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Asda Staff Visit Retail StudentsStudents training to join the retail industry at the college had a great experience by hearing what managers from Asda had to say about the industry.

Andrew, a fresh trading manager and Sandra, a community liaison manager both based in Birmingham spoke to the students about working in the retail industry, what it is like to work for Asda and also how they got to where they are today.

Andrew started working part time at the age of 17, doing 15 hours a week. He later went on to work in Sainsbury's for 18 months but he soon found himself back working for Asda again.

Andrew told the students he and his team at the Asda in Shirley believe in the three "S"s: service, sales and standards. Andrew said: "I believe Asda's culture is happy and friendly and from a business view is structural."

The students also had the opportunity to watch three videos on what sales, service and standards mean to the staff at the new Shirley store, and then they were able to question Andrew and Sandra about their roles.

When Andrew was asked "What do you look for when hiring?" he replied: "I look for personality and how they would engage with the customers, which is really important. We train people in the skills needed on the job but they need to have the right attitude, with a good smile to greet customers to start off."

When Sandra was asked "Why would you want to work for Asda?" she answered: "Asda has fantastic flexibility with hours and location. Asda is a good and friendly family company to work for."

Murtaza Nazarali, retail tutor added: "It's great to have retail industry experts come in and share their knowledge with students. It gives them real insight to what employers are looking for from future employees."

Ozan Ghani working at the Coffin WorksConstruction students from the college have been working on a restoration project for one of Birmingham's most historic buildings in a bid to develop their skills and be ready to enter the industry.

Nine students have been on two week placements across the last six months with building firm Fairhurst Ward Abbotts Limited who are completing the restoration and rebuilding of the historic Newman Brothers Coffin Fitting Works situated in the Jewellery Quarter.

The brickwork students have been replacing and repointing damaged bricks to make sure the building remains structurally sound and carpentry students have been installing stud walls, insulating and replacing flat roofing to ensure the building remains warm and dry.

Whilst developing their standard construction skills on site the students have also been given the opportunity to learn new skills around restoration techniques. The specialist training has given students a chance to see how old and new construction skills are used to bring the Coffin Fitting Works back to life.

With the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reporting record construction growth in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous 20 years there are concerns about a skills shortage forming in the industry.

The college are tackling Birmingham's high youth unemployment rate and skills shortage head on by ensuring they effectively train students and get them the relevant experience through work placements so they can enter the construction industry upon completing their course.

Since undertaking the partnership three students have secured full time work or Apprenticeships in the construction industry thanks to placements at the Coffin Fitting Works.

The repair and conservation of the grade two listed building has been under construction since last summer with the project being overseen by the Birmingham Conservation Trust. The two million pound restoration is being funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, amongst others, and is due to be opened to the public as a museum toward the end of September 2014.

The Newman Brothers Coffin Fitting Works first opened its door in 1894 until the business was finally shut down in 1999. The company have fitted coffins for famous figures including Joseph Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.

Ozan Ghani, 18, from Handsworth is studying carpentry at the college and is currently on a two week placement.

He said: "Coming to work on this project has given me chance build on what I've learnt at college. I've also had the opportunity to learn new skills around restoration techniques and I'll now have a better chance of securing a full time job because of the experience I've gained."

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College Birmingham said: "It's a real achievement for our students to be working on the multi-million project at the Coffin Fitting Works. With the construction industry starting to pick up again it's great to see the college playing an active role in securing our students placements and preparing them to enter the workplace.

"Through our partnerships we are ensuring our young people in the West Midlands don't suffer from having a skills gap and can confidently become the workforce for the future."

Ian Bird, conservation regional director for Fairhurst Ward Abbotts Limited said: "It's great to see young people taking an interest and a willingness to learn more about the restoration and construction of this project which means so much for the region both historically and economically."

After the success of the placements the college, Fairhurst Ward Abbotts Limited and Birmingham Conservation Trust are due to continue their partnership on future projects.

Roxie's ConfessionA student from the college has organised a lively musical show as part of her qualification and to raise money for charity [Friday 9 May].

Roxie's Confessions – loosely based on the hit musical production Chicago – masterminded by HND in Popular Music student Hannah O'Connell included singing, dancing and acting and proved to be a roaring success with about 100 people attending.

