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Coast2Coast Celebration RideOver 40 cyclists including former Irish footballer, Steve Staunton, and BBC broadcaster Phil Upton took part in a charity ride organised by South and City College Birmingham on Sunday 27 July.

The 30 mile ride was in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust and The Stephen Staunton Foundation as part of a Coast2Coast challenge which saw the college's principal and 11 other riders visit seven coasts in seven days.

The 805 mile long journey for Coast2Coast took a total of 55 hours, 47 minutes and 22 seconds with riders climbing just under 39,000 feet, an impressive ten thousand feet more than if the team were to scale Mount Everest.

Members of the public were urged to come down and cycle in a celebration ride with the team from the Ricoh Arena to the finish line at the college's Digbeth Campus in Birmingham. The public then had the opportunity to talk to core riders about the challenge as they visited Meriden Hall and St. Andrew's football ground on route.

The challenge has raised over £20,000 so far with a number of sponsorship and donations, including those from yesterday's ride, yet to be officially counted. The contributions made throughout the Irish leg of the challenge will be presented to the medical and research foundation at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Ireland.

Each stage of the challenge was been dedicated to a young person who has suffered from cancer with the final day being dedicated to two young people.

The first leg from Burford to Coventry was dedicated to Ross Emslie, a 15 year old who sadly lost his battle with Leukaemia in October 2013.

Ross' family, who continue to work closely with Teenage Cancer Trust, came down to the Ricoh Arena to speak with the riders and congratulate them on what they had achieved.

The celebration ride from Coventry to Birmingham was dedicated to Stephen Sutton who raised over four million pounds for Teenage Cancer Trust. The team were introduced to Stephen's mother, Jane, at the finish line in Birmingham.

Steve Staunton took part in seven stages of the challenge and said: "The people of the Midlands never cease to amaze me, its one of the reasons why I still live locally – they really came out in force to welcome us back from the challenge.

"It was also very humbling to meet with the Emslie and Sutton families who have both lost their children to cancer – hopefully the money we raise can go on to help others."

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College Birmingham said: "After a tough week of cycling it was so uplifting to see everyone come along and get us over the finishing line.

"It's the first time the college have organised a charity event like Coast2Coast and we'll be looking to build on it for future charity events in years to come."

Phil Upton joined up the team in Burford on Saturday evening and cycled the 60 miles to the Ricoh Arena before completing the celebration ride. He added: "Everyone involved has done themselves proud with this challenge. As principal, Mike has led by example and cycled the whole way around the UK and Ireland.

"The two charities can continue to support young people in the region because of all the hard work the college has put in."

Visit the Coast2Coast website to read more about the challenge, see pictures and watch daily videos. 

Donations can still be made to Coast2Coast here.

Students gain real work experienceWillmott Dixon is giving South and City College Birmingham students a taste of work as part of a refurbishment project in the region.

Fifteen students from the college are working on a vacant council property in Northfield, carrying out a range of building work and gaining valuable experience along the way.

The total refurbishment of the kitchen and bathroom means work includes knocking down walls, taking up floors, plastering, digging drainage, plumbing and pipe work, bricklaying and general painting and decorating.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships is currently working with Birmingham City Council to repair and maintain 60,000 properties in the city. Its two contracts for the north and south of the city includes the areas of Edgbaston, Hall Green, Northfield, Selly Oak, Ladywood, Erdington, Perry Bar and Sutton Coldfield.

Although being guided by experienced tradesmen every step of the way, the entire work on the project is carried out by the students, who will now have the confidence and practical experience of working on a real project.

Overseeing the project is Willmott Dixon manager, Dean Brough. Dean said: "The students have been excellent, taking to every task with enthusiasm and enjoyment. This project gives the students a chance to experience a real working site, with all the issues and technicalities that they can't experience in the classroom.

"Not only are they doing an excellent job of refurbishing the building, but they will have a lasting example of their work."

