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News

Sports student Katie Robbins wins Target Sprint National Final

 

Photographs by Lee Webb
 
Sports student Katie Robbins is looking to build a career as a professional athlete after winning the Target Sprint National Final 2017.
 
Katie, who won the junior women’s category, is new to Target Sprint, an international sport which combines running with shooting.
 
Race participants alternate between running and shooting, running 400 metres three times and shooting five targets twice.
 

 
Level 3 sports student Katie is in her first year at Bath College and also trains with Sedgemoor Training, Yate Athletics Club and Lodge Sports.
 
The competition was her first national competition since she started learning to shoot and training for Target Sprint in March.
 
Katie said: “It’s a new sport, they do it in other countries and it’s been introduced in England in the past year or so.
 

 
“I train at Yate Athletics Club and we had a coach from Target Sprint watching, and he picked a few of us for a training day.
 
“I went to the training day, to have a go at shooting, and somehow I could do it – I had a natural talent for it.
 
“I’m used to athletics competitions, I run 300 metres in the county competitions and I’ve done a few Target Spring competitions, but this was my first national competition.
 
“I was really pleased to win. I wanted to try my best, I was hoping to get third or fourth, so to win it was quite a shock.”
 
Over 70 athletes from across the country took part in the Target Sprint National Final, held in Yate on September 9.
 
The sport is growing in the UK, which is good news for Katie, who is hoping it will be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
 
Katie, from Bristol, is looking for sponsorship to help her with kit and travelling as she prepares to trial for the World Championships next year.
 
She’s also attending a Team GB selection day on October 8, where GB coaches will select juniors and seniors for further training.
 

 
Katie said: “I’m enjoying the chance to study at college and continue my education alongside my athletics training.
 
“I always wanted to stay in sport and develop, but I didn’t think about shooting – somehow I just got into it. The fact that I’m doing shooting as well as running is fun. It’s a challenge and it’s something different.
 
“It’s going well at college and I’m finding it interesting. At the moment we’re studying sports psychology, anatomy and physiology, team sports, fitness testing and fitness training.
 
“It gives me time to think about what I’m doing as an athlete before I put it into practice.”
 

News

Hospitality and catering students impress at the Bath Good Food Awards

 

Guests at the Bath Good Food Awards gave hospitality and catering students a standing ovation for their work in the kitchen and front of house.
 
The Bath Good Food Awards are held to recognise the best of the city’s restaurants, cafes and producers, with more than 40 prizes awarded in one evening.
 
Students worked alongside guest chefs preparing a three-course meal for the awards, held at the new Apex City of Bath Hotel.
 

 
Guests enjoyed canapés created by Executive Chef Soyful Alom, from The Mint Room, followed by dishes from head chefs Chris Cleghorn, Ben Abercrombie and Rupert Taylor.
 
Those attending included restaurant owners, food critics and industry experts, including Michelin-starred chefs Nathan Outlaw and Angela Hartnett.
 
Former students Amy Best and Josh Yoell have been employed as commis chefs at the Apex Hotel and were also working on the night.
 
Hospitality and catering students at Bath College picked up two awards on the night, with Best Front of House going to Marley Melton and Best Kitchen Student going to Maddison Dodd.
 

 
Ryan Hanson, Deputy Head of Hospitality, Spa Industry and Landbased at Bath College, was asked to judge entries for this year’s awards, dining at venues to help select the final winners.
 
He was also on a panel to judge candidates for two sponsored bursaries, to fund extra professional development for up and coming stars.
 
The bursary, sponsored by A. David was awarded to Luke Shepherd, from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, and Lynne Atkins, from Henry’s Restaurant in Bath.
 

 
Ryan, who will also be a judge at the Bristol Good Food Awards in November, said: “The students were brilliant on the night.
 
“There were a lot of industry professionals in the room and they were warmly received when they went up on stage at the end of the evening.
 
