Students Celebrate Outstanding Vocational Success

Students Celebrate Outstanding Vocational Success - Katye Woolams_0858

Student – Katye Woolams

A-level students are not the only ones celebrating their success at the moment, as many students on vocational courses are also receiving their results and certificates.

BTEC Level 3 Students at Walsall College have achieved outstanding results with high levels receiving distinctions and merits.

Walsall College’s courses have been designed with significant input from employers to ensure students graduate with the skills and knowledge to give them a head start in the workplace or prepare them for university. They are a vocational alternative to the academic route offered by A-levels, giving students hands on skills and knowledge in their chosen industry.

Amongst the students celebrating was BTEC Level 3 Science student Katye Woolams, who received a triple distinction* (equivalent to three A*s) on her course and is now off to Birmingham City University to study a BSc Honours degree in Operating Theatre Department Practice.

She commented: “I’m really happy with my grade as it means I’ve got in to university and I am one step closer to becoming a qualified doctor!”

Students Celebrate Outstanding Vocational Success - Alex Sweeney 0872

Student – Alex Sweeney

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Student – Jessica Hargreaves

Other students who have completed their Level 3 courses this year have also already made a great start on their careers, securing full-time positions as well as apprenticeships with high profile companies.

Hairdressing student, Jessica Hargreaves who received a distinction merit has secured a position as a junior stylist at The Hair Lounge salon in Pelsall, while Beauty student, Alex Sweeney who received a distinction will set sail in her career as a beauty therapist, after landing a job on a Steiner Cruise Ship.

Jessica said: “My tutor recommended to me the salon and I was invited to do a trial before being offered the job. I now plan to work my way up and develop my skills even further.”

Alex said: “This is my dream job and the start of a new adventure for me. The skills and techniques I learnt on the course really helped me during the interview process.”

Recognised as outstanding by Ofsted, Walsall College offers a range of full and part time courses and its state-of-the-art facilities give students an exceptional learning environment to start their journey to success.

Walsall College will be enrolling for courses from 24th August – 9th September as well as offering careers advice and guidance on all the options available.  For more information about enrolling on a course at Walsall College, please call 01922 657000.

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College to Continue Successful Diploma in Employability and Development Skills

College to Continue Successful Diploma in Employability and Development Skills

Independent Living Students who have chosen to study the Hospitality and Catering pathway at NSC

North Shropshire College (NSC) is once again offering the exciting and diverse Employability and Development Skills course this September. The course is run in partnership with Open College Network (OCN) West Midlands and is delivered at the Oswestry and Walford Campuses. The OCN Level 1 Diploma offers students with additional support needs and learning difficulties the opportunity to pick several different pathways, for example; Hospitality and Catering, Construction, Sport and Leisure, Land Based Studies and many more. Several taster sessions will be included to enable students to sample each course before choosing their preferred subject area.

As well as enabling the students to select their desired pathways, the course includes several interesting core modules focussing on Money management, CV writing, Employability and Interview skills to better prepare the students for their future. Two weeks of work experience is included in the course to enable the students to practice and develop their new skills in a workplace setting. Pastoral support is also provided within the course such as One to One tutorial meetings and workshops.

Anna Thomas, Curriculum Manager in Independent Living, Resilience and Child and Healthcare Studies comments, “The flexibility of the OCN West Midlands units has allowed NSC to create bespoke vocational programmes of study linked to key growth sectors in the area. This has further enhanced the employability opportunities for learners and will help them develop their vocational, personal, social and employability skills to prepare them for further study, employment and independence.”

The Employability and Development course is part of a varied curriculum of courses provided by NSC’s Independent Living department, which includes both the Entry Level Diploma in Living Independently and the Entry Level Diploma in Employability and Development Skills (Entry Level 3).

For more information, about Independent Living Courses, or to find out about full time courses offered  at NSC, please call the Admissions Team on 01691 688080 or visit

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Young people receiving their GCSE and A Level results later this month can get information on their next steps at special sessions being run by City of Wolverhampton College.

The college is holding Next Steps advice and information sessions on Friday 18 August – the day after A Level results – and Friday 25 August, for those who received their GCSE results the day before.   

Advisers from the college’s careers guidance team will be on hand with information to help school leavers identify their skills and decide on the best routes into their chosen career – whether they want to go to university, progress to a higher education course, gain an industry-recognised qualification or combine earning and learning on an apprenticeship scheme.  

