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.


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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.


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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.”


Exhibition showcases artwork produced by Love2learn students


A four-day exhibition at 44AD Artspace showcased the creative talents of students studying part-time Love2learn courses at Bath College.

Artists, friends and family gathered for a first look at the exhibition, titled Open House, at a private viewing on Thursday February 25.

The gallery space was arranged by curatorship students Sal Smart, Danielle Arundel and Geoff Dunlop, who are studying a new Love2learn course.

Artwork on display ranged from fine art paintings, photographs and prints to jewellery, ceramics, sculptures and glasswork.



Four awards were handed out on the night, with student George Bush winning Bath College Love2learn Student of the Year.

Gill Smith was awarded the fine art award and Jacqueline Young won the 3D award after creating an impressive sculpture of a horse’s head.

Artist Chris Vercoe, who was chosen for the printmaking and photography award, said: “It was a complete bolt out of the blue.

“Doing a course gives me time out to indulge. I tend to wake up with a new idea every morning and it’s great to have the classes to explore that.

“I’m lucky to have some space at home where I can bring things back and continue working on them.”


David Merriman, Head of Department for Art and Design, said: “A lot of people enrol on Love2learn courses purely for leisure and produce high-end professional work.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate these talented people and give a focal point in the year to our huge array of diverse artistic courses.”


Students to work in the tourism industry welcoming visitors to Spain


Students at Bath College have been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work in Spain for six weeks.


Ten travel and tourism students will have their flights, accommodation and food paid for as part of the trip, funded by ERASMUS Plus.


They will work in Seville welcoming thousands of visitors to southern Spain as tour operators, walking tour guides, and receptionists.


The teenagers, aged 17 to 19, will live independently and work a variety of shifts for around 30 hours a week.


Student Tom Humphreys will be flying out to Spain for the first time and is looking forward to working abroad.


Tom, 18, has five conditional offers to study tourism management at degree level after finishing his course and hopes to go to Bournemouth University.


He said: “Someone suggested I study travel and tourism at college and I haven’t looked back since.


“You can go into aviation or you can be working on a cruise ship. It’s such a broad industry you’re not restricted in any way.


“I’m looking forward to learning about some of the culture and how the Spanish do things differently to us.


“In my third year of university I have to do a placement overseas, so it will be good preparation for that.”


ERASMUS Plus is a European Union programme offering opportunities for students to study, work and train abroad.


Students at Bath College went through a robust process to receive funding and were put on the spot during interviews.


They will study on an intensive six-week Spanish course at the college and will continue to take weekly Spanish lessons in Seville.


Kate Hobbs, Deputy Head of Department for Sport, Business and Health, said: “This is a vocational course and it’s important to provide the students with opportunities to gain practical experience.


“It’s a hugely beneficial opportunity for them to learn about what it’s like to live and work in a different culture, as well as develop key employability skills that will support their progression when they finish college.”


Students visit Western Power Distribution’s training facility


Students at Bath College were given a tour of Western Power Distribution’s (WPD) training facility in Taunton.


Head of training Jake Ramsden and team manager Theresa McConville organised the trip for Level 2 electrical installations students.


The group listened to a PowerPoint presentation explaining how electricity supplies are generated and transmitted throughout the National Grid.


They were also given a tour of the facilities, including a tour of an 11,000 volt (KV) substation, an undercover power line training centre and a guided tour of the cable yard.


The students were given a demonstration of an 11KV circuit breaker in operation and were treated to lunch by the company.


WPD 11KV insulators and distribution panel


Western Power Distribution is the biggest DNO (Distribution Network Operator) in the UK, delivering electricity to over 7.8 million customers.


It manages an area covering 55,500 km sq, including Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Plymouth.


The trip, a first for a college group, allowed students to take a look at high voltage systems and gain some exposure to equipment they would not normally come across.


The electrical department is hoping to build a relationship with Western Power Distribution as time goes on.


