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Choosing a degree level course: What are the benefits of studying at a further education college?

 

You don’t have to go to university to study a higher education qualification. At Bath College, we offer a range of degree-level courses taught by expert tutors in a supportive learning environment. Here are a few things to consider when choosing whether to study with us. 
 
• We offer high quality courses which meet national requirements.
 
If you choose to study with us, you’ll get a good qualification. All our courses are monitored by inspectors for the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) who visit to make sure we’re meeting rigorous national standards.
 
At our last review, inspectors were impressed with our academic standards, the quality of student learning opportunities, and the quality of information about student learning opportunities.
 
Our music production course was also identified as an example of good practice for other college and universities.
 
Reviewers said the course “gives students access to people working successfully in the industry and cutting edge facilities, enabling them to develop their academic, personal and professional potential.”
 

 
• You can choose from a diverse range of degree-level programmes
 
Through our strong links with our university partners, we are able to offer students a diverse range, including business, animal studies, art and design, computing and education studies. These courses are specifically design to prepare students for their chosen industry and offer an excellent progression route into further education or employment.
 
• We offer a supportive learning environment
 
Our experienced and qualified careers advisers are available to give impartial information in a friendly and confidential environment. They’ll also support you with completing job applications and practicing your interview technique.
 
You’ll have access to library resources, mentoring, counsellors and a dedicated college nursing service. You can get involved with our Students’ Union team to participate in trips, sports, awareness days and volunteering in the local community.
 
• Advice is at hand to help you manage your funding.
 
Higher Education students can apply for a loan from Student Finance England to pay for tuition fees and a maintenance grant/loan for living expenses. If you are enrolled on one of the College’s higher education courses, then you may be eligible for additional help. To apply for the HE Access to Learning Fund, you must have already applied for a Student Loan and your household income be £50,000 or under.
 

 
• We have strong links with local employers.
 
Our employer links are strong, providing opportunities for students to gain practical skills and increase their employment prospects. Local employers are engaged with, and supportive of, the College.
 
Our latest QAA report said: “The college has clear strategies and effective practices for developing and promoting employability skills and activities for its students.”
 
Case study: Sport and exercise student Jack Targett 
 
Jack, 22, spent two years studying at Bath College on the HND sport and exercise course and now works as a soft tissue therapist with Bristol Rugby and Bristol City. 
 

 
He said: “I manage game preparation and recovery for players, providing them with massages to help injuries. My time at Bath College certainly helped towards my career, as it gave me the chance to try sports massage which I hadn’t done before. I studied a range of subjects, including psychology, massage, anatomy and physiology. After studying massage, I decided I wanted to continue so I paid for an extra course. I would recommend studying at college, as you learn in a smaller group. I found it easier to learn this way and I had more interaction with my course leaders.”
 
You’ll have the chance to study locally in the beautiful city of Bath
 
Most of our undergraduate courses are based in the heart of Bath, at our City Centre Campus. Animal care is taught at our Somer Valley Campus in Radstock, where students have over 200 animals to look after and learn how to handle.
 

 

• You’ll benefit from smaller class sizes
 
Class sizes are smaller than university, so you’ll get more time with your tutor and you’ll be learning in a classroom (rather than a large lecture hall). For many students, this has a number of advantages, as you’ll get more chance to ask questions and be involved in open discussions.
 
• You can continue to progress onto university.
 
Depending on your course, it may be possible to complete a final ‘top up’ year to covert your two-year HND into a full honours degree. Many students say studying at college gives them the academic confidence they need to continue studying at a larger campus or city university.
 
• You’ll take part in our graduation ceremony
 
We’re proud of our higher education students and we organise a graduation ceremony for every student completing a course at Level 4 or higher. This is a great time to celebrate with students and friends, as well as to acknowledge your achievement.
 

News

Hats off to higher education students graduating from Bath College

 
Higher education graduates at Bath College celebrated their achievements in style after years of hard work spent studying.
 
More than 80 students dressed in caps and gowns gathered at Bath Abbey for a formal graduation ceremony, followed by a reception back at the college.
 
They have all completed courses at Level 4 or higher in a wide range of subjects, from accounting and construction to computing and music production.
 

