Awards ceremony recognises English and maths achievements for adult learners


Students returning to college to study English and maths had their achievements recognised during a special awards ceremony.
The ceremony, at Bath College’s Shrubbery Restaurant, was a proud moment for students who are working hard to improve their qualifications.
Through the Adult Community Learning team, students can start at entry level and progress to a Level 2 qualification. From there, they have the option to study English and maths at GCSE level.

Student Thomas Watson has worked in general administration at the Post Office for 10 years and has just achieved a Level 1 in maths.
He said: “I’m 46 and this is the first thing I’ve ever achieved. I left school at 15 with no qualifications, so to get something like this definitely gives you a sense of achievement.
“It’s something I would recommend. Now I’ve learned these skills, I’ve adapted things at work to make my job easier. You don’t have to sit a big test, you can tick a module off and go onto the next one.”
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose handed students their maths and English certificates at the ceremony on Monday December 4.
Students also enjoyed the chance to catch up with classmates and tutors before Christmas, as well as musical entertainment and refreshments.

English and maths student Kieran Fry said: “I’ve taken the courses because I want to better myself. I started at entry level and now I have my Level 1 qualifications.
“My friends and family are immensely proud. It’s not an easy task, but I hope to progress and to have the chance to do my GCSEs soon.”
Entry level English student Lesley Hillier hopes to continue learning so that she can enrol to study bereavement counselling in the future.
She said: “It really means a lot, taking this qualification pushes you forward all the time and means I can do what I really want to do – I can follow my dream.”
Community Engagement Manager Anna Wheeler said: “This event was an opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of just some of our brilliant learners.
“For many people, school isn’t the right time or place to gain their qualifications, so it is really important that there are opportunities to develop skills at a later point.
“Our learners work extremely hard, fitting their studies around responsibilities and challenges in their everyday life in order to attend class.
“We are immensely proud of the effort and dedication they have shown, and of our skilled English and maths tutors who have contributed to their success by guiding them through.”


IT students step up to present in front of Bath Rotary Club members


IT students had the chance to develop their public speaking skills as part of a challenge set by members of the Bath Rotary Club.

The Level 1 and Level 2 students were asked to choose from a range of projects to research, prepare and present.

All speakers were given ten minutes and were marked by judges looking for logical, coherent and enthusiastic presentations.


The winning team

The judging panel included Richard Bush and John Harney, from the Bath Rotary Club, and Daisy Walsh, Head of Technology at Bath College.

Presentations ranged from looking at public transport in Bath to helping the elderly, homelessness and playing equipment for young children.

George Booth and Zachary Thomas were chosen as the winners after producing a new idea for a flat pack climbing frame.

Students also received feedback on their presentation skills from judges, including making eye contact and selling their ideas.

IT lecturer David Wills said: “The students gained experience and confidence in speaking in front of an audience, overcoming barriers such as shyness and stepping outside of their comfort zone.”

Rotarian Donald Gorrie said: “We wanted to work with students in the college to get them up in front of an audience speaking and presenting, just to give them a chance to express themselves.

“The Bath Rotary Club is a broad church in terms of the young people that we work with, but we’re keen to go into the local community and pass on our knowledge and skills. It’s what the Rotary Club is all about.”


Students challenged to think about accessible design by creating new products


Product design students are working with a Bath-based charity on a project to get them thinking about accessible design.

The Level 3 students are developing products to make daily life easier for people with a variety of needs and disabilities.

They will pitch their designs to Rob Hanson, from the charity Designability, which works with people, carers and health professionals to create new life-changing products.


Students have met three end users as part of the project, in order to understand some of the challenges they face.

James Onyett decided to design a bottle opener after meeting Peter Hinchley, who has been severely affected by a stroke and wanted a product to help with movement and dexterity.

He tested a number of options before settling on a 3D printed mould, which can be used one-handed and fits on top of a new bottle making it easier to break the seal.

Above: Peter tests the new bottle opener

James, who is applying to study sustainable design at Falmouth University, said: “I appreciated the fact that he came in to speak to us about his daily routine.

“Being able to speak to a real person is important, it’s much better than trying to guess what people need.

“After that, it was easy to get an idea for a product that might help Peter and his reaction to the product was really good.

“I enjoy product design because it’s about solving problems and inventing. If you’re able to create new products, you can contribute to society.”

Students also worked on a range of designs for two end users who find it difficult to walk, creating a design for a walking stick to make it easier to climb up and down stairs.

Young designer Oriana Viall has been developing a handbag storage compartment with moveable sections to carry and manage pain relief.

Product design lecturer James Purslow said: “This is a really good unit for us to explore. It challenges the students’ perception of design and makes them focus on the needs of the user, rather than their own interests.

“They get to meet members of the public they wouldn’t normally meet, and learn how to communicate with them as a designer.

“The students also have to pitch their concept to their mentor from Designability. Wherever they progress onto, being able to consider the requirements of clients and end users will give them a clear advantage over their peers.”


Outstanding students chosen as winners at the Believe in Somerset Awards


Outstanding students Joshua Underwood and Oliver Takhar have been chosen as winners at the Believe in Somerset Awards.

Their success comes just weeks after the SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final, where both students did exceptionally well in their categories.

After a tough three-day competition, Joshua won a silver medal in stonemasonry and painting and decorating student Oliver was selected to train with the WorldSkills UK squad.

Joshua and Oliver’s success has led to local recognition of the important part colleges play in developing construction skills.

Josh and Ollie with Bath College lecturers Graham Walmsley and Ray Sumner

Judges for the Believe in Somerset Awards were impressed with their hard work, as well as their dedication and commitment to their trade.