“I had a lot of people asking me ‘how can we get the students in to work for us?’ They really did themselves proud in the kitchen and front of house.
 
“They worked hard and consistently. To be honest, you wouldn’t have known they were students because they looked like professionals.”
 
Speaking about his experience judging, Mr Hanson said: “It’s been really interesting going to critique different establishments and identify winners, but also to see how much good work is going on in the city.
 
“An awards ceremony like this means places get the recognition they don’t get on a daily basis. It’s nice to give credit where credit’s due.”
 
Hospitality and catering students are now preparing for an Ocean Bounty dinner, in association with the Billingsgate Seafood Training School.
 
The three-course dinner, on October 5, starts at 6.30pm and will be held at Bath College’s Shrubbery Restaurant. Tickets are available for members of the public at a cost of £19.50. Call (01225) 328502 to book.
 

News

High scoring students through to national SkillBuild finals

 

Above: Oliver Takhar with painting and decorating lecturer Graham Walmsley
 
Students from Bath College will compete against the best in the country after being picked for The SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final.
 
Oliver Takhar and Joshua Underwood were among the highest scoring competitors for this year’s SkillBuild regional qualifiers.
 
They are busy preparing for the demanding three-day final, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham in November.
 

 

Painting and decorating student Oliver will compete against seven others to win The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition.
 
He scored 79.5 out of 100 in the regional qualifiers, using paint, wallpaper and stencils to accurately follow a detailed plan drawing.
 
Oliver, 19, from Frome said: “When I found out I was through to the finals it felt really good, because I wasn’t expecting it. I’m just excited about competing and this competition will be over a couple of days, so it’s much bigger than the regional qualifiers.
 
“I’m pleased I entered, I wouldn’t have done it without encouragement from the college. I’m going to practice everything that could come up.
 
“When I left school, I spent two years training to become a mechanic, and then I changed track completely. Now I’ve found something that I can do and I’m enjoying.”
 

 

Joshua with stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner holding prizes for the UK Masonry Skills Challenge.
 
Stonemasonry student Joshua Underwood is competing at the SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final after coming second in the final of the UK Masonry Skills Challenge, run by The Stone Federation.
 
He took part in the challenge alongside Bath College students Shaun Forbes and Daniel Owen, with the team winning first prize for the best college when their scores were added together.
 
Joshua, an apprentice with Architectural Stone in Cardiff, said: “When I first started competing I was nervous, but now I know how the competitions work and what the judging is like.
 
“The competition environment can be quite distracting. They encourage you to work so that the spectators can see what you’re doing, but I make sure I’m concentrating on the work in front of me.
 
“It’s good to have this experience on your CV, it goes a long way with certain firms and clients. I enjoy speaking to the competition qualifiers and getting an insight into the industry nationally.”
 
If Oliver and Joshua are successful in the finals, they could have the chance to represent the UK abroad as part of the WorkSkills UK squad.
 

 
Last December, former Bath College student and stonemason Toby Brook was part of a the UK team at EuroSkills 2016 – the largest skills competition in Europe.
 
Painting and decorating lecturer Graham Walmsley said: “I think it’s important that students are challenged at every opportunity to produce the highest possible work they can.
 
“The judges assessed each entrants’ work to a strict marking criteria which would have doubtless included how neatly they approached the tasks over the five-hour time limit.
 
“It’s going to be a tough three-day final against students who have been studying for longer than Ollie, but I have put together additional training sessions to help him develop.
 
“He has a very calm disposition and rarely gets flustered when working. Good results are seldom achieved when decorating is carried out in haste, something which he’s fully aware of.”
 
Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner said: “Joshua’s dedication has led to him being recognised as one of the best apprentice stonemasons in the country.
 
“Joshua achieved one of the highest marks in the country when he competed in the regional qualifiers. The judges recognised his ability to interpret drawings, to execute the task in time and complete the job to a very high standard.
 
