Open days taking place at Bath College campuses in November


Bath College is opening its doors for students to discover more about its full-time, part-time, university level and professional courses.


We’re hosting two open evenings to help you find the best way to achieve your goals through study.


All are welcome to pop in to meet staff and students at the Somer Valley Campus on Wednesday November 4, or the City Centre Campus on Thursday November 12 from 4pm to 7pm.


Open days are the ideal opportunity for students to take a tour around the campuses and try some taster activities.


Students can talk to tutors to find out more about learning and progression opportunities, or discuss your options with careers advisors.


Information about financial assistance, learning support and extra-curricular activities will also be available.


Open Evening (2)


Apprenticeship talks will take place at each campus, providing more information about learning while earning with some of the region’s biggest employers.


Principal Matt Atkinson said the open evenings would give prospective students more information on where new skills could take them.


He said: “Our open evenings are a great place to start the next part of your learning journey. Everyone is invited to come along to take a look at our first-class facilities and learn more about what we can offer.


“There will be lots to see and do and the open evenings will give you a real flavour of what goes on.”




For the Somer Valley Campus event visit the CAM building in South Hill Park, Wells Road, Radstock, between 4pm and 7pm on Wednesday November 4.


For the City Centre Campus event call into the college’s Roper Building, on the corner of Avon Street and St James Street West, between 4pm and 7pm on Thursday November 12.


If you cannot attend the open evening but want to find out more information about courses, you can visit the Student Advice Centre. The team can help you with any queries about courses or arrange for you to see a careers advisor.


For further information or to pre-register online go to www.bathcollege.ac.uk or call 01225 312191.


Bath College’s English Language School hosts International Food Sharing Festival

Students studying English as a foreign language shared exotic dishes from their home country at Bath College’s International Food Sharing Festival.


The college’s English Language School hosts the festival every year, giving students the chance to sample new flavours from different cultures.


Students from over 30 nationalities are studying English at the college this year and the festival included dishes from all over the world.


In the European room, students had the chance to try Butterkuchen, Wiener Schnitzel and Frikadellen – German fried meat patties.



They also filled their plates with Chinese dumplings, Japanese omurice, rice pudding and Columbian three milk pudding.


Staff from the English Language School baked a number of British delicacies, including Grasmere gingerbread, Bara Brith and banana loaf.




Elizabeth Mallender, head of the English Language School, said the festival was a favourite with everyone in the department.


She said: “We always get a huge variety – there are all sorts of fabulous things.


“Everyone loves talking about food and it’s a subject close to peoples’ hearts in many cultures. It’s a wonderful way for students to learn and use English.




“We get a lot of visitors from other departments and it raises awareness of our department within the college.


“A lot of students, if they are coming over here, they still eat their own food so now they get to try British delicacies as well. Some of them have put in a real effort with what they have produced.”


Every dish had a card next to it with a basic recipe, so students could learn about its origin and how it was made.


Zoya Ali, originally from Pakistan, lives in Bath with her husband and made chicken biryani for the festival.


She said: “It’s my mum’s recipe. The recipe is hard, there are so many ingredients, so my teacher asked me to shorten it for people to read.”




Asuka Kittaka, from Japan, is studying at Bath College and living in England for the first time.


She said: “The students have made them, so it’s different from restaurant food, you can feel the effort that they have put into it.


“Bath is a really nice place – it’s a small area, but there are a lot of shops and people. The teachers are really kind and helpful.”



Learning support tutor launches children's picture book inspired by the legend of Prince Bladud

Artist and writer Jane Samson has bought a Bath legend to life in a new children’s picture book.


Mrs Samson, who works at Bath College, was inspired by the story of Prince Bladud, who was cured of leprosy by bathing in the hot mud around Bath’s springs.


Her book has been picked up by bookshops around Bath, including The Roman Baths Gift Shop, Topping & Company and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.


This week, she will be entertaining children at Bath Central Library with an interactive storytelling session, to include dressing up and a craft activity.


Mrs Samson, 57, said: “It’s got my own little embellishments.


“It’s set in the Iron Age. The prince is thrown out of his kingdom because he gets leprosy – he’s banished from the kingdom and ends up being a swineherd.

A kind old woman gave him some pigs


“I first heard the story nearly 40 years ago when I first arrived in Bath. Somebody told me that story and it just stuck in my head – it’s been a little acorn in my mind for a long time.


