Congratulations to engineering students at our Somer Valley Campus who were chosen to receive prizes at an end of year awards ceremony.
Students are studying for an engineering diploma (level 1 and level 2). They welcomed Maurice Poole, from The Institute of Engineering & Technology, and Esther Dunstall-Sewell, from Rotork, who presented certificates.
The following awards were handed out:
Kyle Britton: Best turner
James Dobson: Best fitter
Jordan Carpenter: Best miller
Josh Palmer: Best welder
Robbie Hearne: Best overall engineer 2017
Matt Driver, lecturer in engineering at Bath College, said: “We had an excellent year and the students did well. We’re looking at 100 per cent achievement across the course, and we have many students progressing into full-time employment, apprenticeships or higher level studies.”
Good luck to everyone picking up their GCSE and A-level results – we wish you all the best for your next adventure. If you’re still unsure about results day, we have some tips for you. Stay calm and read our handy guide, which will help you with your preparations.
When is results day?
A-levels: Thursday August 17th
GCSEs: Thursday August 24th
How to prepare for results day
• Nerves are normal, but try to manage this.
We’ve all got different ways of coping with nerves, so follow what works for you whether it’s talking to someone, listening to music or watching a film. Get an early night so you’ll feel fresh and awake in the morning.
• Focus on your own situation
With so many people getting results, there can be a lot going on in the run-up to results day and the day itself. If you’re feeling nervous, take things one step at a time – if it helps, take a break from social media and switch off.
• Make sure you know how to collect your results
The time you’re able to pick up your results will depend on your school. Make sure you know what time you’ll get there and how you’ll get there. Think about whether you’d like to collect your results alone or if you’d like some moral support from friends or family.
On the day itself: what do do when you collect your results
• Make sure you celebrate your achievement
If you’ve achieved your grades, now is the time to celebrate. If you’re disappointed with your grades, speak to someone you trust. You may be disappointed, but don’t let this stop you pursuing your dreams – exam results are important but they’re not the whole picture.
• Thank a teacher for their support
Teachers are just as nervous on results day, and want you to do well. If you’re leaving school for college or university, make a teacher smile and spend a couple of minutes thanking them for the support they’ve given you and all that marking!
For students collecting their GCSE results
• Are you away and unable to collect your results?
It’s best to be around on results day, but you can arrange for your school to post your exam results. If you’d like someone to collect your results, check with your school as they may need a signed letter and ID to do this.
• Didn’t get the grades you hoped for? Resits are available
You need at least a C in English and maths to continue with your studies. College and sixth forms will offer resits for these, as employers and universities will look for these grades. If you’ve missed the grades you needed in other subjects, speak to your sixth form or college for advice.
• Think about alternatives, and keep your options open
A-levels are only one option, but you can also study at college, leading directly to the career you’re interested in, or on an apprenticeship. Check with your local college to find out about courses on offer and to speak to a careers adviser if needed.
• Check UCAS Track
It’s worth checking UCAS Track before you go in to collect your grades so that you know what to expect. Knowing you’ve got your university place will also relieve your nerves when it comes to opening your envelope.
• Have a Plan A and a Plan B
Having a Plan B will help you to feel calm the night before results day, and on results day if things don’t go as expected. The most important thing to know is that there are many options available, which will allow you to progress with your education.
• Make sure you understand the clearing process
According to UCAS, just under 65,000 students found a university place through clearing last year. It can get busy on results day, so make sure you understand the clearing process beforehand. Read this UCAS clearing survival guide to prepare and find out how you can enter clearing.
Did you know? Bath College offers higher education courses up to degree level. Find out more here.
• Seek advice from your parents and teachers
Don’t go it alone -help is at hand, and your teachers will be there at results day to celebrate with you or give advice. Most of all, ask questions to make sure you understand everything and are making an informed decision.
• If you’re entering clearing, keep calm and stay organised.
Find a quiet space for phone calls and have a notepad and pen ready to take down information. You’ll also need your UCAS number, your exam grades and your clearing number (which will be given to you on UCAS Track if you’re eligible for clearing).
