Amrit Wins Exciting Opportunity with Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains

(Left to right): Lecturer, Colin Bancroft; Engineering student, Amrit Dhanjal and Employee Development Manager for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, Stuart Boyer

(Left to right): Lecturer, Colin Bancroft; Engineering student, Amrit Dhanjal and Employee Development Manager for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, Stuart Boyer

Amrit Dhanjal, Engineering learner at Burton and South Derbyshire College, has won a guaranteed interview for an Apprenticeship with Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) after impressing the company with achievements on his course.

The exciting partnership saw Level 3 Engineering students at Burton and South Derbyshire College monitored by HPP over the year and as the top-performing individual, Amrit, has won a £500 prize, a week’s work experience at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains and a guaranteed interview at their assessment centre for an Apprenticeship.

Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains is a Daimler AG company whose principal activities are the design and manufacture of Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 racing engines and hybrid power systems for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team. The Company also supplies power units to the Sahara Force India, Williams Martini Racing and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1™ teams.

The scheme has been created in order to increase awareness of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains’ Apprenticeship Programme and to provide the Company with high calibre candidates who will be the next generation of engineers in the industry.

Colin Bancroft, Course Leader for Extended Diploma in Engineering at BSDC said: “Congratulations to Amrit for his hard work and overall commitment to the programme. He has achieved distinctions throughout the course and I have no doubt he will go on to become an extremely successful engineer.

“The College is committed to working in partnership with industry to provide exciting opportunities for learners. Our partnership with HPP on this project provided excellent motivation for learners to work hard for the chance of gaining opportunities with an industry leader in the engineering sector.”

Stuart Boyer, Employee Development Manager for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains said: “Working in Formula 1 is not only exciting but also very demanding, so it’s essential we attract highly motivated and talented individuals to join our Advanced Apprenticeship Programme. We’re excited to be working with the College to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

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Animal Care Partnership Has Legs

Bob Lawrence Director of Wildlife

Bob Lawrence Director of Wildlife

The Academy at Kidderminster and West Midland Safari Park have teamed up to offer students a brand new course in Animal Care from September – and the partnership has proved it’s got legs!

Staff at West Midland Safari Park gave pupils from local Wyre Forest schools an insight into careers in Animal Care recently with over 60 people turning up at the Discovery Centre to find out about the new course which will be delivered jointly – with students studying one day a week at The Academy at Kidderminster and two days a week at the Safari Park.

Rod Jones, Faculty Director for Land Based Provision at Birmingham Metropolitan College, said:  “This is a unique partnership locally which will see staff at the Safari Park offering hands on animal care and welfare advice as well as real life experience in a working environment.  The course is fully accredited by City and Guilds and will prepare students for future careers in the animal care industry.”

Caroline Richards, Head of Learning at West Midland Safari Park, said: “With over 70 animals and 19 different species in the learning department alone, as well as an experienced learning team, we already teach 15,000 pupils a year through our current programmes. This partnership will offer insights into animal science, biology, housing and behaviour as well as focusing on both theory and practical through written assessments and practical observations.”

The Academy at Kidderminster is offering Animal Care Diploma Level 2 with the potential for progression to Level 3 in the future. Call 0845 155 0101 to register your interest or apply online on the website:

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Hereford College Of Arts Students Graduate At Hereford Cathedral Ceremony

Amelia Strong – pictured with Simon Haslett and HCA Principal, Richard Heatly

Amelia Strong – pictured with Simon Haslett and HCA Principal, Richard Heatly

Final Year Degree students from Hereford College of Arts (HCA) celebrated their graduation on Thursday 17th July at Hereford Cathedral, alongside a number of special guests including The Countess of Darnley, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, The Right Worshipful Mayor, Councillor, Len Tawn, and the Mayoress of Hereford.

Graduates of the specialist Arts College’s eight BA (Hons) Degree courses and two Foundation Degree courses were joined by proud relatives, friends and lecturers, as well as prize winners from the College’s further education courses in Art & Design, Performing Arts and Music.

