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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."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South and City College BirminghamPMT Birmingham and South & City College Birmingham are pleased to present a Yamaha, Steinberg and sE microphone Song Writing and Music Production workshop.

Yamaha, Steinberg and sE will stop by the music department at South & City College Birmingham to run workshops for students during the day and an evening workshop for the general public in the evening.

The workshops feature critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Martyna Wren, session/touring drummer Emily Dolan Davies (Tricky, Becky Hill, Bryan Ferry, The Hours) and multi-instrumentalist/producer/Cubase expert, Andy Schrav (Peter Andre, Delta Goodrem, Paper Aeroplanes). Martyna, Emily and Andy will build and record one of Martyna's tracks from scratch and look to challenge each other and the audience as they work through valuable song writing, production and recording techniques.

Martyna will start the proceedings with a section on songwriting. In an open forum, Martyna will discuss how she instinctively approaches the creative process behind song composition and the tools she uses to compose. This section will also focus on artistic direction and collaboration and we'll hear from Martyna's on her personal experience of working with producers and session musicians. At every stage of the workshop there will be conversations on home/project studio recordings and the equipment required to make the most of your creative space. Next it is over to Andy and Emily as the session moves to a collaborative and somewhat challenging production environment. Andy will take a demo recording of Martyna's song and start the production shaping process with Emily providing drum advice/groove DNA and Martyna ensuring her artistic vision is maintained. There will be a strong emphasis placed on progressive mixing and making the use of software based tools to help shape the song and the overall sound. Audience participation is invited so come prepared to be involved.

On hand will be a tasty collection of recording kit including the latest Yamaha keyboards, drums & monitors, sE microphone & reflection filters, Steinberg software & VST plugin partners. Sales staff will be on hand to answer any questions and can also provide information on sE's exclusive loan service.

The first London workshop booked out in a matter of hours so get in quick to secure your place.

The event will start at 6:30 and run until 9:15 with a short break in between.

Main Auditorium
South & City College Birmingham
Digbeth Campus
Floodgate St
Digbeth, Birmingham
B5 5SU

Based in Birmingham's Creative quarter, South & City College Birmingham has some of the best facilities for music education in the Midlands with state of the art recording, production and rehearsal spaces as well as its own 400 capacity venue offering a range of music qualifications from level 2 to a BA(hons) degree. The college was one of the first Steinberg Training Centres in the UK.

Professional music technology is one of the UK's leading music instrument retailers with over 10 stores and a website they are able to offer the widest range of instruments at the most competitive price.

To be a part of Thursday's event you can book tickets here:



Ellie Jones and Shawn Lawlor - South and City College BirminghamTen music students have been given the opportunity to play at a new venue which is set to open in Birmingham.

The students who are all studying music performance at South and City College took part in auditions held by Genre Music agency who were tasked with finding new talent for the city centre business.

The agency saw a number of students and was impressed with the quality of the talent and the professional level of performance at the college, and hoped to audition students on a regular basis for upcoming opportunities.

The students, aged between 18 and 25 are all taking their first steps in the music industry, and the auditions not only provided them with real work opportunities but the chance to gain experience in auditioning for work.

Shawn Lawlor who has been offered work in the new venue said: "I was excited to hear a booking agency was visiting the college and that we had a chance to audition for work.  "It is really good experience to have to perform in front of a stranger in the hope they like what you do and want to pay you for it. I guess that is our goal. "I'm looking forward to the gigs in the New Year, and hope I can get more like it. "Thanks to the college for arranging for the agency to come in."  Similarly, students have also impressed the managing director of Crewsaders, a national corporate event crewing agency and many have applied and gained paid work as a result.

Nils Edstrom, Live Sound Co-ordinator at the college said: "This is a great opportunity for our students to gain paid work experience alongside their studies. Alongside learning about performance and producing music, students are taught the technical terms and processes around live performance as well as the health and safety aspects of moving and lifting equipment. This knowledge makes them eminently suitable for working in the corporate sector where sound and AV equipment is used constantly on conferences, product launches and presentations. This also provides a great networking opportunity for those students involved."

For more information about our music courses, please visit

The college also offer higher education courses in music


Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:15

Zaf scoops double award

Zaf wins double awardMohammed Zafran, a community liaison officer at South and City College, has won two awards for his group project All 4 Youth & Community.

Zaf won the ‘Local Champion’ honour at the Pride of Birmingham Awards and the ‘Positive Role Model for Age’ accolade at the National Diversity Awards.

In his spare time Zaf runs the All 4 Youth & Community project which gives young people in Birmingham the opportunity to get back in education through sports.

The award ceremonies were held in London and Birmingham respectively on Friday 26 September but with Zaf being unable to be in two place at once he sent Shanaz Tahir, Women’s Academy director at All 4 Youth & Community, along to collect the diversity award on the organisation’s behalf.

Feedback as to why he was commended at both ceremonies included “overcoming adversity and channelling his energy into helping others” and being “a living legend” in the local area.

Zaf, who was humble after winning two awards, said:  “It’s an amazing feeling to win but I was very surprised. It was good to be nominated but after listening to the work and stories of other people I didn’t think I would win either of the awards.

“I’m most happy for my team who I work with and have helped support our entire project.”

Principal Mike Hopkins added:  “I am personally very please and proud of Zaf. His level of dedication and support within the local community has been amazing – and he has been an outstanding asset to the college.”

To top the week off for Zaf, he has received a letter from David Cameron who praised the work he was doing after a local member of the community wrote to 10 Downing Street.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 09:19

College wins Building Excellence Award

Handsworth CampusSouth and City College Birmingham have been awarded with a High Commendation in the Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion category at the West Midlands LABC Building Excellence Awards 2014.

The College has invested over £3 million in the campus, including the Grade II listed building – which had previously not seen any renovations for over 20 years following a merger in August 2012.

The front of the building has been renovated; whilst inside there has been a new reception with Costa Coffee bar, new student library, fully fitted gym and sports hall, new classrooms, plumbing workshop for construction students, media suite and recording studio and more.

Paul Morris, assistant principal of the college said: “It’s always great to be recognised for the work we do here at the college. The renovations have transformed Handsworth Campus improving the learning environments for our students to study in whilst also making the overall feel of the college more vibrant and friendly.”

Mangum Samateh is a 17 year old student who studies painting and decorating at the College and had the opportunity to work on the project. He said: “We started refurbishing the Handsworth Campus where I was given the role of Assistant Health and Safety Manager so I had to make sure that the site was safe.

“We were not only painting and decorating but there are many other skills involved in this project such as carpentry. It is a fantastic opportunity as we get to practise our painting and decorating skills on a real project as well as working to get tools for ourselves.”

The Duke of Cambridge made an official visit to the refurbished campus in November 2013. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To find out more and to apply, visit

Applications for the traineeship close on Monday 22 September 2014.

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

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