Good luck and for those of you who have a place to study at Bath College, we look forward to welcoming you soon!
Between them, students have put in 836 hours of volunteering, and as a thank you, they were invited to a volunteers’ party, with tea, party poppers and music.
Student Georgia Long, who has been helping to plant a new vegetable plot, said: “I have really enjoyed the volunteering experience. They are lovely people, really friendly. My favourite job was working on the lavender bushes, because I like the smell. I have been talking to people and telling them what I’ve done.”
Stratton House Care Home, on Park Lane, is a residential care home with over 30 beds. As part of the project, residents have enjoyed talking about gardening with students and sharing lunchtimes with them.
Sarah Crockett, community coordinator at Stratton House, said: “It makes such a difference to know that people from the local community care about us and about making life better.
“One of the best sessions was when we came out and had our lunch on the lawn, just being about to sit together with the students was really important. They have done some beautiful gardening – you can see the results.”
Student Engagement Officer Hayley Hayward-Boyle helped set up the project with Stratton House Care Home, which will continue with a new group of students in September.
Lecturer Suzann Taylor, from the Foundation Learning Department at Bath College, said: “This volunteering project will improve their work skills and communication targets.
“Some of our students are finishing the course this year, and will be progressing to our step-up diploma or Project SEARCH, a supported internship programme preparing young people for the workplace.
“This is getting them used to a working environment. For example, two of our students, Oliver and Katie, both paid for themselves on the bus today. It’s getting them to practice those kind of things.”
Level 3 IT student Peter Day has been working on the website, to raise awareness of the talking newspaper – for blind and partially sighted people in Bath, Bristol and the surrounding areas.
Listeners of the Keynsham and District Talking Newspaper, known locally as KTN, receive a memory stick in the post once a week. This allows them to listen to interviews, community features and lifestyle articles.
Peter, who has just completed his course at Bath College, has made a sample of these articles online to give potential listeners and their families a preview of the service. He hopes that the website will enable more people to become aware of the service offered by KTN.
He said: “A website is a great tool, for people who want to set up a business or run an organisation – it helps get your name out there.
“The charity wanted the website to be clear and easy to use, allowing people to navigate it themselves. The main challenge was making sure it was readable for partially sighted people, which is why the website is yellow with a large font.”
IT lecturer Steven Harries, Peter Day and Mike Crane, from KTN
Mike Crane, chair of KTN, said: “We are delighted with the work Peter has done for us and were very pleased that he was able to attend our recent AGM to meet volunteers and listeners, and to present the new website.”
They have also been completing websites for the Chippenham Gateway Club, and Art in the Arch, a project to transform the St James Viaduct, a Grade II listed row of railway arches on Lower Bristol Road, into gallery space.
Peter, 18, from Bradford on Avon, will help with the upkeep of the KTN website and will use the experience to help him apply for a job or an apprenticeship.
He said: “It’s been a good experience. I’ve learned a lot about working with clients and producing a website for someone who has a real-life need.
“I’m glad I came to study IT at Bath College. I had the choice of sixth form, but I had been at school for five years, so I decided to go to college and make new friends.
“If you go to college, you’ll be trained for industry, whereas if you go to sixth form you’ll continue learning theory. I’ve met quite a few employers who have come into the college, it helps you to network and plan your future.”
Sixty-two students have successfully completed the intensive course, allowing them to progress to study on competitive degree-level courses.
Students gathered in the Shrubbery Restaurant to enjoy a glass of prosecco, catch up with each other after finishing the course, and collect their end of year certificates.
Staff chose Nicola Bailey, from Bradford on Avon, to receive the Roper Prize, presented to a student who has gone to exceptional lengths to complete their course.
Miss Bailey, 28, chose to study health and social care as an access student and has a place to study paramedic science at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.
She said: “Before attending this course, I was working full-time as a senior sports assistant at the University of Bath. For years, I had always wanted to be a paramedic, but I needed to get a C grade in English language and maths at GCSE.