They chose Joshua for the Apprentice of the Year Award and Oliver for the Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award.

Josh, an apprentice at Architectural Stone in Cardiff, said: “Quite a lot has happened for me this year, which has made it go really quickly.

“I didn’t expect to win at the SkillBuild final or to win this award as a result. I’ve just been focusing on getting my head down and working hard.

“Every student should get involved with the skills competitions, you’ve got nothing to lose so you might as well give it a go.

“If you put the effort in it’s a good way to improve and get better at masonry, because you’re under pressure and you have to work quickly.

“It teaches you to work quickly and accurately, which is what you need to do in industry in order to secure a job.”


The Believe in Somerset Awards are organised by the Somerset Guardian to celebrate and recognise local community achievements.

Finalists were invited for dinner at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford.

This gave nominees the chance to meet, and to hear about each other’s work as fundraisers, volunteers, teachers and community heroes.

Painting and decorating tutor Graham Walmsley said: “Some of the award entries were quite humbling, especially the winner for the Child of Courage Award.

“They did stress the fact that we have a wealth of talent in Somerset, and the awards ceremony was about celebrating that.

“I think we as a college strive to develop students, to realise their potential by giving them opportunities and making lessons as challenging as possible.

“As students, Ollie and Josh are outstanding. They have done well repeatedly and we have put a lot of time and effort into developing their confidence.

“It’s great to get recognition for the work that we do, and recognition for the quality of work our students produce.”


Apprentice of the month: Malisa Kelly from ESPA UK


Malisa Kelly is a Level 2 business administration apprentice studying at Bath College and working at the European Student Placement Agency (ESPA UK).
Based in Bath, ESPA UK provides six-month work placements for EU undergraduates, linking them with companies throughout the UK. During their placements, students undertake a variety of project based work, with companies benefiting from their language skills, knowledge of different cultures and enthusiasm for new experiences.
What do you do in your job as an apprentice at ESPA?
I started as a general administration assistant registering students on placements, as well as responding to e-mails and phone calls. This was a big step for me, as it was the first time I was picking up the phone and speaking to people on a regular basis.
In April, I joined the accommodation team housing students coming to the UK on placements, and since October I’ve been able to manage this without anyone else in the team.
The number of students waiting for accommodation varies (and also the timescale before their arrival). Sometimes I’m planning for students arriving a month in advance, and sometimes it’s a couple of weeks. I have a contact list of landlords who I’ve built up a working relationship with and who I can call upon (sometimes at short notice).
The period coming up to Christmas has been especially busy, and because I’m busy the time I’ve spent as an apprentice has flown by – it’s been amazing

Why did you decide to apply for an apprenticeship?
As much as I love learning, I like to be doing something practical and this apprenticeship has proved that I can learn on the job. When I interviewed for my apprenticeship, I said I wanted an apprenticeship that would give me an insight into the business world. I’ve definitely fulfilled that wish, and having this apprenticeship on my CV is a great starting point.
I have a lot of university friends who seem stressed with academic work, and then they have to find jobs afterwards, whereas I already have a job. I think it has helped me mature and build my confidence. I would say that university isn’t your only option, you need to be open-minded and look at different career paths.
What have you learned as an apprentice?
I used to work in retail and although I had to communicate with customers, I found this hard. I’ve faced my confidence issues head on and now I speak to different people every day. In an office job like this you have to deal with so many different situations, and you have to think on your feet to resolve issues. I deal with a lot of second language speakers and I have to be careful to make sure they understand communications.
I enjoyed the chance to go into Bath College and study, as you’re given time to get on with your coursework and you’re given pointers for the mandatory units. You get to meet people and realise that you’re not alone in feeling that you’re nervous about what you’re doing.

Hear from ESPA apprentices Lauren and Tom
What’s the best thing about your apprenticeship?
When I’ve placed a student in accommodation, and they come back and say they’ve had a great experience. That gives me a big sense of satisfaction. I also enjoy the challenge of communicating with landlords and sorting out the finances. We have a lot of interns every six months, so you’re getting to know different people all the time. I have so many people I can visit, who live in different places and countries.
What do you hope to do in the future?
I finish my apprenticeship on December 27th and after this I’ll be employed full-time. I feel so lucky to have been placed somewhere like this. I feel like I fit into the family and everyone has been amazing. I want to stay working here for a while, but my big dream is to go into the fashion industry (as a PA for a fashion company). It’s an industry that’s fast-paced, so being in a business like this has been the ideal experience.
What advice do you have for someone looking for an apprenticeship?
Research your options and think about what you want to do, because there are lots of opportunities available. Talk to different companies or someone you know. Make sure that you do your application in time and don’t leave things to the last minute, because it will stress you out. Be open to where you could go and what you could do, and listen to what your parents are saying (because they’re trying to help and give advice).


Hospitality and catering newsletter: A busy start for students serving at top industry events


We’ve kept our hospitality and catering students busy since September, with students of all levels taking part in a range of events at the college and in the community.
Students started with the Bath Good Food Awards, held at the new Apex City of Bath Hotel just a stone’s throw from the college. They had to be on top form, working alongside several head chefs in the kitchen, including the new Head Chef at the Apex Hotel, Ben Abercrombie. Students on front of house duties were serving restaurant owners, food critics and industry experts, as well as Michelin-starred chefs Nathan Outlaw and Angela Hartnett. All students were a credit to the college and were given a standing ovation for their work at the end of the awards ceremony.

