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Jobs-Fair-at-South-and-City-College-BirminghamSouth and City College's Fusion Centre saw a constant stream of job hunters enter its doors last week, looking to talk with as many of the 30 employers present for the event. Attendees were encouraged to speak to everyone as they entered the main hall, and to make the most of the CV workshop that ran throughout the day. Hosted by two staff members/CV experts, the half hour sessions talked about everything regarding a successful, professional CV. This included presentation, headings, what content to include and what to leave out, the language that should be used in a CV, and finally, they explained the importance of writing a cover letter to accompany any applications.

Also present was a stall showcasing all of the apprenticeships the college has to offer - everything from social media to construction. In total, over 100 apprenticeships were available to young adults aged 16-24.

Andy, 41, spent the day job searching at the college and said:

"The CV workshop was really well presented and taught. I was really impressed. I found the whole day really interesting and useful. I have managed to get a lot of new leads and I have also got an interview in two days with Home Fundraising, which I am really excited for. I think the Jobs Fair was a valuable experience for everyone, as there were lots of differing and amazing opportunities."

This year's Jobs Fair brought in a staggering 500 people in the six hours it was open, improving on last year.

Amongst the employers were Subway, West Midlands Police, the Royal Navy and John Lewis, who were looking to hire staff for their new Birmingham store, opening September 2015.

The John Lewis team (pictured above) said:

"It has been a very busy day. It's been nice to talk to a variety of people. We have all really enjoyed interacting with people. It was very well organised, Paul Leahy has done an incredible job."

Subway also had praise for the day, saying:

"We are very glad to be part of such an eventful and productive day. We hope that we can provide opportunities for everyone."

Paul Leahy, sales manager at the college and organiser of the event, said:

"As a college, we have a responsibility to support the local economy through days like today. The success of this year's jobs fair was achieved by working closely with and understanding our partners and stakeholders to ensure we support their business growth objectives to then bring prosperity to our community at all levels."

If you, like some of our guests last week, would like to know more about apprenticeships, please click here for more information.

Published in March 2015

Jobs-Fair-2015-South-and-City-CollegeFollowing the success of last year's jobs fair, South and City College will be hosting a jobs and apprenticeships fair on Wednesday 4 March.

Organisations including the West Midlands Police, British Army, John Lewis, Fujistu, National Express, Birmingham City Council, Topps Tiles, Reed Recruitment, Sertec Engineering, Fairway Care and more will be looking for people to fill full and part time jobs.

The college also have a large number of apprenticeship vacancies available with local employers in a range of industries from customer service, creative media, motor vehicle, administration, hairdressing, social media, sales support, retail, refrigeration and air conditioning and more.

If you live in or near Birmingham and are looking for a job, our jobs fair might be just the thing you need. With hundreds of employment opportunities all under one roof, advice and guidance and CV support workshops, you might just find the perfect opportunity for you.

To find out more and to register to attend, please click here

Published in February 2015

Students Support UK Business and ManufacturingStudents from South and City College Birmingham took part in the launch of a UK specific website.

UK Made Trading - a new online shop dedicated to selling new and used UK made products wanted to make business students aware of the importance of backing UK made products. The event was attended by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, who addressed the young people with words of encouragement to support UK manufacturing.

The business idea is the vision of Ian and Lynda Papworth, who on reaching retirement stage have decided to transfer their years of owning a traditional retail business to offering an on-line shop for UK manufacturers.  As well as listening to speakers, the students were given a dummy share in UK Made Trading with the promise that in 12 months' time they would have some value.

Ian Papworth explained: "The idea for UK Made Trading was born when we tried to find a UK made picnic basket and couldn't. It got us thinking that we couldn't be the only ones trying to source UK made products."

The biggest difference between UK Made Trading and other similar websites is that no listing fee is charged. This means there is no initial outlay for sellers and so cost is not a barrier to getting their products in front of consumers. The ethos of the business is to build a community and to inspire consumers to buy British and the Launch Event followed this theme.

The Papworth's were keen to talk to young people and motivate them to show a loyalty to the UK. Ian Papworth said: "We want young people to understand the heritage of the UK and the respect it has in the worldwide market place. We want to show them that not everything cool started in the United States or is made in China."

Business students from the college listened to a host of speakers from a variety of business backgrounds. They learnt about the history of manufacturing in Birmingham. The students heard more about local job opportunities and not to think that working for a small local business is second best.