“I worked hard at these courses part-time at Bath College, while still holding down a full-time job at the university, and I got the grades that I needed to enrol on the Access to Higher Education course.
“One of the hardest challenges was having the confidence and belief that I could go back into education and excel in this after leaving school 12 years ago.
“This course is tough and intense, however, having support from fellow students, and the support, commitment and enthusiasm from staff at Bath College makes completing it possible.”
Lesley Colonna-Dashwood runs Colonna and Smalls, a successful coffee shop and roastery in the centre of Bath, with her husband Maxwell. She studied for the Access to HE Science Diploma, and has a place to study physiotherapy at UWE.
She said: “The plan is to do a masters in veterinary science after I have completed the human physiotherapy degree.
“The business is now well-established and last summer I was able to take a back seat. I am still involved, but in an advisory capacity, rather than a hands-on role.
“I have always had a passion for equestrianism and when I was in my teens I aspired to be a vet, however life took a different direction for me and I pursued a different career.
“The Access to Education course is life-changing, it enables you to go and pursue what you have always wanted to do. The course has given me confidence, and even more enthusiasm about going to university than I had at the beginning.
“I know that there is a lot more work to do, and a long road ahead, but the course has given me the belief that I can do it.”
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose attended the awards ceremony to meet students and hand out course certificates.
She told students: “Access is one of the hardest courses. We don’t really tell you that in the beginning, but at the end we congratulate you on passing it in style. I believe doing the access course will give you that stepping stone for a very bright future, so congratulations to you all.”
Charlie Griffin with Alex Gaiger (Deputy Head of Department for Sport, Leisure and Care) and Dan Bowman, football coach at Bath City Community Sports Foundation
He began playing professional football at a young age and his CV includes playing for Swindon, Wickham, Stevenage and Bath City.
The former striker said: “At the Bath City Community Sports Foundation, we’ve built up the girls’ football team and we’ve seen it grow over the years.
“This programme will be different for the players. To start with they might ache a bit, but we’re there to help them move up a level and improve them as a footballer.
Football players at an open training session for the women’s academy, at Odd Down Playing Fields
“This is a great opportunity to work with the college, and for these girls it gives them a real focus. If they can look to the world cup and the England women’s team, and see a progression route, that helps to inspire them.
“I started off at four-years-old kicking a ball around. I was at the Bristol Rovers academy until I was 16, when I was released, but I never gave up and worked hard to get signed for Swindon.
“That’s what I tell the girls who train with us, never give up and that determination will pay off. We would love one of these girls to play in the women’s premier league one day, because the talent is out there.”
Sam Spong, sports student Ellie, and Paul Blenkinsopp (from Bath College).
Players training at the academy, which is unique to Bath, will train three times a week at the Bath College gym and Odd Down Sports Ground.
They will play matches on Wednesday as part of the ECFA (English Colleges Football Association) and will study for a Level 2 or Level 3 BTEC in sport.
Lecturer in sport, Paul Blenkinsopp, said: “It is great for the college to have Charlie leading the coaching of our new women’s football academy.
“He not only brings a vast knowledge from the men’s professional game, but has been coaching girls for five to six years as part of his role at the Bath City Community Sports Foundation. This knowledge and understanding of women’s football will be vital for our first year, but also as we look to grow and strengthen the programme over the coming years.
“There are still places available on the women’s academy and I encourage anyone who is interested to contact me for more information.”
To find out about the women’s football academy, register online, call (01225) 312191 or e-mail email@example.com.
Students studying international business had the chance to put their skills into practice, helping companies with market research, events assistance and online communication in Prague for a month.
Six Level 3 students were chosen for the trip, organised by REY Europe as part of the Erasmus scheme, set up to support and fund young people who want to experience what it’s like to live and work abroad.
Students had the opportunity to work at the following places: Radio Prague, Ivana Rosova Fashion Group, Albinus Grammar, the Centre for Economic Research and Graduate Education – Economics Institute, and the British Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic.