Our Deputy Head of Hospitality and Catering Ryan Hanson has also been busy visiting restaurants shortlisted for the Bristol Good Food Awards. Ryan is a judge for this year’s awards, and is working alongside a number of familiar faces. These include Rupert Taylor, Head Chef at the Abbey Hotel in Bath, who spent his early days studying at Bath College. Ryan is doing a great job networking, representing the college and has been able to enjoy some fantastic food so far!
Taking part in events gives students the chance to meet local chefs, experience working under pressure to a busy schedule and rise to the challenge. Over the last couple of months, students have had some great opportunities to develop their employability skills. These include:
• Serving industry professionals at a charity polo day raising over £50,000 for Hospitality Action. The event was a chance to work alongside chefs from the Calcot Spa Hotel, Cliveden House, Lucknam Park Hotel, Whatley Manor, The Manor House in Castle Combe and the Abbey Hotel in Bath.

Students served a three-course meal at Bath College’s Shrubbery Restaurant for Seafood Week. The event, supported by the Billingsgate Seafood School, tested students’ skills in preparing and serving seafood, including lobster, seabass and haddock.
• We’ve called on the skills and expertise of our catering and hospitality students at a number of college events, including our annual Celebrating Success Awards. They did us proud on the evening, serving hand-made snacks and drinks to special guests and award winners.
• Hywel Jones, Executive Chef at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, stepped out of his kitchen to work with students in November. Under his guidance, students prepared a gourmet four-course menu for guests at the Shrubbery Restaurant.
• In the run-up to Christmas, we’ve been busy with Christmas lunches serving up to a 100 covers per day. We hope you’ve enjoyed the chance to relax and enjoy a traditional three-course lunch designed to get you in the festive spirit!

Students have a busy new year ahead of them in January, as employability week starts the first week in January. They’ll be working with an exciting list of local chefs and industry professionals from the Pig near Bath, the Abbey House Hotel and the Scallop Shell. We’re also very excited to welcome Mark Tilling, winner of BBC2’s Bake Off: Crème de la Crème in 2016, who will be leading a chocolate masterclass.

Keep an eye on our website and social media channels, as we have several lunches planned from January. On January 18th, we’re collaborating with The Pig near Bath. Look forward to an exciting menu inspired by British garden food. Chefs at The Pig use produce from their extensive vegetable and fruit beds, and go to a special effort to make sure that their menu is sourced locally.
Members of the public can book tickets for meals inspired by Mardi Gras, St David’s Day, the Caribbean and a great British summer gourmet dinner throughout the new year. The Shrubbery Restaurant is open for lunch Monday to Friday during term time, so do pop in to see us!


Football Academy, News

Bath City Football Academy round-up: News from head coach Billy Clark


We’ve had a great start to the academic year at the Bath City Football Academy. Read our progress report, written by former Bristol Rovers player Billy Clark who is head coach at the academy.
This year has brought together a strong group of players, formed from a mixture of first and second year students studying sport at Bath College.
After a disappointing FA Youth Cup exit in the final qualifying round to Clevedon Town, we have been unbeaten in the South West Counties Youth League.

Billy Clark
We are currently at the top of that league, two points ahead of the Bristol Academy, although they still have games in hand. We have played them once this season in the league, which resulted in a 2-2 draw at their Filton College campus. This was probably our best performance of the season to date, and I believe one of us will win the league this year.
To date, we have only lost one match, away at Bridgewater. Of the 10 league matches, we have won six:
5-2 against Cirencester
2-0 against Salisbury
6-0 against Poole Town
6-4 against BC Saints FC
And twice against New College Swindon (3-2 and 10-1).
We are fortunate to be blessed with goal scorers this year. James Ollies, Louis Britton and Shea Bennington Mannings have all scored nine league goals to date, while Zak Drew and Charlie Saunders have four each.
These statistics are encouraging, but the end goal for us is to be able to feed youth players into the first team environment. The Somerset Cup offers and opportunity for our strongest players to be able to step up and play alongside the first team players.
In the first round, academy players Charlie Saunders, Nick Pulman, James Ollis, Zak Drew, Adam Forster and Maz Courtier seized their chance in the fixture at Cheddar.
The experience that these players gain from playing alongside the likes of Dan Ball is immeasurable. The result was a 2-1 win that saw the club progress to the second round against Keynsham Town FC.
Both Adam Forster and James Ollis were unused subs in that match, but Sean Bird, who a player at the University of Bath came on in the first half and played admirably alongside some of the senior first team players in a strong Bath City side. Several members of the group have trained regularly with the first team and are gaining in confidence all the time.
There’s a lot to be proud of in this group of players. They work consistently at a high level despite the commitments that they have in keeping up to speed with their studies at Bath College, where the staff support myself and the players every step of the way.

Charlie Saunders
Our most recent success story is that Charlie Saunders has been selected for the ECFA national squad, an outstanding achievement. Charlie will travel to St George’s Park to train with the squad in December in preparation for their tournament in Italy in 2018. We’re also proud of James Ollis, who signed for Bath City FC’s first team in November.
We are starting to look ahead to our recruitment for next season. If you or anyone that you know would be interested in studying at Bath College and playing for the Bath City Academy under 18s, please get in touch by e-mailing bclarkwilliam@gmail.com.


Mitch orders standing wheelchair to help him pursue his dream career


Student Mitchell Chalmers is pressing ahead with his dream to become a qualified hairdresser after a successful fundraising campaign.
Mitchell, known as Mitch, was left paralysed from the chest down after an accident at a motocross racing event three years ago.
He has collected £4,900 for a standing wheelchair to help him with his hairdressing training after inspiring hundreds of people to donate through JustGiving.