WPD Powerpoint presentation


Electrical installation assessor Adam Mutlow said: “WPD play a key role in distributing electricity in our region and it is very important for our electrical students to have some understanding of the processes and equipment involved.


“Jake did a really good job of putting all of this information into perspective. He managed to refer everything back to a standard 230 volt supply, which all of our Level 2 students are familiar with.


“He also explained three phase systems, which have not yet been covered by the Level 2 students, although it is inevitable that this will be encountered by them at some point in the future.


“WDP runs its own apprenticeship scheme taking on 120 apprentices per year, so it’s possible some of our Level 2 students could progress in that direction.”


Bath Rugby players visit to try plumbing and electrical installation

A group of Bath Rugby players spent the day at Bath College trying their hand at plumbing and electrical installation.


Team members David Wilson, Leroy Houston, Levi Douglas and Liam Forsyth took some time out to learn new skills and prepare for a potential post-rugby career.


The session was organised in conjunction with The Rugby Players’ Association’s (RPA) Personal Development Programme (PDP), which aims to support and guide players with their personal and professional development.


Bath College lecturers Gerald Craig and Nick Hawkins were on hand to show the players around the plumbing and electrical installation workshops.


They demonstrated how to wire a 30 amp plug, how to thread a pipe by hand and how to connect pipes and fittings.




Mr Craig said: “I went through all the different materials they would use in industry, they just had a practical taster of it all.


“The electrical installation workshop is a very mixed workshop, we get lots of different types of students, some people are fresh out of school and some people want a change of career.


“It’s the first time I’ve done a workshop for the RPA and I think it went really well. They were very enthusiastic.


“It’s nice to see the Bath Rugby players looking into their future, because their careers could potentially end at the age of 30/35.”




Julian Springer, who is the RPA’s Personal Development Manager for Bath Rugby and London Irish, spoke of the importance of helping the players prepare for life after rugby.


He said: “Rugby is a fantastic career, but it can so often be a short career. It can end so suddenly and without any preparation in place.


“The players who attended today have all expressed an interest in learning more about the trade industry, as well the property development sector.


“Today has been a taster session, allowing the players to experience the industry and assess whether or not they want to take their interest further. It’s all been really useful information, in particular having the expertise of the instructors who are knowledgeable and passionate about their subject area.”


Bath Rugby prop, David Wilson, said: “We’ve learned a few skills today and it’s been really interesting. I own a house and I do want to try and fix it up.


“You do things yourself at home and you don’t get it quite right, so it’s important to learn some of the basics. It’s good for your ongoing career after rugby and it’s good to know what you’re doing around the house.


“I’m 30 now so it’s not going to be long, you’ve got to see how you’re playing and take everything into consideration. I’m getting a bit of enjoyment out of it, seeing what other people do in their jobs.”


Photography students to work with the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association


Photography students at Bath College will be working closely with the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association on a new project offering them unique access to two of the world’s fastest sports.


Three students have been chosen to photograph the national team when athletes begin training at the University of Bath in May.


They will have the chance to photograph the training ground, meet athletes, capture the action on the track, and sit in on fitness training sessions.


Their work will count towards an end of year assessment at Bath College and could be used by the team on marketing and promotion materials.


Second year photography student Georgia Puckett is taking part in the project, along with third year photography students Kate Dickinson and Kate Hunter.


The 16-year-old, who is a big sports fan, said: “I’m very excited, it will be a very different experience. I do a lot of motorcross and I enjoy action photography.


“I want to work with teams and clubs as a photographer in the future, so to get this opportunity is fantastic.”


The new partnership between Bath College and the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association could lead to further opportunities, such as a student travelling out with the team to photograph athletes training on ice.


Students will be asked to produce high quality images that could be used for the team’s Instagram account, as well as for banners, flyers and individual athlete websites.


This February, athletes took part in the in 2016 World Championships in Innsbruck and the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, with GB winning medals in both bobsleigh and skeleton in the latter.


