Albion visit for sports students

Sport learner, Zakim Evans (17); Burton Albion Manager, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink; Chairman of Burton Albion FC, Ben Robinson; Sport learner, Mariah Archer (17); Sport learner, Abigail Taylor (17) and Deputy Head of Sport, Amrit Virk

Sport learner, Zakim Evans (17); Burton Albion Manager, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink; Chairman of Burton Albion FC, Ben Robinson; Sport learner, Mariah Archer (17); Sport learner, Abigail Taylor (17) and Deputy Head of Sport, Amrit Virk

Chairman of Burton Albion FC, Ben Robinson and Burton Albion Manager, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink visited Burton and South Derbyshire College students for a question and answer session on Thursday 26th March.

Ben and Jimmy joined sports students to talk about their experiences in professional football and gave them an insight into what it takes to have a successful career in sport.

The visit was an opportunity for students to ask Ben and Jimmy questions about their careers and find out more about the wide variety of job opportunities in sport.

When asked about the secret to success, Chairman of Burton Albion, Ben Robinson said: “As young people starting your careers, it’s really important to listen and learn from the people around you, work hard and have ambition to achieve success.”

Formerly a Netherlands international footballer, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is now manager of Burton Albion. During his career, he played for a range of professional teams, including Leeds United FC, Atlético Madrid and Chelsea FC. Jimmy added: “Having a dream is the most important thing and working hard; you won’t get anywhere without going that extra mile to get where you want to go.”

Amrit Virk, Deputy Head of Sport at Burton and South Derbyshire College said: “We were delighted to have Ben Robinson and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink visit our sports students. High profile visits from professional sportspeople are a great way to inspire students and show them what you can achieve with hard work and commitment. It is also a chance for them to get an insight into the sporting industry and ask questions about their future careers.”

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Students Conquer the Alps on Ski Trip

Students Conquer the Alps on Ski TripLevel 3 Public Services students at Walsall College swapped the classroom for the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland last week as they embarked on a mission to conquer the Alps on skis.

The week-long skiing trip was part of the Outdoor and Adventurous activities unit on the course, which gives learners the opportunity to explore the benefits of adventurous activities and develop their skills and techniques in an outdoor environment.

A group of 16 students spent several action packed days on the slopes practising their skiing techniques and after mastering the nursery slopes at the beginning of the week, students then headed up to the higher slopes and across the border into France to tackle the more advanced courses.

In addition, students participated in a range of après ski’ activities on offer at the resort, including rock climbing, roller disco, night skiing and quiz nights.

Adam Comery, Public Services Lecturer at Walsall College, commented: “As well as being an exciting expedition for the students and chance to develop a spirit of adventure, the trip also enabled them to develop a number of essential skills in preparation for employment in the sector, including communication, leadership, discipline and trust.

“The trip took many of the students out of their comfort zones as for some it was their first time away from parents, on a plane and for all, their first time skiing. But participating and excelling in a wide variety of challenging activities really helped them in building their confidence and working as part of a team.”

Student, Alex Owen said: “This trip was the best thing I have ever done in my life and was definitely the most fun and outgoing week I have ever experienced. Taking part in extreme sports such as skiing and rock climbing has made me realise that there is a lot more to do in life and appreciate the beauty of the wider world away from Walsall, which is breath-taking.”

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South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Students receive excellent reviews following Lichfield Garrick Performances

South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Students receive excellent reviews following Lichfield Garrick PerformancesPerforming Arts Students from South Staffordshire College have stars in their eyes following their recent performances of ‘See How they Run’ and ‘Tick, Tick, Boom!’ at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre.

The performances, which took place on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th March are the result of months of hard work by the students and staff alike, and have received much acclaim, having been attended by critics from both ‘Love Midlands Theatre’ and ‘Remotegoat’.

“Sitting, watching the BTEC Performing Arts students was rewarding” say ‘Love Midlands Theatre’. “It was as if I’d had the opportunity to look through a window into the future and watch the emerging talent in the Midlands. “

Remotegoat gave ‘tick, Tick, Boom as impressive 4 star review and said “South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Department has a well deserved reputation for producing high quality productions, and their latest production did nothing to harm this. Laurie Asher’s assured directing and choreography, and Mark Bayliss’s musical direction gave this performance a slick production value, whilst also using the main characters and the general ensemble to their best advantage.”

Feedback from other audience members and via social media has also been extremely positive.

“Fantastic night watching Tick Tick Boom” says one spectator. “Such talented student s –  first class performance from all. Loved the dialogue and the songs sung wonderfully. Full of warmth and humour! Magical!”