 
The ceremony started with a formal procession made up of heads of departments, governors, and The Mayor of Bath, councillor Ian Gilchrist.
 
It also included a key note speech from Martin Doel, Professor of Leadership in Further Education and Skills at University College London, and former Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC).
 
Liam Burcombe graduated with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in sport and exercise science, after two years of studying at Bath College.
 
In September, he will begin a year studying at the University of the West of England (UWE) in order to achieve a full honours degree.
 

 
He said: “I was originally going to go straight to university, but the more I thought about it the more I realised studying at college would suit me better.
 
“You get a lot of support from the tutors and you’re learning in a classroom with a smaller number of students, rather than a large university lecture theatre.
 
“These two years at college have prepared me academically for the third year at UWE, helping me to build up referencing and researching skills.
 
“I’m looking forward to getting my certificate, and I’m looking forward to next year as well. I hope to go on to do either coaching or PE teaching.”
 
Reena Sharma decided to study for a diploma in education and training in order to continue her teaching career after moving to the UK from India.
 

 
She said: “In India, the teaching is totally different, it’s more lecture-based, whereas here it’s about involving the students and how you can interact with them.
 
“It’s been a learning journey, but everyone in my class has made me feel comfortable and helped me to understand things – it has been a very good experience.
 
“My husband and my family, they are more excited than me! They are excited to see someone from our family graduate in the UK.”
 
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose said: “Behind each achievement is a story, a story of hard work, dedication and determination. Without your individual grit and tenacity, we wouldn’t be here today so well done and congratulations.
 
“Although this is a celebration and it might seem like a conclusion for all your hard work, in many ways it’s just the beginning of future opportunities. By completing these qualifications at such a high level you have demonstrated an obvious determination to do well in the world.
 
“You are exceptional individuals, I congratulate you on all you have achieved and I’m delighted that the college has been part of your life journey.”
 

News

Apprentice of the month: Daniel Marriott from GEM Solution

 

Daniel Marriott is an apprentice with GEM Solution. The property maintenance firm, based on Lower Bristol Road, Bath, specialises in electrical, gas, carpentry, decorating and roofing. Daniel, 20, works as a site carpentry apprentice and starts the 3rd year of his apprenticeship in September.
 
What did you study at Bath College before you became an apprentice?
 
I joined the college in 2010, when I was 14-years-old. I progressed to study on the access to building services course, and then air conditioning and refrigeration. Although I completed my course, when I looked for an apprenticeship in air conditioning and refrigeration I was unsuccessful. Instead, I took some time out and became a labourer. I’ve been working for GEM Solution since March 2015, and when I was asked if I’d like to study as an apprentice I jumped at the opportunity.
 

 
Can you tell me what you do in your day job as an apprentice?
 
I’m working as a site carpentry apprentice, which means I go out with other tradesmen on site. Within the company, we can have up to 25 people onsite, including plumbers and electricians, as well as carpenters.
 
We never do the same thing twice; every day is different and we can be out onsite in Bath, Frome or Trowbridge, anywhere in the surrounding area. Last week, I put in a skylight, we made a hole in the roof and fitted a timber framework around it. Recently, we also completed work on a massive factory in Frome, I haven’t done anything as big as that before, so I learned quite a bit.
 
We are partnered with a kitchen company in Frome – they make and fit everything from scratch. It’s good to be working somewhere where there are two companies, because you have a chance to complete a wide range of tasks.
 
Why were you keen to study for an apprenticeship?
 
Although I was working as a labourer, there wasn’t a career progression route and it wasn’t something that I could see myself doing in ten years’ time. Now every day I spend at work is time spent investing in my future, because I’m closer to completing my apprenticeship. I enjoy working as an apprentice because the company has invested in you and you feel respected.
 
It’s a big pay drop from being a labourer to becoming an apprentice, but it’s important to think about your long-term goal. When I was a labourer my pay wasn’t going to go up and it was a flat rate, so I will benefit more in the end.
 

 
What’s the difference between studying as an apprentice and as a full-time student?
 
Previously as a student at 14, I had to attend college whether I wanted to or not. Now, as an apprentice, it’s up to me to turn up on time. I have returned with a drive to learn, because it’s for my benefit to finish the apprenticeship and earn a decent salary – the way I feel about going into college has changed a lot. The quicker I complete my qualification the better.
 