It’s possible the group’s work could document the early careers of future Olympic medallists, following in the steps of Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold.


David Merriman, Head of Art and Design at Bath College, is looking forward to seeing the students’ work.


He said: “I’m really pleased that the photography students in our department continue to have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and work on live briefs.


“This venture is particularly exciting as it will provide them with an opportunity to explore some dynamism in their photography and widen their experience of teamwork and travel.


“Our photography tutors will be working with the individual students selected, giving them advice about how to tackle this subject matter.”


Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “At Bath College we have a significant focus on developing the employability skills of our students and this fantastic partnership with the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association will enable our photographers to develop the skills they need to thrive as professionals.”


Richard Parker, CEO of the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association, added: “We are delighted to team up with Bath College for what should be an exciting project for both parties.


“We are keen to build links with local businesses and institutions and I’m very pleased that we can offer students at Bath College the opportunity to photograph our elite sportsmen and women on their journey to the next Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang in 2018.


“Our sports lend themselves to fantastic action imagery and we hope that the students will learn a lot from this unique experience.”


First-ever Bath Education Trust conference is a hit with teachers


Hundreds of teachers came together to discuss ways of preparing young people for employment at the first-ever Bath Education Trust conference.


The BET Trust aims to get schools and colleges working together, with employers and the community, on issues of significance to young people.


Held at the Forum, the conference was the first event catering for staff from the eight academies signed up as members of the BET Trust.


Staff from Bath College, a BET Trust partner, also attended and the day was organised by business administration students from the college.


Students worked with Andrew Wright, from Axis Events Ltd, to manage the event from start to finish, including on the day itself.


They found a venue, secured sponsors and exhibitors, creating delegate packs and promoted the event using social media.


Pupils from the Bath Studio School were visible wearing volunteer t-shirts and helping to film the conference.


Conference speakers asked how schools and teachers can help to develop young people’s character so that they are prepared for work.


They included psychologist Barry Hymer, Rotork CEO Peter France and Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at the University of Bath.


Neil Carberry, Director for Employment and Skills at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), spoke about the need to equip students with life skills, as well as qualifications.


He said: “The future of our economy is bright because it’s built on the talent of young people, but we need to help them more than we do to adapt into adult life.


“The technical skills employees have are important, of course they are, but beyond that it’s the attitude and aptitude that businesses look for – resilience, team working and a bit of global awareness.


“We need to develop a shared understanding that the curriculum should be about the people we’re developing, and their ability to navigate the world, as well as the subject they know.”


After a morning at The Forum teachers visited Bath College, where they enjoyed lunch prepared by catering and hospitality students.


The afternoon was a chance for teachers to take part in workshops and network with professionals at an exhibition.


Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “The directors and members of the Bath Education Trust were absolutely delighted with our first-ever conference.
“We should not underestimate just how significant it was to bring together 900 staff from all BET partner institutions to network and learn together, focusing on employability outcomes for the young people of the city and surrounding areas.


“We know that we have a unique state education sector in Bath and BET forms a crucial part of that. We are now looking forward to building on the work we began yesterday, working collaboratively for the benefit of children and young people.”


Bath College is a BET Trust partner along with Bath Spa University, the University of Bath and engineering company Rotork.


Schools signed up as members of the BET Trust include Beechen Cliff, Hayesfield, Oldfield School, Ralph Allen, St Gregory’s, St Mark’s, Three Ways School, and the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust.


Celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford visits Bath College for demonstration event


Celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford turned staff and students into glamour models during a demonstration event at Bath College.


Lee, originally from Essex, visited the college to speak to students and industry professionals as an ambassador for Redken hair products.


He spent time working with Level 3 hairdressing students, and demonstrated three hairstyles with the help of assistant Rory McPhee.




A popular personality within the hairdressing industry, Lee found fame in 1998 when he won Men’s British Hairdresser of the Year.