Mitch, a hairdressing student at Bath College, shared his story on the radio and in the local press, and has been supported with his fundraising by family and friends.
In October, hairdressing and beauty students from Bath College raised £316 in one week through a sponsored rowing challenge and raffle.
Mitch, 25, said: “It’s surprising how many people it’s reached – I’m grateful for everyone’s support and a bit overwhelmed.
“It helped a lot when I was in the news, that was when my JustGiving page started going up and I collected £1,000 in two days.
“Someone donated from Blackpool, which is miles away.”
Studying hairdressing at Bath College is an important step for Mitch, who is keen to re-gain his independence by starting a new career.
He was competing at British Championship level before the life-changing accident, which happened when his bike hit a bump on the track.
The standing wheelchair will help Mitch in class, providing extra height and support which makes it easier to lift and cut peoples’ hair.
It will also benefit him physically, as standing will help to increase the blood supply around his body and re-gain some strength in his muscles.
Mitch said: “The new wheelchair will make a massive difference, it’s the next step in my career doing a job I enjoy and making a fresh start.
“At first I wasn’t sure if I would hit the fundraising target, but now I can’t wait to get the chair and use it – hopefully it will be before Christmas.
“It’s all falling into place nicely and I’m excited to get my training done so I can work every day.”
Hairdressing tutor Lisa Nelson said: “It’s not just about being able to work, being able to stand will help Mitch physically providing physiotherapy.
“The students did really well fundraising. It was just so nice for them to collect for something close to home, because they’ll be able to see the benefit that it will have for Mitch.”


Success at the SkillBuild National Final: Students win a silver medal and a WorldSkills UK squad place


Bath College is celebrating an incredibly successful three days at the SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final, held at the NEC in Birmingham.

Students Josh Underwood and Ollie Takhar represented the college in stonemasonry and painting and decorating, battling for the top spot in their discipline as part of a tough and demanding competition.

Josh, an apprentice with Architectural Stone in Cardiff, did exceptionally well, coming second out of eight finalists to win a silver medal.



The competition was also a big success for Ollie, who has been selected by judges to train with the WorldSkills UK squad over the next year.

Both students were picked to compete against the best in the country after scoring highly in this year’s SkillBuild regional qualifiers.

Josh, who took part in the finals last year, said: “I was a lot calmer and I felt relaxed because I’d done it once already and I knew the system.

“It’s a 19-hour competition, but it’s a tough task to finish within that time. Last year I rushed the task because I didn’t focus on accuracy.

“This year I was happy with what I did, but you never know whether it’s good enough because you don’t see other peoples’ work in detail.

“It’s a good feeling to get the recognition for my hard work. To have that silver medal on my CV will set me apart from other stonemasons.”

Josh’s work at the SkillBuild final



The SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final was part of the Skills Show, the country’s largest skills, careers and apprenticeships event.

Thousands of people visited the show from November 16 to November 18, which finished with a large awards ceremony on the Saturday night.

Competitors are judged according to strict marking criteria, which takes in their ability to interpret the drawings they are given and execute them.


Ollie said: “I was a bit nervous to start with, but once I knew the design I was working on and I got started it was all right.

“In the end, the competition went really quickly. I enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to the chance to train with the WorldSkills squad.

“I found out I’d been selected when my name flashed up on the screen. I wasn’t expecting it, I was just sitting down, relaxing and watching the ceremony.

“Now that I’ve been given the chance, I’m going to carry on and keep pushing myself to improve – just to test myself that little bit further.”


Being selected to train with the WorldSkills UK squad means Ollie could have the chance to compete at WorldSkills Kazan 2019.
The competition, in Russia, will bring together participants from over 70 countries, who will compete against each other in over 50 different skills.
Ollie’s tutor Graham Walmsley said: “We spent a lot of time preparing Ollie for the competition, practicing hanging with pattern papers, working with frisk film to transfer designs and lettering.
“He worked really hard, nothing can prepare you for the scale of the competition but Ollie rarely gets flustered when working.

“One of the judges praised the quality of Ollie’s work, especially his undercoat on the door which he said was very high quality.
“I’m ecstatic really to see that he’s made so much progress, within 14 months he’s gone from being a novice to an accomplished painter.
“From the work he’s produced, they can see potential. It’s not a given that he will go to Russia, but knowing Ollie he will take the training in his stride and go far.”
Josh’s tutor Ray Sumner said: “We have a long list of accomplished stonemasons who have trained here and Josh is among the best.
“He’s done exceptionally well in other competitions and to get to the finals is an achievement in itself as the competition has been incredibly tough.
“It’s absolutely fantastic that he’s won the silver medal. He has great ability, although he’s modest with it, and he sets the standard for the rest of the stonemasonry group.”


College event: Support music student Lewis at fundraising gig

Update on 23/11/17: All money raised through Lewis’ JustGiving page and the gig will go to Diabetes UK.
A gig at the Bath Brew House will help 18-year-old music student Lewis Tucker to celebrate his mum’s life.
Lewis, a second-year student at Bath College, lost his mum Lisa in September after a short illness.
Lisa, 48, had type 2 diabetes and, unfortunately due to ill health, didn’t have the chance to hear Lewis play at a music gig.
Students at Bath College will play alongside Lewis at the gig, on November 27, with money collected going towards Diabetes UK.