What do you learn in college?
 
I come into college once a week to study. This year, I studied functional skills in the morning, after that I would have theory and in the afternoon I’d have practical lessons. At the moment, I’m completing my NVQ online. I’m uploading photos of the jobs I have undertaken and completing health and safety assessments for my e-learning portfolio.
 
Next year, I’ll return for the final year of college. This year, I enjoyed the practical lessons in particular. We were all given our own bay, it was basically a little room where you could complete all the carpentry work that might be needed onsite. We had to put in a window bay, fit a door and do the skirting boards.
 
Our tutor was available, but he wasn’t there to give us help with everything. He wanted to get us thinking for ourselves, if you have a problem you need to spot it and work out how to fix it for yourself. It took a lot of patience, but I was proud of the result at the end.
 
There’s always someone available to support you at college. I have an assessor who comes out onsite, as well as a theory and practical lecturer, so there’s several members of staff you can speak to. Because I’ve done quite a few years at college, peoples’ faces are familiar. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m in college because I feel so relaxed.
 

 
What are you enjoying about your apprenticeship?
 
Just learning new things every day, and I’m just excited to see what the future brings. I enjoy being out and about, the carpenter I work with is one of my best friends so it’s a good environment. I’ve enjoyed learning from different generations of carpenters who have been taught in different ways, I’m learning from different people and finding out what suits me. At the moment I can do quite a lot, but I’m still learning how to plan my work and think about the best thing to do in certain situations.
 
What advice would you give to someone attending at college at 14-years-old?
 
Just get your head down and work hard. Don’t let what’s happened in the past ruin the future because there’s always time to change. Getting kicked out of school and coming to college, although it wasn’t ideal, I wouldn’t have changed anything because I’ve learned from the experience. I would recommend the college to anyone because the treatment I’ve been given has been really good. The teachers have given me so many chances, they saw potential in me. It’s nice for them to see me back and to see they were right – it’s nice to be able to prove myself.
 

News

Sports students impress during three-week training programme in Spain

 

Sports students spent three weeks playing football in Seville, competing against local youth teams and winning all three matches.
 
Eleven Level 3 and Level 2 students travelled to Spain as part of the Erasmus scheme, helping young people to experience life abroad.
 

 
During the trip, organised by REY Europe, they stayed in a hostel with self-catering facilities where they learned to cook some Spanish food.
 
The students attended training five days a week at the World Players International Centre and also took part in classroom-based training helping them to understand the Spanish style of playing.
 
A highlight of the trip was a stadium tour of Seville FC, looking at the history of the club, and taking in the trophy room, dressing room, and pitch.
 

 

Students were given Spanish cooking lessons and language lessons, and played three matches against teenagers their own age.
 
The results were:

First game: 3-1
Second game: 5-2
Third game: 7-2
 
Alex Gaiger, Deputy Head of Department for Sport, Leisure and Care, said the trip was a chance to experience football coaching and education in a different culture.
 
He said: “It was a fantastic experience for learners, exposing them to a new culture. The trip provided learners with an opportunity to live as independent adults, and it was an amazing experience watching them grow over the three-week period.
 
“Students embraced the Spanish playing style and developed their understanding of the game, which resulted in them winning all three fixtures.”
 

News

Somer Construction Centre: Student works onsite managing subcontractor packages

 

Student Luke Nutland has just two weeks left working on Bath College’s new Construction Skills Centre as part of the site management team.
 
The new purpose-built facility, to be named the Somer Construction Centre, opens at the college’s Somer Valley Campus in September.
 
All construction trades will be taught under one roof, catering for 500 students and apprentices studying bricklaying, construction, carpentry and stonemasonry, as well as plumbing electrical installation and refrigeration.
 

 

Luke, 20, is studying for a Level 3 construction diploma at Bath College, which prepares students for a career designing, building or managing construction projects.
 
Since January, he has also been working for Midas Group at the Somer Construction Centre, managing subcontractor packages for the building’s masonry, cladding, lifts, dry lining and carpentry.
 
He said: “In the last four months, the building has progressed massively, once we had the steel frame up, things moved very fast.
 