The award boosted his career, allowing him to open a second salon in Soho and launch his own product range.


In 2002, he won Most Influential Hairdresser of the Year – an award chosen by votes from industry professionals.


He has stared in a number of television shows, including the BBC series Celebrity Scissorhands and the Channel 4 series Secret Millionaire.


Students Lucy Francis and Fee Phimunchat had their hair styled for the demonstration alongside Bath College lecturer Clare Yildiz.




The theme of the evening, attended by industry professionals from across the South West, was how to give hair body without losing length.


Karen Baker-Polis, deputy head for hospitality, hair, beauty, and spa industries, said the visit was a great opportunity for students.


She said: “It’s special to have someone like this visit. It was a really nice day because it was really relaxed – he was really down to earth.


“We have taken on Redken products and he’s an ambassador for Redken, so they gave us the contact and helped us arrange it.


“Lee worked with students in the daytime and then we had a little run-through before the evening. He started by telling everyone his story.


“He taught himself and started a business in his mum’s front room cutting hair, he was very passionate about hairdressing and training.


“It was really inspirational for the students.”


Product design students take on jobs at German manufacturing companies


Students studying product design took on jobs at German manufacturing companies during an Erasmus trip to Helmstedt.


Five students from Bath College travelled abroad to stay with host families and experience life working in a foreign country.


They were given five-day work placements with car manufacturing companies and a business producing self-build kit homes.


Natalie Shaw


The trip, funded by Erasmus Plus, included a two-day cultural visit to Berlin, when the group visited the Bauhaus Museum of Design.


First year student Callum Wardle worked at IGS Development, a company producing parts for car giant Volkswagen.


The 18-year-old used CAD software to produce designs for car parts, which could be modelled with the help of a 3D printer.


He said: “The companies in Germany have special training packages for apprentices. In England it can be hard to get into a massive company and have the same experience.


“I was solving a real world problem. I made an engine mount for one of the new cars. They are going to pitch that and a few other ideas to Volkswagen.


“I wanted some idea of what I could do as a job in the future. I definitely enjoyed it, and the experience will be invaluable for university interviews.”


Tom Barnes


Erasmus Plus is a European Union programme offering opportunities for students to study, work and train abroad.


This year is the first time product design students at Bath College have received funding to travel abroad.


Bath College lecturer James Purslow said: “What was really good is that the employers seem to be a lot more set up to take on young people and give them a good experience.
“So that was fantastic, because they could drop right in. They seemed to have a lot of businesses that were appropriate to our course.


“It was a really good experience all round, we’re hoping to make it part of the curriculum and replicate it every year.”


Bath College is looking for businesses in Bath who can offer a five-day placement to German and French students aged 16 to 17.


Students from the Lycee du Premier Film in Lyon, France, are looking for hair and beauty and graphic design placements, as well as sales assistant roles.


German students from the Gymnasium am Bötschenberg, Helmstedt, are also looking to gain experience in fitness, hotels and handicraft.


To get in touch e-mail International Director Sarah Pigott on Sarah.pigott@bathcollege.ac.uk


Bath College catering students impress at The Chef’s Forum


Photos by Andrew Plant


Students from Bath College created canapés for top chefs and suppliers at an important networking event in Somerset.


Professionals from the catering and hospitality industry gathered at Ston Easton Park for the popular Chef’s Forum.


They enjoyed a canapé and fizz reception, as well as a cooking demonstration, food competition and duck race.


Students from Bath College worked alongside Ston Easton’s new head chef Martin Baker to create the canapés.


Chef's Forum


They also went head to head with students from Gloucestershire College and HIT training in a cooking competition.


George Ormond and Ashley Anderson, from Bath College, were crowned the winners and awarded a MAC pro filleting knife.


They were asked to re-create a dish from Mr Martin’s menu – a starter of quail with textures of beetroot.


