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Jobs-Fair-at-South-and-City-College-BirminghamSouth and City College's Fusion Centre saw a constant stream of job hunters enter its doors last week, looking to talk with as many of the 30 employers present for the event. Attendees were encouraged to speak to everyone as they entered the main hall, and to make the most of the CV workshop that ran throughout the day. Hosted by two staff members/CV experts, the half hour sessions talked about everything regarding a successful, professional CV. This included presentation, headings, what content to include and what to leave out, the language that should be used in a CV, and finally, they explained the importance of writing a cover letter to accompany any applications.

Also present was a stall showcasing all of the apprenticeships the college has to offer - everything from social media to construction. In total, over 100 apprenticeships were available to young adults aged 16-24.

Andy, 41, spent the day job searching at the college and said:

"The CV workshop was really well presented and taught. I was really impressed. I found the whole day really interesting and useful. I have managed to get a lot of new leads and I have also got an interview in two days with Home Fundraising, which I am really excited for. I think the Jobs Fair was a valuable experience for everyone, as there were lots of differing and amazing opportunities."

This year's Jobs Fair brought in a staggering 500 people in the six hours it was open, improving on last year.

Amongst the employers were Subway, West Midlands Police, the Royal Navy and John Lewis, who were looking to hire staff for their new Birmingham store, opening September 2015.

The John Lewis team (pictured above) said:

"It has been a very busy day. It's been nice to talk to a variety of people. We have all really enjoyed interacting with people. It was very well organised, Paul Leahy has done an incredible job."

Subway also had praise for the day, saying:

"We are very glad to be part of such an eventful and productive day. We hope that we can provide opportunities for everyone."

Paul Leahy, sales manager at the college and organiser of the event, said:

"As a college, we have a responsibility to support the local economy through days like today. The success of this year's jobs fair was achieved by working closely with and understanding our partners and stakeholders to ensure we support their business growth objectives to then bring prosperity to our community at all levels."

If you, like some of our guests last week, would like to know more about apprenticeships, please click here for more information.

Jobs-Fair-2015-South-and-City-CollegeFollowing the success of last year's jobs fair, South and City College will be hosting a jobs and apprenticeships fair on Wednesday 4 March.

Organisations including the West Midlands Police, British Army, John Lewis, Fujistu, National Express, Birmingham City Council, Topps Tiles, Reed Recruitment, Sertec Engineering, Fairway Care and more will be looking for people to fill full and part time jobs.

The college also have a large number of apprenticeship vacancies available with local employers in a range of industries from customer service, creative media, motor vehicle, administration, hairdressing, social media, sales support, retail, refrigeration and air conditioning and more.

If you live in or near Birmingham and are looking for a job, our jobs fair might be just the thing you need. With hundreds of employment opportunities all under one roof, advice and guidance and CV support workshops, you might just find the perfect opportunity for you.

To find out more and to register to attend, please click here

Apprenticeship-Awards-South-and-City-College-BirminghamYoung people and businesses in Birmingham have been shortlisted to receive awards ahead of the eighth annual National Apprenticeship Week [9-13 March].

South and City College Birmingham is celebrating the success and achievements of both apprentices, trainees and employers at an awards evening which will be held at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel on Thursday 5 March.

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

Local businesses will also be recognised, with awards being given to large and SME employers for the valuable contribution to they have made. The college's InBusiness network has organised the event, and Honorary President, Sir Doug Ellis OBE will be presenting award the award to the overall winner along with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

Mike Hopkins, principal of the college said: "Apprenticeships and traineeships provide excellent opportunities for both young people and businesses. We held our first awards evening last year, and we hope this year's will follow in its success.

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

Last year Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust won an award for the valuable opportunities they provided young people. Alexandra Kustas, Skills and Apprentice Manager said: "We were very pleased to have been given the 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."

Shortlisted for the Apprentice Large Employer Award 2015 are: Kier Partnership Homes, Midland Heart and National Express.

Shortlisted for Apprentice SME Employer Award 2015 are: Braywhite & Co Ltd., Fix Autos Birmingham East and Benson Road School.

Shortlisted companies for the InBusiness Student Experience Employer Award 2015 are: MG Motors, Hollywood Monster, Roy G Hemmings The Sounds of Philadephia and Motown Show, XPro and Eze Group.

The individuals who have been shortlisted for the InBusiness Student Contribution Award 2015 are: Aksar Khan, Kash Gill, Nick Bailey, Gary James, Jamie Dunn, Eddy Ankrett, Tom Ross, Steve Staunton, Edward Van der Keijn, Dave Barnett, Nyla Naseer Jimmy Franks, Kostas Petrou, Sheila Kelly-Trow and Tim Andrews.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) will be presenting the Excellence in Construction award to a South and City College student from Birmingham excelling in construction. The NFB currently provide the college with the NFB Construction Fund which supplies bursaries to students in need.

The college would like to thanks the generous sponsors of the awards: OCNWMR, Edwards Plumbing and Heating Supplies, Morgan Hunt, Keepmoat, NFB, British Military Security, National Federation of Builders, AB Waste Management Ice 7 Media and The Asian Today Newspaper.

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.

Music_Artists_at_South_and_City_College_BirminghamOver the last few weeks, Digbeth campus has been honoured with the insights from several musical professionals, who came in to the college to offer their knowledge to students looking to break into the music industry.

All sessions included extensive question and answer sessions, inspirational talks and short performances from the guests, making each visit a wholly worthwhile thought provoking experience for all involved.

Amongst the guests were former students, an internationally renowned guitarist, a local rap artist and a world famous drummer.

