Politics Proves Popular at College Europe Day

Students get ready to vote on their electronic keypads during the political ‘speed dating’ event for Walsall College’s Europe Day

Students get ready to vote on their electronic keypads during the political ‘speed dating’ event for Walsall College’s Europe Day

While Britain debates the benefits of offering people a referendum on Europe, students at Walsall College were able to join the discussions when they welcomed three Members of the European Parliament for the West Midlands region.

The pluses and minuses of the UK’s relationship with the European Union were debated during the College’s ‘Europe Day’ on Friday 4th April. Up to 100 students joined in with discussions with Anthea McIntyre MEP (Conservative), Phil Bennion MEP (Liberal Democrat) and Nikki Sinclaire MEP (Independent) in the atrium at Wisemore Campus.

At the end of the political ‘speed dating’ activity, students were asked to vote using electronic keypads – whether Britain should be ‘in’ or ‘out’ of Europe. The students which took part gave the European Union their backing, with 66% voting to say that we should stay in.

They also took part in some fun and challenging activities where they tested some well-known European myths, considered human rights legislation and attempted to name all the countries in Europe.

The aim of Europe Day was to increase student awareness and interest in politics by engaging with experienced politicians as well as giving them a platform to discuss their opinions.

Phil Bennion, Nikki Sinclaire and (far right) Anthea McIntyre outside Wisemore Campus with some of the students who got involved with Europe Day

Phil Bennion, Nikki Sinclaire and (far right) Anthea McIntyre outside Wisemore Campus with some of the students who got involved with Europe Day

June Morrow, Walsall College’s Director of Student Journey, said: “This was great way to help young people see the relevance of the European issue to their own lives and to recognise the power of their own vote.

“By the end of the day only a handful of students felt they wouldn’t be bothered to vote (7%) which indicates that Europe Day did a lot to challenge political apathy amongst our young people.”

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‘Opportunity of a lifetime’ for local students performing at Hippodrome

Two Performing Arts students from Stratford-upon-Avon College will take to the stage alongside professional dancers and actors at the Birmingham Hippodrome after successfully auditioning for Matthew Bourne’s ‘Lord of the Flies’.

After successfully completing two rounds of auditions, Higher National Diploma in Dance student William Cornish, 18 from Solihull, and 20-year-old Stratford resident Hugo Von Fragstein, who is a part of the College’s Year Out Drama Company, have been cast in the show which is currently touring.

William could not be more excited. He said, “I feel absolutely ecstatic! No words can describe how I feel! Matthew Bourne has always been a choreographer and artistic director I have wanted to work with. Getting a part in Lord of the Flies is an amazing opportunity. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime!”

The show, based on the novel by William Golding, will run between Wednesday 14 – Saturday 17 May and has been adapted and directed by award-winning choreographers Matthew Bourne and Scott Ambler.

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Students Create New Enclosures For Spring Arrivals

Students Create New Enclosures For Spring Arrivals1Students at South Staffordshire College have been putting their skills to good use by designing and creating new enclosures for the College’s latest arrivals.

Animal Care students studying at the College’s Rodbaston Campus have undertaken a wide variety of jobs in the design and construction of the animal enclosures, including painting, staining, woodwork, posters and wall artwork.

The Wild Meadow area will be enjoyed by both students and visitors to the Animal Zone, based at the College’s Rodbaston Campus, where they will be able to get close to the bunnies, chicks, chickens, buck and doe rabbits, guinea pigs (sows and piglets), budgies and lambs born in the Spring.

Students Create New Enclosures For Spring Arrivals2Over 80 students were involved in the project, including Land Based Studies City and Guilds Level 1, Diploma in Animal Care, City and Guilds level 2 Animal Care Level 2 National Certificate for Veterinary care Assistants students as well as construction apprentices who built the enclosures.

Laura Bowker, Instructor Assessor at South Staffordshire College, oversaw the project and is understandably proud of the results.

“The students have done an amazing job in designing and constructing the new Wild Meadow area at the Animal Zone.  They have learnt new skills such as painting and enclosure design, which they will be able to use in their chosen professions.

Students Create New Enclosures For Spring Arrivals3The project enabled them to work in groups and demonstrate teamwork, communicating not only within their normal working groups but also with other departments across the whole College. I am delighted that they have all taken pride in this task and it has been a pleasure working with them all.  I would also like to give a special mention to maintenance contractor Gordon Griffiths for his outstanding support on the project.”

