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Construction courses at South City College BirminghamSouth and City College Birmingham is providing the skills and training needed for the growing construction industry in the West Midlands, amid fears of skills shortages.

Training on average 1,500 people a year across the different construction trades and professions at a dedicated construction centre in Bordelsley Green, the college aims to provide each student with the skills, qualifications and experience needed to work in the industry.

With the construction industry beginning to show signs of national recovery - the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have reported a rise of 0.3% in construction sector in the last quarter (GDP report 29 April 2014) and the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have estimated an output growth of around 4% in the sector by the end of 2014, resulting in a skills shortage of 60,000 trades people.

However, the college is on hand to ensure people who want to take the opportunity of available jobs in the industry gain the skills they need to be first in line, whilst providing the industry with the workforce needed to sustain growth.

In addition to basic courses and qualifications, the college ensures students have the opportunity to gain real on-site experience. Since September, 150 construction students have undertaken work experience placements arranged by the college with leading employers such as Balfour Beatty, Willmott Dixon and Wates Construction, gaining invaluable skills and contacts within the industry and resulting in 33 students being offered jobs as a direct result.

The college has also placed 175 young people into construction related Apprenticeships with local employers.

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "I am confident that we provide our students with what they need to be employable in the construction industry.

"We have seen an upturn in construction in the region and there are jobs for our students who are finishing courses with us now – in fact many of them are being offered jobs ahead of even completing courses so they can go straight from education to employment.

"But what is even more positive is that the number of jobs are set to rise and so those who are considering embarking on construction training over the next few years can be secure in the knowledge there will be jobs waiting for them."

Abdellatif Mohamed, aged 19, is currently on an Apprenticeship in Tiling, working at WBS Simpson said: "I was studying tiling at the college and they helped me find a work placement at WBS to gain real experience of working on-site – as I know it is important to have experience when you come to look for work. They were so impressed with my work I was offered an Apprenticeship. I am now earning when I complete my qualifications, and I am getting a lot of great experience; I couldn't be happier."

The college provides courses in a wide range of construction trades and professions including bricklaying, plumbing, electrical, plastering, wall and floor tiling, site management, civil engineering and more. Courses are available from entry level 1 to higher education, both on a full time and part time basis.

To find out more about construction courses and facilities at South and City College Birmingham visit

Coast2Coast Challenge LaunchedSouth and City College Birmingham have today [Wednesday 9 April] announced they are planning a gruelling cycle challenge to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust.

Principal Mike Hopkins will led the challenge which will see a group of cyclists pedal around 800 miles over eight days, travelling from coast to coast across the UK this summer.

The challenge will set off from Cleethorpes on the East coast of England on Sunday 20 July and visit coastlines around England, Ireland and Wales. Each day the core riders will ride in support of a young person going through a cancer journey and the Irish stage will support The Stephen Staunton Foundation.

It is expected around 15 core riders will complete the journey, and will include Stephen Staunton, Blind Dave Heeley and staff and students from South and City College. A support team will accompany the riders, including media students from the college who will document the epic journey.

The final 30 mile leg of the journey from Coventry to the college's Digbeth Campus on Sunday 27 July will be opened up to anyone interested in supporting the team, those who would like to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust or to simply celebrate the excellent work the charity does.

Mike Hopkins said: "As a college our students and staff are committed to raising money for charity and taking part in charitable events. We have been involved in a number of cycle challenges over the years, and this year we thought we would launch our own.

"Teenage Cancer Trust is a charity we really believe in and is close to our students' hearts, and I hope we can raise as much money for them to continue the excellent work they do in helping young people fight against cancer. Our aim is to raise £50,000 but we'd like to raise more than that!"

Michelle Aucott, Regional Fundraising Manager from Teenage Cancer Trust said: "Good luck to everyone taking part in the event. It's great to have to support of the college and I am confident that this will raise lots of money so we can continue our work with teenagers and young people with cancer in the West Midlands."

Jess Beedle, aged 17 from Wolverhampton, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease when she was aged 12, and relapsed again at 13 where she received care and treatment on Teenage Cancer Trust's ward at the Birmingham Children's Hospital. She said: "I spent two two-week periods receiving treatment on a specialist ward for teenagers – the ward felt less like a hospital and allowed you to have fun not just sit in bed and worry.

"Teenage Cancer Trust also provide after care such as social evenings for people who have been through similar experiences. It is good to meet other people who have been in the same position – it helps you come to terms with what has happened and move on, it also helps you feel less isolated.

"My experience with cancer has given me a drive to succeed and I have realised life is short. I have been in remission since the end of 2010, and I am now in college doing A Levels, and I plan to go to university to study English. After that, I'm considering a career in journalism or writing.

