Josh wins Nestlé work placement

Engineering student, Josh Banton, celebrating his Nestlé work placement.

Engineering student, Josh Banton, celebrating his Nestlé work placement.

An outstanding Burton and South Derbyshire College Engineering student has won an exciting work placement at Nestlé after impressing staff in a series of assessment days.

Josh Banton was one of five Burton and South Derbyshire College students interested in science, technology, engineering and maths who were invited to the regional Skills and Assessment Day in Tutbury. The students earned their place on the programme by designing an energy efficient solution for a Nestlé product as part of a selection workshop.

Nestlé are working with youth employability experts, MyKindaCrowd to deliver the work placement programme that is providing inspirational employability training and work experience opportunities to young people across the UK.

During the day, students from schools and colleges experienced an assessment day reflective of Nestlé’s recruitment style. They took part in three main activities, each designed to assess different working practices and characteristics.

Josh impressed Nestlé staff during the day’s activities and has been selected for one of the 25 work placements available at the Nestlé site in Tutbury, which he will undertake over the summer in his area of choice.

Josh wins Nestlé work placement 2Josh Banton commented: “I really enjoyed the assessment day; it was good coming up with solutions to the challenges that were set and working in teams with people I didn’t know. I was surprised to be selected for the work placement as everybody there on the day deserved it. I would like a career in engineering and I plan to use this work placement to gain skills for a possible management job in the future.”

Naomi Merrick, Learner Services Manager at Burton and South Derbyshire College said: “Our learners did BSDC proud by showing off their creativity, innovation, presentation and teamwork skills. They had the incredible opportunity to visit the Nestlé factory in Tutbury and gain first-hand experience of the recruitment processes of a global company. Working with real employers and exposing our learners to the workplace not only raises their aspirations but ensures they are fully prepared for the world of work and their bright future ahead.”

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The Charlatans support student music awards at Shrewsbury College

Connor and Martin

Connor and Martin

On Tuseday 23 June, Music students at Shrewsbury College were rewarded for their efforts at their annual awards ceremony – with one scooping the main accolade named after former Charlatans drummer Jon Brookes.

The Jon Brookes Award for Endeavour was established after Mr Brookes, former drummer with world-renowned British Indie band The Charlatans, became affiliated with the College when he helped to launch its Roland Academy for Music in 2009.

Connor and Martin

Connor and Martin

Over the years, he held student workshops focussed on both drumming and working in the music industry as a whole, which included impressive personal demonstrations as well as giving students the opportunity to play alongside him to famous tracks by his band.

In late 2013, Jon sadly passed away from a brain tumour. But his legacy through the College lives on through Martin Blunt, bass guitarist with The Charlatans, who returned to present the award for the second time this year, in honour of his former bandmate.

Martin and Debbie

Martin and Debbie

For the first time since Mr Brookes’ death, his wife, Deborah Hill-Brookes, joined Martin to see the awards being presented and watch performances by students.

Second year Music Technology student, 19-year-old Connor Jones scooped The Jon Brookes Award for Endeavour.

Connor said: “I was surprised to win the award but really pleased. The course was a brilliant way for me to learn all the skills I now have. I especially enjoyed the electronic music production side and it would be a great route for anyone wanting to get into music production.”

Nicola Blunt, Martin, Debbie and Dave Round

Nicola Blunt, Martin, Debbie and Ian Round

Other prizes and certificates handed out to students who had achieved a lot and made exceptional contributions to the course this year, as part of the College’s annual Arts & Skills Festival, included:

Outstanding Effort and Hard Work – Andrew Foulkes

Best Recording – Five Finger Records – Oliver Grey, Edward Brown

Best Song – Tia Lewis

Most Influential – Edward Brown

Most Improved Performer – Seamus O’Boyle

Outstanding Contribution – Edward Brown

Best Electronic Composition – Night Blossom Records – Todd Durrell, Connor Jones, Arthur Chant

Best Sound for Moving Image – Michael Gibbons

White Islands

White Islands

Speaking at the ceremony, Ian Round, Music Technology lecturer at Shrewsbury College, said: “We chose Connor as the overall winner as in the first year he was a bit disenfranchised and we worked together to improve that. He travels a long way to get here, from near Oswestry, and has developed a real passion for what he does. He is going to Salford University to study Creative Music Production and he has a great career ahead of him. He is a worthy winner.”

Congratulating Connor, Martin Blunt, said: “I am really glad the College is carrying on this award. It’s a great legacy to Jon. He really thought a lot of the College and the students and was inspired by the enthusiasm of young people. The music awards is a great event and I wish Connor the best of luck in his career. It’s a real bugbear of mine that going to university these days is not about the ability to learn, it’s about the ability to pay when some of the best resources this country has are its young people.”