They listened to the stories of entrepreneurs and business owners who have turned their passions into a viable business.

Mike Hopkins, principal at South and City College Birmingham added: "Our students have had the opportunity to hear from a number of great speakers about business and manufacturing in the UK, which I hope will inspire them now and in the future. 

"Thank you to UK-Made Trading for launching their new venture at South and City College and for including our students."

Published in November 2014

College becomes NAPIT approved centreThe first NAPIT Approved Electrical Training Centre has been opened in the West Midlands in partnership with South and City College Birmingham.

The college will now be able to offer trainees Blue Flame Certificated Full Scope electrical training, providing a key stepping stone that will allow them to demonstrate competence in one of the key areas required to join the electrical Competent Person Scheme.

The new centre was opened by MP Liam Byrne on 3 November 2014 at the college's dedicated construction centre in Bordesley Green.

Commenting on the opening, NAPIT Chief Operating Officer Martin Bruno said: "NAPIT have been providing industry recognised training across the UK for many years now and we've been ensuring high standards in the electrical industry since our inception in 1992.

"We have been thoroughly impressed by South and City College Birmingham's outstanding commitment to education, training and sustainability. Their investment in practical, vocational skills is central to growth in the local community and we look forward to working in partnership with the college for many years to come. I encourage young people and adult learners alike to consider learning a new trade in this fantastic venue."

John Collins from South and City College Birmingham added: "There are only a handful of other NAPIT approved centres like this across the country, so this partnership feels like a real achievement for us. There will be a real benefit to electricians and people wanting to become electricians in the West Midlands as they will no longer need to travel long distances for the required courses.

"We have excellent facilities here at the college, and our tutors are some of the best in their field. We are looking forward to our first class of students coming through."

Published in November 2014

Have A GoSouth and City College Birmingham and a working group of Further and Higher Education colleges, known as Premier Colleges, have thrown down the gauntlet to teachers, classroom assistants, parents and carers to come and 'have a go' at the fun activities being showcased within the FE feature area at The Skills Show in two weeks' time.

The nation's largest free to attend skills and careers event, The Skills Show 2014, is taking place at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) from 13-15 November and the team at Premier Colleges want young people to bring along the people most important to their future success; their teachers and parents.

The show is an ideal opportunity for schools to bring pupils of all ages through an organised trip, to experience a really fun day out. The event has been designed to inspire thoughts and dreams of the types of careers that may lie ahead for the next generation of our working population. It brings together educators, employers and specialist careers advisers and it provides a real insight into the huge range of skills and career opportunities, plus routes and options to consider in the future.

Mark Wilson, headteacher of a visiting primary school said of last year's event: "Our school is in a socially deprived area where many families have members who are in low skilled jobs or without work so the event certainly helped to raise aspirations. We would like to make a visit to The Skills Show one of the regular transition events for Year 6 and look forward to visiting again next year."

Teacher Pam Nembhard added "The 'Have a Go' activities had a significant impact on my students. Although not all of them will go on to vocational careers, The Skills Show gives them the only opportunity to experience or observe a variety of skills first hand!"
If a school trip isn't arranged and parents or carers don't want their young people to miss out on this fantastic show, they can book their own free places as the event is open to the public. National Express coaches are offering a 25% discount on travel to the NEC between 13-15 November in support of the event.

Mark Knight, director of marketing at South and City College and chair of Premier Colleges said: "Each of our colleges has links with local schools and we are really keen to make sure they all know about The Skills Show and our involvement as a premier sponsor. Our area has been designed as a journey to explore the vocational choices on offer and to get hands-on with a wide range of practical skills. Our team are also ready to welcome parents and families. With so much change in the world of work, education and training, we know how important it is for parents and carers to keep up to date with the latest developments. We want all our visitors to have a fun experience, have a go at different skills and discover new talents."

Keep up to date with Premier Colleges by following on Twitter @premiercolleges.

Published in November 2014

ApprentinceshipsSouth and City College Birmingham and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) are encouraging people to take their first steps towards a career in the NHS with the launch of a new apprenticeship programme.

There will be 32 placements available in a variety of trainee roles including healthcare assistants, pharmacists, ICT and business administration. During the year long placement, apprentices will receive job specific training and will be supported to study towards gaining an NVQ level 2 or 3 qualification in their chosen field. Alongside this they will receive the national minimum apprenticeship wage.