“I wanted to write a story book and it was a ready-made story. I thought ‘that would be a perfect story for a children’s book’.


“When you see pictures of Bladud, they are always embedded in tomes of text, but this is supposed to be for children.”


Mrs Samson came to Bath to study at the Bath Academy of Art, in Corsham, and now works at the college as a member of the learning support team.


It took her two years to create The Story of Prince Bladud – a Tale of Bath.


At the start of the creative process she signed up to an illustration course at Bath College, led by artist Sholto Walker, and later she joined a Photoshop class.

Adobe Photoshop PDF


Learning Photoshop helped Mrs Samson to move her images around the page, to make sure her book had the best possible layout.


She said: “The illustration course was really good, I took on board everything he said, and it was also good being with people who had the same interests.


“Three of us got together in the evenings and odd days and kept it going – we started a little group to keep us motivated.


“The college was really useful. I used to work as a full-time teacher in a secondary school. I just decided I would cut my hours and make sure I had enough time to do my own work.


“I was burning the midnight oil, so working in the college has helped with that.


“Then I started providing support in media classes and for the first time I had to get to grips with Photoshop and InDesign. I went to an evening course to continue learning Photoshop.


“It’s a labour of love because you don’t know if it’s going to be successful. It’s in the early stages of marketing, but I have had a lot of positive feedback.”


Mrs Samson will be at Bath Central Library on Tuesday October 27 at 10.30am.


She is also holding a book signing at the Bath Christmas Market on Thursday December 3.



Art and Design


Saturday courses prove popular with students looking to try something new

Budding artists, bakers and beauticians got to grips with the basics of portraiture, bread making and body massages at Bath College last weekend.


There was a buzz in the air when people arrived to take part in a Saturday course, as part of the college’s part-time Love2learn programme.


Attendees chose from 11 different courses across the college departments, opting for lessons in finance, ceramics and the history of fashion design.


At the college’s Department of Hospitality, Hair, Beauty and Spa Industries, there were also body massage, holistic treatments and beauty courses on offer.


Ceramics is a popular course at the college and a new BBC2 show from the Great British Bake Off team– Britain’s Best Potter – is set to generate extra interest in the subject.


Art and design lecturer Julia Warin teaches ceramics and showed beginners how to handle clay, as well as some basic techniques.


She said: “They get the feel of the clay first – beginning by making some smaller things, but moving on to making bigger things, either functional or sculptural.


“Many are surprised at what can be achieved in a short time.


“Five of them had never done it before and I had one who is one of my of my regulars – she came because she wanted some extra time.


“Usually they just want to try it out and see what it’s like. Sometimes it’s in preparation to think about joining a longer course.


“Complete beginners always get tuition in the basic techniques when they first start and after a while they become more independent.


“At least two of the people who came will be signing up for a ten week course. It’s very addictive. My students, once they are hooked, they don’t want to stop.”


Bath College offers over 500 adult leisure courses as part of its part-time Love2learn programme, including courses in animal care, cookery, computing and creative writing.


As well as courses in the daytime and evening, the Love2learn programme provides a number of Saturday courses throughout the year.


Director of student services Karen Fraser said: “We are pleased to be able to extend our services and facilities to adult students for day courses such as these.


“It is well documented that learning something new helps to promote health and well-being and we are well placed to be able to provide such an opportunity for local people.


“Our Love2learn students develop new skills, creative or otherwise, and add to the rich diversity of the College’s learning community.


The next date for Saturday courses is Saturday December 5. Courses on this date include papermaking, aromatherapy, pattern cutting and print making.


There will be a number of festive courses available, from a floristry Christmas workshop to speciality bread and festive cake decoration.


BBC Introducing champions music created by former student Louis Sterling

A former student at Bath College has been tipped as a rising star by music experts at the BBC just months after finishing his course.

DJ Mary Anne Hobbs was impressed with music technology student Louis Sterling’s work after he submitted his tracks to the BBC Introducing team.

The 18-year-old’s music has been played on BBC Radio Music 6 and last Saturday he was given a 20 minute guest mix slot on BBC Introducing in the West.

BBC Introducing in the West supports unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar artists in the West of England by giving their music airtime.

Louis, an experimental electronic musician, was interviewed by presenter Richard Pitt, who was given a guided tour of the college’s music department.

Bath College has seen a number of music students and ex-students enjoy success, including singer-songwriters Gabrielle Aplin and Laura Doggett.