Second year student Charles Hickman, from Bath, is finishing his two-year course at Bath College this summer and has a place to study marketing management at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He was chosen to work for the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and had the chance to attend a showcase at the British embassy in Prague.
Charles, 19, said: “The showcase was a chance for Czech distributors to meet hair, beauty and care UK businesses. The BCC had to represent the businesses who didn’t attend in person but sent over some samples and information.
“One of my internship roles was to represent these brands and attract attention from the Czech companies. The building was beautiful and I enjoyed having to use my sales skills while working among a team of brilliant people.”
Students also had the chance to travel around Prague and take part in activities, including a visit to the zoo, paddle boats on the river and shopping.
International business students Anika Chowdhury and James Coombs spent their time in Prague working for award-winning fashion designer Ivana Rosova.
Anika said: “The highlight of my placement was creating the social media calendar for Ivanna and also when I was added as admin to the pages, as this made me feel like she valued my opinion which I really appreciated.
“I’m used to going on social media for my own personal use, but I didn’t realise that a lot of market research goes on behind each and every post that you see from a business.
“I learnt that working for someone who is lovely (and doing something you enjoy) really makes a difference, and it has made me look forward to working a lot more. I plan on travelling a lot more and going to university.”
James said: “Prague is such a beautiful city, with many activities and things to do. I enjoyed being able to catch a tram and going to any location in under 15 minutes. In the next few years I want to travel more and visit cities in Europe and America, especially Norway, Berlin and Los Angeles.”
Over 100 pieces of work will be on show, making it an ideal time for prospective students to visit and see the wide
range of art specialisms available to study at the college.
For many students, the exhibition is the chance to show off their work before leaving the college to progress onto further education.
Product design students Matthew George and Mitchell Wilson hope to continue working together, as both students have offers to study 3D design at Plymouth University.
Matthew, 17, has created a collapsible shelter for deployment in disaster zones and refugee camps as part of his final major project.
He said: “When a disaster happens, people start to improvise with shelters before aid organisations arrive. This is a transition shelter, it’s something that can be set up quickly and is easy to expand, pull out and secure.
“Studying at Bath College has challenged my perceptions. When I first started, I wasn’t open to how you can be creative and the creative process. Now I know that you need to explore your interests before you settle on an idea, because you never know what you will discover.
“I’ve enjoyed having the freedom to explore different aspects of design and I’m looking forward to university where I’ll spend the first year gaining practical skills in making and modelling.”
Product design lecturer James Purslow said: “The product design students have presented a really strong body of work this year.
“Students have created a wide range of concepts, from modular protective casings for expensive electronic devices to an architectural piece, which is intended as a college extension to accommodate apprenticeships and higher education.
“The work has been produced and presented to an exceptional standard for this level of their education and more than a few would be commercially viable.”
The exhibition, at Bath College’s City Centre Campus on Avon Street, is open from Wednesday June 21st to Friday June 23rd (10am to 5pm). Members of the public are also welcome to visit on Saturday June 24th between 10am and 4pm.
Bath College works with over 260 businesses, who employ over 450 apprentices, making it the largest provider of apprenticeships in the Bath and North East Somerset area.
Anna Parkinson, our Apprentice of the Month, is working at engineering company Rotork, a major employer in Bath and a market leader in industrial valve actuation and flow control. Find out how she’s benefiting by working and studying as an apprentice here.
Can you tell us how your apprenticeships scheme works?
Throughout the apprentice scheme, time is allocated to working in a number of departments in the company to gain experience with all aspects of the organisation.
The first year of the apprenticeship is spent in college gaining a performing engineering operations (PEO) qualification and a BTEC Level 2 in engineering. In the second year, the BTEC in engineering includes a day release from work, and the other four days of the week are spent in the company doing department rotation.
