London and Canterbury.
It’s going to be very different, we’re going to be working in a country where they don’t speak English. I’ve never done anything like this before, but this is what ESPA is all about.
Do you have any tips for someone looking for/starting an apprenticeship?
I would say find the right opportunity for you. Think about what you’re interested in learning about and try and find something based on that. Because you’re working you get to see what employers want from you as an employee. I think employers really value that experience.
You’re not going to be busy the first couple of days, so don’t expect too much too quickly. You have to let things come to you as you grow into the role and take on more responsibility.
When I was looking I applied for one apprenticeship at a time and tried to see how it went. I hadn’t heard of ESPA before and it seemed really interesting and the type of thing I wanted to do. I would say ‘go for it’. If you’re looking to get a job and experience at the same time, an apprenticeship is the best thing you can possibly do.


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.


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