Also attending the ceremony was Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College’s validating body the University of Wales, Simon Haslett, who was joined by former HCA student and lecturer, and now renowned artist and illustrator Andrew Foster, who was presented with a Fellowship to the College.

Andrew Foster & Richard Heatly

Andrew Foster & Richard Heatly

Andrew began his teaching career at HCA in 1997, and is now a respected guest lecturer at institutions across the country. He is a leading figure in the illustration world, and has been commissioned by a variety of organisations, including New Scientist, London Fashion Week, the BBC and The Guardian. He gave an inspiring speech at the ceremony; he instructed graduates to stand up and applaud their parents before offering a valuable insight into his life and career and reminding guests of the importance of art in daily life.

“Everything involved in our lives probably started out as a drawing or painting, from the clothes on your back, to your jewellery, to the design of your house, to your favourite films, patterns on your curtains, to the construction of your family car, to the packaging on your favourite chocolate bar, your favourite kids picture book, to the design of your mortgage bills, to your crockery and cutlery, to the stage set in your local theatre, to sculptures in the town, to your favourite magazines, to paintings that decorate your walls or in museums to your favourite football teams badge,” he said. “Art is an ‘intelligent’ and academic subject that is at the centre of everything and inspires our lives, even if we are unaware of it.”

All images courtesy of Dee Montague

All images courtesy of Dee Montague

HCA’s Alumni move into the thriving creative industries; the fastest growing sector in the UK, employing nearly two million people and delivering over £15.5bn of exports. HCA is one of the only remaining specialist art colleges in the country, and the only one in the Midlands dedicated to the Arts. Last year the College moved all university-level courses into their newly acquired campus on College Road (formerly home to The Royal National College for the Blind), which was officially opened by MP for Herefordshire and South Herefordshire Jesse Norman and The Right Worshipful Mayor, Councillor, Len Tawn, at the Summer Show in June.

At a time where many call for a University in Herefordshire, HCA is often overlooked. Just one of the many successful students who graduated on Thursday was Amelia Strong, who was awarded a First Class Honours Degree in BA (Hons) Contemporary Applied Arts. Amelia came to study at HCA when she left school, completing a First Diploma in Art and Design before moving onto the Extended Diploma and then the Degree course. As well as her outstanding achievement in her degree, she was awarded the Elmley Foundation Award for Higher Education Jewellery Design, The Mike Gell Award for Jewellery, and a year-long placement with the Alloy Jewellers Group in Herefordshire. By contrast, Amelia’s peers came to study at HCA from across the UK and as far afield as Japan.

Degree students from BA (Hons) Artist Blacksmithing, Contemporary Applied Arts, Fine Art, Graphic & Media Design, Illustration, Jewellery Design, Photography and Textile Design will be joined at College Road for the first time in October by postgraduate students, as HCA launches the new Masters courses in Fine Art and Contemporary Crafts.

To find out more about Hereford College of Arts, visit

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Former Apple guru Alan Greenberg leads inspirational day on the power and potential of digital technology in education

Former Apple guru Alan Greenburg leads inspirational day on the power and potential of digital technology in education1Around 50 South Staffordshire College staff from both teaching and non-teaching roles have taken part in a development day dedicated to the increasing role of the digital technologies in the education sector, including a session explaining how the College is pioneering WAMADU, an open, safe and secure social networking platform for students and staff.

The day was introduced by Alan Greenberg, formerly Head of Apple Education first in Europe, then Asia, whose contribution to the online use of education content has had global impact.  In Asia he managed the launch, deployment and adoption of Apple iTunes and while in Europe he masterminded the ‘Beyond Campus’ initiative.

In his opening remarks, he said “I’m excited to be involved with this; seeing South Staffordshire College’s senior management daring to be innovative and aspirational, developing solutions that don’t yet fully exist in FE.

For both teachers and students this is all about empowerment and for staff to share their IP on a digital framework.  The College has embraced the technology and enabled us to understand how the system can best be used, applied and made to deliver its benefits.”