"I think the Coast2Coast Challenge is brilliant. People fundraising in this way helps the charity continue to improve facilities, open more specialist units and provide after care such as social evenings.

"Good luck to the cyclists – they should be really proud of what they are doing."

College InBusiness Honorary President, Sir Doug Ellis OBE and Stephen Staunton launched the challenge, which will continue the 'Bring Back the Bike' to the city initiative and help make a difference to the lives of young people.

The college is calling upon its partners and businesses in the community to support the challenge. There are sponsorship opportunities for companies to sponsor and individuals to get involved in individual stages of the challenge.

For more information about the challenge and to find out about sponsorship opportunities please contact Dawn Edwards on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pictured from left to right: Jess Beedle, Sir Doug Ellis, Mike Hopkins,  Blind Dave Heeley and Stephen Staunton.

Dulex Apprentice of the YearSouth and City College Birmingham will be hosting Dulux Decorator Centres' Apprentice of the Year competition on 1 May 2014. We are inviting young painters and decorators across the UK to put their hard-learned skills to the test and register now.

Encouraging talent and best practice in the industry, the national competition – now in its seventh year - provides a challenging and rewarding experience for students and apprentice college learners. Nine other locations around the UK will also be hosting the competition and, once all ten heats have been completed, there will be a grand final on 10 -11 June 2014 at Durham New College.

The winner of the South and City College heat - along with the other regional winners and the highest placed overall regional runner up - will automatically qualify for a place in the national final. After completing a challenging two-day work piece, the 'Apprentice of the Year' will be selected from the eleven students.

This year, the competition is embracing a wider age group to include those between 17 and 27 of age who are either studying full - or part-time on a recognised NVQ or SVQ level two or three painting and decorating course. Competitors will be tasked with a series of practical applications, comprising various elements of painting and decorating, covering wallpapering, stenciling, waterborne glosses, and special effects.

Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College said: "We are really looking forward to welcoming Dulux Apprentice of the Year competition to our Bordesley Green Campus at the college, where we have a purpose built construction centre. Our painting and decorating students are keen to participate and compete against students from other regional training organisations. They benefit tremendously from the experience of taking part, working towards timescales and quality standards within a competitive yet friendly atmosphere. Good luck to everyone on the day."

Prizes will include £1,000 cash for the winner, alongside a generous selection of products and tools from supplier sponsors. Heat winners will collect £100 worth of Dulux Decorator Centres vouchers and receive a certificate and a goody bag full of decorating materials donated by the company's suppliers. This year's official sponsors are: Shield, Purdy, 3M, Barrettine, Shield and Zarges.

Full terms and conditions are available online at

Money Skills WeekStudents from South and City College are being given the opportunity to improve their financial, enterprise and employability skills as part of Barclays Money Skills Week [March 31-April 11], a money management programme for students at further education colleges across the UK.

Barclays and the National Skills Academy for Financial Services have worked in partnership to develop a series of money related activities, which also touch on enterprise and employability, to provide students with the tools they need to stay in control of their finances and achieve their future goals. In 2013, over 150,000 students took part in interactive money management activities based on topics of interest to young people such as food and fashion.

The college has organised a number of monetary activities for students to take part in including:
• Styling on a budget - Can you put together an outfit on a budget?
• Taste the difference- Can you tell the difference between branded and non-branded foods?
• Basket challenge - Guess the difference of price in the basket of shopping from the brands and from supermarket essentials range
• Small sacrifices big rewards- Learn about how making savings on everyday expenditure can have big rewards over the longer term
• Blockbusters- Learn about the language connected with money management
• Minted or skinted- Five friends who are planning a holiday together - who's minted and who's skinted

Students that participated in 2013 demonstrated clear improvements in their money management skills, demonstrating an improved knowledge of financial terms and positive behavioural changes relating to saving, understanding the terms and conditions of financial products and their overall confidence in managing their money.

The fourth year of the programme aims to provide 160 colleges and 150,000 students nationwide with the resources and support to run a week of money management related activities in the spring term of 2014.

Lucy Curley from student services said: "We're delighted to be running Barclays Money Skills Weeks. It's a great initiative which allows us to deliver money management, employability and enterprise themed activities in a way that creates a real buzz in the college and maximises student learning. The programme helps students to develop key life skills which are critical to their future success."

 South & City College - in partnership with Capital ExposedThe Vamps are coming to Birmingham as part of a one off special show in partnership South & City College Birmingham, and you could win tickets to attend.

Brad, James, Connor and Tristan will be performing live from a secret location in Birmingham as part of the Capital Exposed event, on Tuesday 15 April. There will be only 400 people in the audience, so it will be very intimate and you'll be able to get up close to the band.

They will be performing some of their biggest hits including Wild Heart and Can We Dance, chatting with Capital FM team on stage, and the whole thing will be aired live on Capital.
The tickets sold out in five minutes, but we have 20 pairs of tickets up for grabs.