The programme forms part of the Trust's commitment to widening participation of local people, with the aim of supporting people to develop skills and gain experience through apprenticeships, volunteering or work placements.

Stephanie Crow, head of learning and development at the Trust, explained: "This is the first time we've been able to offer so many apprenticeship roles in our Trust"

"We want to play our part locally in supporting people to gain experience of working in a mental health setting, ultimately helping us to build our workforce of the future."

Qualifications will be provided through three learning providers; South and City College Birmingham, Performance Through People and Nordic Focus Training Group.

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College, said: "We have seen so many great success stories with apprenticeships - not only do they help young people get their foot on the career ladder in the industry they would like to work in, but they also become valuable assets to their employers.

"We offer a range of apprenticeships in a wide number of industries and we are excited that BSMHFT is looking towards young people to help them grow."

Ray Brown, sales director at Nordic Focus Training Group, said: "We are excited to work in partnership with BSMHFT. Our organisations share common interests in training and the development of work related qualifications, particularly where we can give local young people an opportunity to work and progress within the facilities service industry."

Gill Durkin, business development director at Performance Through People, said: "At Performance Through People we firmly believe that encouraging youngsters to take up apprenticeships is a great way to start a career and develop work skills. This great opportunity with BSMHFT will be the start of a real career with real prospects for many young people who may previously not have thought to join the NHS through the Apprenticeship route. Having organisations both large and small supporting apprenticeships will help tackle youth unemployment in our region."

Vacancies will be live for a two week period from 29 September 2014 and applications are welcomed from all ages. You can apply via www.apprenticeships.org.uk/

Published in October 2014

Public Sector Traineeship Scheme LaunchedBirmingham City Council, West Midlands Fire Service and West Midlands Police have teamed up with South and City College and are looking for 15 young people to take part in a unique three month work experience placement that will help them get their foot on the career ladder.

The traineeship scheme is aimed at young people in the West Midlands to help develop their skills and provide valuable work experience to support them at the start of their working career.

Each trainee will spend four weeks working with the council, police and fire service in clerical assistant roles. They will work alongside experienced professionals building their confidence and learning about supporting these important public services.

They will also attend college one day a week to improve their English and maths, communication skills and other key skills employers look for in candidates.

At the end of the unpaid traineeship, the trainees will be guaranteed an interview for a number of full time paid Apprenticeship jobs that are available in the services, which may be the start of a long career in these highly respected regional organisations.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "As Police and Crime Commissioner, I want to see a focus on economic development. By reducing crime and the fear of crime, we can build confidence and help create jobs. West Midlands Police as an employer can also play its part. I wholeheartedly support this joint scheme from the police, fire service, council and college, which, through the apprenticeships programme, will give young people the skills and opportunities to get them started in the workplace."

Mohammed Nabeel, aged 18, from Sparkhill will be applying for the opportunity. He said: "I have tried to get jobs but it is hard because employers are looking for people with experience.

"It can be disheartening but I realised I just needed to find a different way to achieve my goal, that's why I am excited about this traineeship opportunity. Although it is unpaid for three months, if I get it it'll give me the opportunity to have an interview for the apprenticeship I'd like. That would be a step closer to my dream of running my own business one day."

Cllr Muhammad Afzal, Chairman of Birmingham City Council's Employment and Human Resources Committee says: "This is an innovative and exciting scheme, and I hope that it will be expanded further. As the lead member for supporting and encouraging work placements, Traineeships and Apprenticeship opportunities within the Council, I am delighted that we are working with our key partners to combine resources and expertise to provide good quality support to our young people, and to enable them to progress."

Joanne Simmonds, HR Manager for West Midlands Fire Service said: "We are very much looking forward to working with South and City College and our colleagues at West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council, to introduce this excellent traineeship opportunity. Traineeships not only give young people the chance to experience the world of work, they also give us the opportunity to tap into a wealth of talent which otherwise may remain undiscovered.

"We see this opportunity as the chance to introduce young people to some of the roles which support our frontline Firefighters and to consider the wide range of career paths available with West Midlands Fire Service for a career of choice for the future."

Mike Hopkins from South and City College said: "This is an excellent opportunity for young people in Birmingham.