Organising the students is South and City College Birmingham's external project manager, Loris Cimarosti. Loris said: "This project has been immensely rewarding for the students, who have gained a unique insight into construction work. The supervision, guidance and support from Willmott Dixon has been fantastic and I know that every student is incredibly grateful for the opportunity given to them.

Once complete, the refurbished building will be handed over to Birmingham City council.

Kane Sadler who is studying Maintenance Operations level 2 at the college, said: "I have been working on the house for a few weeks now and I am really enjoying it. It's a great experience - we are working with and learning from the lead foreman from Willmott Dixon and doing things first hand that we wouldn't have the opportunity to do in college, such as drainage.

"I'm going to put all this experience on my CV and I think it'll really help me get a job when I finish my course."

Mick Williamson, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon Partnerships said: "As part of our Transforming Communities ethos, we strive to leave a tangible skills legacy in the communities that we serve. We work in partnership with our clients to deliver training initiatives and educational opportunities for local people.

"We also aim to share our ideas with other organisations through our Transforming Communities report, to help communities through these current austere times."

The Willmott Dixon Group is one of the UK's largest privately-owned construction, regeneration and support services companies.

With 162 years of experience, the Group provides services within the built environment to the Government, registered social landlords, local authorities and private sector clients throughout the UK.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships works within the Group to deliver repair and maintenance services to over 170,000 homes.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 14:57

Care student wins competition

Care CompetitionA student from South and City College in Birmingham has won a UK health and social care competition.

Tara Smith, aged 26 from Handsworth fought off students from colleges across the country to win the prize, demonstrating her excellent skills in health and social care.

The competition is the fourth heat for the WorldSkills UK 2014 Health and Social Care Competitions, and was held on the 27 June 2014 at Shipley College in Yorkshire.

The heats have enabled 32 of the 104 competitors who registered to compete from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to demonstrate their excellent skills in delivering health care whilst in a competitive environment.

Tara who is studying towards her Health and Social Care Level 3 qualification at South and City College in Birmingham said: "I can't put it into words, I was so nervous and I couldn't have done this without the training and support from my college. This has given me so much confidence and it just shows what you can achieve with dedication."

Competitors were given life-like scenarios and asked to perform tasks which were marked on their communication and presentation and their technical care skills, including providing personal care, checking vital signs, co-working and providing care with empathy and compassion while maintaining client dignity.

Tara will find out later in July if she has scored a high enough mark out of all the regional winners to compete in the next stage of the competition at the Skills Show at the NEC in November.

This years' competitions are sponsored by Profiles4 Care and the NHS Leadership Academy.

Jacqueline Louise Boyd (20) from City of Glasgow College came second and Leah Whelan (25) from Burnley College came third.

Making the awards, Lead Judge Pat Pearson said: "WorldSkills just gets better and better as a competition and a real showcase for how well social care is carried out. It was a pleasure to observe such committed competitors taking part in this heat at Shipley College and to award prizes to some outstanding care workers and students."

WorldSkill Nail Art WinnersFour NVQ Diploma Nail enhancement level 2 students from the college have placed in regional heats of the WorldSkills competition across two areas. The regional final took place on Eastleigh College on 24 and 25 June with students entering the nail enhancements and intermediate nail art categories.

On Tuesday Le thi Puen from Handsworth Campus, won third place for her set of intermediate nail enhancements. The following day was even more successful for the college with students winning all three places in intermediate nail art.

Hena Mohammed from Hall Green Campus, won first place whilst Rosie Smith and Zara Hejabri from Handsworth Campus secured second and third place respectively.

The theme for the nail art was 'Once Upon A Time' with our students taking influence from Alice In Wonderland, Frozen, A Fairy's Tale and Romeo and Juliet. The theme for the national finals will be 'Enchanted'. Our students are now motivated and raring to go as they prepare for the finals and work on their new ideas.

