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Thursday, 13 March 2014 15:48

International Women’s Day Event

International Women's DayThe college held an event to celebrate International Women's Day and to raise students' awareness for women who are still being silenced around the globe at it's Fusion Campus in Digbeth [Wednesday 12 March].

International Women's Day champions respect, appreciation and love towards women as well as celebrating women's economy, political, and social achievements. International Women's Day first began 8 March 1914 and runs on an annual basis.

The aim of the event was to give victims who had been oppressed to open up and discuss their lives with students alongside charities and organisations who offer support. Students were presented with information, facts and figures about the dangers young people face in their day-to-day activities.

To start the day one student discussed their experience of how they overcame stereotypical boundaries throughout their life, it gave attendees the opportunity to see first hand the struggles people have gone through and how they have gone about transforming them for the better.

Shazia Mirza, a British-born Asian comedian, was one of the more recognised names on the guest list. Shazia spent the time on stage doing part of her stand-up routine around division between countries and cultures, forced marriages, traditional parents, racism and sexism.

Throughout the event there were a number of guest speakers who told their side of the story to help those who face discrimination every day. The end of the event was marked with an interactive quiz about equality and discrimination that students worked together on to demonstrate and apply what they had learnt.

Here is what the students had to say about the International Women's Day event:

"It was great, I found the talks really informative and it gave me the chance to see how people can overcome difficulties in their lives."

"The event was a good idea - it let's you find out about which organisation you can go to for help if you ever need it. It gave you a clear idea of just how far women have come compared to the past."

"What an interesting event. It's so important to spread the word and openly talk about things like this. I thought there was a broad range of cultures that were looked into to give you real insight."

Construction students at workA new partnership between South and City College Birmingham and the National Federation of Builders (NFB) will provide support for more than 400 young people in Birmingham to become the builders of the future has been announced today [Thursday 6 March].

The NFB's new Apprenticeship Foundation Fund will provide £110,000 over a five year period to help young people in the region access the skills and opportunities needed for a future in the construction industry.

Launched at the college's Apprenticeship awards evening, the Fund will provide South and City College with the means to help hundreds of youngsters into opportunities offered by Apprenticeships, work placement schemes, and courses, as well as additional training opportunities.

Each year the Fund will deliver four key elements:
• An Apprenticeship Bursary will support a minimum of 30 young people aged 16-24 to enter into their first construction Apprenticeship.
• The Work Placement Bursary will financially support 30 students to be able to complete work experience placements who would otherwise not financially be able to take advantage of such opportunities.
• The College Bursary will support two young people aged 19+ who do not qualify for free education and because of this would not be able to enrol on a construction course. It will also sponsor two students per year to upgrade their current qualifications and skills.
• The Employability/Entrepreneurship Bursary will support 20 construction students on two 12 week courses which will provide them with either skills to help gain employment or information, skills and support in setting up their own business.

Neil Walters, Regional Chairman of the National Federation of Builders said: "This is a first for the National Federation of Builders, and we are very proud to be making this funding available to students of South and City College. The NFB Apprenticeship Fund is a vital first step for young people to start a career in construction, who might not ordinarily get a chance. There is a growing skills gap in the industry as we come out of a long, drawn out recession.

"As the opportunities begin to come back, we will need to invest in our young people to ensure that the right skills are in place as the industry returns to growth. New entrants are crucial to that growth, and I am delighted that we are providing the access and opportunities to young people who are the future of the industry."

Mike Hopkins, Principal of South and City College added: "We are delighted with the new partnership and the support the National Federation of Builders are providing for the young people in Birmingham.

"It is more important than ever with the predicted growth in the construction industry and a much talked about skills gap, to ensure that our young people here in Birmingham do not miss out on jobs.

"It can be difficult for young people to financially access some of the opportunities available but this Fund will see hundreds of young people benefit. A big thank you to the NFB for partnering with us and as a college we look forward to helping many young people build their future in construction."

The Fund was secured as a result of the College's InBusiness Network – an exclusive network that is designed to encourage co-operation between the college and the local business community. Through InBusiness an initial meeting and discussion took place with the Regional Chairman of the NFB, Neil Walters, and over a number of weeks a great understanding and relationship has been built between the two organisations.

The Fund was launched during the Apprenticeship Awards, part of the college's week's worth of activities during the seventh National Apprenticeship Week. The awards celebrated the excellent commitment and contribution that Apprenticeships make to both young people and businesses.