Mr Martin said: “The students were all fantastic. The passion and talent they showed was brilliant, and with young people like this coming into the industry I am confident that the industry is not in the danger that people say it is.”


George, 17, said: “The Chef’s Forum events are really good for us as students.


“They give us the opportunity to meet people who can help us in the future, and the experience of working with great chefs like Martin.”


Chef's Forum2


After the competition, guests were given a tour of Ston Easton’s gardens – where a range of produce is produced.


Gardener Dale Toten works all year round to grow apricots, quinces, root vegetables and alliums, as well as giant marrows and loofahs.


The park’s picturesque river was used for a duck race, won by Neil Cooper from the Foxham Inn near Chippenham.


Visitors also enjoyed an afternoon tea, with tea from Comins Tea House in Dorset. The company is due to open a second shop in Bath next month.


Catherine Farinha, founder of The Chef’s Forum, said: “This has been a brilliant event and it is chefs like Martin, who have supported us since the very early days, that have made it possible.


“It is so important to us to have the support of chefs of his calibre, and of course all the wonderful sponsors who provide the ingredients and the equipment for the demonstrations.


“It’s great to see so many faces time after time and it makes me believe that we must be doing something right.


“We want to be able to keep giving the young talent the opportunity to go into kitchens and work front of house, so that we can secure the successful future of the hospitality industry.”


Two-day event gets students thinking about a career in the digital industry


Tech-savvy students tried their hand at computer coding, animation and blogging during a two-day event at Bath College.


The event, organised as part of the Bath Digital festival, was open to college students, schoolchildren and young families.


Over 100 children from schools in the city visited Bath College to kick-start the event on Friday February 12.


They took part in workshops, put together by technology experts to get them thinking about a career in the digital industry.


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Pupils from Oldfield School, Wellsway and Beechen Cliff learnt about social media and Photoshop, as well as digital advertising and branding.


They also created a stop motion animation, inspired by a zombie chase, during a workshop run by the University of Gloucestershire.


Neil Oliver, who teaches ICT at Ralph Allen School, said: “It’s great to gain an insight into the less well-known areas they can go into.


“Already, we’ve heard from Ferox Security about cyber security, which is an industry we haven’t spoken about in our school.


“They seem pretty excited about it. It will be interesting to see what effect that has on our extracurricular clubs.


“It might highlight some of the different areas we could go into.”


Companies taking part in the day included Mayden, Lioneye Media, Gradwell Communications and Gloucestershire Police.


Solomon Gilbert, from Ferox Security, spoke to pupils and Bath College students about penetration testing and ethical hacking.




The 18-year-old, based in Gloucestershire, has his own company testing computer security at the age of 18.


He said: “We get paid to break into peoples’ network and improve their security. I was friends with a guy in primary school – he bought a laptop and we were really competitive, I had to break into the laptop and better him.


“It was good fun and at the end of it we were very good for our age at security. Now I’m making a living doing something that I love.


“It’s really nice to talk to people my age and hopefully inspire them. The younger generation, they have grown up with technology and they’re going to be the ones in the future finding new flaws and vulnerabilities.”


On Monday, Rosie Bennett, founder of the IT Girls Collaborative, organised a free games day for families.


Visitors were invited to Bath College to enter a Build Bath in Minecraft Competition, and had just 48 hours to build an imaginary landscape on a custom-built map.


Bath College students Georgina Hill and Barry Lewis, who are both studying for a foundation degree in computing, ran a gaming session.


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Children met Glynn Hayward, from digital avatar company Bebods, and created their own avatar to use on a mobile app called Popjam.


They also had a go at controlling mini robots via a laptop as part of an activity set up by John Bradford, from High Tech Bristol and Bath.


Mr Bradford said: “Whatever these children do in their final career it’s going to involve technology. It’s going to have to be part of their working life.


“It’s an opportunity for the kids to have a play, but also they can program the robots themselves. I run two community code clubs and I’m keen to run more in Bath.