"Traineeships offer a really exclusive opportunity for those who have limited experience in the workplace and little in the way of qualifications to get the experience, skills and confidence they need to get a job. We have seen them be really successful and think this scheme will be incredibly beneficial to 15 young people in the region."

Mia Bye, 16, from Sutton Coldfield said: "I have applied for the traineeship and I am really excited about the opportunity. I would like to be a firefighter but you have to be 17 and a half to apply so I have some time before then. This is the perfect opportunity for me learn about working in the public services.

"I think traineeships are good because they are training and prepping you for a job in that organisation. It is hard for people my age to get jobs. I have applied for jobs but not been successful – it is hard getting passed that interview stage."

The traineeship is open to 16-24 year olds, who are currently unemployed, have little or no work experience and are qualified below level 3 (if 16-18) or have not yet achieved a full level 2 (if aged 19-24).

To find out more and to apply, visit www.sccb.ac.uk/apprenticeships/traineeships.

Applications for the traineeship close on Monday 22 September 2014.

Pictured(From left to right): Iram Maroof from South and City College, Mohammed Nabeel – a traineeship applicant, David Jamieson – West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Sara Hall – positive action coordinator for West Midlands Fire Service and Mia Bye – an applicant for the traineeship.

Published in September 2014

Students gain real work experienceWillmott Dixon is giving South and City College Birmingham students a taste of work as part of a refurbishment project in the region.

Fifteen students from the college are working on a vacant council property in Northfield, carrying out a range of building work and gaining valuable experience along the way.

The total refurbishment of the kitchen and bathroom means work includes knocking down walls, taking up floors, plastering, digging drainage, plumbing and pipe work, bricklaying and general painting and decorating.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships is currently working with Birmingham City Council to repair and maintain 60,000 properties in the city. Its two contracts for the north and south of the city includes the areas of Edgbaston, Hall Green, Northfield, Selly Oak, Ladywood, Erdington, Perry Bar and Sutton Coldfield.

Although being guided by experienced tradesmen every step of the way, the entire work on the project is carried out by the students, who will now have the confidence and practical experience of working on a real project.

Overseeing the project is Willmott Dixon manager, Dean Brough. Dean said: "The students have been excellent, taking to every task with enthusiasm and enjoyment. This project gives the students a chance to experience a real working site, with all the issues and technicalities that they can't experience in the classroom.

"Not only are they doing an excellent job of refurbishing the building, but they will have a lasting example of their work."

Organising the students is South and City College Birmingham's external project manager, Loris Cimarosti. Loris said: "This project has been immensely rewarding for the students, who have gained a unique insight into construction work. The supervision, guidance and support from Willmott Dixon has been fantastic and I know that every student is incredibly grateful for the opportunity given to them.

Once complete, the refurbished building will be handed over to Birmingham City council.

Kane Sadler who is studying Maintenance Operations level 2 at the college, said: "I have been working on the house for a few weeks now and I am really enjoying it. It's a great experience - we are working with and learning from the lead foreman from Willmott Dixon and doing things first hand that we wouldn't have the opportunity to do in college, such as drainage.

"I'm going to put all this experience on my CV and I think it'll really help me get a job when I finish my course."

Mick Williamson, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon Partnerships said: "As part of our Transforming Communities ethos, we strive to leave a tangible skills legacy in the communities that we serve. We work in partnership with our clients to deliver training initiatives and educational opportunities for local people.

"We also aim to share our ideas with other organisations through our Transforming Communities report, to help communities through these current austere times."

The Willmott Dixon Group is one of the UK's largest privately-owned construction, regeneration and support services companies.

With 162 years of experience, the Group provides services within the built environment to the Government, registered social landlords, local authorities and private sector clients throughout the UK.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships works within the Group to deliver repair and maintenance services to over 170,000 homes.

Published in July 2014

Creative Student ShowcaseMusic and media students offered the public a unique opportunity to have a closer look at the exciting world of live music TV through their end of year Creative Student Showcase event which was held in the college's Digbeth Auditorium [Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 June].

BTEC level 2 and 3 and HND first and second year students put on an hour-long show modelled on 'Later... with Jools Holland' which saw five acts perform for a live music broadcast. The show was performed three times over two days with attendees including college staff, students and members of the public.

Nigel Darvill, course leader for the extended diploma in music, took on the role of Jools Holland and hosted the performance and played piano for two solo singers.

All five musical acts were college students and they were supported by their fellow students operating all the technical aspects of lighting, sound, cameras and live editing.

