European Work Placements Boost Students’ Careers

European Work Placements Boost Students_ Careers

L-R: HNC Photography students, Kathryn Lesny and Marta Jarco visiting the Colosseum in Rome.

Walsall College higher education students have boosted their jobs prospects after completing work experience placements in Italy through Gecko Programmes Ltd, part of the European Union’s Erasmus Plus Programme.

The college is working in partnership with Gecko Programmes Ltd to provide university level students with opportunities to participate in funded European work experience programmes in Italy or Spain.

Opportunities are available in a number of industries including fashion, art and design, music sport, IT and marketing.

Following successful interviews, HNC Photography students, Kathryn Lesny and Marta Jarco and HNC Graphic Design student, Kira Marks spent 15 days in Lanciano, central Italy working with local companies in their chosen fields.

Kathryn developed her photography skills working for an events management firm and had the opportunity to attend exhibitions and conferences during her placement. She said: “This was such a great experience as it’s really opened my eyes up to all the work involved in organising events. It’s made me more passionate about specialising in event photography when I finish my course.

“This was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone but it has given me so much more confidence and I would definitely do it all again if I had the chance.” Continue reading

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Student chosen to design new Mayors’ bench for Kenilworth Castle

Student chosen to design new Mayors_ bench for Kenilworth Castle

Matt Brown with the old bench from Kenilworth Castle

Historic Kenilworth Castle will soon feature a new Mayors’ Bench designed and built by a furniture crafts student from Royal Leamington Spa College.

Kenilworth Town Council have commissioned the bench to replace one which has been in situ for many years, and features plaques with names of all the town’s mayors on it. The bench is semicircular so it can fit around a tree in the grounds of the castle, which is managed by English Heritage.

The town council approached Jamie Ward, curriculum leader for furniture crafts, about the project and Jamie briefed the students who then came up with their designs. Matt Brown’s design was chosen and he is currently working on creating the bench which is due to be installed later this year.

Matt, from Aston-le-Walls said, “I was really pleased to have been chosen to make the new Mayors’ Bench. My design is modern, but I’ve incorporated traditional elements such as the mortise and tenon joints – and it’s made of English Oak so it will fit in well with the setting.”

Matt is studying for a Level 2 Furniture Crafts qualification after deciding to change careers. He said, “I was working for a windscreen company, so deciding to do this course was a bit of a leap of faith. It’s all been worth it though because as well as studying, I have a job at NEJ Stevenson furniture makers, who hold a royal warrant. And to have the bench I’ve designed and created in Kenilworth Castle for visitors to see and use is a real honour.” Continue reading

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Alexander Eves

A young Stratford-based film director has received an award at a national film festival celebrating his cinematic prowess.

Alexander Eves, aged 19, received the Best Director – Drama prize at the Royal Television Society’s Young People’s Media Festival held in Sunderland. Alexander, who studies Creative Media at Stratford-upon-Avon College, was stunned to hear his three-minute short film Bloom received such a prestigious award at the ceremony. “I was so surprised to hear I’d won. The standard of competition from the other nominees was incredibly high.”

Bloom chronicles the life of a man who finds himself living as the last human on Earth. Despite the many difficulties he faces, the character realises that he actually leads a happier existence now that he is detached from the trappings of modern culture and technology.

Discussing the genesis of the film, Alexander said, “I was initially inspired by a video I watched on social media which discussed the detrimental effect that mobile phones have on people. I had already created a film trailer for the story as part of a previous project, and I decided that I wanted to expand on the idea and apply the skills I’ve developed on my College course to a new interpretation of the project.

“My Creative Media course has given me lots of practical experience and support throughout the development of the film. The lecturers really helped me to get a sense of how to produce a film professionally with effective camera and sound techniques.” Continue reading

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The writing skills of three students at City of Wolverhampton College have earned them prizes in an English competition.

The trio came tops in a competition run by the college’s English department and study hub, in conjunction with Wolverhampton City Fairtrade Partnership, to encourage students’ creative writing and develop their use of language skills.

Students were asked to write a short story, poem or article on exploitation – the theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight, held in March.

Aleisha Morgan, aged 18, who is studying for a Level 3 certificate in childhood and education, won first prize and a £50 Waterstone’s voucher for ‘Exploitation’ a piece of creative writing about prostitution.

IT student Simran Rhoad, aged 18, won second prize and a £25 voucher for ‘Exploited…her words’ about an arranged marriage, whilst an article entitled ‘Exploitation…it doesn’t have to be this way’, written by a GCSE English student, won third prize. 

Barbara Gwinnett, chair of Wolverhampton City Fairtrade Partnership which sponsored the prizes, said: “We were really pleased that the college chose exploitation as the theme of this term’s competition and were extremely impressed with the standard of writing of the winning entries.”

Read the winning stories at

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HEREWARD COLLEGE HOSTS FIRST COMMUNITY SAFEGUARDING EVENT IN COVENTRYOver 200 Hereward students and their families took part in the first “Our Families Our Future” event on Friday which looked at the ways in which we safeguard our communities.

Hereward is the first college to be involved in the “Our Families, Our Future” initiative which is being rolled out across Coventry in partnership with West Midlands police and community organisations.

The initiative focuses on partnership working with parents and carers to provide a support network for protecting the young people in their care.

Laura Davies, Safeguarding Manager at Hereward College said:

“We are delighted to be an integral part of this initiative which provides the foundations for bringing communities together and providing a safer society for our young people.

“Showcasing the roles the different agencies play in keeping us safe, the event covered issues such as violent extremism, child sexual exploitation and online safety.  We were also treated to a highly interactive display of dog handling by the counter terrorism team.” Continue reading

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Students build homes for barn owls on college estate

Students build homes for barn owls on college estate3

Barn owl boxes group

Students from Moreton Morrell College have built and installed nesting boxes for barn owls on the college’s estate.

Countryside Management students decided they would like to build the barn owl boxes, so lecturer Heather Hopkinson invited Paul Leadbetter from Stour Valley Wildlife Action Group over to talk to them. They then spoke to Roger Juckes of South Warwickshire Barn Owl Survey who advised the students on how to build the boxes.

Barn owl numbers have declined over recent years with the loss of their natural habitat, so the boxes provide a safe nesting place and have a ledge to prevent the owl chicks falling off.  As the optimal height for barn owl boxes is between 4 and 5 metres the students collaborated with Level 3 Arboriculture students who have been able to practice their climbing skills in order to secure the boxes safely in the most suitable locations.

Alex Toher, 17 from Dorridge is a second year Countryside Management student. He said, “We’ve been working on the project over the last few weeks, planning and getting the materials ready and then constructing them. We’ve built bird boxes before but not on this scale, so we had to make sure they was all to the right specification, which Roger helped us with. It’s good to see them up and hopefully it will be used by the barn owls soon.” Continue reading

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Students at City of Wolverhampton College are appealing for volunteers to have their heads shaved or legs waxed to raise money for Compton Hospice.

The students are supporting the hospice’s Shave Off and Great British Leg Wax challenges at a charity event on Thursday, June 15, and are encouraging local people to join in the fun by getting sponsorship or making a donation to take part.

The event takes place at the college’s Metro One campus and anyone willing to participate can book their place by calling 01902 821344 or emailing      

The events are part of the hospice’s 35 Years Challenge Series designed to support the organisation in its anniversary year.

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