Louis, known as Auxx to music fans, was 16-years-old when he came to Bath College, where he spent two years learning from tutors and industry professionals.

He said: “The facilities here are fantastic. I’m glad I spent two years on this course because it definitely got me musically to a different place.

“I remember when I first started, on the production side of things I wasn’t as great, everything was quite basic, and then over time I started exploring different sounds.

“The teachers are people who have been in the industry. They really know what they were doing and that was definitely a different thing to get taught by those guys.

“While I was here I met a lot of musicians. For years I was by myself making beats – I was on a solo one-man mission – it’s incredible to meet people that are on the same wave length and musically interesting.”

Louis’ music grabbed the attention of the team at BBC Introducing, who listen to hundreds of songs submitted by aspiring musicians every week.

Presenter Richard Pitt said:  “We listen to absolutely everything, so you need something special to grab your attention.

“I thought it would be good to speak to Louis in his own environment, to see what inspired him.

“We just walked up the stairs when we first arrived and the staircases were full of students going to their next lesson and talking about software.

It’s not the be all and end all of it, but anywhere where people are making music, to have an inspiring environment helps – it’s the creative juices that flow.

“You can see why people come to music college here, it’s a fantastic place.”

Louis, who lives in Odd Down, is taking a gap year to concentrate on his music.

He said: “I will probably end up developing my music further, as well as submitting to other music labels. To end up getting picked, especially by BBC Introducing, was like ‘wow this might end up being a job’.

“When you’ve been making music for a certain amount of time you think ‘it would be awesome to do this more often’.”

Mark Smithers, learning co-ordinator for music technology, said: “We’re really proud to have impressive links with industry

“We have employed industry practitioners, who are practicing music producers, and this has allowed us to facilitate the development of students’ production portfolios – to the point where they are making music which is good enough to go on the radio.

“It goes to show that hard work and dedication can result in impressive things. Louis is tipped as a rising star at the BBC and I am sure we will see more from him very soon”.

Click here to listen to Louis on the radio.



Students to run community sports day at the Recreation Ground

First year students at Bath College are running a free community sports day at the Bath Recreation Ground next weekend.


The day will help students, who are studying for a Level 3 sports qualification at the college, complete their National Citizen Service.


Fifty students have volunteered to run sports skills and games sessions for children aged 7 to 14-years-old.


Families can have a go at dodgeball, rugby, netball and cricket from 10am to 1pm on Saturday October 24.


Students will be offering football, basketball, rounders and a mini Olympics session from 1.30pm to 4pm.


Teenagers aged 16 to 17-years-old need to complete 30 hours of volunteering to receive their National Citizen Service Award.


Careers and Employability Manager Louise Croft said: “We are hoping that it is going to be very popular at the start of the half-term holidays.


“The students are offering a range of turn up and play sessions for a variety of sports, as well as coaching skills sessions.


“If you have children aged seven to 14 this is an ideal event to come along to. It’s free and in a great location just behind the sports centre at Bath Recreation ground.”



Students pack hundreds of Christmas shoeboxes for Mercy in Action

Students and staff at Bath College have been hard at work packing hundreds of Christmas shoeboxes for children in the Philippines.


Over 200 shoeboxes have been packed at the college for the Bath-based charity Mercy in Action, who will ship the boxes abroad on Friday.


They will be added to 700 boxes put together by community groups across the city to help make Christmas special for children living in poverty.


Charity founders John and Allison Todd set up Mercy in Action in 1995 to offer food and education to vulnerable children living on the street.


They were moved to start the charity after a trip to the Philippines where they met five boys who were begging on the street and hadn’t eaten in days.


The boxes will be handed out to children living in the province of Cebu and for many it will be the only present they receive at Christmas time.


Each box contains a small toy or gift, as well as tins of meat and fish, toothpaste, soap, pens, paper and crayons.


Travel and tourism students at Bath College were keen to help after packing boxes at Mercy in Action’s warehouse on Lower Bristol Road last year.


Student engagement officer Scarlett Mosnier said they had been inspired to volunteer after hearing John and Allison’s story.


She said: “They met these little boys, they fed them and the next time they came along with a couple of their friends who also hadn’t eaten for a couple of days.


“It’s nice to be part of something that you know is going to help people – I’m really impressed with the travel and tourism students.


“This is the second year we have worked with Mercy in Action. Last year we packed boxes at their warehouse and this year we decided to pack in-house.