Deborah Hill-Brookes, Jon’s wife, said: “This is the first time I have been here since Jon helped at the College and I really had the urge to come tonight – it was like a calling. I’m so glad they are carrying on this award in Jon’s name. Jon would be elated to see everyone here doing this event. He would also be thrilled that Martin is still supporting the students and I want to thank Martin for coming.”

To find out more about Music courses, including new Higher Education courses which start in September at Shrewsbury College, pop in to the next advice event, on Thursday, 9 July, visit or call 01743 342411.

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Students take part in calf handling at North Shropshire College’s Walford Campus

NSC Agriculture Students (L to R) Josh Davies; Charlie Morgan-Jones; Chris Davies; Gareth Watkins; Tom Hammer; Will Swain at Walford Campus gaining experience handling calves ready for the Oswestry Show

NSC Agriculture Students (L to R) Josh Davies; Charlie Morgan-Jones; Chris Davies; Gareth Watkins; Tom Hammer; Will Swain at Walford Campus gaining experience handling calves ready for the Oswestry Show

Agricultural students at North Shropshire College’s (NSC) Walford Campus have taken part in a practical Calf Handling session; the session was delivered by Sian Edwards, the College’s Livestock Instructor. The practical session gave students the opportunity to experience handling and leading calves, preparing themselves and the calves for Oswestry show.

The College has a presence at Oswestry Show every year; visitors can come along to find out more about courses, both full and part time and apprenticeships. It is not too late to apply for September so anyone who would like advice is invited to visit the NSC stand. The students and farm staff will also be present showing various livestock, including the calves; it is a fantastic experience for the students to actively participate in our local agricultural show.

For more information about qualifications in Agriculture and Rural Skills, please call the College Admissions Team on 01691 688080 or email You can also visit the College website at

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Art students unveil their work to the public

Talented art students from City of Wolverhampton College will be in the spotlight when their work goes on show at an end of year exhibition.

More than 50 students from a range of creative courses, including Art and Design, Jewellery and Interior Design, will be showcasing their work at the Paget Road Campus from June 26 to July 2.

The show will feature a selection of media and art work, including fine art, sculpture, photography, digital print, textiles, fashion, jewellery, painting and ceramics.

Lecturer Robert McGuinness said: “The show provides an excellent opportunity for learners to see their work in a professional context and to celebrate all that they have achieved throughout their time with us. It also demonstrates to potential students what can be achieved at college.”

A private viewing takes place on Thursday June 25, before the gallery opens to the public. Opening hours are 10am to 3pm daily excluding weekends.

The college is now recruiting for its range of creative arts courses. For more information ring 01902 836000 or visit

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Claire’s first among the florists in skills competition

Claire Hammond [right] with one of the judges, Lynda Owen

Claire Hammond [right] with one of the judges, Lynda Owen

A floristry student from Moreton Morrell College is celebrating after winning first place in a regional skills competition.

Claire Hammond from Claverdon, a Level 4 student, was awarded first place by the judges at the World Skills UK regional floristry heat. Providing an opportunity for florists to demonstrate their creative and technical skills, the 14 competitors from around the West Midlands had to demonstrate a range of skills including knowledge of the principles and elements of design, colour harmony, originality and design techniques under timed conditions.

Claire, who runs her own floristry business “Flowers on the Green” in Claverdon said, “Before the competition I was hoping to get a place, but wasn’t expecting to come out on top! I’m really proud of myself for completing all the tasks in the timed conditions and under such intense pressure. The judges said some lovely things about my work, but also gave me constructive feedback of where I can improve which is so important.”

Moreton Morrell College student Emily Deacon, who is on the Level 3 Floristry course, was also successful, achieving second place in the competition.

Claire and Emily now have a nervous wait to see if their scores are enough to put them through to the national final which takes place at The Skills Show at the NEC in November.

Alongside the Skills heat, 15 florists also attended a masterclass competition workshop courtesy of the Society of Florist which was run by Laura Leong – winner of the BFA Chelsea Florist of the Year. The students brought a ready-made design to be critiqued and then learned designs under the tuition of Laura. Many of the college’s Level 2 florists attended this event and UK Skills Gold Medallist Zoe Rowlinson was also there to assist and advise.

Dean Sharpe, from Birmingham, is on the Level 2 Floristry course, he said, “I’ve absolutely loved today – it’s a great opportunity to show our work to an expert like Laura and I got really good feedback which was encouraging.”