During the third and fourth year, a HNC qualification in mechanical and/or electrical engineering is taken on. During this time, the apprentice moves around the departments within the company completing various jobs and projects. Once the four years are completed, if there is a suitable job available, the apprentice is offered it within a certain department at Rotork.
What was the progression route for you into an apprenticeship?
I joined Rotork in August 2015 as a technical apprentice and I graduate in August 2019. On completing my A-levels in maths, physics and chemistry, I chose to do an apprenticeship at Rotork rather than going to university. I chose to do this to stay ahead of graduates, gain valuable experience and continue with further education while being paid.
What does a typical day look like for you and what’s the best bit about your day?
Regular changes to my day-to-day activities means each day holds something different, making the job interesting. Learning new skills is a regular occurrence and I was warmly welcomed into the company by all members of staff.
A typical day would involve progressing and completing a variety of jobs given to me by my line manager or supervisor, along with progressing a technical project if applicable. The best bit about the day is the satisfaction that the work I’m doing is beneficial to the department and the company; working within friendly teams is another highlight.
What do you think the benefits are of studying this way?
As an apprentice, I get the best of both worlds: my passion is STEM subjects and I am continuing to apply this in a working environment. Rotork’s technical apprenticeship scheme has greatly improved my analytical and practical skills in engineering, especially maths-based problem solving skills. People can leave university with large debts and no guarantee of a job, but with an apprenticeship I am one step ahead with my career.
Click the picture to hear from apprentice of the month Scott Jardine
How are you supported in the workplace and at college to achieve your qualification?
Bath has become a very well-established college for engineering, with more and more people taking courses in the subject. The college has great resources available for my use, including personal computers, a library and a student advice centre. My course lecturers, who teach me, have been very helpful, organised, and professional throughout my learning experience.
Within the workplace, I have a mentor and have regular reviews with my assessor; the support I receive is excellent.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you feel as though there are plenty of opportunities to progress?
My ambitions for the future are to graduate from my HNC in electrical engineering and continue higher education and work-based training. I would like to develop my roles and responsibilities whilst incorporating travel with my job. I see this as a great way of learning and exploring the many divisions and sectors Rotork cover, leading to the long-term goal of becoming a manager for a department with customer facing interaction.
Do you feel as though your apprenticeship has opened doors for you?
Absolutely: I have a foot in the industry at such an early stage in my career, and am developing personal skills which is massively beneficial. I am experiencing working in many areas of the business and identifying what suits me – this isn’t experienced at university.
On the social side, I have a close group of friends (the apprentice team) and we are lucky enough to attend events; Christmas dinners, nights out, joining sports teams, the annual dinner and dance. Rotork sponsors Bath rugby and I was fortunate to be able to watch a match in the corporate box.
I am treated the same as any other member of staff and have enjoyed meeting new people from all levels of the business, enabling me to build professional contacts that’ll benefit my future. Once I’ve completed the apprenticeship, I’ll have credentials and transferrable skills that will be valued anywhere I go.
They worked hard to get the bench ready for an unveiling ceremony attended by Monsieur Alain Chabert, President of Aix International Relations Twinning, and his colleague Madame Isabel de Castro.
The bench, designed by stonemasonry student Hayley Egan, features a poem by Aix poet Michel Cahour, which is carved into the seat.
Monsieur Michel Cahour attended the ceremony, along with stonemasonry student Jack Green, stonemasonry technician Tanya Josham and Daisy Walsh, Head of Department for Technology at Bath College.
They were pleased to see the bench in place at the popular Parade Gardens, where it will be used by residents and visitors.
Stonemasonry lecturer Paul Maggs said: “We had a week to produce it, so the students pulled together and stayed on late to get it done. I’m really pleased with the result, it’s placed in a really good position opposite the statue of Bladud and the pig.
“Working on a job like this (which is outside the college curriculum) is important to increase students’ skills. They were under pressure to get it completed, which gave them a taste of what it’s like to work in industry.”
After this, he was selected to compete in the UK-wide skills competition, along with apprentices Shaun Forbes and Daniel Owen.