“Doing it in-house means that a lot more students and staff can get involved.”


Beth Hockley, from Mercy in Action, will be travelling out to Cebu to hand out the boxes at Christmas time.


She said: “It’s nice that the students can show some empathy and think about people the other side of the world- we need any help we can get.


“It will be a lot of the children’s only Christmas present and they will share whatever is in the box with their entire family.


“A lot of them have only the clothes they are wearing and nothing else, so this will be life changing for them. They will be really excited about their bar of soap and shower gel – they are luxury items.


“We have links with other NGOs so any boxes we don’t use for our own project will go to partners out there who don’t have the support we have.”


Visit www.mercyinaction.org.uk.



Bath College students prepare food for area's top chefs

Catering and Hospitality students from Bath College recently prepared canapés for top chefs under the expert eyes of Hywel Jones, Executive Chef at Lucknam Park. The Chefs’ Forum event began with a Nyetimber and canapé reception prepared with the help of students from the College.


Chefs from Bath and the Cotwolds went on to show off their physical skills, as well as their cooking skills at the September meeting of The Chefs’ Forum. Guests at the event, which was held at the beautiful Lucknam Park Hotel near Colerne, had the chance to try their hand at axe throwing and archery, alongside the rather more genteel activity of tea tasting, and a tour of the hotel’s kitchen garden.


Hywel said: “Thanks to the students for all their help, and thanks also to the sponsors and all those who supplied the ingredients.”


Bridget Halford, Head of Department for Hospitality, Hair, Beauty and Spa at Bath College, spoke about how The Chefs’ Forum events benefit the students. She said “We are lucky to be able to work with key figures in the hospitality and catering industry. This opportunity at Lucknam Park has given our students key skills which will help their employability longer term.”



October – Elections Season

It’s been another busy month with a real focus on learner voice, starting with the SU elections. We have elected new members to the Students’ Union at city campus and a whole new team over at Somer Valley campus.


New members elected for city campus are:

Ann-Marie Harding – Open Portfolio

Lawrence Allen – Open Portfolio

Danny Basson – Media & Promotions

Mohamed Bourhfir – International Officer


The new team at Somer Valley are:

Briony Morris – Vice President

Alice Green- Events Officer

Roxy Vinning – Sports and societies Officer

Louie Richardson- equality and diversity Officer

Emma stellijes – Open Portfolio Officer

Tevin Mdoinya- Open Portfolio Officer

Henry Pratt – Media and Promo Officer


I would like to say a big well done to those who won the elections and are now Bath College Students’ Union 2015/16! I look forward to getting to know you all and sharing this experience with you.


Over the month I have chaired the first round of course rep training and meetings, it went really well. It was all new to me as well as the new reps, so it was great to get stuck in and hear what you think.  We have changed the way we go about the meetings this year to make them more student led, now the students set the agenda and run the meeting. The students had some great points across the departments and I will now be working to try and make some of these happen.


Over the month I have been doing Students’ Union tutorials across college to raise the profile of the SU and to make sure that students understand how the SU and Participation team can benefit them in many ways.  Hopefully I have been around to see you group but if not let me know.


Finally we also ran our first Question of the Month of the year.  It’s a great way for us to get a quick bit of feedback and gives me a good opportunity to get around and talk to as many students as possible.


Click HERE to see the results






September – Brand New


As the new academic year gets underway, we’re pleased and excited to announce the brand new Bath College Students’ Union blog, along with our brand new Students’ Union team! I’m going to start with thanking those who took the time to vote in last May’s elections, where myself and 5 others were elected. For those who weren’t here last year this is your Student’s Union team so far…


Kez Hawkins- President

Pete Day – Vice President

Dan Collier- Sports and Societies Officer

George Friend- Equality and diversity Officer

Musa Baruwa- Events Officer

Lewi Hall – HE Officer


Those of you who are new and went to the induction at the forum, would know that we all took part in talking to over 800 students, which was totally nerve racking! My hands were shaking! By the end of the week having spoken twice in front of 800 students,  and over at Somer Valley with a smaller crowd, my nerves had calmed, no longer shaking anyway!


Over the summer the Participation Team worked extremely hard organizing Fresher’s fair over both campuses. I hope you enjoyed it and got some free pizza! Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what is around bath and what is available to you at college. The gladiator ring went down well with all students at city center and the surf simulator at Somer Valley had big competition to see who could stay on the longest! It was great to watch, I met so many new faces and hopefully you’re all still wearing your Students’ Union wrist bands.


