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Ambassador Barzun Visits CollegeThe US ambassador to the UK visited the college's Digbeth Campus to talk with students about the role of diplomacy in world relations and to get their views on political issues [Thursday 6 February 2014].

Ambassador Matthew Barzun delivered an interactive talk with clickers allowing students to respond to multiple-choice questions on US/UK relations and the role each country plays in global politics; he later opened up the floor to allow students to air their views and ask questions on matters including equality, Syria and the power of corporations.

The purpose of the visit was for Ambassador Barzun to engage with young people from a range of backgrounds to get a better understanding of their opinions on world and national issues. The US Embassy is looking to regularly interact with youth audiences as part of their public diplomacy mission. The ambassador spoke to 30 students from IT and business courses for just over an hour.

Ambassador Barzun has been in post since last summer having been appointed by President Barrack Obama. He has previously been a US ambassador to Sweden and worked in sourcing finance for Obama's two presidential campaigns.

When asked about his visit to the college, Ambassador Matthew Barzun said: "I loved coming in today to talk to the students. It's always good to listen to what they have to say as well as learn from it and feed it back."

Student union president, Selmah Habib, spent the morning showing Ambassador Barzun around the campus: "I really enjoyed the talk by Matthew today, there were a number of interesting debates covered which was very enlightening. It was also inspiring to see how governments try to work together on global issues."

Principal Mike Hopkins said: "I think it's great to have been selected by the ambassador who was particularly interested in listening to what our students had to say on big issues. It shows the standard of excellence the college has with people −with credentials such as Matthew's − wanting to come visit us."

The visit has now formed a relationship between the college and the US embassy who will now look to work together in future ventures.

Nursery obtains grade one ofstedThe early years nursery at South and City College Birmingham has been awarded a Grade 1 'Outstanding' by Ofsted.

The nursery received exceptional praise in all areas from the Office for Standards in Education in their report published January 2014, which followed a vigorous inspection. The comments included:

· The nursery provides an exceptionally inviting environment.
· There are excellent arrangements for safeguarding in the nursery and the staff have a very well-developed understanding of their responsibilities to protect children.
· Children benefit from interesting learning experiences through activities that are exceptionally well delivered indoors and outdoors.
· Children are highly valued and the superb key person arrangements ensure they form strong relationships and are happy.
· There is an extremely successful partnership with parents, who pay glowing tribute to the staff in the nursery.
· Children are very well prepared for their future learning, independence is promoted and children are superbly supported as they progress towards their early learning goals.

The nursery, which is based at the college's Hall Green Campus, serves the college's students, staff and local population – ensuring that people that have children who want to continue in their education can.

The nursery is also a teaching area for students at the college studying childcare. It offers excellent on the job work placements for students who wish to work in childcare settings once they have achieved their qualifications at the college. They are able to learn first hand what an outstanding childcare setting looks like, and they can take this knowledge to their future workplaces with them.

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "We are extremely proud that Ofsted has recognised South and City College Nursery as an outstanding setting for children. The staff are dedicated to providing the best environment and experience they can for the children, and this report recognises their hard work and achievements.

"Not only does being graded outstanding positively affect the children here, but it also has an excellent impact on our childcare students who undertake placements in the nursery as part of their courses. They are able to gain real, hands-on experience in a nursery which provides an excellent grounding and benchmark for their future careers.

"This also demonstrates the abilities of the nursery staff, who are not only able to provide excellent childcare for the children in their care, but alongside are also able to provide first-rate training to the carers of the future."

Liz Beard, nursery manager added: "We are ecstatic about achieving a grade 1 outstanding. As a team we have all worked hard over a number of years to create an environment where children can flourish and reach their potential from this young age.

"We are not going to rest on our laurels though, we are constantly looking at how we can move forward, and our next goal is to work towards achieving ITERS (Infant toddler environment rating scale) and ECERS (the early childhood environment rating scale), through linking up with the early years consultants from the local authority."