Lewis, who has also set up a JustGiving page, said: “It was horrible at the time, because now I’ve lost both my parents, but this gig isn’t about me and the people playing.
“It’s to remember the death and life of my mum, and it’s my way of saying goodbye. I’m a music student, it’s my passion and it’s how I understand the world around me, so I’m using that to make sense of things.
“My mum had been ill throughout her life. She always supported what I did and understood why music was important to me, although she never got to go to one of my gigs.
“Emotionally it’s difficult, but I have to carry on with what I do. Music is a good way to celebrate, even if it’s something that you wish you didn’t have to celebrate or commemorate.”
The gig, which starts at 6.30pm, will include acoustic sets from The Bohemian Embassy, Ladies & the Gentleman and Kane Pollastrone.
Students Emily Harbord, Carenza Kelland, Ollie Dye, Kenan Broadway and Tom Piner will also play during the evening.
Lewis, who is studying music performance at the college, enjoys singing, playing the guitar and the piano, and works as a sound technician at local and regional gigs.
He said: “I have been so grateful of all the support my friends have given me. Since September, college has changed for me. My whole life has changed since this happened, but everyone has been so good it’s been amazing.”
Tickets for the gig are £3 on the door. Visit Lewis’ JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lewis-tucker-1


Apprentice of the month: Josh Cottle from Cross Manufacturing


Josh, 19, is an apprentice toolmaker working at Cross Manufacturing in Bath, a leading manufacturer of aerospace seals, aircraft piston rings and custom seal rings for aircraft engines, steam turbines, vehicle turbochargers and control valves.
He has been at Bath College since he was 16-years-old, completing a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Performing Engineering Operations before progressing to become an apprentice.
During the first two years of his apprenticeship, he successfully completed the City Guilds Level 3 Engineering and is now currently studying for a BTEC Level 3 Engineering.
Can you tell us about working at Cross Manufacturing?
We’re based near St Martin’s Hospital, Bath, and the site has quite a bit of history. The business has been on the same site since it opened in 1938. The factory is part of an old quarry, so until people visit they don’t realise how big it is. I find working at the company enjoyable and interesting, everyone is really friendly and helpful.
How did you get your apprenticeship?
Bath College is really good at setting up interviews for apprenticeships, that’s how I got my interview for Cross Manufacturing. Rob Aldous, from the apprenticeships team, told me about the opportunity. Now he provides support, coming to the company once a month to check my work. I record the work I do, I do a write-up, take pictures and drawings, and then he marks it according to the training scheme.
What do you enjoy about your apprenticeship?
I enjoy the fact that there’s something different to do each day. At the moment I’m on the factory floor making parts for machines. I’ve also had the chance to do CNC (Computer Numerical Control).
Doing the programming helped improve my maths skills, I would write everything down on paper and programme it into the machine. After a while you start to build up a visual picture for what the end product will look like.
You get to work on different things within the company. It’s a big place, there’s 15 to 20 people in the tool room and then you have the ring shop and the winding shop. As long as I’m on a machine I’m happy. Sometimes I make a mistake, but I try not to lose confidence. Someone told me ‘think twice and do it once’, which is good advice because once you’ve cut something that’s it.
When I look at what I have made I feel proud, especially if it’s a hard job. I take quite a bit of pride in what I do, everything has to be measured correctly otherwise I’m not happy with it.
Why did you choose to study for an apprenticeship?
I enjoyed the Level 2 PEO Engineering course and decided engineering was the career for me. Some people go to university, but for me an apprenticeship was the way forwards. You learn and earn at the same time.
What do you hope to do when you’ve finished your qualification?
I’m hoping to stay where I am. I’m really enjoying working at Cross Manufacturing, I get on well with the team I work with. I like socialising and having a bit of a laugh with them.
How have you improved since starting your apprenticeship?
I feel that I have grown in confidence and my attention to detail has improved. When I opted for my apprenticeship, I was told the maths was going to be at a higher level. However since being an apprentice, my maths has improved without me realising.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of an apprenticeship?
It’s worth signing up to the national apprenticeships website to see what companies are offering locally. If you have an interview and are unsuccessful don’t give up, just keep looking. Some people get down-hearted, but it’s just about waiting for the right opportunity.
For the first couple of weeks, take it as it comes and if you make a mistake don’t panic about telling someone. You’re expected to make mistakes at first, and you can learn from them. Finally, if you’re given homework do it straight away otherwise work will pile up and you’ll fall behind.
There can be a lot of college work, so when you have an assignment answer what you can and get your tutor to explain the rest. Then you can combine the two things, instead of waiting for your tutor and leaving everything until later.


FE Week’s new league table: Bath College ranked as 17th in the country


Bath College has risen 50 places in a national college league table.
Published at this year’s AoC National Conference, the league table is the work of journalists at leading industry newspaper FE Week.
Colleges across the country have received scores based on learner satisfaction, employer satisfaction, destination data for 16 to 18-year-olds and destination data for adult students.
Overall, Bath College has been ranked as 17th in the country out of over 200 FE Colleges, and is top in the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) region covering Bath, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.
The college scored highest in employer satisfaction, with data taken from the government’s latest FE Choices employer satisfaction survey.
With the highest college scoring 35 points in total, the table marks Bath College out as a high performer and is a good indicator of progress made in the last year.
Overall college league table scores for Bath College

Learner satisfaction Employer satisfaction 16-18 student destinations Adult student destinations Total points
8 10 8 6 32

The latest overall college league table

See last year’s league table here.
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose said: “This is a worthy recognition of all the hard work and dedication the staff at the college have shown throughout the last academic year.
“The college’s vision is ‘pursuing excellence in all that we do’ and we continually strive to provide the very best for our students and employer partners in order that individual potential is maximised and our community benefits.
“I am really proud of their commitment and professionalism during what has been a financially difficult and demanding year.”


Rachelle wins Adult Student of the Year at AoC national conference


Inspirational student Rachelle Wabissa was chosen as Adult Student of the Year at the Association of College’s national conference.
Rachelle was nominated for the award by Access to Higher Education lecturer Carolyn Guy and was one of three students to be shortlisted.
She was invited to a prestigious awards ceremony, which was part of a two-day conference attended by senior leaders in further education.