Although September has been busy I really enjoyed doing the chalk board activities where I found out loads about what students want to achieve by the time they leave Bath College. It was really enlightening to see your aspirations for the year.


September has been a crazy one, but look forward to meeting many more of you over the next few months.




Bath College graduates celebrated at Bath Abbey

The achievements of more than 70 Bath College graduates have been celebrated at Bath Abbey.


Students wore the traditional academic dress of caps and gowns to be awarded their qualifications in front of family and friends.


This was the third time the College has hosted its graduation at Bath Abbey and the formal procession and ceremony was enjoyed by more than 200 people.


Graduates had completed courses at Level 4 or higher in a wide range of subjects including computing, early years, fashion and textiles, music and professional qualifications.

College Principal Matt Atkinson said he was honoured to be celebrating the achievements of the HE students:


“This ceremony allows us to celebrate the huge effort put in by our students to balance their work, life and study commitments in order to gain qualifications which increase their employability in the future.


“It also gives us the opportunity to recognise the critical role that we as a college play in contributing to the West of England Economy.


“We have engineers, computing specialists, accountants, teachers, construction professionals, creative industries specialists, early years professionals and others graduating – which demonstrates the wide variety of staff we are committed to producing for local industry.”


Among those graduating was George Capon who completed the University of London BSc (Hons) in Business at the college.


The 22-year-old moved to Bath from Taunton to complete the three year course and made such a good impression that the college have now employed him as an Information & Enrolment Assistant within their Student Advice team.


George said:


“The reward of graduating with my Business BSc feels fantastic. It’s been a terrific 3 years at Bath College who have not only provided me with support throughout my degree but a job alongside it.


I cannot thank all the staff, both academic and non-academic, enough for how amazing they have been; as a result of this, Bath is now my home.


I’m looking forward to a future, hopefully remaining in Bath, and the new prospects I now have open to me.”


Karen Fraser, Director of Student Services and Marketing added:


“The Bath Abbey is a fabulous setting in which to celebrate the successes of our graduates. Its grandeur helps to demonstrate the immense achievements of our students; we are so proud of them.”


Bath College is able to provide a wide range of well-respected higher education courses through its excellent working relationship with the University of Bath and Bath Spa University.


For more information on Higher Education courses on offer at Bath College please call 01225 312191 or visit Higher Education Courses


Access to Higher Education Celebration

Recently at the Komedia Club in Bath, the success of the students in their Access to Higher Education course was celebrated. The event was attended by Margaret Roper as guest of honour, alongside Governors, The Principal and  the Access staff of Bath College. The award ceremony was the climax of much hard work and marked the end of one journey and the beginning of the next. The students will now head off to an impressive array of Universities in the new academic year.


View the Photos


College Students to Showcase Industry Skills

Students from Bath College will showcase their entrepreneurial and industry skills at an exhibition to be held at Green Park Station in Bath on Thursday 2nd July.


The showcase will be the first time the college has run an event specifically where students demonstrate the skills and products they developed on their courses to members of the public who can also take part in some of the activities which are planned.


Matt Atkinson, Principal said, “The new Bath College is all about working with people to develop their skills and talent so they can thrive in their lives. This event is a fantastic opportunity for our students to put their skills on show and for them to network with the local community.”


Gardeners, nail & beauty technicians, web designers, media producers, DJs, and computer programmers will be amongst the new start-ups on show at the expo. The event is open to the public from 12-4pm and there will be a number of ‘have-a-go’ activities including bricklaying, DJing, programming robotic cars, animal handling and the opportunity to receive a free hand-massage, sample herbal teas and buy bread, Swedish candles and original artworks.


The students showcasing their skills are studying on a programme from a range of full-time or part-time courses at Bath College.


Green light given to renewable energy courses

New training and development opportunities are being offered to meet the demand of the ever-increasing job opportunities in renewable technologies.


Bath College has been working closely with Bath and North East Somerset Council to support the emerging renewable and sustainable technologies for several years.


But the recently-merged College is now going “even greener” as it becomes a training hub for a new series of courses in solar thermal, solar panel and the principles of renewable technologies.


This month’s free courses are open to everyone, but are particularly targeting unemployed young people who want to set up their own businesses.