Jacqui Jefford who has written four books on nail art and is on the board of City and Guilds adjudicated the finals. Jacqui is a real icon in the industry and was amazed at the quality of the student's nail art. She gave mentoring to one of the students and suggested they should go on to work on celebrity nails due the unique designs.

Judges of the event even suggested a possible place at the finals was on the cards. The top ten highest scoring winners from all the regional heats will be selected for the national finals.

Sukaina Walji, assistant director of beauty and retail said: "We are really proud of all the learners for their exceptional work and outstanding achievements in the WorldSkills competition. Lyndsey Tidmarsh their tutor has done an amazing job in teaching and coaching them to success."

Why not have a look at our beauty courses on offer? Click here.

Richard Trengrouse and Siobhan NashA 125 year city tradition was continued yesterday [Wednesday 25 June] as a portrait of the Chairman of the Birmingham and Solihull Bench was unveiled at Victoria Law Courts after a South and City College student won a photography competition.

Chairman Richard Trengrouse has been a magistrate for over 16 years and decided to run a competition for the first time in the tradition's history to select a portrait. Richard came up with the idea after wanting to introduce more young people to the justice system.

The Chairman of the Bench is the elected head of the magistracy in the Birmingham and Solihull area. The portrait of each chairman has been displayed in the law library corridor at Victoria Law Courts since the 1880s.

Each portrait has a story to tell and magistrates are currently researching the lives of each chairman. Many of the great families of the city are represented in the hall including the Chamberlains, Jaffrays, Martineaus and Colmores.

The chairman is responsible for over 450 magistrates and ensures the effective delivery of summary justice in the two boroughs. Situated on Corporation Street, there are between 20 to 30 courts running at a time making it one of the busiest in Europe.

Outside of the courts, Richard is a director at the college and opened up the competition to South and City College students with over 20 entering before selecting photography level 3 student, Siobhan Nash, as the winner.

The portrait photograph was officially unveiled at the Victoria Law Courts by Principal Mike Hopkins. Other attendees included winning photographer Siobhan Nash, Siobhan's family and staff members from the courthouse.

Richard Trengrouse spoke of why he chose Siobhan's picture to be the winner: "I thought it portrayed me well, both the formal and my slightly unkempt nature – I just thought that's me."

He added: "It's absolutely thrilling to have my portrait in the Victoria Law Courts, being Chairman of the Bench is probably the best role I have ever had.

"Working with over 450 committed magistrates who give up their time voluntarily to deliver an excellent standard of justice for the people of Birmingham and Solihull is truly inspiring."

Siobhan Nash said: "I still can't believe I won – it's great to finally on the wall in its frame. My name is printed on the bottom so it's unbelievable to think people will see it still in another 125 years time."

Mike Hopkins said: "I'm really proud of Richard's achievement and the college is grateful to him for giving our students the opportunity to be part of what is a fantastic local traditional at the courthouse.

"Siobhan has really captured Richard and now has a great item for her photography CV as well as being etched into Birmingham's fruitful judicial history."

After the event Richard gave guests a tour of courts discussing the history of the architecture, surrounding areas of the city and his predecessors.

Creative Student ShowcaseMusic and media students offered the public a unique opportunity to have a closer look at the exciting world of live music TV through their end of year Creative Student Showcase event which was held in the college's Digbeth Auditorium [Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 June].

BTEC level 2 and 3 and HND first and second year students put on an hour-long show modelled on 'Later... with Jools Holland' which saw five acts perform for a live music broadcast. The show was performed three times over two days with attendees including college staff, students and members of the public.

Nigel Darvill, course leader for the extended diploma in music, took on the role of Jools Holland and hosted the performance and played piano for two solo singers.

All five musical acts were college students and they were supported by their fellow students operating all the technical aspects of lighting, sound, cameras and live editing.

Pensacola, Doveheart, Sam Gasior, Maria Myella, The Melon Trio and Lisa Grummitt performed a variety of cover songs and original material throughout the hour.

