Talented trio reach prestigious national skills finals

Students are made up with success at skills competitionsWarwickshire College students Phoebe Bushnell, Kiah Matthews and Rachel Quinney have reached the finals of the prestigious WorldSkills UK competition, which takes place at The Skills Show from 13-15 November at the NEC in Birmingham.

Hairdressing student Rachel won a regional heat organised by L’Oreal in Stoke-on-Trent to claim her place in the Advanced Hairdressing final, where she will have to demonstrate a range of skills including colouring, cutting, restyling and dressing long hair, over the course of three days.

Rachel, 20, from Redditch, has just completed a Level 3 Diploma in Hairdressing and is embarking on a Foundation Degree in Hairdressing Management at Henley-in-Arden College. She said, “To get through to the final in the Advanced category is fantastic for me. I competed in the Intermediate category final at the NEC last year, so I have had some experience which hopefully will stand me in good stead in November, as I’ll know what to expect.”

Jo Mills, hairdressing lecturer at Warwickshire College, said, “Rachel’s practical skills are brilliant and she has a real flair for hair. She listens and does exactly what she is advised to do and she works incredibly hard.

“The whole group and team are supporting Rachel in the competition and we will be going along to the Skills Show to cheer her on. I am very proud of her and I know she has the ability to do well – we wish her every success for the competition.”

Theatrical make-up students Kiah Matthews and Phoebe Bushnell have both made it through to the WorldSkills UK Intermediate Media Make-up competition after impressing the judges at the regional heat at the NEC Beauty Show. For the final they will have to create a look based on the history of fashion.

Kiah, 18, from Coventry, has recently completed her make-up course and is now studying hairdressing at Rugby College. She said, “When I heard I had won my heat, I nearly cried – I just wasn’t expecting it. We had to wait a while to find out if we had made it through, which was nerve-wracking, but now we can look forward to the final.”

Phoebe Bushnell, 18 from Stratford-upon-Avon, is studying theatrical make-up at Henley-in-Arden College. She said, “I’m really looking forward to the final. I’m sure we’ll be putting in lots of extra hours over the next few weeks as we prepare, but it will all be worth it if we can produce our best.”

Kelly Taylor, lecturer in Theatrical Make-up at Warwickshire College, said, “I am so proud of Kiah and Phoebe – they have done brilliantly and worked so hard. Competitions are very intense but they both coped really well under the pressure.

“We’ll be giving them all the support we can in the run-up to the finals where I’m sure they’ll do their best and make us all even prouder of them.”

Warwickshire College offers a range of hairdressing, beauty and theatrical make-up courses in Rugby, Henley-in-Arden and Leamington – for more information call 0300 45 600 49 or go to www.warwickshire.ac.uk.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Part-time courses – big time passions

Whether you’re looking to learn a new hobby, improve your skills or take the next step in your career, Warwickshire College can help you find something new to love!

With everything from hobby classes in dressmaking and dog-grooming, to career-enhancing qualifications in book-keeping, marketing and IT, there are lots of part-time day and evening short courses to choose from so don’t miss out and enrol now.

•    Home improvements? Brush up your skills with a DIY course
•    Like getting creative? Try pottery or floristry
•    Want to be a cut above? Barbering could be for you

John Rabone, who studied DIY Brickwork said, “I now have the confidence to tackle the small projects that I planned plus a couple of big ones as well! I would recommend it to anyone.”

Courses start soon across all the six colleges at Leamington, Rugby, Moreton Morrell, Pershore, Henley-in-Arden and Warwick Trident so for more information and to find out how to enrol, visit www.warwickshire.ac.uk/coursefinder or call 0300 45 600 49.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New French Lessons About to Start in Oswestry, Wem and Whitchurch

Vartan Bozian at the Oswestry Campus

Vartan Bozian at the Oswestry Campus

New part-time French courses provided by Walford and North Shropshire College (WNSC) are about to start at Oswestry, Wem and Whitchurch. There are two courses available: French (a fresh start) for beginners and people who haven’t spoken French since secondary school, and French Conversation Advanced, for experienced speakers. Both courses will be taught by Vartan Bozian, a native French speaker with over 30 years teaching experience both in the UK and France.

Vartan previously taught A Level French part-time at WNSC from 1992 until 2005 when he went back to France to teach full time and in 2013, Vartan returned to the UK. Vartan commented on his new part-time courses, saying, ‘there will be no homework, no exams and no text books. It won’t be like school, it’s all conversation, it’s for fun’ adding, ‘learning is taken seriously’.