There is a real demand for workers in the renewable energy industry as more and more people rely on the power generated by sources like the wind, waves and sun.


It comes as the UK’s green economy is worth £128 billion and the Government has a target that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources by 2020.


Martin Reeves, Senior Curriculum Leader in Construction, said the courses were focused on making sure people’s homes were ‘fit for the future.’


He said: “This is a very exciting time for Bath College as we work with industry partners to help build a sustainable future.


“The renewable energies industry offers so many exciting job opportunities and we want to help match people to the jobs that are out there.


“The College is pleased to be at the forefront of renewal energy training. We are proud to be ambassadors of sustainability.”


Bath College formerly worked in partnership with Norton Radstock College to run the Green Skills Academy.


Several one-day and short courses proved to be popular, including air source heat pumps, water harvesting and sustainable construction. Up-skilling programmes for trades people were also held, as well as ‘toolbox talks’ for the public to learn more about renewable energies.


The Green Skills Academy met all its initial targets, including purchasing specialist equipment for training purposes and providing training to more than 10 unemployed people and more than 150 16 to 18-year-olds over two years.


Bath College recently hosted a presentation to spread the word on its free external wall insulation course. More than 15 plasterers and renderers attended and signed up for the course, which is being run in conjunction with Energy at Home and Low Carbon South West.


The Fundamental Principles of Renewable Technologies course is on June 15-16, Solar PV Technologies is on June 22-26 and Solar Thermal is on June 29- July 3. They are all Level 3 qualifications and will be held at Bath College’s City Centre Campus.


For more information on green skills courses running at Bath College, call 01225 312191.


Same course, grade and university for married couple

Married couple Candita and Mike Wooten are preparing to go to university together after passing the same college course with the same grade.


They are now a step closer to their dream careers after “giving education another go” and returning to Bath College as mature students.


The couple achieved 100% distinctions in their Access to Higher Education Diplomas and will start Bournemouth University in September.


Candita, 22, enrolled on the year-long course in 2013 and Mike was inspired to follow in her footsteps when he saw how much she was enjoying learning.


She deferred her university place for a year so that she could “swap places” with her husband and he could take the same course.


Candita will be studying midwifery at university, while Mike will study social work. They will be moving from Bath to Bournemouth with their three-year-old daughter Leia.


Mike, 23, said: “I was working full-time in McDonalds when I decided to do the same as Candita and go back to College.


“It wasn’t planned, it was only when I saw her doing so well on the course that I realised that I also wanted to give education another go.


“Growing up in care, I’d always thought about being a social worker to help others but I didn’t ever really have anyone telling me to do well in school.


“Then I saw Candita going places. She was working hard and earning the top grades while enjoying it all. That’s when I knew, she inspired me.”


The couple say “it’s as if it was all planned” as “it all turned out so well” with their roles reversing from one year to the next. When one of them was at college, the other one worked full-time.


Candita said: “I’m surprised at how things have turned out, but it’s great that we’re both sharing this journey.


“I was at College for a year; then I worked as Mike went to College for a year. And now we’re going to university as a family.


“It’s not going to be easy for both of us to juggle education and childcare, but this is what we have to do. We will continue to rely on each other as we work towards our new careers.”


Bath College’s Access to Higher Education course helps mature students to develop their skills, confidence and educational potential in preparation for degree or diploma level study.


Candita said: “I’ve always wanted to go to university, and it’s always been my dream to become a midwife.


“After my A-Levels, we got a flat together, I ended up working in insurance and I just thought university wouldn’t happen.


“But going back to college was great. It was intense but such good fun, I think I enjoyed the pressure!


“I can’t recommend the Access to HE course enough, it’s opened up doors for both of us.”

UK Masonry Skills Challenge


Bath College comes third in national stonemasonry competition

Stonemasons from Bath College have proved they are among the best in the country by securing a top spot in a national skills competition.


The College scooped third place in the UK Masonry Skills Challenge, thanks to the work-ready skills of three of its stonemasonry students.


They went head-to-head with students from colleges across the UK in the highly-respected competition with a panel of industry judges.


The competition, which is run by The Stone Federation, creates a typical industry scenario where students have to follow detailed instructions under timed conditions.


Each student was given a drawing, a piece of stone and the materials to make the necessary moulds and templates. They then had an eight-hour time period to put their mallet and chisel skills to the test.