“He has the motivation to achieve the best possible standards and is improving all the time. He’s a testament to teaching and learning at Bath College, and he joins a long list of accomplished stonemasons who have trained here. We wish him all the best for the finals.”
 

News

Inspirational student shortlisted for the Association of College’s Student of the Year Awards

 

Inspirational student Rachelle Wabissa has been chosen as one of three finalists for a national award celebrating high achievement at further education colleges.
 

Rachelle, who has just finished studying at Bath College, has been shortlisted in the adult student category for the Association of College’s Student of the Year Awards.
 

The 22-year-old studied on the college’s Access to Higher Education programme, before securing a place to study social work and applied studies at the University of Bath.
 


 

She was nominated for the award by Access to Higher Education lecturer Carolyn Guy, in recognition of her drive to succeed and her determination to overcome difficult personal circumstances.
 

Rachelle, who has won two scholarships to study her degree, said: “I’m so happy to be shortlisted because it’s a big deal. Even if I don’t win the award I can put it on my CV, my family was very proud of me.
 

“I passed the access course, I got into university, I got the scholarships and then this! It’s been an amazing time – my heart can’t take it all!”

 

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 was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and came to the UK when she was 10-years-old as an asylum seeker from South Africa.
 

She enrolled on the Access to Higher Education programme last September, and was diagnosed with tuberculosis four months into the course.
 

Despite being ill, she continued with her studies and helped with a pioneering project to integrate technology into tuberculosis treatment.
 

At university she plans to specialise in end of life care, but her dream job would be Director of Political Affairs of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
 

Rachelle said: “Colleges are really important because not everyone can succeed at A-levels. The access course gives you a second chance.
 

“At college, there are people who want the best for you and are willing to accommodate your personal struggle. The mental health support I had was really regular; I could talk to them whenever I wanted.
 

“It’s nice when people ask ‘how were you able to do that?’ Because I had aspirations for myself, I was able to work hard and achieve.
 

“Since I completed the access course, my sister has decided she wants to be a chemical engineer. It’s great to see how my siblings have been inspired, even though they saw the worst parts of my journey.
 

“I thought I couldn’t do it, but I did. I had a great time. It was one of the best years ever and the friends I made, I still talk to every day.”
 

The winners of the Student of the Year Awards will be announced at the AoC’s annual conference dinner on November 14.
 

Rachelle’s tutor Carolyn Guy said: “Rachelle has the potential to be a real academic, as she has a very sharp mind. In class she participated fully, asking insightful questions and challenging traditionally held views.
 

“As well as her studies, she became a course representative, representing the views of her fellow students. She was exceptionally supportive of her peers and very sensitive to their needs.
 

“What is inspiring is that despite considerable adversity, she has demonstrated that it is possible to succeed. She is an outstanding role model for other young people.”
 

News

Opening ceremony held to celebrate new Somer Construction Centre

 

An opening ceremony, held to celebrate Bath College’s Somer Construction Centre, gave guests the chance to see students working in brand new workshops and classrooms.
 
The state-of-the-art facility, at the College’s Somer Valley Campus in Radstock, was built with support from the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership.
 
It is being used to teach 500 students and apprentices studying bricklaying, construction, carpentry and stonemasonry, as well as plumbing, electrical installation and refrigeration.

 

 

Guests were invited to an official opening, carried out by The Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Cherry Beath, followed by a tour of the building and a canapé reception.
 
Stonemasonry student Niall McCabe, 25, is a second year apprentice studying at Bath College and working at Bristol Stone Masonry.
 
He said: “I was quite surprised to see how big the building is. The facilities are better, especially the banker shop, there’s a lot more space for people.
 
“Carving stone is a very satisfying job. It’s nice to be part of the first group of stonemasons to move in – we’ll be able to put our mark on the place.”
 

 

 

Designs for the two-storey Somer Construction Centre were approved last year, with contractors Midas Group Ltd starting work in January.
 