Naturally, the students and staff are delighted that their performances have been so well received and Performing Arts Course Leader Laurie Asher says

“I’m extremely proud of the students. They have worked very hard to deliver two fantastic shows and I’d like to thank them all for their commitment and enthusiasm. We’re delighted that the shows have been so well received.

I’d also like to extend huge thanks to those who support our department by buying tickets for our shows.  Without them,  we wouldn’t be able to continue to produce such high quality productions. All of the profits generated are reinvested back into our department, so that we can continue to provide our learners with such fantastic performance opportunities.”

The Performing Arts Department at South Staffordshire College continues to go from strength to strength and in the past year, has seen student numbers double. This success, coupled with an increasing demand in the local community, has led to the launch of a new Foundation Degree in Musical Theatre. This course, along with the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre), gives those who dream of treading the boards in the West End, or being a star on the big screen the perfect grounding for a career in this highly competitive industry.

If you’d like to see the students in action, the next production by South Staffordshire College BTEC Level 3 Students is ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ which runs on 23rd and 24th June at the Lichfield Garrick. Written by Stephen Sondheim, who also wrote ‘Into the woods’ and ‘Sweeny Todd’, and with rehearsals now well underway, this performance is shaping up to be another roaring success.

If you can’t wait that long, Greasepaint Productions  – South Staffordshire College’s in-house production company for the Foundation Degree in Musical Theatre, will also be staging ‘ Hot Mikado’ the hit jazz / swing musical adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic operetta ‘The Mikado’. Also taking place at the Lichfield Garrick, this show will run from Wednesday 27th – Saturday 30th May 2015.

Tickets for both of these shows are available now from the Lichfield Garrick Box Office. Call 01543 412121 or visit to get yours now!

If you want to find out more about studying Performing Arts at South Staffordshire College, visit where you can apply online in just 25 seconds.

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Colourful clothing combinations at college’s charity day

Colourful clothing combinations at college's charity dayPurple pullovers, pyjamas and pumps teamed with teal tops, trousers and tights were some of the colourful combinations that were sported by staff and students at City of Wolverhampton College on its annual charity fundraising day.

The college encouraged learners and tutors to raid their wardrobes and pitch up in wacky mis-matched outfits of the college’s corporate colours for its popular Purple and Teal Day on March 26.

All staff and students taking part were asked to make a £1 donation with the total amount raised being split between Wolverhampton-based charity Promise Dreams and national charity Epilepsy Action.

The event also supported the Good Shepherd Ministry with staff and students donating food, clothing and bedding to the charity that provides support to homeless and disadvantaged people in the city.

Mark Robertson, principal of the college – who sported a purple flowery shirt, teal jumper and striped tie – said: “Following the success of our first Purple and Teal Day last year I am delighted that we had an even bigger, better and more colourful turnout this time.
“Staff and students work extremely hard every day to achieve great results and this was an opportunity for everyone to have a bit of fun and support three worthwhile causes at the same time.”

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Fancy a slice of pi?

Heart of Worcestershire College and local IT solutions company, Redland Business Solutions, have joined forces to promote the latest technology and offer computing enthusiasts a mouth-watering opportunity to share their ideas and become part of a new coding club.

Taking place at the College’s Bromsgrove campus, on Tuesday 14th April from 6:30pm – 9pm, the free event will allow like minded people to come together to learn about the wonderful world of the Raspberry Pi computer.

Learners will uncover the hidden skills of the credit-card sized computer which can be plugged into a TV or keyboard and allows users to carry out electronic projects and day to day tasks that a desktop PC does, such as spreadsheets, word-processing and games; alongside examining hardware, software, peripherals, coding and making.

Speaking about the event Kevin Brace, Blended Learning Advisor at the College, said:
“I have followed the rise of the Raspberry Pi for a few years now – and felt it was time to learn more, by diving head in. Martin Eyre and I both attended a recent Raspberry Jam at a school in Stourbridge. We were both inspired to start a regular club based in the Midlands. I’m a beginner and am keen to meet like minded people where we can learn about coding and tinkering with this mini computer in a mutually supportive environment. I felt this was a golden opportunity to start and promote the club as an enrichment opportunity to our students in Bromsgrove and Redditch; and to the local community.”

Mick Catherall, Delivery and Operations Director at Redland Business Solutions, added:
“This is a great initiative that we are proud to sponsor. It will interest people of all ages; we may even meet and develop future employees. Learning and playing with the Raspberry Pi in this way is a great way for people understand how technology really works in a safe, friendly and fun environment.”

The event is aimed at adults however under 16’s are welcome to attend providing they are accompanied by a responsible guardian. For more information about the event and to register for the first free session please visit:

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Technicians trained in Leek for company made in Leek

Left to right, Dan Mycock, Dan McNicol and Mat Blackhurst at IAE.