Rachelle with BBC Breakfast television presenter Steph McGovern
The 22-year-old has just finished studying the Access to Higher Education course at Bath College, which enabled her to secure a place to study social work and applied studies at the University of Bath.
She was nominated for the award in recognition of her drive to succeed and her determination to overcome difficult personal circumstances.
Rachelle said: “I thought I was going to cry, but I managed to hold it in. A couple of months ago I was nominated for the award and suddenly I’m at the awards ceremony with these amazing people, who have been nominated alongside me, and I won.
“I wasn’t expecting to win at all, it feels like a dream! The continued support from my college was a great help and they really pushed me to be the best I could be.”


Bath College’s Access to Higher Education programme is a year-long intensive course which provides students with a qualification, allowing them to progress and study at degree level.
Rachelle enrolled on the programme in September 2016, which required her to study English and maths in addition to units relevant to her degree.
Just four months into the course, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but despite being ill, she continued with her studies and helped with a pioneering project to integrate technology into tuberculosis treatment.
Alongside this, she became a course representative, listening to the views of her fellow students and supporting their needs throughout the year.

Rachelle with Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose
Rachelle said: “It will open doors for me when employers see that I have put my heart and my soul into my education.
“Now it’s finished I don’t think about how much work I put in. I’m at university with two scholarships, it’s one of the best starts I could have had.
“These awards not only recognise the hard work people have put in, they recognise the different paths people take to reach their goals. You don’t have to do A-levels; you can do an access course or an apprenticeship at college.
“Two years ago if someone told me ‘this is what you’re going to be doing’ I would never have believed them.
“I want to tell people that the access course is not just a course, it’s so much more than this and you can accomplish more than you think.”
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose, who was at the awards ceremony, said: “We’re very proud of Rachelle and the fact that she’s won national recognition for her dedication to the Access to Higher Education course.
“This achievement is inspirational and also demonstrates the strength of our teaching staff, who go above and beyond to make sure students receive excellent support and guidance.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The Student of the Year awards showcase the very best of college students across the country.
“They celebrate exceptional students who stand out from the crowd. Rachelle’s achievements despite her commitments outside of studying are to be commended.
“Her compassion and hard work show, despite the illness she has been struggling with, must be lauded. She’s more than deserving of this award.”

Care Academy, News

Student wins award for making a real difference during work experience


Health and social care student Obed Adomako was praised for his sensitive and understanding approach at this year’s Care & Support West (CSW) Care Awards.
Obed, a second year student at Bath College, won an award at the ceremony for time spent volunteering as a frontline care worker for healthcare company Dimensions.
The 19-year-old completed a three-month work experience placement at accommodation on Rivers Street, Bath, helping people with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and shopping.

He was invited to a special dinner at the Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol after being nominated for the award by Jane Colenso, BANES Locality Manager at Dimensions.
Obed said: “I enjoy doing work experience, seeing how everything works in practice helps you learn quicker.
“Most of the people I was working with had impaired movement, so helping them to get back on their feet was really satisfying.
“I would go in once a week to help out for a full day, I was there from 8am to 3pm, so I got to know people fairly well.
“Just seeing them smile makes it worth it, I’d definitely do it again.”
Jane, who was Obed’s placement supervisor, said: “In the short time that Obed has been working for Dimensions, he has made a real difference.
“He supported a service user who had become withdrawn and felt unable to leave his flat, helping him to clear the paved area in front of his flat.
“His gentle and encouraging approach has helped to inspire the service user, fostering his wellbeing and enabling him to take an interest in the wider world and his local community.
“Nothing seems too much trouble for Obed, he has impressed with his conscientious and person-centred approach and has fitted in well with all members of the team.”
Health and social care students at Bath College can progress onto a wide range of higher education courses, including nursing, midwifery, primary teaching and psychology. Some go straight into caring roles and may choose an apprenticeship route.
As part of their course, Level 3 students need to do 300 hours of work experience and aim for three different placements.
In December, students will be invited to apply for work experience through the Bath College Care Academy, which will enable students to have structured work experience opportunities linked to local employers.
Successful students will spend time on rotation working for Somerset Care, Sirona Care & Health, Dimensions, Way Ahead Care, the Royal United Hospital and Swallow, a charity for teenagers and adults with learning disabilities.
Obed, from Bristol, grew up in Italy and came to the UK when he was 16-years-old, originally enrolling at college to study for his GCSEs.
He hopes to go on to study physiotherapy at university and is currently looking for work experience in this area.
He said: “Being nominated for the award has given me the motivation to put in 100 per cent at all times, because you don’t know who will be watching your work and where it will take you.
“Sometimes it’s hard finding work experience, but it always pays off. This experience will really help me when I come to do my personal statement for university.”

Football Academy, News

Sports student James Ollis signs for Bath City FC’s first team


Sports student James Ollis has taken the next step in his career and has signed for Bath City FC’s first team.

James, a second year student at Bath College, joined the college as part of the Bath City Football Academy – set up for young players interested in developing a professional sports career.
He has been working hard to impress and make the most of opportunities to play for Bath City FC.

Bath City Football Academy students

The 17-year-old shone during a cup game against Cheddar FC, and as a result, was asked to be on the bench for the league game against Dartford.

He said: It’s amazing really because I’ve been working for something like this pretty much my whole life.

“Over the last two years especially, it’s been the goal I’ve been trying to achieve. Hopefully I can push on for years to come with Bath City.”

James, from Bristol, will be training regularly with Bath City FC’s first team, and will continue to train with the Bath City Football Academy.

Students at the football academy complete a national diploma in sport at Bath College and play at least one match every week.
The two-year programme prepares students for higher education or for employment in the sport and fitness industry. Last year, Bath College footballer Saikou Janneh was offered a three-month trial with Bristol City.