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose said: “We’re very proud of our new centre, which marks a significant investment in training and education at our Somer Valley Campus.
 
“Learning in this space, with the help of tutors who are industry experts, will give students and apprentices the best possible start to life at college and enable them to succeed in their chosen trade.
 
“Studying construction can lead to a wide-ranging career designing, creating and managing buildings. Our aim is to be known as a centre of excellence for the South West, helping to boost economic development and employment.
 
“We look forward to working with local employers, who will be able to come to Bath College to find their future workforce.”
 

 

The West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership supported the new build with an allocation of £2.73 million.
 
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support this new construction centre using Local Growth Fund funding via the West of England Joint Committee.
 
“Construction is an important sector and we are committed to working with businesses and colleges to support improving skills to help grow the industry and attract new jobs to our region.”
 
Nationally, the construction industry needs to hire more than 400,000 workers every year for the next five years in order to fill a skills gap and build enough homes to meet demand.
 
Limited places are available for students to sign up to a course at the Somer Construction Centre this September. Prospective students can also begin applying for a place to study in September 2018.
 
Visit the new centre at Bath College’s Somer Valley open event on Thursday September 28th from 4pm to 8pm. Click here to register.
 

News

Students become Dementia Friends before going on work placements

 

Students at Bath College are supporting an initiative to make Bath and North East Somerset a dementia friendly place to live.
 

The college has signed up to support Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) and has produced an action plan with key pledges.
 

As part of this, Level 1 students studying health and social care and childcare have completed dementia friends sessions.
 


 
There are around 4,500 people living with dementia in Bath and North East Somerset, and this number is predicted to rise in the future.
 

During the sessions, students learnt what it’s like to live with dementia and how to speak to people affected by memory loss.
 

Sarah Williams Martin, Chair of BaNES Dementia Action Alliance, said: “Our aim is to make the whole of Bath and North East Somerset dementia friendly, so it’s really important that organisations like the college get involved.
 

“A lot of students will be going on to work in care homes, and it will help them to have an understanding of dementia before that.
 

“They’ve all been given a dementia friends badge and we’re encouraging them to tell people about what they’ve learnt.
 

“We’re also running sessions in schools for young people. The idea is that if you empower young people, they won’t be afraid of dementia and it removes any stigma.”
 

First year student Trinity Collins said: “I found it really interesting listening to Sarah, she’s a volunteer and she’s using her own time to help people. It’s something that I’d be interested in getting involved in, that’s why I asked about work placements.”
 

The DAA works with businesses and organisations across England to help them review their procedures and become dementia friendly.
 

It is working with Bath College as part of the Bath Care Academy, set up to make sure students are prepared for a career in the health and social care sector.
 

There are also plans for students to work with retailers on a slow shopping scheme, introducing a dementia-friendly environment in store.
 

Care Academy Coordinator Sally Wilson said: “We’re working with our Care Academy partners to provide training and work experience opportunities, helping students to find employment and to learn more about the broad range of roles and career pathways within the sector.
 

“Dementia is an important issue for the health and social care industry, and we have signed a dementia pledge for all of our students to complete the sessions this year.
 

“A lot of our students will be undertaking work experience with those experiencing dementia and this deepens their understanding and gives them a head start.”
 

News

Students learn on the job with apprenticeships at Bath Audi

 

Four students who studied at Bath College have taken the next step in their career and secured employment at Bath Audi.
 
First year apprentices Morgan East and Malique Hayward are working at the car dealership in Peasedown St John alongside second year apprentice Dan Church and trainee service technician Josh Cocks.
 
All four students began learning their trade by studying vehicle maintenance and repair at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus.
 
Working at Bath Audi will take them to the next level as they specialise in carrying out services, MOTs and repairs for Audi owners.
 

 
Dan, 19, from Midsomer Norton, said: “I enjoy working on cars, I have always wanted to work with them, so this is perfect for me.
 