 
“There can be between 40 to 50 people on the site every day, and studying on the diploma course has given me an understanding of their jobs.
 
“I’m in charge of health and safety, and I make sure contractors complete their jobs correctly. I also talk to building regulations and liaise with building control who come out and tick off jobs.
 
“I’m taking what I’ve learnt in the classroom and applying it on site. I’ve progressed faster than everyone expected, because I’m on a small team, so I’ve had to step up to the mark. Seeing myself developing in that sense is very rewarding.”
 
Prospective students for 2018 can see the new Somer Construction Centre at Bath College’s open day on Thursday September 28th.
 

 
Places are still available for students who would like to be part of the first cohort learning a construction trade at the new centre in 2017.
 
Luke, who started at Bath College studying carpentry, is working towards becoming a qualified project manager and plans to progress to study at degree level on a HNC in construction, and later the HND.
 
He said: “Careers in construction are wide-ranging. When I left school, I didn’t think about management, so I did the carpentry course, but it’s something that people need to know – that there are lots of options out there.”
 
Daisy Walsh, Head of Department for Technology, said: “Students should grasp any opportunity offered to work in a construction environment.
 
“This will expose them to what the subject is about, and we can do the rest here at college. When you come to Bath College, you’ll be taught by people who are experts in their field, which will increase your knowledge and prepare you for your chosen career.
 
“Our Somer Construction Centre will be a fantastic place to learn, and after months of preparation and hard work, we’re looking forward to welcoming students in September.”
 

News

Celebrating 125 years: The history behind Bath College and why it opened

 

This year marks 125 years of further education at Bath College. Throughout this time, the college has supported generations of students – helping them to find employment, develop new skills and improve their career prospects. There have been new administrations, new courses and new buildings. Find out how everything started here. 
 
When did Bath College first open?
 
In September 1892, the Bath City Science, Art and Technical Schools opened for its first intake of students into the new institution. In the course of 125 years, this facility has evolved through many changes to become the present day Bath College.
 

 
Why did the college open?
 
With Britain’s economic dominance being threatened by the USA and Germany the demands of industry and commerce for a better trained, more flexible workforce had to be met.
 
The response of the government of the day was to make available for technical education the delightfully named ‘whisky money’. This allowed local authorities – of which Bath City was one – to raise taxes on spirits and use the extra revenue to fund technical education. In the case of Bath, the amount of money raised in the year to March 1891 was £1,374. By 1901 this had risen to £1,900.
 
It was a matter of choice for councils whether they took up the option of establishing technical education. In fact Bath City was one of the earliest, for only 30 were established nationwide.
 
What education was available in Bath before the college?
 
Three establishments provided the core of what became the Bath City Science, Art and Technical Schools.
 

 
Firstly, there was the long established Bath School of Art and Science. This opened in May 1854 as the Bath School of Art and only added Science to its title in 1876.
 
A second strand was provided by the Bath Art Night Classes. The actual date of its opening is uncertain though a report of 1890 spoke of it having been in existence for 12 years.
 
The third strand was the Bath Evening Science School, again aimed at ‘artisans’. It was opened in 1879 and located at 36 Broad Street.
 
So when the City Council came to consider what to do in February 1891 there were already in existence institutions providing the needs of those of post compulsory school age. The Council’s deliberations and their decision led to the College’s foundation.
 
Where was the first college located?
 
The existing classes were rapidly outgrowing their accommodation and a central site needed to be found.
 
After much discussion, the council decided that the College should be built as an extension to the Guildhall, at the north wing of the site. However, this was not a decision universally approved in Bath; shopkeepers and businesses made it clear that they would have preferred such a valuable site to be used for more shops or a hotel.
 

 
This opposition never truly disappeared and so the College opened in September 1892 in a variety of locations spread across the city. All the old premises were retained – 33 The Paragon; Victoria Room, The Corridor and 36 Broad Street – and as a temporary measure 19 Green Park was leased to become, for the interim, the temporary headquarters of the College.
 
Despite these difficulties over accommodation, the College got off to a successful start with 554 students.
 
It was not until April 1896 that the new purpose-built premises for the College at the Guildhall were actually opened and the previous premises vacated. By this time there were approximately 660 students.
 