The planning for the event took over a month and rigging in the auditorium started as early as Friday. Three stages on the auditorium floor were set out for the musical acts and a technical control area was laid out for lighting, sound and cameras.

The audience were on raked seating on the auditorium stage overlooking the performance and technical areas with monitors set up so audience members could see the final show edit in real time.

The college have been supported with the event through their links with local employers including Urban Audio Productions and Pacific Sound & Lighting. It has allowed students working on the project to work directly with professionals and establish contacts in the industry.

Hannah O'Connell, a HND popular music practice second year student who was also assessed as part of her course during the event, said: "I've been looking after the sound engineering side of things so my responsibilities have included rigging up, cabling, sound checking and monitor set up. The fact that the show has had three stages and two desks means we've really been pushed."

Creative live sound lecturer, Nils Edstrom added: "This showcase is a great way of tying music and media together and we try to provide the closest possible industry relevant experience for our students. The challenging production environment we put them into means they are stretched and can make errors within a supportive framework allowing them to learn and experience professional expectations."

Creative studies' deputy director Maighread Hegarty described the event as "an outstanding example of the professional industry skills of our students in action."

Creative students will have also have the opportunity to build on their experience by being involved with production rehearsals for Simmerdown Festival in Handsworth in July.

If you're interested in a being part of events like the showcase then why not take a look at our music and media courses?

Student bus passesFree bus passes play an important role in helping young people in Birmingham attend college and gain qualifications, a survey of South and City College Birmingham students* has shown.

96% of the students surveyed said receiving a free bus pass played an important role in them being able to attend college, and 74% of students said they wouldn't be able to attend college at all without a free bus pass.
The college provides vocational qualifications to 12,000 students, and provided almost 7,500 students with bus passes in academic year 2013/14.

The bus passes, which allow free travel on West Midlands buses would usually cost £57 per month, and can mean the difference between being able to afford to attend college and not.

Out of those surveyed, some students travel as far as 20 and even 25 miles to come to college, with the average journey being six miles. 67% of the students surveyed said being offered a free bus pass played a role in choosing which college they attended.

Over 60% of the students use their bus pass up to six times a week in order to travel to and from college, and around the same number of students make the most of their bus pass by also using them for non-college related journeys.
Students coming to the college in September will be able to apply for bus passes when they enrol– subject to criteria and availability.

Anmol Hasinah, aged 19, lives in Small Heath and is studying fashion at the college's Fusion Centre. She said: "Having a bus pass is really important in allowing me to get to college. I don't live very far away but it is too far to walk. The bus pass means I can get to college for each lesson and be on time – otherwise I would be reliant on people driving me which would mean I would miss classes and fall behind on my work. I couldn't afford to pay for a bus pass – that alongside other costs would just be too much."

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "Bus passes play a vital role in helping people in Birmingham and the surrounding areas travel to college and gain the skills and qualifications needed to get jobs.

"Every year we offer a high percentage of our students free bus passes. For many it means the difference between being financially able to attend college or not – and it's important we do what we can to remove barriers which may hinder those from continuing their education."

Students completing the survey also commented that "The bus pass is important to me because I can't afford to pay for a bus ticket everyday to get to college", "the bus pass helps me attend every single lesson on time" and "If I didn't have a bus pass I wouldn't be able to come college."
The criteria for applying for a bus pass is as follows:
16-19 year olds can apply for a bus pass if they live 1.5miles away from the college centre they are studying at. (students must be aged 19 or below on 31 August 2014). Subject to availability.

19-23 year olds can apply for a bus pass if they are studying 400 hours or more and live 1.5 miles away from the college centre they are studying at. Subject to availability.

Those aged 24 and over may apply for a bus pass if they are on a level 2 course or under, are studying 400 hours or more and live two miles away from the college centre they are studying at. Subject to availability. For those who are 24 and over and on a level 3 course, may apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan and 24+ Advanced Learning Loan Bursary Fund which will help towards travel costs.