James, who has been playing football since the age of four, said: “Since I’ve come to Bath College I’ve progressed a lot.

“I’ve been playing in the positions I want to play in, and having team mates believe in you gives you the confidence to start believing in yourself.

“We’re training every day. At the start it can be quite a lot of work, but then your body gets used to it and that’s when you start to improve.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to train with Bath City FC and getting more opportunities to play. The more you play, the more you’re able to manage your nerves and perform under pressure.”


Former Bristol Rovers player Billy Clark is head coach at the Bath City Football Academy, and has been impressed with James’ progress.

He said: “To sign to play for Bath City FC, you need to be a player with outstanding ability because you’re going into a tough league where you’re playing against semi-professional players.

“James has an outstanding attitude. He has worked hard and I’ve seen him improve, in terms of his character and his playing over the last year.
“It’s a long process and it’s just a question of staying with the academy programme, listening and learning, and applying yourself in the right way.”


Stonemasonry students carve commemorative stones to honour World War I heroes


Stonemasonry students from Bath College have volunteered their time for a project honouring local men who served in World War I.
The Level 3 students have carved commemorative paving stones for Mulberry Park, a new development being built by housing association Curo.
Local group Combe Down Heritage Society suggested that the streets should be named after men from the community who fought in the war.

Each street will be marked with a commemorative paving stone, with the first of these unveiled at a ceremony on Monday November 6.
Students Joshua Underwood, Jonny Stoker, Morwenna Harrington and Jack Green volunteered their time for the project.
They have made stones to honour Henry John ‘Harry’ Patch, William George Chivers and Herbert Charles Windell, who all grew up together in Combe Down village.
Harry Patch, “the last fighting Tommy”, was the last surviving combat soldier of World War I in any country. The paving stones were kindly donated by Forest of Dean Stone Firms.

Jonny said: “It’s my way of paying respect to those who fought in World War I, especially coming up to Armistice Day.
“I’m looking forward to visit the site and seeing all the stones laid together in situ. I think that will give me a massive sense of achievement.
“Volunteering for projects like this gives me the chance to test what I’ve learnt at college. I’ve enjoyed the chance to do some lettering work and practice another valuable skill.”

Relatives of William George Chivers attended the ceremony at Mulberry Park to lay the stone honouring him.
Jonathan Cope, who grew up in Combe Down, said: “We’re really touched that our relative is being honoured in this way.
“Our family has a strong connection with Combe Down – my mother even working on the former MoD Foxhill site. It is really important that future generations remember the sacrifices of those who fought in the world wars.”
Liz Potter, Chair of housing association and house builder Curo, said: “It’s a real privilege to work with the local community to honour these men.
“As Mulberry Park develops, we will continue to celebrate the history of the local area while looking forward to an exciting future for new and existing residents.”
The ceremony to unveil the first paving stones was attended by college students, representatives of Combe Down Heritage Society, the Royal British Legion, Bath and North East Somerset Council and MP Wera Hobhouse.


Training to become a pentathlete: Student Sarah Wilson to master five different sports


First-year sports student Sarah Wilson is working hard to realise her dream of becoming an Olympic athlete.

Sarah, who is studying sport and exercise science Level 3, started her sporting career as a runner and is training to become a pentathlete, which means mastering five different sports.

As well as her studies at the college, she is part of Team Bath, based at the University of Bath, the Bath Pentathlon Club and Bradford on Avon Swimming Club.

The 16-year-old recently competed in the European Championships in Portugal, winning the triathle and in her age group and coming third in the biathle (a sub-sport of the modern pentathlon).


She said: “Sport is mostly my life. If I didn’t do sport, I don’t know what I would do with my evenings because I train every day.

“I like studying sport at Bath College because it’s what I enjoy and it allows me to combine my education with my training schedule.

“I was home-schooled before, so moving into college was a big step, but I really like the people and the lecturers who have been very supportive.”

Sarah is training to become a modern pentathlete, which is a combination of fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping and the laser run.

For the laser run, athletes alternate between shooting and running, testing their ability to shoot accurately after an 800 metre dash.


Next year, Sarah will trial for the Youth Olympic Games and aim for times to compete in the World Championships and European Championships.

She is looking for sponsorship to help her travel to compete in events, after qualifying for an event in Africa which she was unable to attend.

Sarah, from Trowbridge, said: “I would really love to go to the Olympics as an athlete, that’s a dream of mine. I like the atmosphere before a race, the adrenaline rush at the start and the feeling you get from competing.

“Putting in the time to train for the different events is hard work. I’ve always been a runner but I wanted to try something different. Training as a pentathlete is definitely different and I’ve got more confident competing.

“When I started shooting, I was so nervous I missed most of the shots but I’ve got more relaxed. I love the idea of being able to do whatever you want, I like being able to choose from a different range of sporting events.”


West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, visits to launch new report into the construction sector


West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, visited our Somer Valley Campus to launch a report into the construction sector. He was given a tour of the new Somer Construction Centre and spoke to students and apprentices studying construction trades. Read more about his visit here. 
The West of England Combined Authority will work with colleges, councils and businesses to help the construction industry fill the estimated 82,500 jobs that will be created by 2036.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, launched a new report into the construction sector on a visit to Bath College’s new Somer Construction Centre in Radstock.