On the nursery manager, and nursery's staff the report said: "The manager offers inspirational leadership...the staff are highly valued and consistently supported to develop and enhance their skills... and the impact on the staff's training and development is extensive."

The nursery has also recently achieved nationally recognised assurance of quality accreditation working alongside the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) on a setting reflective and improvement plan, and the nursery is now part of the elite childcare settings within Birmingham. In addition, the nursery has been awarded the highest rating of food hygiene from Birmingham City Council and the Food Standards Agency.

To read the full report, click here 

Friday, 31 January 2014 13:48

Famous stylist talks to fashion students

Charlene fashion industry talkCharlene Campbell, a celebrity stylist and presenter, came up to South and City College Birmingham's fashion hub, the Fusion Centre to speak with level one to HDN fashion students about what it is like to work in the fashion industry [29 January 2014].

Charlene, who was visiting from London, discussed with students for about an hour discussing how she studied fashion, worked her way into the industry as an intern and then progressed to where she is today. She also gave students insight into achieving success, the growing trend of online fashion and what a typical day's work involves.

Charlene has worked with a number of world famous brands such as Glamour and Cosmopolitan and at events such as London Fashion Week. After working in fashion for several years Charlene made the decision to head off into entrepreneurship and set up her own business.

Talking about her decision to set up Style News UK, Charlene said:
"I wanted to work for myself so I could provide a service to different clients under an umbrella of fashion and journalism."

Faith Scott-Richards, 17, who is studying a level two course in fashion and clothing said:
"I thought the presentation was amazing. It was interesting to learn about how she started off to where she is now – it gave me a good overview of what I want to do. She also reminded us all to keep a positive attitude when trying to find work placements."

Charlene said about the visit: "It was great to talk to such bright, young talent – "don't be afraid to chase people up" is what I want the students to take away with them today."

South & City College Birmingham - Apprenticeships WeekThe seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week takes place from 3-7 March 2014, with hundreds of events expected to take place across England, including several here at South & City College Birmingham.

The Week, which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

Every year the Week increases in popularity and National Apprenticeship Week 2013 was a phenomenal success, with more than 900 events and activities on offer across the country. These ranged from business events designed to encourage more employers to recruit apprentices, to interactive careers events aimed at potential apprentices.

South & City College is holding a range of events during National Apprenticeship Week this year to celebrate their success, and also to help more young people get the foot on their career ladder with an Apprenticeship.

The college has excellent links with local employers in the region including large household names such as National Express, the NHS and Birmingham City Council to smaller businesses, and we currently have well over 100 Apprenticeship vacancies ready to be filled by the right person.

Date Event Type More Info
Monday 3rd March Visit to School Private Event  
Tuesday 4th March Visit to School Private Event  
Wednesday 5th March Visit to School Private Event  
Wednesday 5th March Jobs Fair Public Event Get face to face time with over 30 employers who have Apprenticeships vacancies, part and full time jobs and work experience placements. Bring your CV – you might walk away with an interview! Where: South & City College Digbeth Campus Time: 10-4 For who: 16-25 year olds who are looking for work opportunities
Thursday 6th March Apprenticeship Awards Private Event Celebrating the achievements of our apprentices and their employers
Friday 7th March Visit to School Private Event  
Saturday 8th March Information Bus Public Event Where: Asda Small Heath Come along to find out information about Apprenticeships, courses and your career options

Salon Culinaire WinnersSouth and City College Birmingham students triumphed at the recent 'Salon Culinaire' competition beating catering and hospitality students from across the country.

Our students won a total of nine medals, including four gold medals, three silver and three bronze as well as a certificate of merit, and awards for best in class and best visiting student

Over 200 students from colleges across the country including Liverpool, Henley and UCB (previously known as College of Food) competed in the competition hosted by North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, who have been running the competition for over 20 years.