Pensacola, Doveheart, Sam Gasior, Maria Myella, The Melon Trio and Lisa Grummitt performed a variety of cover songs and original material throughout the hour.

The planning for the event took over a month and rigging in the auditorium started as early as Friday. Three stages on the auditorium floor were set out for the musical acts and a technical control area was laid out for lighting, sound and cameras.

The audience were on raked seating on the auditorium stage overlooking the performance and technical areas with monitors set up so audience members could see the final show edit in real time.

The college have been supported with the event through their links with local employers including Urban Audio Productions and Pacific Sound & Lighting. It has allowed students working on the project to work directly with professionals and establish contacts in the industry.

Hannah O'Connell, a HND popular music practice second year student who was also assessed as part of her course during the event, said: "I've been looking after the sound engineering side of things so my responsibilities have included rigging up, cabling, sound checking and monitor set up. The fact that the show has had three stages and two desks means we've really been pushed."

Creative live sound lecturer, Nils Edstrom added: "This showcase is a great way of tying music and media together and we try to provide the closest possible industry relevant experience for our students. The challenging production environment we put them into means they are stretched and can make errors within a supportive framework allowing them to learn and experience professional expectations."

Creative studies' deputy director Maighread Hegarty described the event as "an outstanding example of the professional industry skills of our students in action."

Creative students will have also have the opportunity to build on their experience by being involved with production rehearsals for Simmerdown Festival in Handsworth in July.

If you're interested in a being part of events like the showcase then why not take a look at our music and media courses?

Published in June 2014

Student bus passesFree bus passes play an important role in helping young people in Birmingham attend college and gain qualifications, a survey of South and City College Birmingham students* has shown.

96% of the students surveyed said receiving a free bus pass played an important role in them being able to attend college, and 74% of students said they wouldn't be able to attend college at all without a free bus pass.
The college provides vocational qualifications to 12,000 students, and provided almost 7,500 students with bus passes in academic year 2013/14.

The bus passes, which allow free travel on West Midlands buses would usually cost £57 per month, and can mean the difference between being able to afford to attend college and not.

Out of those surveyed, some students travel as far as 20 and even 25 miles to come to college, with the average journey being six miles. 67% of the students surveyed said being offered a free bus pass played a role in choosing which college they attended.

Over 60% of the students use their bus pass up to six times a week in order to travel to and from college, and around the same number of students make the most of their bus pass by also using them for non-college related journeys.
Students coming to the college in September will be able to apply for bus passes when they enrol– subject to criteria and availability.

Anmol Hasinah, aged 19, lives in Small Heath and is studying fashion at the college's Fusion Centre. She said: "Having a bus pass is really important in allowing me to get to college. I don't live very far away but it is too far to walk. The bus pass means I can get to college for each lesson and be on time – otherwise I would be reliant on people driving me which would mean I would miss classes and fall behind on my work. I couldn't afford to pay for a bus pass – that alongside other costs would just be too much."

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "Bus passes play a vital role in helping people in Birmingham and the surrounding areas travel to college and gain the skills and qualifications needed to get jobs.

"Every year we offer a high percentage of our students free bus passes. For many it means the difference between being financially able to attend college or not – and it's important we do what we can to remove barriers which may hinder those from continuing their education."

Students completing the survey also commented that "The bus pass is important to me because I can't afford to pay for a bus ticket everyday to get to college", "the bus pass helps me attend every single lesson on time" and "If I didn't have a bus pass I wouldn't be able to come college."
The criteria for applying for a bus pass is as follows:
16-19 year olds can apply for a bus pass if they live 1.5miles away from the college centre they are studying at. (students must be aged 19 or below on 31 August 2014). Subject to availability.

19-23 year olds can apply for a bus pass if they are studying 400 hours or more and live 1.5 miles away from the college centre they are studying at. Subject to availability.

Those aged 24 and over may apply for a bus pass if they are on a level 2 course or under, are studying 400 hours or more and live two miles away from the college centre they are studying at. Subject to availability. For those who are 24 and over and on a level 3 course, may apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan and 24+ Advanced Learning Loan Bursary Fund which will help towards travel costs.

For more information on the eligibility criteria for receiving a free bus pass, please visit www.southandcity.com

*182 students who receive free bus passes completed the bus pass survey in May 2014.

Published in June 2014
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