Helped by fellow students in areas such as stage management, sound and tech, Hannah also called upon friends in the entertainment industry to create a dynamic and uplifting performance.

The show raised £324 for two charities Wythall Animal Sanctuary and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Musical favourites such as Cell Block Tango from Chicago, Summer lovin' from Grease and The Timewarp from the Rocky Horror Show were performed by the cast who received a standing ovation at the end.

The show was sound tracked by a live band and was held in the college's 450 seat auditorium at the Digbeth Campus which boasts 5:1 surround sound allowing the audience to feel like they are on stage with the cast.

Hannah, aged 21 said: "We aimed to create a unique show sure to give our audience the feel good factor. The whole Roxie's Confession cast has a great love for live music and we wanted to create something that was fun, live and memorable.

"We have spent a lot of time working on it but I think it has all paid off – I won't forget it in a hurry!"

Well done to everyone who took part, particularly the crew and cast including:

Band: James Burgess, Ashley Allen, Chris Russel, Nigel Groovy, Theo Seaton and Ben Jones. (Relo, Call Me Unique, Tom Walker Trio, I Luv Live, Elements of Sound, Musical Youth, Lushea)
Singers/Acting: Sara Linton, Shauna kelly Alder, Christof Jennings, Smash Entertainz, Debbie Bird and Tembi McKenzie.
Choreography: Holly Routley and Alex Maher (Kitty Brucknell, Kabuki, XFactor)
Dancers: Phoebe Le Blond and Rebecca McCormack (UTX, BOA)

Photography: PHD Media

Friday, 09 May 2014 08:41

A hair-raising night at the movies

A night at the moviesHair, beauty and barbering students from South and City College wowed an audience and put on a hair-raising show at their annual showcase event and competition on Wednesday 8 May.

Over 60 students on full time, part time or Apprenticeship courses took part in the competition, creating diverse, exciting and dramatic looks for their models around the theme 'A Night at the Movies'.

The students who study at the college's Hall Green, Handsworth or Fusion Centres had to create whole looks including make-up, hair styling and outfits with many students hand making their own costumes. Level 1 students based their designs on romantic movies, whilst level 2 students focussed on thriller and level 3 on fantasy films.

The incredible finished designs were shown off on the catwalk in front of a 400 strong audience of local hair and beauty businesses, friends and family. Four highly regarded local experts judged the students' work; Edith Webster Director of The Hair Company in Solihull, Bill Brown, Founder of BEX Live, Gloria Spense who set up a the first Handsworth based hairdressing training centre in 1985 and Shabana Yasmin a former student now working as a freelance make-up artist and winner of last year's competition.

Bill said: "I thought it was exquisite. Every one of them was very good – I thought they were all to a very high standard and they all deserved to win a prize."

Edith added: "I thought the standard was excellent, and much better than what I expected from a college. The whole evening had a fantastic atmosphere and I was blown away by the presentation."

Students were awarded prizes at each level based. The winners were:
Level 1 hair: Faduma Omar
Level 2 hair: Salam Yohanes
Level 2 beauty: Ghazala Shabnam
Level 3 hair: Meleasha Ottey
Barbering: Natalie Williams

Elizabeth Farebrother, assistant director of hairdressing at South and City College Birmingham said: "Well done to all the students who took part. They have spent weeks thinking about and creating their designs and all day executing them. I am so impressed at the standard, drive and passion that they showed tonight. I think what they have showcases really stands them in good stead for getting jobs when they complete their courses."

Former student and last year's competition winner Shabana added: "I can really see the improvement in quality from last year. I was amazed by what they created, and very proud that I trained at South and City College."

Gloria finished with: "The students really thought creatively and executed their ideas well, bringing everything together. I was a very professional standard of work."

Other students from across the college were involved with the event, with retail students running a stall selling sweets and snacks, as well as selling raffle tickets for the college's nominated charity The Teenage Cancer Trust and music and media students providing technical, sound and film support.

See all the pictures on our Facebook page here.

To find out more about the hair beauty and barbering courses at the college visit:

Young construction students build centre for young peopleConstruction students from the college have used their skills to complete a full internal fit-out of a youth centre for young people in Kings Heath, Birmingham.