Staff outside the Somer Construction Centre
He said: “We are the first region to commission an in-depth look at skills needs of this sector and it shows that construction is a vital contributor to our economy. With 668 projects in the pipeline, valued in excess of £12.6bn, it’s clear that there are huge opportunities here.
“We will use the evidence this new report gives us to inform joint working with local colleges, councils and businesses to ensure that as a region we continue to provide the right skills to sustain the industry.
“This new Somer Construction Centre, funded through the West of England Joint Committee, is a great example how we are addressing the challenge. It will focus on full time courses and prepare young people, apprentices and higher education students for the construction sector from traditional trades to building services and electrical engineering.”
The purpose-built facility at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus was built with £2.73 million funding from the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership and opened in September. New workshops are being used by 500 students and apprentices studying bricklaying, construction, carpentry and stonemasonry, as well as plumbing, electrical installation and refrigeration.

Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose said: “We’re proud of this new building, which is a fantastic facility and will allow students to get the very best out of their time studying with us.
“Students with construction skills are in high demand, and we work closely with local employers to help them find their future workforce. We offer expert training for many of the key trades mentioned in this report, as well as specialist trades like stonemasonry and refrigeration and air conditioning, courses which are unique to Bath College in this region.
“I’m pleased to see this new report recognising the valuable contribution further education colleges make to economic development and employment.”
The main findings from the Construction Skills Gap Analysis report, which covers the local authority areas of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, are:
• In 2017 alone, forecasts suggest over 33,000 people are employed on construction projects valued at £1.14bn in the West of England region, dominated by new housing (33%), commercial developments (30%) and infrastructure (27%) spend.
• The greatest demand for workers is likely to be among wood trades, electrical, plumbers and bricklayers, with more immediate needs for floorers and logistics staff.
The research was put together by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) which is developing a strategy and action plan to help take advantage of the opportunities in the industry.
Click here to see the full report.


Restaurant event: Sample four-course menu created by award-winning chef


Bath College is partnering with Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa for an evening of foodie delights, offering diners a unique chance to sample dishes created by award-winning chef Hywel Jones.

Hywel, Executive Chef at the five-star country house hotel near Bath, is stepping out of his Michelin-starred kitchen to work with hospitality and catering students at Bath College on Thursday November 16.

Under his guidance, students will prepare a delicious four-course menu. The evening will be supported by Chris Kidd, Restaurant Manager at Lucknam Park, who will keep a close eye on front of house.

In the kitchens at Bath College, photo by Philip Edwards

Bath college is excited to be working with Lucknam Park as part of the Bath Hotel and Restaurant School, set up to link students at the college with leaders in the South West hospitality and catering industry.

A number of students have progressed to work at the hotel and spa after finishing their course, including Bath College alumni Stephen Cunningham, Natalie Knight, Leon Parsons and Connor Gale.

Chris, who also supports students with work experience, said: “I see the students at Bath College as possible future employees and we need to make sure they are inspired to work for Lucknam Park when they graduate.

Chris Kidd with Bath College students Connor Gale and Lucy Fry

“It’s important for me to put back into the industry. I always hear how there is a skills shortage in hospitality, and I believe we’re partly responsible for improving this and developing young people.”

Ryan Hanson, Deputy Head for Hospitality and Catering at Bath College, said: “Working with Hywel and Chris is always a thrill for the students.

“It’s a great opportunity to be involved at the sharp end with top professionals and feel the pressure that comes with carrying a Michelin star.

“It will be a chance for them to be inspired, to demonstrate their mettle, skills and abilities. Who knows, they may end up working at Lucknam Park like some of our alumni.”

The meal is taking place at Bath College’s Shrubbery Restaurant in the centre of Bath on Avon Street. Tickets are on sale and cost £50 per head.

Please arrive between 6.30pm and 6.45pm. To book call (01225) 328502 or e-mail shrubberyrestaurant@bathcollege.ac.uk


Project SEARCH interns prepare for employment by starting work placements


A group of ten interns have started work placements with Bath and North East Somerset Council as part of this year’s Project SEARCH programme.
Project SEARCH, run in partnership with Bath College, Bath and North East Somerset Council and Virgin Care, helps young people with learning difficulties and disabilities get ready for employment.
Last year, five interns graduated from Project SEARCH, and this year ten young people aged 18 to 24-years-old are following in their footsteps.

Popular placements include working with the housekeeping team at the Assembly Rooms, at Odd Down Sports Ground and the Bath Recycling Centre.
Chelsea Taylor is looking forward to a year with Project SEARCH after completing Bath College’s Life and Independent Living Skills (LILS) course.
The 18-year-old, from Keynsham, is starting her first placement at The Pump Room, working in the restaurant as a waiter.
She said: “I’m looking forward to being treated as an adult in the workplace, and being able to work independently. I haven’t got any nerves, I know I’ll enjoy it and it’ll make a nice change to be out and about.”
When they’re not on work placements, Project SEARCH interns learn about appropriate behaviour in the workplace, health and safety, equality and diversity, customer service and budgeting.
They are visited during their placements by job coaches from Virgin Care who make sure they understand their duties and employer policies, as well as checking they are happy and confident in their role.

Project SEARCH intern Nick Baxter will be working in the kitchens at The Pump Room, and before this he also spent two years as a LILS student at Bath College.
He said: “I’m enjoying the chance to go out as a class. We’ve been visiting the Roman Baths, the Assembly Rooms and the parks department – all the different places we might go for our work placements.
“It’s important to have a job which gives you something to do each day and I like cooking. I’m looking forward to preparing food in a busy kitchen.”
Catherine Stargatt, lecturer in foundation learning at Bath College, said: “What a fantastic start to the new academic year at Project SEARCH.
“We have ten interns who are enthusiastic and dedicated to the course. If they continue with their positive outlook and professional behaviour, they will be well prepared to apply for jobs next year.”
There are a limited number of spaces on the Project SEARCH programme. To apply for next year e-mail Catherine.Stargatt@bathcollege.ac.uk

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