 
What could you study at the new college? 
 
In its original form the College provided technical education in four broad areas of work – Art, Commerce and Languages, Cookery, Science, and Technical classes. There was, however, concern about the ability of many students, because they had an inadequate grounding in elementary education.
 
In the Science and Technical classes area, special foundation evening classes were developed which were made compulsory for all trades classes from 1901. In other areas, arrangements were made with the local elementary schools to provide introductory classes for interested pupils so as to provide a bridge into the College.
 
These challenges led to the decision to found a Secondary Day School for boys and girls in 1896. It was to be located within the Guildhall site and it had to share its staff with the other aspects of the College.
 
What happened as the college began to grow?
 
With all this expansion in the work of the College, it is no surprise that the Guildhall site rapidly became overcrowded. It had been designed for an enrolment of about 700 students but even in its first year the enrolment was 1,110. As commitment increased the pressure grew and by 1906-7 enrolment had risen to 1,609 students.
 
The solution was to remove the College from just one site and take up a number of satellite premises, designated for particular aspects of the College’s work.
 
The longer term solution, though, was to separate out the City Secondary Day School from the main body of the College.
 

During wartime, the college ran commercial courses for women, so that they could replace men called up for military service.
 
What happened to the Secondary Day School for boys and girls?
 
Firstly, a new girls school was established in 1922 as Oldfield Park Secondary School for Girls. In due course it became City of Bath Girls’ School and later Hayesfield School.
 
This left the boys in the Secondary Day School still occupying inadequate premises and the pressure to find a suitable site continued.
 
Eventually the city purchased the site on Beechen Cliff and a brand new building was constructed, capable of taking 850 boys. The school first occupied the premises in 1932 and was known as the City of Bath Boys’ School, now Beechen Cliff School.
 
Pressure on the Guildhall site was only partially relieved by these changes, however, as the College found its work in this area expanded again almost simultaneously.
 

The RUH building in Beau Street
 
Where did the college move next?
 
In 1929, the RUH agreed to sell its Beau Street building to the City Council and then move out when its own accommodation in Combe Park was ready. In December 1932 the RUH left Beau Street and the builders moved in. The College moved in formally in June 1935, amidst much celebration.

 

When did Bath College move to its current site in Avon Street?
 
In 1955 work began on Phase One of the College’s current Avon Street campus, which was occupied in September 1960.
 
Phase Two produced the Main Building and the extension of the Avon Street Building, occupied in 1963. Phase Three took longer to develop – The Kingsmead Building, Sports Hall and College Theatre were finally occupied in 1973. In spring 1993 the final building, the Allen Building, was completed and occupied by Catering, Hair and Beauty, and sports students.
 

 
In 2012 there was further significant change to the College’s Avon Street campus with the construction of the £5 million Roper Building. The attractive, modern building created an impressive new reception area, café and College shop, and a new industry-standard hairdressing salon, beauty treatment rooms and a spa. The Roper Building also saw the creation of a dedicated Undergraduate Centre for the increasing number of students studying Higher Education courses at the College.
 
What about the name changes for Bath College?
 
In 1974 the College left the control of the City Council after 82 years and came under the responsibility of the new Avon County Council. As a consequence of that council’s decision, the College’s name was changed in 1986 to City of Bath College of Further Education. The name was changed again in 1989 to City of Bath College.
 
More recently, the college merged with Norton Radstock College to become Bath College.
 
This is an edited version of ‘…affectionately known as The Tech’ – a booklet charting the history of City of Bath College, produced in 1992 by John Morell, a former history lecturer at City of Bath College.
 

News

Project SEARCH interns ready for work after completing year-long employability programme

 

Project SEARCH interns have a bright future ahead of them after completing an intensive job coaching programme preparing them for employment.
 
The programme, run in partnership with Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bath College and Virgin Care, is a year-long employability programme for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
 
Two interns, Reece Fenton and Chloe Mairs, have successfully found paid employment, and the rest of the group will continue looking for jobs with the support of Virgin Care’s employment inclusion team.
 

 
Interns received a big round of applause after sharing their success stories at this year’s Project SEARCH graduation ceremony, attended by family, friends and support agencies.
 