32 students aged between 16 to 18 years old who are studying different construction trades at the college took the room from an empty shell to completed project in under a year.

Committee members from the All Saints Youth Project aimed to create a dedicated centre for young people in Kings Heath but didn't have the full funding to pay contractors to undertake the work. They approached the college for help to fit out the empty shell benefitting from the work, but also providing students with vital on-site experience.

Soon after a small team of tutors, assessors and member of the centre's committee began to plan, design and programme the project. After a professional survey and drawings were drawn up, work began.

Students on a carpentry level 1 course were amongst the first on site and they set to work on constructing a timber frame - a task usually exclusive to more advanced courses. The tutors took full advantage of this opportunity to teach the eager students the skills needed within such an advanced task.

Plastering apprentices also joined the project. They boarded and plastered the centre to a professional standard. The project really developed the skills of the apprentices who quickly became skilled at using new materials to what they had used before.

During the project tutors and assessors promoted high standards for the students to work to. This resulted in students working at industry standard and made sure the work carried out followed industry guidelines.

Painting and decorating and wall and floor tiling students helped complete the project, working as a team to finish the project in the allotted timeframe.

Loris Cimarosti from South and City College said: "The students have done an excellent job and should be proud of the work they have achieved.

"They behaved very professionally – arriving onsite, finding out what needed to be done and then getting on with it - exactly what employers in the industry want. They have gained excellent experience, built up their confidence and now have something really good to include on their CVs."

Kiu Wai Lam, the Young Leaders Coordinator from All Saints Youth Project said: "It was always part of our vision for our Young People's Centre to be made by young people; so when this partnership with the college arose we jumped at the opportunity. We're proud to say that we've been able to involve young people every step of the way in realising this centre; from the design and layout right through to the bricks and mortar –literally!

"We hope the build provided an educational and meaningful experience for the students of South and City College Birmingham. Their workmanship and commitment were key to making this much needed facility a reality.

"We were also very pleased that the college were able to extend their accreditations to four of our young people who received a level 1 qualification in Handle and Store Construction Materials and Components."

Callum Baker, aged 19, who is studying a Plastering Level 2 course at the college said: "I really enjoyed myself working on this project and I learned a lot. I improved my technical skills such as how to plaster around objects like plugs, as well as really increasing the speed at which I plaster and getting to plaster large areas.

"I think it is just as important, if not even more important that students like me get to go out and have the opportunity to work on projects like this alongside their courses. You are able to put what you have learnt in the classroom into practise in the real workplace and improve a lot.

"Not only have I been able to gain from this experience, but it feels good that we have been able to give something back to the community."

All Saints Youth Project's Young Peoples' Centre opened on 1 May and will be providing a great service to the community for many years to come.

Construction courses at South City College BirminghamSouth and City College Birmingham is providing the skills and training needed for the growing construction industry in the West Midlands, amid fears of skills shortages.

Training on average 1,500 people a year across the different construction trades and professions at a dedicated construction centre in Bordelsley Green, the college aims to provide each student with the skills, qualifications and experience needed to work in the industry.

With the construction industry beginning to show signs of national recovery - the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have reported a rise of 0.3% in construction sector in the last quarter (GDP report 29 April 2014) and the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have estimated an output growth of around 4% in the sector by the end of 2014, resulting in a skills shortage of 60,000 trades people.

However, the college is on hand to ensure people who want to take the opportunity of available jobs in the industry gain the skills they need to be first in line, whilst providing the industry with the workforce needed to sustain growth.

In addition to basic courses and qualifications, the college ensures students have the opportunity to gain real on-site experience. Since September, 150 construction students have undertaken work experience placements arranged by the college with leading employers such as Balfour Beatty, Willmott Dixon and Wates Construction, gaining invaluable skills and contacts within the industry and resulting in 33 students being offered jobs as a direct result.

The college has also placed 175 young people into construction related Apprenticeships with local employers.

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "I am confident that we provide our students with what they need to be employable in the construction industry.

"We have seen an upturn in construction in the region and there are jobs for our students who are finishing courses with us now – in fact many of them are being offered jobs ahead of even completing courses so they can go straight from education to employment.