“This is a chance for some of the people in Bath to see what we do.”


Bath College employability adviser Amy Patterson said: “It was good to open up the college to so many young people from around Bath to show the exciting opportunities in the digital sector and creative industry.


“The tech industry in Bristol and Bath is growing year on year and we know this sector is the future for many young people. At Bath College we like to do as much as we can to link our students to their future employers.”


Refrigeration students inspired by industry trips


Students at Bath College visited two major South West companies to see how refrigeration engineering is used in industry.


Refrigeration VRQ2 students took a trip to Space Engineering’s plant manufacturing facility in Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire.


They also visited Tesco’s distribution centre in Avonmouth and spoke to Steve Jones from Star Refrigeration.


The huge electrical control system


Space Engineering provides refrigeration, mechanical and electrical services to customers across the UK.


The company specialises in greener refrigeration systems that operate using the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide.


Students met director Tony Mills, who showed them round the plant, including the design area and new product innovations.


He guided the group through the process of designing, manufacturing, building and selling refrigeration systems.


Tony Mills expressing the importance of Strength testing freshly made systems before release


At Tesco’s distribution centre, students were surprised by the scale of the fridge area, used to store perishable food.


They were shown the huge electrical control system used to keep everything cool and were taken up onto the roof of the fridge.


Refrigeration lecturer Simon Robinson said: “I think the students were overwhelmed by the size of plant. What they build at the college follows the same principle, but this is on an industrial scale.


“The visit to Space Engineering showed them the detail you can go into designing refrigeration systems and why you want to design things to become cost effective and environmentally friendly.”


Students and professionals battle it out to win Bath College’s Chef v Chef Competition


Young chefs battled it out in the kitchen to prove their talent and become the winner of Bath College’s Chef v Chef Competition.


The long-running competition gives students and chefs working in a professional kitchen the chance to test themselves in a high-pressured environment.


Competitors had their food examined by judge Gary Jones, executive head chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – a two Michelin starred restaurant in Oxfordshire owned by Raymond Blanc.




Culinary experts Stuart McLeod, co-founder of Zuidam UK Ltd, and Stuart Ash, head chef of Woods Restaurant in Bath, were also on hand to mark dishes on presentation, taste and temperature.


They were tasked with picking the winners for the junior category, made up of students studying at Bath College, and the professional category, for chefs working in a kitchen within a 50-mile radius of Bath.


Bath College student George Ormond won the junior category with a chicken ballotine dish, served with savoy cabbage, bacon and a potato risotto.


For dessert, he cooked a frangipane with sweet paste two ways, with a conference pear puree and white chocolate Anglaise.




The 17-year-old said: “I didn’t think I would win. I was confident, but not overly confident. I’m really pleased with my dish, it came out a lot nicer than it did in a practice run the other day.


“I entered last year, so it was a bit less stressful coming into it. It’s just about organisation, because if you’re not organised you won’t get your timings right.”


Competitors in the professional category included chefs from The Bath Priory, The Pig near Bath, the Foxhunter Inn and The Battleaxes, a gastropub in Wraxall.


Bath Priory chef Kai Bingham won the second heat with a sea bass dish and a chocolate fondant pudding.


He said: “It’s the first competition I’ve entered, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. When it’s a competition you’re stepping out and it’s your interpretation of things.”


All competitors were invited to a celebratory ceremony and received a certificate for entering the event, sponsored by Catering Services International.


Mr Jones, who has run the kitchen at Le Manoir for 17 years, praised students at Bath College for taking part in the competition.


He said: “What’s great is that people stand out from the crowd and enter themselves. That’s brave, you’re in a class full of people and they say ‘who wants to give it a go?’


“Giving it a go counts for a lot, it’s putting yourself on the line and doing a bit more than is required. These are the people that will succeed, that will push the boundaries, and that’s important.


“Turning up today they have already won. There were some errors because they are young in their culinary journey, but they have done really well.”