The lessons will also focus on French culture as well, Vartan wants his student’s to share in his enthusiasm for French, stating, ‘French is not just a language, it’s a way of life, it’s a passion’. There will be six courses held, three for beginners and three advanced at Oswestry, Whitchurch and Wem.

For course information visit the WNSC website at www.wnsc.ac.uk/part-time-courses, to enrol call 01691 688000.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Construction Work Starts on Walsall Business and Sports Hub

Construction work begins on the site of the new £11 million Walsall Business and Sports Hub on Littleton Street West

Construction work begins on the site of the new £11 million Walsall Business and Sports Hub on Littleton Street West

These striking images show the main construction work beginning on Walsall College’s new £11m Business and Sports Hub.

Construction group Interserve was chosen to spearhead the project in early August and now a variety of diggers, machinery and heavy goods vehicles have moved onto the site as the foundations for the three-storey new build are laid.

A team of contractors and sub-contractors have begun the 12-month construction process ahead of the official opening in September 2015. Initial drilling operations started in May to improve the condition of the vacant land on Littleton Street West, which is adjacent to Walsall College’s main £64m Wisemore Campus.

The state-of-the-art development forms part of Walsall Council’s long-term £400 million Gigaport initiative, which will create business and office development along the ring road corridor, creating thousands of jobs. The Walsall Business and Sports Hub (WBSH) will include a business incubation centre for start-up businesses, sports hall with badminton courts to Sport England standards, dance and fitness studios, sports training and injury clinic and a fine dining restaurant.

Deb Rajania, Director of Operations and Resources at Walsall College, said: “Walsall is a town on the up and one which is transforming its fortunes thanks to major inward investment taking place right across the borough.

“The Walsall Business and Sports Hub is one part of that jigsaw and it is a very special moment seeing the workers and machinery move onto site to start work on this unique facility for the whole community. The WBSH will help energise people in sport and physical activity as well as creating a thriving economy for all by giving entrepreneurs the support they need to kick-start their businesses of the future.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

College hosts US furniture expert’s first UK “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” course

Furniture enthusiasts from across the UK and Europe flocked to Warwickshire College’s Leamington centre last month to attend the renowned US woodworker Christopher Schwarz’s first course held in the UK.

The college hosted two intensive woodwork courses – a five-day course to build “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and a two-day course to build “The Dutch Tool Chest” – both of which focus on getting back to basics.

Chris explains: “The idea behind the Anarchist’s Tool Chest is to remind woodworkers that you don’t need thousands of tools to create beautiful furniture. The book and the course guide take you through building a proper chest for your toolkit that follows ancient rules long forgotten or ignored.”

The Dutch Tool Chest is similar, but is a smaller tool chest built for easy transportation for the craftsman to carry his tools between jobs.

Chris has been teaching the craft all over the world for years but this is the first time he has come to England. He explains: “I was approached by Paul Mayon from the New English Workshop about delivering a course in the UK. He said that he had found the perfect location and that he truly believed it would be a great success so I jumped at the chance. It’s not that I’ve not wanted to teach in the UK, I’ve just never been asked.”

Derek Jones from New English Workshop explains why he thought Warwickshire College would be the ideal location for the course.

“I remember looking at the end of year products that Jamie’s students had created and thinking ‘these can’t be the right ones, they’ve got to be degree level students’; the quality was incredible! This was at the same time that I’d approached Chris about doing a summer school for the New English Workshop. That’s when I thought, why don’t we ask Jamie if we can host the summer school at Warwickshire College?”

Warwickshire College has been running furniture crafts courses at Leamington for over 60 years and has a track record in producing talented furniture makers – students have won City and Guilds Medals for Excellence in each of the last five years. Curriculum leader Jamie Ward jumped at the chance to host the prestigious workshop at the college. He said, “I thought this was a great opportunity to show the wider woodwork community what fantastic facilities we have here.”

The final tool chest that Chris created will be auctioned off containing tools from a number of local and national suppliers. 100% of the funds raised from the auction, which will take place in April 2015, will be donated to Warwickshire College to help the furniture courses. Chris said, “I’m really impressed with the calibre of the students, and Jamie has been great to work with.”

Three of the college’s students got the chance to take part in the second course, a shorter two-day course to build the Dutch Tool Chest – a smaller tool chest built for easy transportation for the craftsman to carry his tools between jobs.

Holly Smith, 19 from Leamington has just completed Level 1 Furniture Crafts and is returning to study for the Level 2 qualification in September.

She said, “The course has been really valuable – there have been lots of hints and tips which I’ll be able to use on my course. Little things I have learned will make a big difference – such as techniques for using the saw.”