Outlining the transformational potential of the digital techniques being pioneered by South Staffordshire College, Director of Strategy and Infrastructure Jamie Smith described the guest speakers as “thought leaders whose insights will help us establish innovatory techniques designed to radically improve the learning experience.  Partnering with major players such as WAMBIZ and IBM will provide a template for Further Education that we hope all colleges will follow.  At South Staffordshire College we’ve embraced the digital world because it helps us to pioneer, challenge and innovate – that’s what education is for.”

Former Apple guru Alan Greenburg leads inspirational day on the power and potential of digital technology in education2The core presentation from Harry Jawanda provided an in-depth look at the workings and benefits of the WAMADU system.  Melanie Wilkes, Public Service Lecturer at South Staffordshire College, commented “There’s huge potential for this, we’ve used it in the pilot study in our area this year and the students love it.  It’s really easy to use and the app will mean the kind of instant communication to an entire group that is so effective.”

Trish Bolas, from the Hairdressing department of the College, added “I’ve really enjoyed today, I found it inspiring and for anyone who couldn’t be here today I’d say make sure you get involved.  WAMADU is going to help learners socialize from day one of College and help us to engage with them at every stage of their course.”

Jamie Smith summed up the day. “Digital provides one-to-one learning that is delivered to many, with each student progressing at his or her own pace.  It reshapes where learning takes place and enriches the experience.  As today showed, South Staffordshire College has now secured a place in this education revolution.”

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Ellie and Sam join BMET sport elite

Sam Hornby and Ellie Reilly are congratulated by Olympic athlete, Mark Lewis-Francis

Sam Hornby and Ellie Reilly are congratulated by Olympic athlete, Mark Lewis-Francis

Spending nearly 30 hours each week competing, training and coaching in a number of sports is just one of the many reasons why students, Sam Hornby and Ellie Reilly were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year by Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMET).  The footballer and netballer received awards at the BMET Sports Awards held at Aston Villa Football Club.

The event celebrated the achievements of BMET Sport teams across the college’s Birmingham and Black Country campuses, where over 400 students have participated in sporting disciplines including football, golf, athletics and tennis at local, national and international levels.

“Receiving my award was a great way for me to end my time at the college,” said Sam from Four Oaks.  “The Men’s Football First team was one of the best teams could ever have hoped to play with.”

The 18-year-old who also played volleyball and cricket for the college continued: “Studying and playing sport at BMET has been an enjoyable experience.  I’ve met great people and college staff are ‘quality’.

“And the BMET Sport awards were brilliant.  Reflecting on so many of our college achievements shows how good it is here.”

Sam will now continue his studies at Hartbury College where he hopes to use his degree in physical education and school sport to become a physical education teacher.

18-year-old Ellie is also pursuing a coaching career through Leeds Metropolitan University where she will study sports development and coaching.  The netballer from Sutton Coldfield also represented BMET Sport in basketball, volleyball and badminton.

“Sport is my biggest passion in life,” she said.  “I think it’s important to be involved in some kind of sport no matter what level you play at, or your abilities.

“This is why I‘ve enjoyed coaching at my local tennis club, at Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club and at Sutton Royal Netball Club.  I like to encourage people to reach their sporting goals so they can feel good about themselves.”

She continued: “I’d love to professionally coach 11-16 year-olds in the future.”

Ellie and Sam received their awards and were congratulated by VIP guest, Olympic gold medallist and Birchfield Harrier, Mark Lewis-Francis.

BMET Sport Director, Jason Allen said: “Our awards ceremony recognises the positive impact of sport across our college, as well as the achievements of our students, who have given 100% to the many competitions and events we have competed in, officiated at and been ambassadors for.

“2013/14 has been another year of tremendous success for BMET, with us receiving and retaining a number of significant titles, while developing new links with leading sporting bodies and providers.  These many aspects of achievement point towards us enjoying another year of excellence during 2015.”