They were judged on criteria such as neatness of work, measurement precision, health and safety and time keeping – all essential requirements for today’s stonemasonry industry.


Judge Sean Collins of Boden and Ward Stonemasons said: “The competition is open to those training for a career in stonemasonry and it really helps to prepare them for the industry.


“It’s an industry-standard competition which tests whether students are ready for the workplace.”


A total of 27 students entered the competition in two regional heats. The southern heat was held at Bath College’s Construction Skills Centre.


The three students who represented Bath College were Toby Brook, Jordan Walsh and Alex Willis.


Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner said it was an honour for Bath College to come third in the overall college category.


He said: “It’s a tough competition with a very high standard of work, so our success is testament to the hard work and dedication of our students.


“All the students did very well, putting into practice what they had learned in the classroom. We’re very proud of what they’ve achieved; they were a real credit to the College.”


View our Stonemasonry Courses


Ofsted praises Bath College’s employability focus

The employability of students is at the heart of just about everything Bath College does, according to Ofsted.


The education regulatory body has praised the innovative ways staff give students the best possible chance of joining and sustaining their chosen career paths.


Her Majesty’s Inspector Nick Crombie said the College’s students were benefitting from the well-defined strategic and operational focus on “enterprise, entrepreneurship, innovation and employability.”


Students aged 16 to 18 were said to achieve well in their chosen subjects, while gaining and applying essential employability skills.


The Ofsted inspector highlighted how the College has good working links with a range of employers, encourages work experience across all industries, is responsive to current skills needs, hosts skills fairs which have led to students gaining employment and apprenticeships, offers non-partisan careers advice and is an active member of local business partnerships.


This integral approach to work-ready skills was said to be helping to prepare students for their next steps, including progression into higher education, training and employment.


The work of staff and students to further ingrain employability into all aspects of the student experience, from pre-entry through to the end of the course, was also praised.


These findings will be used to form part of Ofsted’s Regional Annual Report and will be referred to while compiling the South West’s next strategic plan.


Principal Matt Atkinson said employability was at the heart of Bath College’s provision.


He said: “Making our students employment-ready is our aim and our priority.


“We are focused on giving students the work-ready skills to meet the demands of the local labour market


“We ensure the day to day focus on employability remains strong by working closely with high-quality employers from Bath and across the region.


“We work with industry experts, host employer events and design course curriculums to meet the needs of the people who are going to employ students.”


Bath College was given its best-ever Ofsted report in 2013 with inspectors concluding the College was good with outstanding features. It was given an overall grade of 2 (Good).

Jewellery adult learners


Students recycle unwanted jewellery for charity

Students at Bath College have put their creative skills to the test by recycling unwanted and broken jewellery to raise money for a cancer charity.


Advanced Design and Craft students took apart necklaces, bracelets, earrings and brooches to create new innovative pieces of costume jewellery.


The one-off student designs were displayed during Bath in Fashion and will now be auctioned off to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Research.


The ‘Reloved Campaign’ was run in conjunction with Fabulous jewellery shop in SouthGate, which collected returned/ex-stock jewellery and asked customers to donate unwanted items.


Part-time students Scarlet De La Croix, Debbie Downs, Nico Stead and Susan Harker completed their re-modelled designs in about two months, with a lot of the work being carried out in their free time.


Susan said: “Having all the unwanted jewellery was like opening a Pandora’s box.


“It was exciting to dive in; I tried to get my hands on anything sparkly; I must have grabbed about 30+ pieces to work with.


“I tried to create a ‘looking good, feeling better’ piece to tie in with the breast cancer theme. It’s a really big piece that is a fashion statement.”


Debbie said it had been great experience to keep to the industry brief, while raising money for charity at the same time.


She said: “We were given a large choice of old pieces of jewellery and we could select anything that caught our eye.


“I went for the shells and pearls and anything else relating to the sea. I was thinking something along the mermaid theme and it went from there.


“The end result doesn’t actually look anything like my original idea, but I’m pleased with it. I’ve created a piece of jewellery totally from scratch and I’ve learnt how to adapt to an evolving design process.”


Course tutor Melanie Sproat said students worked with a large amount of unwanted jewellery made out of various materials from coloured acrylics to gold plate.


She said: “Students had to identify materials from the items of jewellery, deconstruct them then incorporate them into new designs.


“They generated completely new ideas for jewellery and came up with a range of eye-catching designs.