For more information on the eligibility criteria for receiving a free bus pass, please visit

*182 students who receive free bus passes completed the bus pass survey in May 2014.

Jack Sturdy at SkillbuildStudents from South and City College Birmingham have scooped a fantastic thirteen awards at a regional construction competition.

Over 100 young construction students from colleges from across the region battled it out in their chosen trade with skills such as bricklaying, wall and floor tiling and painting and decorating all being put to the test.

The students headed to the South and City College's dedicated construction centre in Bordesley Green on Tuesday 10 June to take part in the latest round of the national construction competition SkillBuild 2014.

South and City College's students proved themselves to be top competitors, with three first place wins, and a number of second and thirds.

  • Jack Sturdy (19) from Shirley, 1st place in plumbing, new entrant
  • Aaron Prince (18) from Lickey, 1st place wall and floor tiling, new entrant
  • Patrick Wong (47) from Moseley, 1st place wall and floor tiling, senior
  • Samuel Johnson (17) from Maypole, 3rd place joinery, new entrant
  • William Steele (18) from Erdington, 3rd place painting and decorating, new entrant
  • Nericka Millanaise-Clarke (31) from Ladywood, 3rd place painting and decorating, senior
  • Masimba Matapo (20) from Billesley, 2nd place painting and decorating, senior
  • Ryan Cowdrill (18) from Acocks Green, 3rd place plastering, new entrant
  • Hannah Mealey (16) from Kings Norton, 2nd place plastering, new entrant
  • Aaron Harris (18) from Small Heath, 3rd place plastering, senior
  • William Weir (17) from Erdington, 2nd place plastering, senior
  • Abdellatif Mohamed (18) from Bordesley Village, 2nd place wall and floor tiling, senior
  • Zach Bateman (18) 3rd in plumbing

Birmingham's regional heat is the latest of 14 taking place across the UK, with the top 10 competitors from across the 14 heats going through to the national final at the Skills Show at Birmingham's NEC in November.

Jack, aged 19 from Shirley is currently on an Apprenticeship in Plumbing Level 3 and works at both Edwards Plumbing and Heating Supplies Ltd and D.G Lewis Estates Limited, came first in the plumbing competition.

He said: "I am really shocked and surprised that I won the competition!

"Two years ago I came third so I'm over the moon to come first this year. It was quite a difficult task they give us – they give you a drawing in the morning and you have the day to complete it. At first I was nervous that I wasn't going to be able to finish it, but I kept my head down and managed to get it done with only a few seconds left. I didn't look at what any of the other competitors were doing until the end – and I was pleased with how mine had turned out.

"I was also really happy with the judges' comments – they said my work was very good, and high quality. I hope to make it through to the final now."

The day also saw competitors take part in a trade specific competitions – Skill Plumb and Skill Electric 2014 regional heats in plumbing and electrics.

Bob Howlett, director of construction at South and City College said: "It was an exciting day for everyone that took part and we are very proud of all our students.

"To come away with thirteen medals is a real achievement for the college and our students and we are excited to see if any of them make it through to the SkillsShow in November."

During the day the college also invited in local school pupils to come and support the competitors and to have a go at different construction trades, as well as having a number of different employer training and events on also.

SkillBuild has taken place for around 40 years, travelling around the country looking for the best in regional talent. The competition is organised and supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry.

Catherine Bullough, CITB Sector Strategy Manager for the West Midlands region said: "We're really excited to bring SkillBuild 2014 to Birmingham. There is some great construction talent in the region so we're looking forward to seeing what our young apprentices can do.

"SkillBuild is all about the way that people setting out on their construction career work. Most of the competitors are still learning so it's not just about the finished article, it's about the whole process that they go through. The event at South & City College was a great success with a high level of entries. Well done to everyone who took part and congratulations to all of the winners."

You can view all the pictures from the competition here.

New recruitment apprenticeship launchedSouth and City College Birmingham is offering to help employers find the right people to join their workplace by taking up the region's first recruitment Apprenticeships [Tuesday 10 June].