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Senior government adviser joins politics students’ debate

Mark Walport with student debators, Ami Clarkson, D J Hanson, Michae; Ayodeji and Philip Cornish

Mark Walport with student debators, Ami Clarkson, D J Hanson, Michae; Ayodeji and Philip Cornish

Government and politics students from Birmingham Metropolitan College shared their opinions and insights with the government’s most senior scientist when he spent a morning participating in their debates and discussions.  Professor Sir Mark Walport, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, chaired the final of the A level students’ inter-campus debating competition and a led a roundtable discussion on the future of cities.

“It was a pleasure to spend time absorbing the views and thoughts of these young representatives of the city,” he commented.  “Their eagerness to discuss a range of issues around the future vision of Birmingham was good to see and will contribute to the Foresight project my office is currently working on.

He continued: “I was also particularly impressed with the four competition debaters, who delivered concise, well-rounded arguments for both sides of the motions on Birmingham’s HS2 line and devolution across the UK; two highly relevant and significant topics.”

“There’s nothing like the actual experience of debating, especially in front of a prominent figure,” added student, Michael Ayodeji, one of the debate competition winners.  “My teammate, Philip and I were really honoured by Sir Mark’s presence and delighted he crowned us champions.  We found the whole experience a rewarding one, as he was positive about our debating skills and gave us some excellent feedback about how well we might have performed in a more official setting, such as in the House of Lords.

“The Future of Cities foresight project is a fascinating one that we were pleased to contribute our opinions to.”
Following his visit to the college’s Matthew Boulton Campus, Sir Mark Walport spent time meeting Year 11 students at Harborne Academy, which the college sponsors.

Andrew Cleaves, Principal and Chief Executive of Birmingham Metropolitan College commented: “Having a senior government adviser leading these debates was of real benefit to the students as they gained a better understanding of the work that foresight scanning plays in shaping future policies and legislation.

“We were also pleased to showcase some of Harborne Academy’s innovative learning programmes, which we know are addressing the skills gaps faced by certain industries and supporting the future growth of local sectors, including those linked to medicine and science.”

For further information about Birmingham Metropolitan College, visit or call 0845 155 0101.

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Triple Joy for Talented Teenage Dancers

(left to right) Abbie Nicholls, 19, Megan Whitehouse, 19, and Sammy-Jo Rowson, 18, celebrate their Triple Distinction Star (D*D*D*) grades at Walsall College’s dance studios

(left to right) Abbie Nicholls, 19, Megan Whitehouse, 19, and Sammy-Jo Rowson, 18, celebrate their Triple Distinction Star (D*D*D*) grades at Walsall College’s dance studios

Three high-flying Dance students from Walsall College have reason to celebrate after waltzing their way to the highest possible marks in their end-of-year exams.

Abbie Nicholls, 19, Megan Whitehouse, 19, and Sammy-Jo Rowson, 18, proved that vocational learning is no barrier to an exciting career after each picking up an impressive Triple Distinction Star (D*D*D*) at the end of their two-year course.

The D*D*D* grade is equivalent to a remarkable 420 UCAS tariff points and the talented teenage trio, who have been studying BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance), have all now been snapped up by prestigious higher education institutions.

Abbie has been accepted into Edge Hill University to study Sports Therapy, Megan has been offered a coveted place at London’s Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) where she will do ballet before getting teaching qualifications and Sammy-Jo will join the University of Wolverhampton to study dance.

Dance lecturer Faye Cox said: “The group as a whole has been very high achieving this year. We’re proud of them all but, in particular, for Abbie, Megan and Sammy-Jo to have each achieved the highest possible grade of D*D*D* is incredible both for them and for Walsall College.

“The fact that Abbie is now going off to study Sports Therapy also proves that this course is very wide-ranging and there are so many different avenues for students to go down, it is not just limited to dance.”

The students have been marked on each unit over the two years which then calculates a specific number of UCAS points. Throughout the course they have performed in external workshops, catwalks, and a flash mob at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena as well as working with top industry professionals from the Birmingham Royal Ballet and English choreographer Matthew Bourne OBE.

Abbie added: “We’ve all really enjoyed our time at Walsall College and are delighted to come away with D*D*D*. It means we’ve now got into the university or dance academy of our choice and the sky is the limit for us now really.”

To enrol on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance) course please call (01922) 657000.

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