Left to right, Dan Mycock, Dan McNicol and Mat Blackhurst at IAE.

A manufacturing company founded in Leek turned to its local college when looking for reliable staff to run its growing IT department.

Industrial Agricultural Engineers, IAE, have always been proud of their `made in Leek` reputation. Their lorries still carry the line `That Pole in Leek` harking back to their founder, Frank Klucznik Snr who came over from Poland as part of the armed forces during the Second World War.

The company has now grown to be the biggest manufacturer of livestock handling equipment in the country and has a workforce of over 500. But it has remained loyal to its roots and IAE found the talent it needed on its own doorstep when it took on first Apprentice Dan Mycock from Leek College five and half years ago.

In fact, the growing firm, which has now moved its base to larger premises in Longton, was so delighted with Dan’s progress they turned to the college again – now Buxton & Leek College – to recruit two more trainees. And they now have a talented young trio – Dan Mycock, Dan McNicol and Mat Blackhurst – who are trusted to run the company’s entire IT department. All are under 25 and are responsible for servicing and maintaining the servers, network, 180 computers and 70 scanners to make sure IAE staff based at Adderley Green in Longton can do their day to day jobs efficiently, alongside this also help develop extensive bespoke systems.

Dan Mycock, 24, who is completing his training with a final year `top up’  to qualify for his degree in Computer Science, is the Senior IT Technician while Dan McNicol, also 24, has recently completed his Foundation Degree after completing a BTEC National Diploma in IT at college. Latest team member Mat Blackhurst, 22, is specialising in computer programming and is also aiming to complete his degree while working full-time.

All three say they are enjoying learning `on the job` as well as in the classroom and their day to day work at IAE is a constant challenge as day to day computer programmes need to be solved and their users supported.

Junior member of the team Mat Blackhurst said: “I’m in my second year of my Foundation Degree and I work at IAE from Tuesday to Friday and study at the Leek Campus of Buxton & Leek College on a Monday. It’s great because it’s on my own doorstep and the course is costing nowhere near as much as it would have done had I gone off to Uni full-time.”

IAE’s HR Manager, Kieran Meharg said: “As a company, we are always keen to invest in training and development and I feel that our partnership with Buxton & Leek College has worked really well.

“The College has provided us with some first class trainees and we do like to look after our staff here and promote from within so, when our senior technician position came available, we were happy to see Dan Mycock step up to the challenge of running the department and approached Buxton & Leek College for help in recruiting a new team member.

“We’ve been happy to put our trust in such a young team and all three lads are enjoying the benefit of earning while they are learning so they can complete their training without incurring the usual student debt.”

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Hairdressing students from Sandwell College really cut it at Winter Garden competitions

Winner Chelsea Garner with her model and Level 3 hairdressing student Emma Mason

Winner Chelsea Garner with her model and Level 3 hairdressing student Emma Mason

Skilful hairdressing students from Sandwell College are scissor-happy after walking away with first, second, two third and two fourth places in a national competition.

A top team of 24 stylists and 18 models travelled to Blackpool’s famous Winter Gardens to battle with the best in the industry.

Finishing in first place in the First Timers contest was Chelsea Garner, aged 18, Level 2 Hairdressing Diploma student and apprentice at Salon B65 in Rowley Regis.

The completely novice competitor had just 30 minutes to create the perfect blow dry.
Chelsea said: “I couldn’t even put into words how I felt when my name was called. I was shocked and started crying. I couldn’t stop shaking.”

Barbering student Omar Ismaili, aged 20, took second place in the trainee men’s section, cutting at least two cm of hair in 45 minutes.

Level 3 Hairdressing Diploma student Celina Luchcinska, aged 28, finished third in the Through the Ages section, where she was required to create a total look for her model with hair, dress and make-up.

Emiljana Veseli, aged 31, was awarded third place in the Night at the Proms section, where she had to create an evening style on a female model, including hair, dress and make-up in 30 minutes.

Twenty-year-old hairdressing student Muzghan Rahimi finished fourth in the Beautiful Bride section, creating a hairstyle for a bride on her wedding day in just half an hour.
Rhian Johnson, aged 27, also finished fourth in the Trainee Day Style section where she had to create a fashionable style for a female model in 30 minutes.

Teams also competed in the Trainee Creative Fantasy heat and It’s a Drag sections.

The winning students all attend a Gifted and Talented class each week to prepare them for competition.

Hairdressing lecturer Dawn Humphries, who helped train the students for competition, said: “We had our biggest team yet this year. They have all worked so hard this year and planned so well. We are so proud of every one of them.”

The winning styles will be featured in the hairdressing students’ catwalk show It’s All About The Base, which takes place on April 29 at 7pm.

To book a ticket call 0121 667 5000.

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