"But what is even more positive is that the number of jobs are set to rise and so those who are considering embarking on construction training over the next few years can be secure in the knowledge there will be jobs waiting for them."

Abdellatif Mohamed, aged 19, is currently on an Apprenticeship in Tiling, working at WBS Simpson said: "I was studying tiling at the college and they helped me find a work placement at WBS to gain real experience of working on-site – as I know it is important to have experience when you come to look for work. They were so impressed with my work I was offered an Apprenticeship. I am now earning when I complete my qualifications, and I am getting a lot of great experience; I couldn't be happier."

The college provides courses in a wide range of construction trades and professions including bricklaying, plumbing, electrical, plastering, wall and floor tiling, site management, civil engineering and more. Courses are available from entry level 1 to higher education, both on a full time and part time basis.

To find out more about construction courses and facilities at South and City College Birmingham visit

Coast2Coast Challenge LaunchedSouth and City College Birmingham have today [Wednesday 9 April] announced they are planning a gruelling cycle challenge to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust.

Principal Mike Hopkins will led the challenge which will see a group of cyclists pedal around 800 miles over eight days, travelling from coast to coast across the UK this summer.

The challenge will set off from Cleethorpes on the East coast of England on Sunday 20 July and visit coastlines around England, Ireland and Wales. Each day the core riders will ride in support of a young person going through a cancer journey and the Irish stage will support The Stephen Staunton Foundation.

It is expected around 15 core riders will complete the journey, and will include Stephen Staunton, Blind Dave Heeley and staff and students from South and City College. A support team will accompany the riders, including media students from the college who will document the epic journey.

The final 30 mile leg of the journey from Coventry to the college's Digbeth Campus on Sunday 27 July will be opened up to anyone interested in supporting the team, those who would like to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust or to simply celebrate the excellent work the charity does.

Mike Hopkins said: "As a college our students and staff are committed to raising money for charity and taking part in charitable events. We have been involved in a number of cycle challenges over the years, and this year we thought we would launch our own.

"Teenage Cancer Trust is a charity we really believe in and is close to our students' hearts, and I hope we can raise as much money for them to continue the excellent work they do in helping young people fight against cancer. Our aim is to raise £50,000 but we'd like to raise more than that!"

Michelle Aucott, Regional Fundraising Manager from Teenage Cancer Trust said: "Good luck to everyone taking part in the event. It's great to have to support of the college and I am confident that this will raise lots of money so we can continue our work with teenagers and young people with cancer in the West Midlands."

Jess Beedle, aged 17 from Wolverhampton, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease when she was aged 12, and relapsed again at 13 where she received care and treatment on Teenage Cancer Trust's ward at the Birmingham Children's Hospital. She said: "I spent two two-week periods receiving treatment on a specialist ward for teenagers – the ward felt less like a hospital and allowed you to have fun not just sit in bed and worry.

"Teenage Cancer Trust also provide after care such as social evenings for people who have been through similar experiences. It is good to meet other people who have been in the same position – it helps you come to terms with what has happened and move on, it also helps you feel less isolated.

"My experience with cancer has given me a drive to succeed and I have realised life is short. I have been in remission since the end of 2010, and I am now in college doing A Levels, and I plan to go to university to study English. After that, I'm considering a career in journalism or writing.

"I think the Coast2Coast Challenge is brilliant. People fundraising in this way helps the charity continue to improve facilities, open more specialist units and provide after care such as social evenings.

"Good luck to the cyclists – they should be really proud of what they are doing."

College InBusiness Honorary President, Sir Doug Ellis OBE and Stephen Staunton launched the challenge, which will continue the 'Bring Back the Bike' to the city initiative and help make a difference to the lives of young people.

The college is calling upon its partners and businesses in the community to support the challenge. There are sponsorship opportunities for companies to sponsor and individuals to get involved in individual stages of the challenge.

For more information about the challenge and to find out about sponsorship opportunities please contact Dawn Edwards on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pictured from left to right: Jess Beedle, Sir Doug Ellis, Mike Hopkins,  Blind Dave Heeley and Stephen Staunton.