Both sessions will be held from 10am-3pm at the college’s Paget Road campus in Compton and places can be booked at

For details of all course and qualifications offered by the college go to or call 01902 836000.

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Local partnership to futureproof skilled trades

Local partnership to futureproof skilled trades.jpg

Greg Lakin of Midland Heart and Claire Boliver, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Wolverhampton College

One of the West Midland’s leading housing associations is partnering with City of Wolverhampton College to provide its existing workforce with the opportunity to learn additional skills to achieve the new Property Maintenance Operative Standard.

Funded through the apprenticeship levy, Midland Heart is supporting 21 of its experienced property management team, to go back to college to become fully-trained, multi-skilled tradespeople.

Taking one year to complete, attendees will undertake modules in carpentry, plumbing, electrics, painting and decorating, tiling and plastering.

One of the first housing organisations to invest in developing its skilled workforce by utilising the new apprenticeship standard, it follows three years of restructuring its property care team and sourcing the right course to deliver the right results.

“We are continually investing in our talent not only to enable us to provide a first-class service to our customers, but also because as one of the leading employers in the area we want to give talented people the opportunity to join a great place to work where they can develop and grow their careers with us,” says Craig Knapper, Resourcing Business Partner at Midland Heart. Continue reading

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Company supports Sutton students’ science aspirations

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Sutton Coldfield College students in the Lab

A Wolverhampton food-testing company has supported the career aspirations of students at Sutton Coldfield College with a £1,000 donation of science resources.  Eurofins has supplied the college with a huge selection of glass and plastic containers, beakers and sample tubes to support their students’ practical and laboratory work.

Rachel Tarplee, Department Director at the college said: “This generous donation from Eurofins means our students are better able to carry out many more tests and experiments in our science laboratories.  The use of industry standard equipment will make their practical sessions more realistic and it replicates what they will use when they enter the world of work.

“The company sent us hundreds of different containers and pieces of equipment which the college can make use of for a long time to come.”

Sutton Coldfield College offers vocational, practical science courses from pre-GCSE to higher education level as well as A Levels in biology, chemistry and physics.

Melissa Lane, General Manager at Eurofins, said: “We’re delighted to be able to donate the laboratory equipment, and to know it will be used by the next generation of future scientists.

“We want to encourage greater take up of science subjects at all levels of education and being able to support the college in this way is part of achieving that objective.”

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Sandwell College transform a West Midlands train station

Smethwick Rolfe Street.jpgAn inspirational mural created by 50 art and design students from Sandwell College to transform a West Midlands train station, has been shortlisted for a national award.

The students were tasked with bringing new life to Smethwick Rolfe Street station, while celebrating their diverse community, as part of their community art module.

The mural project, which is a joint collaboration between London Midland, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Network Rail, could now win two Community Rail Awards in the Community Art Schemes – Permanent Projects and Involving Diverse Groups award categories.

Advisory artist to the project was Steve Field who guided the students on researching the local area and asking residents and rail customers what should be included in their designs, in response to the brief ‘Smethwick Going Forward’, which aims to reflect the many cultures of the local area. 
‘Love Thy Neighbour’ is written in a variety of languages as a key feature in the design of the 19.25 square metre installation.
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Shropshire MS sufferer cites Shrewsbury College for turning her life around as she sets sail for new horizons

Shropshire MS sufferer cites Shrewsbury College for turning her life around as she sets sail for new horizons2

Mick Gudgion (Caroline’s Husband) and Caroline Gudgion

A Shropshire woman battling Multiple sclerosis (MS) has thanked Shrewsbury College for being the ‘turning point’ in her life.

Caroline Gudgion, aged 50, from Whitchurch, was first diagnosed with the disease in November 2013 and as a result of her diagnosis, her ability to work and socialise was drastically changed.

The mother of two, originally from Bedfordshire, left school and trained as a nurse in Barnet in 1985 – and then trained as a midwife at Luton & Dunstable Hospital in 1989.

Moving to Whitchurch in 2001, Caroline continued her work in the health industry as a Health Visitor in the Cheshire and Wrexham area. Over time Caroline began to feel unwell and after numerous tests and assessments, was diagnosed with MS in 2013.

“I have relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis. My short term memory is poor due to my MS and I suffer with chronic fatigue,” she said.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition of the central nervous system and over 100,000 people in the UK have it. Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but treatments and specialists can help manage the condition and its symptoms. The cause of MS is unknown and currently, there isn’t a cure for it – although research is progressing fast.

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