“You get paid to learn and you’re doing something you enjoy. I get on well with the guys in the team, there’s always someone in the workshop to show you what to do if you need help.”
 
Morgan, 17, said: “I worked in a local garage, which gave me a taster of what it’s like to work in the motor industry. After that I knew what I wanted to do and I’m hoping to make it a long-term career”.
 
All apprentices with Audi learn at the National Learning Centre, a state-of-the-art training facility in Milton Keynes. They also need to have a C grade at GCSE in English and maths.
 
Barry Russell, After Sales Manager at Bath Audi, works with Bath College, visiting to speak to students about apprenticeship programmes.
 
He said: “Every car that comes into us has a health check and if there’s additional work they’ll see to that as well.
 

 
“I’m impressed with these four. They get on with the job and they’re always willing to learn. They’re also local, and I like to employ local people.
 
“We like to grow our own and make sure they’re learning about our product. In college, students get a good grounding, but they’re working on a variety of cars and it’s not current technology.
 
“With Audi, the cars are so technical and the technology is moving fast, particularly when it comes to electric cars. Every month something new comes out.”
 
Glyn Mountjoy, Automotive and Engineering Learning Coordinator at Bath College, said: “Our aim is to get our students work ready. We want to prepare students for the ever-changing environment of automotive engineering, and see them progress to a position where they can become apprentices.
 
“At Bath Audi, Barry Russell has been very supportive giving our students the opportunity to experience high-end modern technology at Audi on work experience.
 
“He has also visited during employability week as a guest speaker, providing our students with an insight into what dealerships look for when recruiting. This gives our students a better chance of moving into the industry.”
 

News

Apprentice of the month: Arthur Parsons from S M Parsons Ltd

 

Arthur Parsons is a Level 2 stonemasonry apprentice at Bath College working with the family firm S M Parsons Ltd. The firm, run by Arthur’s dad Steve, specialises in stone restoration projects and stone cleaning. Stonemasonry runs in the family, as Arthur’s brother also works for the company and used to study at Bath College.
 
Can you tell us why you signed up for an apprenticeship?
My dad encouraged me to start a career in stonemasonry. I spent a couple days out of school with him and really enjoyed the work, so I decided to enrol at college. I went straight into an apprenticeship from school, I was 16 at the time. I was one of the only ones at school going off to do an apprenticeship, but it’s something that I would recommend. It’s enjoyable and if you have an interest in something, you should follow that.

 
What do you do in your job as a stonemasonry apprentice?
I work with my dad, my brother and one other person. There’s four of us and we all get on well. We’re based in Bristol and we do a lot of restoration work on old houses. We can be working on the interior or the front of the house taking off the paint and cleaning so that we reach the old stone behind. I like doing the cleaning jobs because it’s interesting to see what’s underneath and what it looks like afterwards. Sometimes it’s quite a surprise.
 
What do you enjoy about working and what does a typical day look like?
I study two days at college and work three days a week. I’m on the second year of my apprenticeship, so I’ll be qualified by the end of the year, but you can continue onto another qualification. The type of work depends on the type of job; at the moment we’re fitting a fireplace. We cut the stones in the workshop and then fit it together onsite. I enjoy the practical side of things, working on a specific job and being able to get on with it.
 

Bath College’s new Somer Construction Centre
 
How are you finding your time at Bath College and what are you learning?
In my first year at college, I started with learning how to make a rough block smooth. We also learnt how to create a chamfer, an ashlar stop and how to work on different types of stone. It’s useful to learn the theory in college because it backs up what you’re learning on the job. I get on well with the people in college, they’re a nice team and I’ve enjoyed moving into the Somer Construction Centre. The facilities are better and we’ve got more room to work in.
 
Do you think your apprenticeship has helped you in your career?
I feel as though I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve started to know what I need to complete a job and what time I can do it by. It’s good to see that’s I’ve improved. I want to continue working with my dad long-term or maybe running my own business. My dad has said I’m doing well and he’s happy with what I’m learning here.
 