“It was quite a challenge but students did a great job. They created some very sophisticated costume jewellery for a great cause.”


Becky Johnson, Retail and Training Manager at Fabulous, said she was pleased to see the students had risen to the design challenge.


She said: “We collected a massive box of jewellery and handed it over to the students.


“I’m very impressed with their designs; they have completely transformed the unwanted items.


“The finished results are great; the students have created some innovative and beautifully crafted pieces of jewellery.”


The Advanced Design and Craft course is part of Bath College’s Love2learn part-time programme. There are a wide range of art and design courses available, many of them running in the evening and at weekends.


Courses on offer include fashion design and textiles, interior design, glass-making, painting, photography and sculpture.


For more information on part-time leisure courses is available here or phone 01225 312191. There’s a 10 per cent discount for online enrolments.

employability week competition


Students prove how employable they are

Students have been given the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their employability with a week devoted to getting a head start in the job market.


Employability Week at Bath College included several exciting events to give students the skills that employers want – and to teach them how to prove they have them.


Students from all subject areas were given valuable tips and advice for personal development. This included CV writing, interview tips, and learning what employers want from students.


The Employability Passport Scheme was also launched to encourage students to build up employability skills and earn bronze, silver or gold passports. The passports aim to get students’ careers ‘off to a flying start.’


The event was part of Bath College’s commitment to preparing students for the world of employment. Staff work hard to ensure students have the work-ready skills to match the demand from the local labour market.


A highlight of Employability Week was the Dress To Impress Competition to promote the importance of suitable interview outfits.


Students had no more than an hour to make their interview clothing selection from Next in Southgate, Bath, then present their chosen outfit to a panel of judges.


They could pick whatever clothes they wanted, including shoes and accessories, for a fictional job vacancy as a PR/Social Media Co-ordinator at a large fashion company.


Level 3 Travel and Tourism student Ellen Samikwa was chosen as the winner for her blue skirt suit selection and matching shoes. She won a £100 Next voucher.


Ellen, 18, said: “It was great; we could pick out anything we wanted to wear.


“I went for something tailored, something that would help me stand out and make a good first impression.”


Employability Week was organised and run by Apprentice Emma Datson, Careers and Employability Manager Louise Croft and the College’s careers advisors.


Emma said they wanted to give students the chance to gain the essential skills and experiences to make them stand out from the crowd.


She said: “The students have been very positive about raising their employability skills.


“They joined in with all the activities and events knowing that they will ultimately help to boost their careers.”


The College’s first Employability Week was such a success that it is expected to become an annual event.


College students welcome coding into the classroom

Students at Bath College are learning to create their own digital worlds as coding is put at the heart of their IT education.


They are being taught how to tell a computer to perform complex tasks to keep up to date with the changing technological world.


The College is dedicated to arming students with the power of coding as today’s job market is dominated by computer software.


Level 2 IT students are being taught that once they know how to code, the only limit on what is possible within computing is their imagination.


It comes as the next generation’s world is predicted to be even more online and digital with more web-controlled devices.


Coding – which is seen as the new language of the world – also develops the students’ maths, problem-solving and logical-thinking skills.


During the first year of their IT courses, Bath College students are using an onsite programme to pick up the basics through a series of activities that increase in difficulty.


The website (code.org) features videos, puzzles, group activities and game designs recommended by the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.


Students are then encouraged to go on to use coding to build useful applications and websites.


Student Amiee Daws, 16, said she liked how coding was incorporated into the course to try to get them ahead in the industry.


She said:  “I didn’t really know a lot about coding but I’m learning in a very hands-on way.


“Learning with the website has demystified coding and broken it down into simple terms for us.


“I think I’ve become a better logical-thinker and I’m hoping I can put what I’ve learnt about coding into practice when I get a job.”


Student Jordan Kent, 18, said coding would help with his future career as he hoped to go on to university then get his dream job at the Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.


He said: “It’s great to learn coding as it’s essential for solving problems.


“We’ve covered all the basics of coding by learning how to break things down into more manageable problems.


“The coding puzzles are good fun; it feels like we are playing and learning at the same time.”


Student Kieran Lye, 18, said he’d learnt how code works and how important it is to website development.


He said: “It’s good because you work at your own pace with the online coding puzzles going from easy to complicated very quickly.


“You can direct just about everything through coding; it’s about being logical and learning the importance of commands.


“I hope these new IT skills will help me to get a job after College.”

Your Wishlist