On the night, the NFB awarded a South and City College student an Excellence in Construction Award to recognise the hard work and endeavour of construction students. Hannah Mealy, aged 16 who studies a plastering level 1 course at the college's dedicated construction centre in Bordesley Green, received the award for her exceptional levels of motivation, the excellent quality of work she produces which is to a level 2 standard, and the commitment which she has shown through entering the SkillBuild competitions.

South & City College Birmingham - Your Career LadderLocal businesses have pledged 46 new Apprenticeship jobs – worth almost £1.5million to young people - as part of South and City College's drive to get more young people into Apprenticeships during National Apprenticeship Week 2014 [3-7 March].

Pledges have come from Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust who are offering 18 new Apprenticeship jobs, the green house with 10 new jobs, Bearwood Nursing Homes with five, Balfour Beatty three, and more from other local employers.

The new pledges bring the college's number of current Apprenticeships vacancies that are ready to be filled by young people in Birmingham to around 160 – providing young people in Birmingham with an average of £170 a week, a total of almost £1.5million a year.

The college is urging young people in Birmingham to consider an Apprenticeship which can offer an excellent springboard to a career in their chosen industry, particularly as new research* shows that among 18-24 year olds only 23% of females and 32 % of males had been advised about Apprenticeships as a career route.
To help youngsters find the right Apprenticeship job or advice, the college is holding a free jobs fair at its Digbeth Campus on Wednesday 5 March for anyone looking for work. Employers including the NHS, West Midlands Police, AMEY and ASDA will be there to offer advice as well as looking to fill their part time, full time and Apprenticeship vacancies on the day.

Mike Hopkins, Principal of South and City College said: "We are delighted these businesses have pledged new employment opportunities in the form of Apprenticeships for young people in Birmingham. We hear so much negativity about there not being enough employment for young people, but we now have around 160 jobs waiting to be filled and there are more to come.

"Apprenticeships offer an excellent opportunity for young people who perhaps don't already have experience or qualifications in the industry they would like to work in, and who would like to get paid whilst learning.

"They are also the perfect first step on the career ladder. There are so many stories about apprentices that go on to progress and succeed, and it is so important more young people hear the benefits and can consider Apprenticeships for themselves."

Heather Wilby, Head of Learning from Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust said: "As an organisation that is all about providing services in and for the community, we are delighted to play a part in providing high quality learning and career opportunities for young people living locally.

"We are pledging 18 new Apprenticeship vacancies during National Apprenticeship Week. For us, apprentices are incredibly valuable to the business, and we go on to hire many as full-time members of staff once they complete their Apprenticeships."

Natalie Collins, a nursery nurse and former apprentice said: "I did my Apprenticeship in Childcare working in a nursery. When I completed the Apprenticeship, I was employed full time as a nursery nurse and was supported by my employer to do a foundation degree in early years. I am now studying towards a BA in Early Years Education. The Apprenticeship has given me the experience and confidence to progress much quicker and higher than I ever thought possible and I really recommend them to other people out there."

National Apprenticeship 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.

During the week, the college has launched it's new communications campaign Your Career Ladder to help people understand Apprenticeships are a viable and accessible way to start a career. Along with radio and online adverts, purple people have been walking the streets of Birmingham with career ladders to raise interest and awareness.

The college was recently named the largest local provider of Apprenticeships in the Birmingham area, and offers Apprenticeships in wide range of industries, including hairdressing, motor vehicle, business administration, childcare, retail and more.

Apprenticeships-news-imageYoung people and businesses in Birmingham have been shortlisted to receive awards as part of the seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week [3-7 March].

South and City College Birmingham, which has been recently named as Birmingham's largest local provider of Apprenticeships, is celebrating the success and achievements of both apprentices and Apprenticeship employers at an awards evening which will be held at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel on Thursday 6 March.

16 awards will be given out on the evening, which will be hosted by Free Radio presenter Tom Ross. Alongside an overall Apprentice of the Year 2014, apprentices from eight different industry sectors will be named as Industry Apprentice of the Year; chosen for their attendance, time keeping, motivation, quality of work, attitude and work ethic.

Local businesses will also be recognised, with awards being given to large and SME employers for the valuable contribution they have made. The college's InBusiness network has organised the event, and Honorary President, Sir Doug Ellis OBE will be presenting awards during the evening to members of InBusiness who have provided exceptional student experiences, contributed to student learning or offered Apprenticeships and work placement opportunities.