Set in 180 hectares of rural Staffordshire, the Rodbaston Campus site includes the corporate HQ of South Staffordshire College.

Alongside Rodbaston Hall, with its refurbished conference centre and function rooms, the Campus is also home to a working commercial farm, equine centre and animal centre, where students enjoy a wide variety of land-based courses including Animal Care, Countryside Management, Agriculture, Equine, Fisheries, Forestry and Arboriculture.

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Boost Skills with Distance Learning Course

Elaine shows off the certificates from her distance learning courses outside Walsall College’s main Wisemore Campus

Elaine shows off the certificates from her distance learning courses outside Walsall College’s main Wisemore Campus

Single mothers, business professionals and mature students are just some of the people who could benefit from studying a distance learning course at Walsall College, according to a former student and Social Care officer.

Elaine Everton, 58, has received qualifications for three different distance learning courses while studying at Walsall College, including Principles of End of Life Care. She has now urged prospective students to improve their employability skills by enrolling on one of a number of free Care courses launched by the Ofsted outstanding further education college.

The Pelsall resident, who works for Walsall Council, urged people to look at the options available to them by the College’s new wave of high-quality distance learning courses which are being rolled out across the country. There is no requirement to attend the College in person but the courses cover a range of topics such as Nutrition and Health, Equality and Diversity and Mental Health Awareness and all are delivered by regular telephone tutorials.

Elaine, who studied at the College between May last year and this January, first enrolled on a course back in 1992 and said the “in depth” courses were great for people wanting to study away from the College campus in their own time.

“I love working from home so I don’t have to worry about getting into College and I can do the work in my own time and at my own pace,” she said.

“It’s a great feeling when you actually gain a pass and certificate for your hard work. The work books are really good and informative which make the courses easy to understand and complete.”

Elaine added: “I’d definitely recommend Walsall College and distance learning is going to be especially good for young single mum’s who don’t have the time or resources to go to College. It is also ideal for people like me who are older, and again don’t want to come into College on a regular basis, but would still like to learn or people in full-time work who want to learn at their own pace in the evenings.”

Mrs Everton also gave talks on careers in Social Care to mature students at Walsall College in December and March and is lined up to give further presentations later this month.

To enrol on a distance learning care course, please visit https://www.walsallcollege.ac.uk/courses/adult-learner/free-care-courses/

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Professional Services Academy Launched in Black Country and Wyre Forest

Professional Services Academy Launched in Black Country and Wyre ForestBirmingham Metropolitan College has launched a new Professional Services Academy in the Black Country and Wyre Forest region for young people studying qualifications in Law, Finance, Accounting and Business Studies. Local legal firm, Thursfields LLP, has given its legal seal of approval by being one of the first local companies to sign up to the partnership which offers young people a unique set of opportunities to work with local professional firms, gaining hands on experience and developing the skills local employers need.

Thursfields LLP has offices in Kidderminster, Stourport, Worcester and Halesowen. It is one of the region’s most reputable law firms employing over 100 staff.  Nigel Davies, Equity Partner at Thursfields LLP, said:  “We really liked the idea of a business partnership model which helps students prepare for work by offering them opportunities to develop the crucial skills they need to pursue careers when they leave college. We will be offering students at the Stourbridge Campus and The Academy at Kidderminster ‘on-site’ training, mentoring, guru lectures and an internship programme which ultimately should benefit the business, offering us the opportunity to recruit from a pool of talent ready and equipped for work.”

The business partnership model was created by Birmingham Metropolitan College and is now in its first year with hundreds of students across its Birmingham campuses taking qualifications in banking, accounting, economics, finance and law whilst working with official partners, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Gateley LLP, GVA, LaSerUK, Lloyds, KPMG and the Wesleyan Assurance Society who provide professional support for students through a bespoke lecture series, mentoring scheme and internship opportunities.

Suzie Branch, Director for the Professional Services Academy at Birmingham Metropolitan College, said:  “Our aim is to work with key business partners to attract the best young talent around and to offer them unique opportunities to enhance their education so they can slot seamlessly into careers with professional services employers.  The new Professional Services Academy will provide opportunities for students to undertake real work experience in professional firms, benefit from bespoke teaching and learning and provide clear progression pathways into further and higher education with the ultimate goal of gaining a rewarding career within professional services.”

Students studying AS/A Levels in Law, Accounting, Economics, Business Studies and Mathematics will have the opportunity to join the Professional Services Academy.  Apprenticeships are also available in Accounting, Business Administration and Legal Studies.