Tom Golding, 25 from Lichfield is about to go into the second year of his Furniture Making course.
He said, “I’m already a joiner but want to go on to do more furniture – so this has been really useful helping me to get ahead of the game and learn new skills.

“It’s been intense, but enjoyable – I’d definitely recommend it.”

All the students commented how not using machinery meant they could refresh their basic hand skills and develop their techniques.

Local furniture maker William Self sponsored Daniel Chinn’s place on the course as the prize for designing a new interactive work for the visitor centre at Coombe Country Park near Coventry.

Daniel, 19, from Birdingbury near Rugby said, “It’s been really good and I’ve learned lots of new things which will really help me going forwards. Not using the machines has been a challenge, but getting back to basics has been really good.”

The courses have been so successful that New English Workshop has already confirmed the return of Christopher Schwarz next summer, with the addition of renowned US craftsman Peter Follansbee.

Warwickshire College offers a range of furniture crafts courses. For more information, go to www.warwickshire.ac.uk/courses or call 0300 45 600 49.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Former Student Scoops National Hairdressing Award

Former Student Scoops National Hairdressing AwardA former hairdressing student from City of Wolverhampton College has scooped a top prize after impressing judges with her styling talents.

Alice Papps, who has just completed her Level 3 Hairdressing qualification with the college, beat off the competition from hundreds of trainees across the country to be selected for the Salon Supplies Student Support Scheme.

The nineteen-year-old was just one of five winners selected by a team of judges after submitting a photograph of her work. Level 1 hairdressing student AmyJackson was named a runner up.

Alice will now receive a bumper kit bag containing everything she needs to reach her full potential during her three years of training, including the Wahl SuperTaper, Parlux Hairdryer, Joewell SZ scissors, Diva Session Straightener and a DenmanProfessional Styling Kit, as well as free Habia membership.

She will also be invited to a celebratory lunch with Salon Supplies and be a special guest at Salon International 2014, the biggest event in the hairdressing calendar.

Alice said: “I was really pleased with myself to win. It’s great to know that all my hard work at college paid off.”

Commenting on the scheme, Bav Dhanda, marketing manager of Salon Supplies said: “We strongly believe in supporting students who are the future of hairdressing and supplying them with a free kit bag is an excellent way of doing this.”

Erik Lander, Habia skills team manager, added: “We want to build the relationship between the governing body and the young hairdressers coming through, promoting qualifications, standards, passion and creativity within our industry.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

South Staffordshire College Induction Day Sees A First In UK Education

South Staffordshire College Induction Day Sees A First In UK Education1South Staffordshire College induction days saw the introduction of a UK first with the rollout of WAMedu, the private social network that engages all learners, staff and faculty to connect, share and collaborate in a safe, secure environment.

South Staffordshire College’s decision to make the system available is based on a trial with 300 learners and staff, which has produced overwhelmingly favourable results.

“Our Chief Executive Principal, Graham Morley, has said that every student at South Staffordshire College should have a friend on day one”, comments Director of Strategy & Infrastructure Jamie Smith. “With the WAMedu platform it’s now likely that every student will be part of a group of friends after the first day.”

WAMedu is the brainchild of Cannock entrepreneurs Harry Jawanda and Andrew West, whose company WAMBIZ is part of the new breed of successful businesses surfing the wave of digital technology breakthroughs.

Aspiring students were reassured to see that the kind of social networking applications they use every day are not only acceptable at South Staffordshire College but positively welcomed and employed as part of the learning environment.

South Staffordshire College Induction Day Sees A First In UK Education2All four campuses, at Cannock, Lichfield, Rodbaston and Tamworth are participating in the WAMedu programme.  Evidence from around the UK suggests that the system helps students to acclimatise to the College environment so well that dropout rates will be significantly reduced and that learner satisfaction and safeguarding levels will correspondingly improve.

Visitors to the induction days were walked through the WAMedu platform and its associated benefits during their leaner journey talks and were also given specially enabled hi-tech wristbands which open the WAMedu YouTube awareness video on a student’s Android smartphone. They also heard about a competition with one of the new iPhone 6s as a prize, which South Staffordshire College is awarding to the student who builds the biggest network of contacts.

“South Staffordshire College is fast establishing a reputation for innovative approaches to education which deliver real benefits to learners through the digital technologies” concludes Jamie Smith. “In the WAMBIZ organisation we have found kindred spirits, committed to the student community and we are delighted to be the first UK educational establishment to fully adopt this system in the interests of our learners.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment