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Darryn-Pitman-South-and-City-College-BirminghamDarryn Pitman visited the college in January for a training day with the staff and a few of the students, where he showed them some new techniques shown to him throughout his career. Darryn started his career ten years ago, and in the last eight years, has won 24 awards and competitions, with his personal highlights being the 2013 Hairdressers Journal International Barber of the Year and the 2014 Wahl British Barber of the Year.

Darryn isn't the first external barber the college have brought in. Kade Kut, another award winning British barber, visited last year to help guide and update the tutors and students on what was new in the industry.

Adam Porter, course leader for barbering, believes that being updated from outside of the college is pivotal to delivering high quality modern advice to his own students. He said:

"I followed Darryn some time ago on Instragram to keep up to date on the newest trends and styles within the industry. I noticed he was winning a lot of awards and one of those was for most inspiring new barber. I saw he was still young, and also in tune with the college's own style and, after a few emails, he agreed to come down and spend the day with us.

"I can say all of the tutors have learned something today and it's taught us that, even after ten or so years in the barbering world, you can always be learning and can always be progressing, as there is always something new happening that you have to be in the know about.

"I would definitely invite Darryn back to the college, and would love to introduce him to our students, and let him teach them what he has taught us today. It would be really beneficial to the students to see Darryn work first hand.

Darryn said:

"The college found me through my Facebook and Twitter account and invited me down to show them a few things that I have picked up over the last ten years. I said yes because I love educating people and helping them help themselves. Things like this are great for colleges – inviting external barbers from all over the UK – because it stops them becoming complacent. It updates the college's staff with modern trends they may not have heard about, and it helps the college develop a national approach to barbering, as opposed to staying local.

"I have been travelling and educating colleges and businesses for somewhere around a year and a half and, I have to say, I really enjoy being contacted based on what people have seen on my social media pages. It's been a great day at the college so far, and I would love to come back sometime soon and continue to support the college."

Darryn is available to contact through his facebook - or his twitter account -

Keyhan-Irani-Barbering-Award-South-and-City-College-BirminghamFormer South and City College student Keyhan Irani was named 'Most Improved Barber' at the King's Barbers Club Annual Awards last month. The popular chain currently has 13 stores across the West Midlands and prides themselves in their style and expertise within the world of barbering.

Keyhan has been with the company for a year and won the award during an evening of appraisal and entertainment.

Elizabeth Farebrother, Assistant Director of Hairdressing and Barbering at Hall Green Campus, said: "Keyhan started with us on the NVQ in Barbering Level 2 course with no previous skills or knowledge. He worked hard through level 2, we were going to put him in for world skills but there was no category for barbering unfortunately.

"Whilst completing his level 3, he secured a job at King's. He then completed his level 3 in the summer of 2013 and continued to work at King's. He has kept in contact with us since his graduation."

"I am extremely proud of Keyhan's achievements at the college, and his achievements since he left us are testimony to his commitment to his career change. All the barbering team are really happy that the skills he was taught at South and City College Birmingham were of a high enough standard to work immediately in the barbering industry and the award is recognition that the employability and practical skills we instil in lessons is exactly what the industry requires."

King's opened their most recent store in the centre of Solihull, next to the Touchwood shopping centre in 2012, and are looking to expand into Harborne in the coming months.

If you're interested in studying a course in barbering at South and City College, you can find out more information on our website

Nick-Bailey-South-and-City-College-BirminghamAs part of South and City College's Employability Month, a number of guest speakers shared their life experiences with some of the students.

Former Eastenders star, Nicholas Bailey, gave an inspiring talk to over 70 students at our Fusion Centre in January – a session that aimed to inspire our young people to achieve results through hard work, dedication and determination.

Throughout his career Nicholas has encompassed all of those key strengths and, along with his entrepreneurial style, has been a success all of his acting and business life so far.

After a number of setbacks, his determination landed him a role as Dr Truman in the popular soap series, Eastenders. After five years, Nicholas decided to leave the programme, as he wanted to do something different and keep challenging himself.

Whilst still acting in various other television roles, he has integrated a business career into his busy schedule, and developed a personal development programme to help inspire and mentor others. He really wants to give back, and that ethos came through in his session at Fusion Centre, as he clearly enjoyed giving his time to help other young people get on the employment ladder.

Many of the students were very eager to stay behind and talk to Nicholas informally afterwards.

Another of the month's speakers was Kostas Petrou junior, son of British welterweight boxing champion, Kostas Petrou senior. He came in to talk through his life story in front of 30 students at the Bordesley Green Campus in January, explaining how he had lost track of where he wanted to be in life, and ended up spending countless nights sleeping rough.
In the early days, he ended up homeless, penniless and without hope. However, through inner strength and motivation, he battled through some tough times, which ultimately led him in the right direction. He eventually found ways to earn a reasonable living and worked hard to study and make a future for himself. He now works for a recruitment agency full time and is one of their top achievers.

In the future, he wants to develop a career in public speaking, and he certainly laid the foundations for that vocation at South and City College, with his amazing story of rags to respectability and success.

Throughout the talk, Kostas focused on the things that can make a difference, such as self-respect, self-motivation and a positive outlook on life. It was clear by the end that the advice had been taken to heart by many of those who listened, who will now go forward to develop some invaluable employability skills.

Both speakers will be looking to work with the college and help with the launch of a Student Entrepreneur Club in the near future.


Judges discuss the second round of dishes at South and City College BirminghamChefs from around the country travelled to South and City College’s Hall Green Campus for the first ‘Master Chef Promotion Cook Off’.

On the 7 January, the event tested the exceptional culinary skills of the top three restaurant chefs of four participating regions, as voted for by the Great British public.

Each chef competed against each other and fought for the award of ‘Best Restaurant/Chef’ for their region. And one deserving chef will be crowned as ‘The People’s Favourite Chef 2015’ on the 25 January at The New Bingley Hall during the exciting ‘First Annual Master Chef Promotions Awards Night’.

The challenge required the competitors to create their very own signature dish in just 60 minutes. They cooked under the watchful eyes of the judges who would later taste the finished product and decide on the winners for each individual region. The judging panel consisted of Pat Chapman, Chad Rahman, Paul Fulford, Manju Malhi, Peter Grove and Franck Pontais

South and City College’s own students participated throughout the day, helping the chefs while they cooked, cleaning up around them and fetching various items from around the kitchen. David Harman, who is currently on a Hospitality and Catering Level 2 course, said:

“It’s been really interesting watching the chefs at work. I have been picking up little hints and tips while they cook, and I can’t wait to see how the dish turns out.”

Nawaz Ali, the managing director of Master Chef Promotions, said:

“I wanted the host the competition somewhere local, most of the big competitions are all based down in London, and we wanted to bring the focus up to the midlands, specifically, Birmingham. The facilities and working environment were perfect for the day, and having worked with the college before, we knew we would work well together.

“Master Chef and the college share the same goals of training up young chefs to promote the industry and the great career opportunities.

“There were 600 nominations by the public for their favourite restaurant, so we really have the best of the best national restaurants cooking today at the college, and we’re all here to celebrate and promote that.”

Part of the renowned judging team included Paul Fulford, a restaurant critic for the Birmingham Mail, who said,

“It’s been an honour to be involved. It is a prestigious event for both the college and the city of Birmingham. I have been very impressed with the facilities, and with the Karibunis restaurant here at the campus.

“The first round had some really good dishes and I’m looking forward to the next heat. There has been some interesting takes on the dishes, with some ingredients I haven’t seen used before. It really shows the range of what the restaurants of England can provide”

If you are interested in any of the Hospitality and Catering courses available at South and City College Birmingham, click here for more information.

Picture from left to right: Paul Fulford, Manju Malhi, Chad Rahmank, Franck Pontais


Stephanie O’Reilly at South and City College BirminghamA local travel MD met potential future employees when she took questions from keen tourism students from a nearby college.

Stephanie O’Reilly of Solihull-based online specialists, Everywhere Travel Ltd, visited the Hall Green Campus of South & City College as part of an industry week* that saw business leaders share their experiences from the 'coal face'.

She talked through her career so far and her role at Everywhere Travel (which has recently become more consumer facing after specialising in travel operations for an exclusive members group) and some 40 travel and tourism students got the low down on the challenges out there, but also some handy hints and tips on making the grade.

Manei Aldhubab (age 22) commented: "I found it really interesting to learn how different types of people have started in the travel and tourism industry and what level of jobs they have now achieved. I hope I can do the same in the not too distant future."

Zeinab Rashid (age 19) said: "Stephanie’s talk has been very helpful in giving me a proper introduction to the different types of travel companies and I have gained a lot more knowledge and insight about working in the tourism industry - I really enjoyed it".

Lucy Carew, a travel and tourism tutor at the college, said: “The talk was very well received and I think because Stephanie’s quite young and has already achieved so much, it has encouraged our students to believe that if they work hard and persevere they can achieve their dream travel and tourism job sooner rather than later.”

Stephanie added: “The students asked some really interesting and thought provoking questions and had obviously done their homework; I was impressed. It’s always a pleasure helping and inspiring youngsters to get into an industry that I truly believe in and am passionate about – because that’s how I started, asking lots of questions.”

*The industry week was part of South & City College’s InBusiness Network initiative, which works with over 250 local businesses to encourage interaction with students and develop their employability and entrepreneurial skills.

Picture shows left to right (back) Sophie Lloyd (age 17), Zeinab Rashid (19), Ammrah Sharif (17) and front Stephanie O'Reilly and Manei Aldbubab (22).

Construction students at South and City College Birmingham are equipped with strong skills to pursue a career within the industry but we need to build more partnerships with businesses to provide experienced and skilled workers to employers.

Now Careers at South and City College BirminghamNow Careers spoke to students studying courses, such as Bricklaying and Civil Engineering, as part of the college's Industry Week. Each student took part in an interview to assess their suitability for work and inform the students about what path to take to reach their career goals and communicate what the expectations were from employers within the industry.

Eric Holland, Director of Construction at Now Careers, attended the event, he said: "It is fantastic to support students whose ambition and passion was infectious, these are the individuals who will be integral in moving the industry forward and it is an exciting prospect. With ongoing projects focused on the regeneration of Birmingham, these students are in an extremely strong position combined with the fact that they are entering an industry which is calling for young skilled individuals.

"The interviews provided great insight into the level of candidates who are now entering the construction market. Naturally, some were stronger than others but those who had a distinct advantage were the students who had managed to secure placements on site as they were beginning to build their site experience.

"Students who are studying electrical courses are very well qualified and will be able to go on to secure roles such as electricians mate or improver to start building their experience at entry level."

Now Careers spoke to students from Professional Services, Electrical and Trades functions over two days and the event was hailed a great success by students who were involved.

Navdeep Ghataurhae is studying for his HND in Construction, he said: "It was great for pointing me in the right direction. It's the first time we have done something like this and it would be really beneficial to do it every year."

Valerie Kalinda, HND Construction 2nd Year, said "The interviews were very informative; I was provided with advice on career choices and how to set out my CV. I also got to find out about what kind of opportunities there are out there in the industry at the moment."

Now Careers have over 20 years' experience within the industry and will be working with the college to support their students in securing roles to advance their construction careers.

Construction remains one of the largest employers in the UK contributing £90 billion to the economy according to the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, July 2013.

For more information or if you are pursuing a career in construction visit

Hena at Work - South & City College Birmingham

Two students from South and City College Birmingham have been named the best in the country and awarded gold at the WorldSkills UK competitions.

Hena Mohammed and Tara Smith were awarded the prestigious prize at the final of the World Skills Competitions which took place as part of the Skills Show at the NEC on 15 November.
Hena won first place in the Nail Art Intermediate competition and Tara won first place in the Health and Social Care competition.

Hundreds of competitors who had won their regional heats battled it out at the finals to win gold, silver and bronze and ultimately be named the 'best of the best' in the UK at their chosen skill.

Hena, 37, a level 3 beauty student competed against nine other top students from across the country to be named the best. Working to an 'Enchanted' theme Hena created an impressive set of nails in just two and a half hours with a Maleficent twist. She had also undertaken significant research which was displayed in a book to support her entry.

The judges said that Hena should be entering more competitions like the Nailympics, and that her unique work may lead her to working with celebrities in the future.

Hena said: "I feel very proud that I won the Gold medal for Worldskills UK. I have worked very hard to achieve this and it has paid off. I would like to give a special thank you to my tutor as without her support and encouragement day and night it would not have been possible to have achieved this. Also a special thank you to the beauty staff who believed in me and thank you to South and City College for allowing me to compete in the WorldSkills in the first place."

Tara Smith, 26, studies at the college's Handsworth Campus and is in her second year of a Health and Social Care Level 3 course. Tara shone during the health and social care competition, which involved a gruelling eight assessments over three days where she was judged on her practical care skills based around scenarios ranging from dementia care to palliative care.

The judges commented that Tara stood out from the other competitors; her manner and approach were highly commended and she showed consistent high standards throughout the very different tasks

Tara said: "I am over the moon to have won gold and could not have done it without the support of the care staff and students at the college."

Assistant Director of Health and Social Care at the college, Sarah Eden said: "The Health and Social Care team are so proud of Tara winning the gold medal. Tara being judged to be the best in the UK is a massive achievement for her and the team and this will stand her in good stead for the future. She is a positive role model for all our learners."

Mike Hopkins, Principal of the college added: "A massive congratulations to our two winning students. To have completed against the best students across the regions and come out the best I the country is a huge achievement that they should be really proud of.

"I think it is also worth mentioning the teaching staff at the college who have helped these young people fulfill their potential.

"I wish Hena and Tara all the best for the future and think that this will help them on their way to achieving their goals."

Ross Maloney, Chief Executive, Find a Future, which manages the WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions said: "Skills competitions showcase the high levels of performance that can be achieved by individuals and organisations through high quality further education, skills training and apprenticeships. Through skills competitions and the wider work of Find a Future we want to provide every young person with the chance to unlock their potential and get excited about the world of work."
More than 90,000 visitors to the Skills Show were able to cheer on the competitors competing in WorldSkills UK Competitions, try their hand at different skills and receive the latest information on Apprenticeships and other training opportunities.
WorldSkills UK Competitions, managed by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with organisations from industry and education, are run annually and reward real talent and drive up levels of expertise in Apprenticeships, skills and further education.


Shadow Ministers visit South & City College Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt and Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary have visited students at South and City College Birmingham.

The Labour party MPs spoke to engineering and motor vehicle students at the college's Tyseley Campus, having-a-go various activities and finding out more about the real benefits of studying vocational courses.

The MPs heard from students about how not all people are suited to an academic route, and the importance of practical courses with job related skills and experiences. They also heard how the college's close links to local employers is helping students get work experience, apprenticeships and job opportunities.

The students took the opportunity to show the MPs some of their work, including a Westfield SEi race car which the college's motor sport students work on and race as part of their course.
Tristram Hunt MP said: "It is excellent to see so many young people enthused about their courses and their future as they are here at South and City College.

"The college is doing great work with local employers to ensure there is a trained workforce to meet local needs. It is something I would like to see more and more of happening across the country.

"It is this joined up approach between education and business that will ensure there are high quality jobs for our children in years to come."

Mike Hopkins, Principal of South and City College said: "We are pleased the Shadow Ministers have taken time to visit South and City College. We are proud of our industry standard facilities here at Tyseley and across our other centres."Our focus is on ensuring our students get jobs and we are very good at making this happen.

"The college works with a number of large employers locally and regionally across the automotive and engineering industry, and we have recently secured a contract with Jaguar Land Rover to provide automotive electrical training to their workforce."
The MPs attended the college as part of a visit to the Association of Colleges Conference in Birmingham.

Commenting Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP said:

"It was fantastic to see the extensive work South & City College does with employers, providing hands-on experience for local young people to develop their skills.

"Employers working alongside colleges to ensure courses are designed for their needs is the approach we need to see right across Britain. That is exactly what I saw in action at South & City College, and I applaud the college for the valuable example which it is setting."


South and City College Birmingham - CIPR AwardsSouth and City College Birmingham's marketing team fought off stiff competition in the Midlands to be awarded four prestigious awards at the annual CIPR PRide Awards.

The small team with only one PR professional took home two gold and two silver awards beating numerous specialist PR agencies and large PR teams.

The college won gold for Best External Publication for its Young Person's Course Guide which details its courses for young people in Birmingham, and also scooped the coveted prize of Best use of Research, Planning, Measurement and Evaluation for the same publication.

The judges said: "A very clear entry which followed the brief. The focus group research was notably impressive and, by using this well, a better and cheaper result was achieved. The judges feel this entry shows a good model for others to follow in terms of research, planning, measurement and evaluation."

They were also awarded silver for their National Apprenticeship Week campaign in the Best Public Sector Campaign category and Best Internal Publication for their internal staff newsletter, entitled FYi.

The college, which offers vocational further education courses to 19,000 people across ten centres in Birmingham has a small and busy marketing team who look after all marketing, PR, design and digital marketing in house.

Claire Wainwright, Assistant Director of Marketing and PR lead said: "I am overwhelmed at winning these awards. Our main aim is to provide timely, understandable and effective communications to our customers – but knowing that the work we are doing is recognised by the PR industry is fabulous.

"We are a very small team with responsibility across all areas of marketing, so to have been up against larger organisations who are solely focussed on PR and to come out on top is a real achievement.
"I am really proud of what my team and I have achieved."

Thursday, 06 November 2014 09:30

Students Support UK Business and Manufacturing

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."