Reece, 19, from Bath, started a full-time job at McDonalds in April after completing work placements with The Assembly Rooms and the Bath Recycling Centre.
 
He said: “During my time at the Assembly Rooms, I was setting up for various functions that were taking place, including weddings and awards ceremonies.
 
“Because of my decision to come on this course, I have managed to get full-time paid employment. I am clearing tables when people have finished their food and changing bins when they are full.
 
“it is a great feeling that I have managed to get work and I would definitely recommend the course. Yes, it is hard work, but in the end it is worth it.”
 

 
Emma Geddes on placement at The Assembly Rooms
 
Interns aged 18 to 24-years-old complete three 10-week work placements, with the help of an instructor and job coaches, as well as classroom based activities reinforcing what they’ve learnt on the job.
 
During the year, they learned how to manage their money with the Bath Building Society, and organised a Christmas fundraiser for CLIC Sargent, raising over £90 with a raffle and afternoon tea party.
 
The Project SEARCH programme is in its 8th year with Bath and North East Somerset Council, and new interns starting in September were invited to the ceremony to watch the Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Cherry Beath, hand out certificates.
 
Attendees also heard from Eilisha Mayhew, whose son Jack, 18, has grown in confidence after working hard on the Project SEARCH programme.
 
She said: “I couldn’t believe it when we were told at the beginning that someone would visit Jack at work every day – that is beyond the call of duty and, at times, that level of support was exactly what we needed.
 

 
Jack working with the parks department at Bath and North East Somerset Council 
 
“For Jack to receive presents and a card from staff at the Registry Office (one of Jack’s placements) at Christmas was really touching and made us feel really proud.
 
“My only wish going forward is that more departments are open to Project SEARCH students. I really hope that, in time, employers will recognise the huge potential they have.”
 
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose told interns: “The future is bright for this project. You are exceptional individuals and the college is proud to be part of your life journey.
 
“Success is a team effort and behind each achievement, there’s also a team of people: fellow students, family, tutors, and employers, our local council and Virgin Care who support these students every year.
 
“This celebration might seem like a conclusion for your hard work, but in many ways it’s only the start of future opportunities. I hope you come back and see us again and again.”
 

News

English student to take part in first boxing match for Cancer Research UK

 

Students from Bath College will be cheering on boxer Georgina Stone, who is taking part in her first fight at the Bath Pavilion this month.
 

Georgina, from Radstock is studying English at Bath College, and is also training to become a fully-qualified fitness instructor. The 25-year-old has a passion for sport, and played for Bristol City FC when she was younger, but has never boxed before.
 


 

She is taking part in an eight-week coaching programme with Ultra White Collar Boxing at the Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Bath. After training finishes, Miss Stone will face her first fight during a charity match for Cancer Research UK on Saturday July 8th.
 

She said: “I’ve always enjoyed sport at school and I’ve always wanted to pursue it as a career, which is why I’m training to become a personal trainer and fitness instructor.
 

“There are 30 people in my boxing group, including four girls. When you first start, everyone’s fitness levels are different. They make you run around the block, and there are people who struggle, but we make sure we cheer them on – it’s all about teamwork.
 

“When you’re finding it hard to punch and you can’t keep your arms up, they’re constantly encouraging you. We’re all here to get fit and do something good for charity. You feel tired after boxing, but also really good and proud of your wellbeing.”
 


 

Georgina, who is studying for an English GCSE with the Adult Community Learning team at Bath College, will be taking her exams next year.
 

After a tough start in life, including being made homeless at the age of 14, she is determined to do well and improve her original GCSE grades.
 

Members of her English class are backing her to do well on July 8th, and as well as sponsoring her, they will be at the fight to cheer her on.
 

Miss Stone said: “My English class is a great group. You’re always hesitant on the first day, when you first go into the classroom, but after that you look forward to going back again.
 

“As a fitness instructor, I’ll be doing personal assessments for people and I have to make sure that the information I’m putting down is correct. It’s a lot of responsibility, but this English class has given me a lot more understanding and confidence.
 

“My advice to anyone thinking about going back to college would be, if there’s something that you want to do in life, go and do it.”
 

To sponsor Georgina click here and to book tickets for the fight click here.
 

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