News

Pygmy goats win prizes at Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show

 

Bath College’s pygmy goats did well at their first competitive showing, winning five rosettes at the Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show.
 
Smokey, Bubbles, Twix and Galaxy are firm favourites with staff and students in the animal care department at the college’s Somer Valley Campus.
 
The show, which attracts hundreds of people each year, was their first outing and was a chance for staff to meet other breeders and owners.
 

 
Level 2 and Level 3 animal care students worked hard to bath and groom the pygmy goats, to get them looking their best for the show.
 
All four goats scrubbed up well, with three-year-old goats Smokey and Bubbles winning 1st and 4th in their age categories. Smokey also won 4th in the overall pedigree female category.
 
Animal care staff Katie Parfitt and Gemma Hancock supervised the showing and won 1st and 2nd in the novice handler competition.
 
Katie said: “They had a lovely day, they met a lot of other goats which they seemed to enjoy because they’re sociable animals.
 
“It’s quite competitive. The judge checks their mouth, teeth and feet, to check they’re in good condition, and then looks at them in profile to judge their size according to breed specifications.
 
“I enjoyed talking to like-minded people about their animals. We’re thinking about breeding our goats next year, and we met a lot of people who were able to give us help and advice.”
 

 
Bath College offers a wide range of animal care courses, from foundation learning to Level 3, alongside veterinary nursing diplomas.
 
As well as the pygmy goats, the college is home to a large number of reptiles, birds and popular pets, including rabbits, hamsters and chickens.
 
All animal care courses have practical duties, so that students spend time looking after and learning how to care for different species.
 
Jayne Withers, Head of Hospitality, Spa Industry & Landbased, said: “We are so proud of the results for our first showing, which is all down to the students and staff looking after the show preparation and continuous welfare of Smokey, Bubbles, Twix and Galaxy.”
 

News

Access to Higher Education programme leads to a new career as a physiotherapist

 

Studying at Bath College helped former student Vicky Baldy succeed at university and secure a job as a full-time physiotherapist.
 
Vicky has just finished studying at the University of the West of England and has a job working at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.
 
The 31-year-old achieved her university place after enrolling on Bath College’s Access to Higher Education programme in 2013.
 

Read about this year’s Access to Higher Education Awards Ceremony. 
 
Students on the programme leave with a nationally recognised qualification allowing them to progress and study at degree level.
 
Vicky, who studied the Access to Higher Education programme full-time, gained a 2.1 degree and was also chosen by the university to receive The Mullany Prize for Excellence.
 
The £250 prize recognised her work as a student representative for her year group and co-founder of the Physiotherapy Society.
 
Vicky said: “Clinical placements were a key component of my course. They allowed me to apply my knowledge and practical skills on real-life patients, helping my confidence to grow as a therapist.
 
“Being a student rep offered me lots of opportunities, such as talking to 100 students at a careers day about university life and how to succeed.
 
“I was the co-founder of the Physiotherapy Society, and for my final year I was voted to be the President. I set up a student physiotherapy clothing brand, which turned out to be a big hit with the students.
 
“I also organised two summer balls and a graduation ball, and was awarded the ‘Innovation in Representation Award’ at the Students’ Union Awards.
 

 
“I found the teaching and skills I gained at Bath College made the transition to university a lot smoother. The support and guidance I received encouraged me to pursue my dream career.”
 
Vicky was also the Roper Prize winner at Bath College’s Access to Higher Education awards ceremony four years ago.
 
Carolyn Guy, who teaches Access to Higher Education at Bath College, said: “Vicky was an outstanding student who remained completely focused throughout the Access to Higher Education course.
 
“The course enabled her to achieve her ambition to become a physiotherapist and she took every opportunity to excel.
 
“While a student here, she was awarded the Roper Prize for overall excellence and we’re delighted that she has now found employment as a hospital physiotherapist. She’ll be a real asset to the profession.”
 

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