Daniel Owen and Joshua Underwood in the stonemasonry workshop at Bath College
The overall results were:
First: Theo Brogan from Building Crafts College
Second: Joshua Underwood from Bath College
Third: Emma Sheridan from Weymouth College
The competition was judged by James Preston, a former student at Bath College, who is now a director at Sally Strachey Historic Conservation, and Chris Berridge (also a former student who won gold at the WorldSkills Competition in 2012).
Competitors were provided with a drawing, a piece of Portland stone and materials for making the necessary moulds and templates.
This is not the first time Joshua has done well in the UK Masonry Skills Challenge. In in 2016, he came third in the southern heat and went on to compete in the Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
Daisy Walsh, Head of Technology at Bath College, said: “This is great news for Joshua and for Bath College. The team’s hard work has really paid off.”
Students received certificates for volunteer of the month, department awards and the platinum award – for those with over 75 hours of volunteering.
Nominations included performing arts student Aaron Hooper, who volunteers every week for Somer Valley FM and is the Sports and Societies Officer for the Bath College Students’ Union.
Hairdressing student Katie Nelmes was also chosen for a platinum award after spending 288 hours volunteering, including as a volunteer for Entribe – a community enterprise project in Snow Hill.
Stonemasonry students Deborah Harrison, Jonny Stoker, Morwenna Harrington and Carl Minney were presented with the award for volunteering group of the year.
The group worked hard to create a stone bench for Bath City Farm. A competition was held for the best design, which Deborah won, and she chose her team to help her complete the project.
Jonny, who is studying for a Level 2 stonemasonry diploma, said: “We all enjoyed working on the project, we learnt a lot and feel this was a unique experience, even though it was challenging.”
Morwenna was also awarded the Principal’s Work Experience Student of the Year after working on the building site for the new casino and hotel at Saw Close and securing a company to support her as an apprentice next year.
Complementary therapy tutor Di Rowe won an award for Outstanding Support for Students: Tutor of the Year after organising numerous volunteering opportunities for students, including at the Bath Half Marathon, the Stroke Association and Hayesfield School.
The Students’ Union team chose Ryan Dunford as the Student Charity Fundraiser of the Year for his willingness to volunteer in his spare time.
Health and social care student Freya Game was also chosen for the Principal’s Volunteering student of the Year for her work with social services support, Time to Share and Keynsham Mencap Group.
Student Engagement Officer Hayley Hayward-Boyle, who works to organise volunteering opportunities for students at the college, said: “Most of us know how important our social life is. We value going out, meeting up with friends and doing what we enjoy.
“For disabled young people, the opportunity to go out with someone new or different can have a hugely positive impact. Freya gives this opportunity to many young people in a selfless and caring manner, dedicating her time to help others.”
Chris Butt, Founder & CEO at Cognisess, attended the awards ceremony to present the award for Outstanding Support for Students.
The award was presented to Jess Gibson, from Whitmore Plumbing, who has taken 17 students on work experience this year.
Careers and Employability Manager Ben Cocks said: “Students have fed back that their placements provided them with valuable industry experience and allowed them to put their learning into practice.
“Students also felt that they grew as individuals and felt more confident about pursuing a career in the sector. We really value the support of local businesses and the college has a real focus on celebrating success, so these awards have been great to be part of.”
The President of the Royal Bath & West Society, Michael Eavis, visited the Imagineering marquee to support companies and further education college exhibiting there.
Head of Technology Daisy Walsh said: “It was great to talk to people about the fantastic range of engineering, construction and computing courses we offer to suit learners from Level 1 through to degree level.”
Cameron, from Bath, is a Level 3 IT apprentice working at Wessex Water and studying at Bath College. His role includes preparing laptops and PC desktops for colleagues across Wessex Water.
He was one of three apprentices shortlisted to take home the award and was chosen as the winner for his reliability, excellent communication skills and technical knowledge.
Cameron, who joined Wessex Water as their first IT apprentice, said: “I believe that I have convinced the team that apprentices are both useful and valuable assets to any team.