Fellow judge Mr Ash said: “We have always worked closely with the college. I’ve been at the restaurant for 22 years and over those years we have used the college to recruit future chefs.


“This is such a great event for them. A lot of them have been through the college process, but it’s putting them out of their comfort zone and seeing what they can do. It was a really good level and they worked well in the kitchen.”


Students organise Bath Educational Trust Conference for over 800 people


Students studying business administration have been tasked with organising a high-profile conference for education providers in Bath.


Over 800 people are expected to attend the Bath Education Trust (BET) Conference at The Forum on Monday February 22.


The event is being managed by students at Bath College, who have been working with Andrew Wright, from Axis Events Ltd, and creative media students from The Bath Studio School.


Students have been organising the conference from start to finish, securing sponsors and exhibitors, creating delegate packs, finding a venue and promoting the event using social media.


The experience has allowed them to test what they have learned in the classroom and add to their CVs, boosting their career prospects.


First year business administration student Chelsie Brailey said: “We have become a huge part of the organisation for the BET Conference.


“It has given us an insight into event planning and has taught us valuable skills that we can use to further our knowledge and expand our careers.”


Bath College is a BET Trust partner along with Bath Spa University, the University of Bath and engineering company Rotork.


Schools signed up as members of the BET Trust include Beechen Cliff, Hayesfield, Oldfield School, Ralph Allen, St Gregory’s, St Mark’s, Three Ways School, and the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust.


Delegates at the conference will hear from key speakers, including Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at the University of Bath.


Lunch will be provided by catering students at Bath College and, in the afternoon, there will be a chance to talk to exhibitors and take part in workshops.


For conference details click here. To sponsor the event contact Andrew Wright at Axis Events on (01225) 436590.


Bath College student speaks out about what it’s like to live with a disability

A teenager at Bath College is visiting schools to speak out about what it’s like to live with a disability.
Simeon Wakely has Spina Bifida or split spine, a condition which stops the spine developing as it should.
He needs a wheelchair to get around, but is fiercely independent and is working to challenges stereotypes about disability.
Simeon already has a blog about living with Spina Bifida, set up after he enrolled on an IT course at Bath College.
His articles have stuck a chord with readers around the world, including parents bringing up young disabled children.
Now the 19-year-old has started visiting schools in Bath, speaking about disability in assemblies and leading interactive workshops.
He said: “Disability is a label, but it’s not who you are. It shouldn’t define you as a person – a person is a person, whether they have a disability or not.
“Making friends is a challenge for me because people are embarrassed about my disability, they are embarrassed when I want them to be themselves around me.
“It can be lonely, so it’s important for people to know there are other people out there facing the same things.”
Simeon, from Timsbury, went to school at St Martin’s Garden Primary School and Ralph Allen before enrolling at Bath College in 2014.
His achievements include playing and coaching for the wheelchair basketball team South West Scorpions, as well as carrying the Olympic torch in 2012.
In February, Simeon begins a three-month teacher training course at Bath College to help him with his outreach work in schools.
His first visit, to King Edward’s School, was a big success and has inspired him to set up his own business.
To help with this, he will take part in a series of business workshops at the college.
Simeon said: “I talked about the whole spectrum of disability physical, mental and developmental disabilities.
“My third eldest brother has Down’s syndrome, so I’m able to talk about that as well. It was scary at first, but after the first task I got them to feedback and their ideas were surprisingly good.
“I want to turn the project into a business. Hopefully I will be able to get advice on how to do it because it’s the first time I have tried to set up a business.
“It’s been amazing the opportunities I have been offered over the last six months. Without this support the project wouldn’t be where it is today, it’s only through the advice I have had from Bath College.
“My advice to anyone with a disability would to be as independent as possible. Don’t let the label of disability affect what you want to do.
“It’s what I have had to learn and unfortunately I have had to learn it the hard way.”
To visit Simeon’s website click here.


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