Dulex Apprentice of the YearSouth and City College Birmingham will be hosting Dulux Decorator Centres' Apprentice of the Year competition on 1 May 2014. We are inviting young painters and decorators across the UK to put their hard-learned skills to the test and register now.

Encouraging talent and best practice in the industry, the national competition – now in its seventh year - provides a challenging and rewarding experience for students and apprentice college learners. Nine other locations around the UK will also be hosting the competition and, once all ten heats have been completed, there will be a grand final on 10 -11 June 2014 at Durham New College.

The winner of the South and City College heat - along with the other regional winners and the highest placed overall regional runner up - will automatically qualify for a place in the national final. After completing a challenging two-day work piece, the 'Apprentice of the Year' will be selected from the eleven students.

This year, the competition is embracing a wider age group to include those between 17 and 27 of age who are either studying full - or part-time on a recognised NVQ or SVQ level two or three painting and decorating course. Competitors will be tasked with a series of practical applications, comprising various elements of painting and decorating, covering wallpapering, stenciling, waterborne glosses, and special effects.

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College said: "We are really looking forward to welcoming Dulux Apprentice of the Year competition to our Bordesley Green Campus at the college, where we have a purpose built construction centre. Our painting and decorating students are keen to participate and compete against students from other regional training organisations. They benefit tremendously from the experience of taking part, working towards timescales and quality standards within a competitive yet friendly atmosphere. Good luck to everyone on the day."

Prizes will include £1,000 cash for the winner, alongside a generous selection of products and tools from supplier sponsors. Heat winners will collect £100 worth of Dulux Decorator Centres vouchers and receive a certificate and a goody bag full of decorating materials donated by the company's suppliers. This year's official sponsors are: Shield, Purdy, 3M, Barrettine, Shield and Zarges.

Full terms and conditions are available online at

Money Skills WeekStudents from South and City College are being given the opportunity to improve their financial, enterprise and employability skills as part of Barclays Money Skills Week [March 31-April 11], a money management programme for students at further education colleges across the UK.

Barclays and the National Skills Academy for Financial Services have worked in partnership to develop a series of money related activities, which also touch on enterprise and employability, to provide students with the tools they need to stay in control of their finances and achieve their future goals. In 2013, over 150,000 students took part in interactive money management activities based on topics of interest to young people such as food and fashion.

The college has organised a number of monetary activities for students to take part in including:
• Styling on a budget - Can you put together an outfit on a budget?
• Taste the difference- Can you tell the difference between branded and non-branded foods?
• Basket challenge - Guess the difference of price in the basket of shopping from the brands and from supermarket essentials range
• Small sacrifices big rewards- Learn about how making savings on everyday expenditure can have big rewards over the longer term
• Blockbusters- Learn about the language connected with money management
• Minted or skinted- Five friends who are planning a holiday together - who's minted and who's skinted

Students that participated in 2013 demonstrated clear improvements in their money management skills, demonstrating an improved knowledge of financial terms and positive behavioural changes relating to saving, understanding the terms and conditions of financial products and their overall confidence in managing their money.

The fourth year of the programme aims to provide 160 colleges and 150,000 students nationwide with the resources and support to run a week of money management related activities in the spring term of 2014.

Lucy Curley from student services said: "We're delighted to be running Barclays Money Skills Weeks. It's a great initiative which allows us to deliver money management, employability and enterprise themed activities in a way that creates a real buzz in the college and maximises student learning. The programme helps students to develop key life skills which are critical to their future success."

 South & City College - in partnership with Capital ExposedThe Vamps are coming to Birmingham as part of a one off special show in partnership South & City College Birmingham, and you could win tickets to attend.

Brad, James, Connor and Tristan will be performing live from a secret location in Birmingham as part of the Capital Exposed event, on Tuesday 15 April. There will be only 400 people in the audience, so it will be very intimate and you'll be able to get up close to the band.

They will be performing some of their biggest hits including Wild Heart and Can We Dance, chatting with Capital FM team on stage, and the whole thing will be aired live on Capital.
The tickets sold out in five minutes, but we have 20 pairs of tickets up for grabs.

To be in with a chance of being in that audience, follow us on Twitter @southandcitycol and like our Facebook page  ( to find out more about entering the competition.

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