“My drive is to keep doing better. I regularly exceed the expectations set by my line manager and this is reflected by the extra responsibilities I have been given.
“On one occasion, I was asked to cover the IT reception desk. The desk services the whole 2,500 employees and this job would normally have been given to someone with either long-standing service or high technical ability.
“I also volunteer a lot of my time to the team, helping to complete tasks which are of vital importance.”
Wessex Water provides clean water for households in the South West of England and also deals with the removal and treatment of waste water. The company has 2,500 members of staff with 70 apprentices.
Cameron, 20, is being supported in his role by Bath College apprenticeship assessor and trainer Justin Hodges, who visits him in his workplace every three weeks.
The Bath College team at the Apprenticeship Awards
Speaking about his college work, Cameron said: “The apprenticeship will take me 18 months to complete.
“Justin sets me coursework that is related to my normal work, and I have to complete documents and questions to prove what I’ve done.
“The workload for the apprenticeship is demanding, especially alongside my work commitment, but I have the motivation to complete it.
“In the 10 months I have been on my apprenticeship, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Once I’ve finished my apprenticeship, I would like to continue working at Wessex Water in a full-time job.”
Cameron’s line manager Owen Train said: “Cameron has had a fantastic year as our new IT service and support apprentice.
“He came in to a busy, high pressure team and has worked really hard – showing initiative and proactivity to help us meet our targets.
“What stands out for me about Cameron is that he is willing to push himself to try new things and come out of his comfort zone.
“He is well-liked and respected by everyone on the team. I have also received glowing feedback from customers who experienced Cameron’s unique style of enthusiastic and friendly customer service.”
Students won two bronze medals at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, impressing judges with their colourful creations inspired by the theme city streets and summer skies.
Floristry students Linda Sorenson, Lora Stevens and Sarah Hampton all won the chance to compete at the world-famous flower show after scoring highly in the South West regional heat.
Linda, from Bristol, won a bronze medal in the Chelsea Florist of the Year competition and Lora, from Radstock, also won a bronze in the Young Florist of the Year competition.
All three students worked exceptionally hard to create their floral kites, made using fresh flowers and plant material, attached to intricate wire structures wound with brightly coloured wool.
Linda was one of two college students selected to compete for the title of Chelsea Florist of the Year, with most of the places for the final going to professional florists.
She said: “I didn’t expect to win a medal, as when I arrived to set up at Chelsea it was clear that all the entrants had worked so hard to create their exhibits. The details and the thought that had gone into all the designs was very impressive.
“I was positioned to stage my exhibit between two lovely florists from the north. Jillian, from Scotland, had been to Chelsea before and had previously won a gold medal and Becky, from Preston, was the other college student.
“They were both very lovely and the three of us supported each other throughout. I hadn’t expected this camaraderie and it was a bonus on top of being in Chelsea Florist of the Year.”
Lora, 24, also won her first medal at Chelsea Flower Show. She has been studying floristry at Bath College for two years and finishes her Level 3 qualification at the end of June.
She said: “I won a bronze medal, which I still can’t believe. Some of the judges commented that it was innovative, looked like it could fly, had great movement and construction and was well-made.
“I’m so happy to have found a passion on flowers and can’t wait to continue my journey in floristry. I have two little girls, so it has been a challenge studying and competing at Chelsea, but I hope they are proud of my achievements.”
Linda, who enrolled on a floristry course at Bath College, after working as a nurse for 30 years, was just a point from gaining a silver medal.
She said: “I knew it was an achievement to compete in the finals, but it was only when I was talking to one of this year’s gold medal winners that I discovered how difficult it is to qualify. She had been trying to get into the competition each year, after previously competing six years ago.
“We took turns at opening our envelopes and sharing the experience together. When I got my score card from the judges, I found out that I was one point away from a silver medal.
“I was absolutely delighted because I did better than I ever thought I would. There were tears of joy for all of us and it was very rewarding.”