The competition involved students showcasing their talents in live classes in the kitchen and the restaurant, in areas such as napkin folding, fish filleting and international cooking.

Winning Gold for the college were catering student Amit Sunsoa in basic vegetable cuts, Ojezua Aisuebeogun in pasts dish, and Sarah Greenwood and Samantha Johnson in napkin folding.

Those who took second home were Matthew Thompson for table clearing, Amur Gurung for basic vegetable cuts and Robert Podmore in chicken cuts.

Phil Rosiaro in Asian inspired dish, Nar Sahani in chicken cuts and Hayley Lewis in table clearing were all awarded bronze medals, with Samantha Johnson receiving the accolade of best in class and Ojezua Aisuebeogun titles the best visiting student.

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "Well done to the students who took part, and to their tutors who will have helped them achieve their success. Competitions are a great way to really stretch students' skills and also boost their confidence in their own abilities.

"I am very proud that our students came away with so many medals, and hope this pushed them on to keep working hard and achieving their best."

Topps Tiles DonationTopps Tiles, the UK's leading tile and wood flooring specialist, is supporting students at South & City College by providing much needed materials for their studies.

Students on wall and floor tiling courses at the college have received over 500 square metres of tiles from the retailer, to help with their practical studies.
Carl Goulden, Course Tutor at South & City College said: "The on-going donations made by Topps Tiles have made a huge difference to our students. Having materials to practice with means they are able to gain essential practical experience, boosting their skills and improving their employment opportunities after graduating from college."

Beth Boulton, Head of Marketing at Topps Tiles said: "Supporting local people to improve their career prospects is important to us; in fact here at Topps Tiles we deliver an award-winning apprenticeship scheme. We are delighted to have created an on-going partnership with South & City College – it's great to know our donations are making such a difference to the tilers of the future."

Walk the Albion waySouth and City College are supporting the The Albion Foundation's charity event in which five blind footballers will walk 86 miles later this month.

Walk The Albion Way will see the footballers take on the challenging task of walking from Anfield to the Hawthorns in five days.

The college is providing a team of media students and staff who will document the venture through film and camera.

A number of media students will be accompany the team, putting their filmography and photography skills learnt in their lessons at the college into practise to capture the whole event.

Principal Mike Hopkins said: "We are excited to be supporting Walk The Albion Way. The college and our students often get involved in charity events. Not only does it help others in the community, but it gives our students the excellent opportunity to put their skills to the test in a real work situation. It is great for their CVs and their confidence."

Olivia Phillips, a level 3 media student said: "I am really looking forward to this event. I am on the second year of a level 3 media course now so I am ready to undertake something like this. I think it will be really good experience that I can use in interviews to impress employers when I am looking for a job!"

Challenge organiser, Jon Ross, from The Albion Foundation, said: "We are overwhelmed by the support shown to us by local businesses and we want to thank them for encouragement."

With the support of their guides, the B1 Blind Team players will walk from Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, to The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, from 27th January 2014, with the aim of raising £10,000 to help the charity continue to support them and the other ten disability teams within The Albion Foundation.

For 21 years, the charity has provided children, young people and adults with physical and learning disabilities with training, coaches, kit, transport, venues, accommodation and more, so that they have the chance to play competitive sport. Through schooling, sport and education, The Albion Foundation support more than 520 disabled people every week, with the aim of raising aspirations and helping everyone they work with to achieve lifelong goals.

For more information on the challenge visit To donate to the challenge you can text WTAW14 to 70070 to donate £5 or visit

Kade and Michael discuss the industry with studentsStudents from South and City College Birmingham were offered an insight into the world of hairdressing when two high-flying industry professionals came to visit.

Kadekut, 25, and Michael Damiance, 26, offered to come along to the college's Hall Green campus to work with budding level 2 and 3 students studying barbering. During the class students were able to ask about what it was like working in the industry.