Floristry lecturer, Jane Benefield said, “We’re absolutely delighted with the success of Claire and Emily which reflects the hard work and commitment they have put in. It’s been fantastic to host the event at the college, and to welcome Laura Leong today as well has been so inspirational for our students.”

Moreton Morrell College offers a range of floristry courses. For information please go to or call 0300 456 0049.

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Ansab’s aiming for the top in national STEM awards

Ansab’s aiming for the top in national STEM awardsA student at Royal Leamington Spa College could win a once in a lifetime trip to Geneva to visit the Large Hadron Collider at CERN after being shortlisted for the AstraZeneca STEM Student of the Year.

Ansab Ahsan, 17, from Coventry, is in his second year of A-levels studying Maths, Physics and Business and was selected by one of the national Career Ready UK co-ordinators as one of the top three Engineering students of the year. After completing a personal statement, Ansab’s submission was reviewed by a team of judges and he was selected to attend the National Awards Ceremony on 20 July.

At the ceremony, which takes place at AstraZeneca’s Alderley Park centre, Ansab will give a five minute presentation about what he plans to do in engineering in front of the director of AstraZeneca, a national journalist and the director of Career Ready UK. The three winners (one from each category) will be announced at an awards ceremony in the evening and win a trip to Geneva to visit the Hadron Collider while runners up will win an iPad and £150.

The STEM Student of the Year Award, supported by AstraZeneca, was launched in 2015 and recognises students from science, technology and engineering Career Ready programmes who have been transformed by their experience and who could inspire future students with their stories.

Ansab applied for Career Ready UK when he joined Royal Leamington Spa College. Career Ready is a UK wide charity linking employers with schools and colleges to open up the world of work to young people. It is delivered by employer volunteers who provide masterclasses, mentoring, workplace visits and internships to help students compete with the best in the country. Four students from Royal Leamington Spa College and four from Rugby College were selected to join the programme.

As part of Career Ready, Ansab undertook a 5 week summer placement at Unipart Eberspacher Exhaust Systems last year.

Ansab said, “My five week placement included shadowing an Engineer, learning CAD and giving a presentation to my colleagues about my experience. It was a great experience and it helped me to realise that engineering is definitely the career for me so I’m planning to study Civil Engineering at university.”

Ian Nichol, National STEM Development Manager, Career Ready said, “The AstraZeneca STEM award is a fantastic way to recognise students who have experienced a real transformation thanks to the Career Ready programme and to celebrate the potential future leaders of STEM industries.”

Warwickshire College Group offers A-levels in a range of subjects at both Rugby College and Royal Leamington Spa College. For information please go to or call 0300 456 0049.

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Automotive students hoping for podium finish

Level 3 Automotive students L-R: Juliusz Krzyszczak (19) and James Bowden (19

Level 3 Automotive students L-R: Juliusz Krzyszczak (19) and James Bowden (19

Four Walsall College Automotive students competed in a live heat for the national Skill Auto competition at the Jaguar Landover training academy on 15 and 16 June.

Run by the Institute of the Motor Industry, Skill Auto aims to find the top new talent within the industry in Automotive Body Repair, Vehicle Refinishing and Automotive Technology.

The Level 3 students, Ryan Trolley, Jordon Wilkins, James Bowden and Juliusz Krzyszczak made it through to the live heat after gaining some of the highest scores in the country in the online qualifying tests.

The event saw students from colleges across the country compete against each other in tasks designed to help them demonstrate their practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

Competitors were required to work on a selection of Jaguar and Landover vehicles with each task involving different elements of the vehicle from electrical fault finding to transmission faults.

Five live heats have taken place across the UK and the top six from each heat will progress to the national final at the NEC Birmingham Skills Show in November. Competition judges are currently in deliberation and the students will find out in the next few weeks, along with all the other contestants, whether they have done enough to make the final.

Part of World Skills, the Skill Auto Competition provides an opportunity for automotive technicians to demonstrate the technical skills required to be a successful modern day technician.

Run annually, World Skills UK competitions aim to encourage people across the UK to excel in their vocational skill and help to lift standards of training and performance, promoting world class skills and international competitiveness.

Student, Juliusz Krzyszcak, said: “This was an excellent day with lots of pressure; the tasks were difficult but enjoyable. I had the chance to work on some really prestigious vehicles. I took a lot away from the competition and look forward to hearing the results.”

Paul Duckhouse, Automotive Lecturer at Walsall College said: “I am very proud that we had four students representing Walsall College in this year’s competition.  The tasks were very difficult and stretched the students to their limits; it was a great achievement for the students to make it to the live heat and I’m quietly confident that they will all make it through to the national final.”

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