The college are front runners in providing the new qualifications in the West Midlands by offering an Apprenticeship for organisations involved in recruitment together with a range of courses in HR and recruitment practices.

This is the first time an Apprenticeship for the industry has been made available to students in a bid to ensure a skills gap doesn't form and to improve the standard of candidates wishing to pursue a career in recruitment.

The college officially launched the new Apprenticeships last night [Monday 9 June] at an event which was hosted by Eversheds in Colmore Row, Birmingham.

Recruitment is now becoming a priority for businesses with an upturn in the job market which has seen the industry row by 16 per cent to 35,000 consultants according to a report published by the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) yesterday.*

By working in partnership with the Institute of Recruiters the college can offer a range of training courses and programmes designed by the industry, for the industry to meet the needs of employers.

The college have also been granted 'Centre of Excellence' status by the Institute of Recruiters, giving it access to specialist learning materials and resources.

The launch saw a range of businesses including specialist recruitment firms and professionals coming together to learn more about how the Apprenticeship and training could benefit their organisations and industry. The event took place with three keynote speakers taking to the floor to discuss modern-day recruitment as an investment and not a cost.

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College Birmingham said: "The college has made a real effort to take the lead on the new recruitment Apprenticeships in the region. It is important we can support growing industries by offering the right qualifications to make sure our students have the right skills once they start to look for work.

"Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to train and work in an organisation and by working with the Institute of Recruiters we will give our students the best opportunity to build a successful career in the future."

Former Dragon's Den star James Caan believes the Apprenticeship scheme will have huge benefits saying: "A recruitment Apprenticeship will have a positive impact on both job creation and the UK economy. I commend the Institute of Recruiters for working with stakeholders to achieve this and believe it will be a great success."

Azmat Mohammed, director general of the Institute of Recruiters added: "South and City College Birmingham has a superb reputation and shares our forward thinking approach to supporting business growth through learning. This partnership will create opportunities for learners and local businesses which we are very excited about."

For more information about the recruitment Apprenticeship please contact the business services team on 0121 694 5066 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


SkillBuildSouth and City College Birmingham will play host to the West Midland's best construction trainees on Tuesday, as they compete in the first round of the national construction competition SkillBuild 2014.

Almost 100 young construction trainees are expected at the college on Tuesday 10 June to battle it out in their chosen trade. Skills such as bricklaying, wall and floor tiling and painting and decorating will all be tested.

Trainees will be put through their paces during a gruelling day under the watchful eye of expert judges.

SkillBuild has taken place for around 40 years, travelling around the country looking for the best in regional talent with the first rounds being a warm up for the national final.

The competition is organised and supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry every year.

The Construction Training Specialist hosted regional heat is one of 14 taking place across the UK from which the top ten competitors will be put forward for the national final which takes places during The Skills Show at Birmingham's NEC in November 2014.

It is the biggest of the 14 competitions, and will be running alongside The Skills Show Experience - a nationwide programme of over 220 events throughout the year extending the impact of The Skills Show and inspiring over 200,000 young people across the country, unlocking their potential and shaping their future.

The day will also see competitors take part in a trade specific competition – Skill Plumb and Skill Electric 2014 Regional Heat in plumbing and electrics.

Catherine Bullough, CITB sector strategy manager for the West Midlands region said: "We're really excited to bring SkillBuild 2014 to Birmingham. There is some great construction talent in the region so we're looking forward to seeing what our young apprentices can do.

"SkillBuild is all about the way that people setting out on their construction career work. Most of the competitors are still learning so it's not just about the finished article, it's about the whole process that they go through."

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College Birmingham said: "We are delighted to be hosting the regional competitions again here at our dedicated construction centre in Bordesley Green. Our students have been training hard, and I wish them and all of the competitors the best of luck.

"With the construction industry picking up again, now is a great time for young people to shine in their trade and be noticed by employers, and the competitors at SkillBuild will certainly all being doing that."