The duo demonstrated basic haircutting skills and more advanced patterns using a cut throat razor to students, who then in turn had a go themselves with Kade and Michael monitoring their progress.

The opportunity came about after South and City College and two professionals attended a local tradeshow in Birmingham. Black Exposure Live took place at the Town Hall in September 2013 with the college sponsoring and exhibiting at the event; whilst Kade entered the 'Battle Of The Barbers' competition taking place at the show and went on to win the top prize. After networking with staff at the event the duo agreed to come down to help out the new wave of barbers training at the college.

The two friends, who attended school and trained at their local college together, may only have been in the sector for a short time but both are already proving to be big successes.

Michael worked in the industry before being head-hunted by Simon Shaw the director of Whal, one of the leading clipper companies in the business and on top of his Battle of the Barbers accolade, Kade has won Wahl UK King Barber Competition 2010, 2011 and 2013 and entered competitions all over the world and achieved second place in both New York and Las Vegas events. He has also gone on to work with celebrities.

Dextry Kidd, a Level 3 Barbering Student at South & City College, said: "I found the session with Kade and Michael very inspirational. It's given me a better depth of knowledge and understanding of the barbering industry."

He continued: "Kade's techniques were intriguing and working with him has convinced me to look into different avenues with my barbering techniques. Michael was really motivational with the delivery of his techniques and the experience has encouraged me to go on and succeed."

Jill Dagnan, a barbering lecturer at South & City College, said: "It's inspiring for our students to see two young men so motivated and focused in a competitive market. The industry is not just about a 9-5 job in a barbers shop, there are many different avenues you can go down to become a successful barber."

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:48

Christmas Market Success For Students

GEW MarketStudents at South & City College Birmingham who hosted their very own Christmas Market as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week raised over £360 for local charity, St. Basil's.

The event was to promote enterprise skills of Business, IT & Finance (Division 7) students alongside their programmes of study. It has provided students with valuable experience in events management for their course in general and their portfolio.

There were only 8 stalls available and the teams had to pitch their ideas to have a chance to take part on the day. Those who were selected for the event had a budget of £60 per team who in turn had provided an income and expenditure sheet. The winning team were from Level 3 Business Admin who rose over £170 profit and were awarded a 'tablet'.

Each stall sold Christmas themed products and services including jewellery, handmade cards, teddy bears, t-shirts, football merchandise and hampers.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is part of a wider, annual campaign to promote entrepreneurship and encourage more people to start up their own businesses.

Amrit Singh, Assistant Director of Finance and Management at South & City College, said: "The students have been excellent for this project. Their planning, execution and overall passion has been exemplary. Their experience will assist them, not only on their course, but with employment and further study."

Student at the college, Valerie Bennett, said: "It was a great event and it's really going help me with some of the units on my business course. I hope we get the chance to do a similar market again sometime in the year."

St Basil's is a Birmingham based charity which helps over five thousand 16-25 year olds per year who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Monday, 13 January 2014 09:44

Schools Team Wins Marketing Award

Schools team win awardSouth and City College Birmingham's Schools Team won Silver at the FE First Marketing Awards in the Collaboration category for their work with schools on 25th November 2013.

The Silver Award was presented for the college's work with local schools that improved the building of partnerships and innovative collaborative work with key feeder schools.
The College Marketing Network's FE First Awards 2013 were held at the Hilton Hotel Warwick alongside the organisation's 26th Annual Conference.

The judging team praised the college for its innovative approach to working with schools in the region and empowering young people by raising awareness of their employability skills.

Sapreena Kumari-Malins, Assistant Director for Recruitment, Support and Enquiries, said, "It's great for the team's hard work with schools to be recognised by an outside organisation and we want to push for the gold award next year. The team would also like to thank the schools we've closely worked with to achieve this award."

The Schools Team offers a wide variety of services to schools in the region ranging from organising employability workshops such as practise interviews, work experience preparation and talks around apprenticeships.

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