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "We have a whole range of events taking place during National Apprenticeship Week including a public jobs fair on Wednesday 5 March, visits to schools and the awards ceremony. We think it is not only important to raise awareness of how beneficial Apprenticeships are to young people to help them get their foot on the career ladder, but also how they can really help local businesses secure their workforce for the future.

"Congratulations to all the apprentices and businesses who have been shortlisted for their excellent work, and I wish them luck on the evening."

Tom Croxford, a professional chef Apprentice at Michelin star restaurant Purnell's in Birmingham said: "I am really proud to have been shortlisted as Apprentice of the Year for my industry. It has been hard work, but I think I have been given an excellent opportunity and I have learnt so much from working with Glynn Purnell and the other chefs in the kitchen. It has been a great experience and I love being part of the Purnell's team."

Alexandra Kustas, Skills and Apprentice Manager at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust added: "We are very pleased to have been shortlisted for this award. We have found apprentices incredibly beneficial to our business. They are eager to learn, hard working, adaptable and quickly become important members of the teams they work in. We are looking forward to attending the awards evening."

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

The college would like to thanks the generous sponsors of the event: City and Guilds, OCNWMR, National Express, PS Office Supplies, Morgan Hunt, Keepmoat, BMS Security, National Federation of Builders and Social Media Buz.

Shortlisted for business awards are:

Apprentice Large Employer Award 2014

Shortlisted companies: Kier, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust and National Express.

Apprentice SME Employer Award 2014

Shortlisted companies: Unicorn Plastering Ltd, Eventmasters and the green house.

Apprentice InBusiness Employer Award 2014

Shortlisted companies: Subway, Red Rob Catering Supplies, British Military Security, Visual Security Services and Purnell's Restaurant and Bistro.

InBusiness Student Experience Employer Award 2014

Shortlisted companies: Vantage Toyota, Nigel Davey Films, and BPM Media.

InBusiness Student Contribution Award 2014

Shortlisted companies: Utopia Resourcing, Help Harry Help Others and Touchwood Training Centre.

And finally an InBusiness Student Ambassador Award 2014 will be given to an individual who has exceptionally represented South and City College and the InBusiness network.

Lakesh traineeshipSouth and City College Birmingham is working with Birmingham City Council to offer a Traineeship programme that is giving young people in Birmingham the skills and experience needed for employment.

The council has offered a ten week Traineeship opportunity to 12 young people who have little skills or experience in the workplace but who want to work in business administration.

Following the Traineeship, there will a guaranteed interview that may lead to up to six full time, paid Apprenticeship jobs.

The Trainees who started their placements on Monday 20 January are working within Birmingham City Council's People's Directorate, and are getting on the job experience as Professional Support Assistants in providing administration and clerical support to staff and external customers. They also attend the college to gain additional workplace, CV and interview skills to increase their employability prospects.

Traineeships were launched by the Government in August 2013 to help young people who would like to undertake an Apprenticeship or job but who do not yet have the skills or experience to be successful in getting employed. They are unpaid work experience placements, which include essential workplace skills as well as on-the-job training.

Lakesh Paul, aged 18, from Wolverhampton, is one of the Trainees. He said: "I've really enjoyed my time at the Council and I'm now familiar with working in an office environment. This week I've been working alongside people services helping with adoption administration work like archiving and managing databases. I've also had the chance to develop my telephone skills and I have learnt about the internal mail system. Working with a range of teams has allowed me to broaden my knowledge of the organisation and I have been able to transfer skills I've learnt in one department to another.

"This Traineeship has given some great experience to put on my CV. I really wanted to work in administration, but was struggling to get a job because I didn't have any experience - I am hoping that completing the Traineeship will change that for me."

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College said: "Traineeships are a chance for young people who don't have the skills or experience under their belt to get their foot in the door of employment. It gives them a chance to get on-the-job experience with an employer but also gain the workplace skills employers are looking for.

The fact that they lead to interviews for Apprenticeships are excellent and I think that this programme will really help young people gain meaningful employment."

Cllr Muhammad Afzal from Birmingham City Council said: "We are delighted to be offering 12 young people in the region the chance to get some great work experience which may lead to employment. The people that complete the Traineeship will be guaranteed an interview for an Apprenticeship with the Council – which may be the start of a long and fulfilling career with us."

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."

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