Any company or local business interested in becoming a partner should contact Suzie Branch on 07854 727200 or email her: suzie.branch@bmetc.ac.uk.   Course information is available on the website: www.bmetc.ac.uk.

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HR administrator, Cameron named shining example of apprenticeship excellence

STAR apprentice, Cameron Crawford

STAR apprentice, Cameron Crawford

A hospitality industry apprentice whose roles include HR administration, recruitment and customer service has been named STAR Apprentice of the Year by Birmingham Metropolitan College.  Cameron Crawford, who works for an affiliate of Interstate Hotels in the UK, studies business administration while maintaining HR records for up to 49 hotels at any one time, including Hotel Indigo in The Cube.  His many achievements include co-ordinating online recruitment strategies which resulted in the creation of a talent bank containing a potential 2,000 employees, as well as saving the organisation thousands of pounds in advertising recruitment costs.

Corrie Harris, Executive Director at Birmingham Metropolitan College, commented:

“Cameron has achieved many of the ambitions an apprentice can hope to fulfil in the workplace through a strong work ethic, eagerness to learn and willingness to promote the benefits of apprenticeships to others. We congratulate him on his success to date and wish him well in his future progress. He is an excellent role model that many of our learners can be inspired by.”

Cameron received his award at Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Employer Student STAR awards which celebrated the commitment that 18 UK employers have made in training their workforces and the impact this has had on their businesses.

“It’s a huge honour and privilege to have been chosen for this award out of the thousands of apprentices that the college supports,” said Cameron from Walsall.  “I definitely believe that apprenticeships should have a bigger emphasis in the training programmes that businesses deliver to their staff.

“The progress I’ve made is something no other education course could have provided, such as hands on experience and an understanding of how to implement business strategies.  After being guided by colleagues, I’ve been able to develop concepts using social media and other online resources so that our HR and recruitment systems are much more cost effective.  It’s great that I’ve been able contribute to the business in this way.

“I’m keen to remain in the hospitality and HR industries as I really enjoy interacting with hotel staff, guests and our suppliers.  I’m grateful to the college and to Interstate for encouraging me to get the most out of my apprenticeship and establish this career path.”

To find out more about Apprenticeships at Birmingham Metropolitan College, visit www.bmetc.ac.uk or www.apprenticeships.org.uk

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College Leads the Way in Further International Developments

Dawn Ward OBE, Chief Executive and Principal of Burton and South Derbyshire College and Tejwant Chhatwal, PhD from Education for Employment Foundation (EEF)

Dawn Ward OBE, Chief Executive and Principal of Burton and South Derbyshire College and Tejwant Chhatwal, PhD from Education for Employment Foundation (EEF)

Chief Executive and Principal of Burton and South Derbyshire College, Dawn Ward OBE recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tejwant Chhatwal, PhD from the Indian company, Education for Employment Foundation (EEF). This prestigious occasion saw both organisations agreeing to work collaboratively to provide vocational skills across India, including in country delivery and distance learning packages meeting the Indian Government’s objectives of securing consistent GDP growth through the acquisition of globally valued technical and vocational skills.

Indian Representatives from EEF visited the College to officially cement the partnership through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. During their visit, EEF met with key curriculum staff, college leaders and learners to gain a first-hand insight into the workings of a high quality UK based College and an understanding of how they deliver leading edge education and training.

The Education for Employment Foundation (EEF) is a not-for-profit organisation in India, pioneering a unique approach to assisting young people to achieve their full potential and easing the problems of Indian youth unemployment. By gaining support of business, government, education and civic leaders, EEF create a sustainable, independent national foundation that run training and job placement programmes.

The partnership aims to empower young people in India with the skills and opportunities they need to build careers that create a better future for them, their families, their communities and the world. It will provide world-class, professional and technical training to create career opportunities for unemployed young people in India.

Dawn Ward OBE, Chief Executive and Principal of BSDC said: “Our aim is to revolutionise the way providers, industry and governments tackle the ever-evolving skills demand, both in the UK and India. We are committed to working with EEF to shape the future for young people, employers and their employees by equipping them with work-ready skills and knowledge.”

Tejwant Chhatwal added: “We have a real shortage of technically competent people in India and this has the potential to slow the growth of our economy. This global partnership will allow us to take leading UK Skills education to India and provide young people with opportunities to secure employment that currently don’t exist within the Indian sub-continent. BSDC are leading the way with this model of delivery and it was an easy decision for me to choose them to partner in the delivery of our domestic skills agenda”.

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