To be in with a chance of being in that audience, follow us on Twitter @southandcitycol and like our Facebook page  ( to find out more about entering the competition.

Spread the word.


Employment Street170 young people in Birmingham attended Employment Street – an event to help them find out about employment opportunities, education and training in Birmingham [Wednesday 19 March].

The event, hosted by South and City College Birmingham in conjunction with Business Connect, gave students from the college and people from the local community the chance to speak and network with exhibitors and local businesses that ranged from Asda to Barclays to West Midlands Police along with many others.

Attendees were able to find out about existing jobs, career paths, and future opportunities direct from the organisations.

Naz Khan, Assistant Principal for South and City College said: "The event was a great success.

"It is so important for young people to meet employers, find out about the different opportunities that are out there and to enter into discussions with organisations from the local area. Not only does it give them confidence, but also helps them see what jobs are available to them now or in the future.

"We hope to hold further similar events like this to continue to help the young people of Birmingham find jobs and careers."

The exhibitors included:

Asda, Crossover, Barclays Bank, My Time, Cultural Care , Pertemps.,NHS - Heartlands , Police , Fire Service, Youth Employment, Small Heath Community Forum, Transform West Midlands CIC, Parent Support, Open Door Carers, Affinity Sutton Housing Association, Kahrmel Wellness, Enterprise Support.

Tom Croxford and Sir Doug EllisYoung people and businesses in Birmingham have celebrated the benefits of Apprenticeships at an awards ceremony which was held as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2014.
Winners were presented awards by Birmingham's largest local provider of Apprenticeships South and City College at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel on 6 March.

The awards recognised excellence in two areas: businesses who grow their own talent through Apprenticeships and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.
Awards were given to apprentices from eight different industry sectors who were chosen for their attendance, time keeping, motivation, quality of work, attitude and work ethic. The winners were:

Business and IT Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by National Express West Midlands: Sandra Benaitiene
Construction Craft Apprentice of the Year – Painting and Decorating, sponsored by Keepmoat and City & Guilds: Massimba Matapo
Construction Technical Apprentice of the Year – Plumbing, sponsored by Edwards and City & Guilds: Simon Hutchins
Creative Studies Apprentice of the Year - Social Media, sponsored by Social Media Buz: Hayley Scriven
Health and Social Care and Early Years Apprentice of the Year - Teaching & Learning, sponsored by Morgan Hunt: Amy Jones
Retail and Commercial Apprentice of the Year - Hospitality and Catering, sponsored by Macdonald Burlington Hotel: Thomas Croxford
Retail and Commercial Apprentice of the Year – Retail, sponsored by PS Office: Kieran Ward
Motor Vehicle and Engineering Apprentice of the Year - Motor Vehicle, sponsored by OCN: Luke Hinson

In addition, the title of South and City College Apprentice of the Year 2014 went to Thomas Croxford for his commitment, hard work, enthusiasm and energy in helping others.

Tom said: "It feels fantastic to have had such a reward, recognising what I have put into the year I have worked for Glynn Purnell. He has given me many great opportunities and this is just another one. It came as quite a surprise on the night and I don't think I'll be forgetting it soon."

The National Federation of Builders announced a £110,000 partnership with the college to help young people into the construction industry, also awarded an Excellence in Construction Award to Hannah Mealy, a young plasterer aged 16 who has shown huge amounts of potential.

Local businesses were recognised for the opportunities they provide to young people in the area. The winners were:

Apprentice Large Employer Award 2014: Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Apprentice SME Employer Award 2014: Unicorn Plastering Ltd

Alexandra Kustas, Skills and Apprentice Manager at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust added: "We are very pleased to have been given this award. 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.
"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."

The college's InBusiness network organised the event, and Honorary President, Sir Doug Ellis OBE presenting awards to members of InBusiness who have provided exceptional student experiences, contributed to student learning or offered Apprenticeships and work placement opportunities. The InBusiness award winners were:

Apprentice InBusiness Employer Award: Purnell's Restaurant and Bistro
InBusiness Student Experience Employer Award: Vantage Toyota
InBusiness Student Contribution Award: Help Harry Help Others
InBusiness Student Ambassador Award: Matt Graham

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "Congratulations to all our award winners who have shown excellence as apprentices and employers. I'd also like to thanks and applaud those who were nominated, and all our apprentices and employers.

"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."

On the night, guests had the opportunity to hear from young entrepreneur Jamie Dunn, who spoke about his experiences setting up his own business. Local Free Radio DJ Tom Ross also attended, as compare for the night.

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 & Guilds, OCN, National Express, PS Office Supplies, Morgan Hunt, Keepmoat, BMS Security, National Federation of Builders and Social Media Buz.

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.