Former students Lennis Murrain and Matt Brook have, since leaving the college, have both had excellent starts to their musical careers. Lennis now co-owns a successful recording studio and Matt has performed alongside Meghan Trainor on Radio 1's Live Lounge, and is now a touring drummer for Chloe Howl. They both had a lot to share about their experiences in business within the music industry, and had valuable tips on the acquisition and application of knowledge and helped students understand the personal attributes required to succeed.

Aziz Ibrahim, solo artist, record label executive, and guitarist for bands such as Simply Red and The Stone Roses, also paid a visit to level 3, 4 and 5 students to demonstrate techniques he has picked up over his illustrious career, and talk about his highs and lows within the music, from performing live with major bands to running his own business.

Zara Sykes, a local rapper who has supported Mary J Blige at the NIA, came in the to the college to run a lyric and writing workshop with students, teaching them about rhythm, writing styles and what it is like to perform live, as opposed to studio work. She also performed at the end of the session, demonstrating her skill with a microphone to the level 2 and 3 students.

Our final guest was Thomas Lang (see separate article) finishing off what has been an exciting couple of weeks for the music department, and we hope to bring in more guests to continue to teach and motivate both staff and students in the months to come.

To find out more about our music courses, please click here

Thomas_Lang_South_and_City_College_BirminghamOn Monday 9 February, Thomas Lang, Austrian drummer came to South and City College as part of his European tour, set up by PMT (the biggest music shop in Birmingham) and Roland UK (Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments).

Thomas Lang, the most searched for drummer on the internet performed at our Digbeth Campus in the auditorium. Our staff and students helped set up the room and was there to make sure the night ran smoothly.

Thomas Lang has played for artists such as Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Peter Gabriel, Tina Turner, Robbie Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Mick Jones (The Clash), George Michael, The Lighthouse Family, Bonnie Tyler, stOrk and many more. Thomas has also released numerous drum tutorial DVD's as well as producing artists in his LA studio.

Thomas Lang started off playing two of his tracks. He then went on to play a long and impressive solo, blowing the audience away.

He then told us all about his kit which was a Roland TD-30 and told the audience about each different component.

He interacted with the audience of 200, made up of our music students and was open to the public, by answering their many questions and breaking down certain techniques. He showed off his rudiments and went into full detail about creativity. The Question and Answer session had probing questions with long and detailed answers, leaving the audience shell-shocked and truly inspired.

When asked by a member of the audience "At what age did you start playing drums?"

He revealed: "I started playing drums at the age of 5."

He played another track at the end of the night and thanked his audience.

Everyone in the audience was given a voucher with money off certain Roland products at PMT lasting for seven days.

People queued up outside the auditorium to meet their hero Thomas Lang, where he did signings and photos.

This was a real coup for the college with this date being only one of eleven dates for Thomas in the whole of Europe.

Richard-Jones-South-and-City-College-BirminghamSouth and City's music department is the latest to produce an award winning student, and ensured the college ended January with a bang, as Richard Jones won one of the UK's largest music competitions. Open Mic UK is an exciting national singing competition for singers and solo artists in the UK. The competition attracts over 9,000 acts every year as it travels across the country in search for the UK's best singers, singer/songwriters, rappers and vocalists. Acts can perform either covers or original material and is open to all genres.

That judging panel for the final this year included record label representatives from Sony and Universal, as well as recording studios and vocal coaching schools.

Chris Grayston, Head Judge and Director of Future Music said:

'Richard Jones has been a stand out act throughout the Open Mic UK competition. His original songs and emotive performances made him a clear winner'

Richard, who is currently studying his HND in Popular Music Practice Level 5, said:
'10,000 people signed up to the competition this year! I knew it would be tough from the start, but I'm extremely happy to have won. There were four rounds and the final was held at the NEC Birmingham. I played an original song called 'Temptation' to win it. The prize was £5000 that will go towards funding my music career and I now have the chance to work with a big management company. I also plan to start my first full album, so I have a very exciting year ahead. To win, having only started singing and song writing about a year ago, was amazing'

If you, too, are interested in all things musical, take a look at our music courses here

Students-get-a-real-taste-of-work-South-and-City-College-BirminghamNine construction students from South and City College Birmingham have been given an insight into the world of work after they spent the morning with Willmott Dixon's local team.

The students, who are all studying for a Level 3 in Construction, were given the opportunity to undertake and complete a full building survey on one of Birmingham City Council's void properties, under the expert guidance of Willmott Dixon's Birmingham South team.

The opportunity came as the students study a building surveying module. The time with Willmott Dixon's team involved students carrying out a full survey to establish the works required to bring the vacant property back into use. After spending time on site, the students went back to college to complete all necessary paperwork, which will now be submitted as coursework.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships is currently working with Birmingham City Council to repair and maintain 60,000 properties in the city. It's 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.

Willmott Dixon's assistant customer and community partner, Matt Daykin, said: "We have partnered with South and City College Birmingham for a while now and are thrilled to be able to give the students the opportunity to gain real life work experience.

"Gaining practical experience is an important way of learning and we hope that students will now have the confidence and understanding of certain aspects of a career in construction."

Organising the students is South and City College Birmingham's external project manager, Loris Cimarosti.
Loris said, "Willmott Dixon have been tremendous partners and are always willing to extend opportunities to support our learners.

"Following a highly successful project on a void property last year and investigation of future work of this kind, we are delighted that Willmott Dixon gave our learners the chance to survey a full building as part of their studies. It has been fully appreciated by the learners and me."

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

Navpreet Chatha, who is studying BTEC Extended Diploma in Construction at the college, took part in the surveying and said: "The site visit and the survey work were beneficial and gave me experience to detect potential problems in domestic buildings. Diagnosing issues of this kind could be an important skill that I may use in my future career."

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.

Painting-Decorating-Association-Logo-South-and-City-College-BirminghamAdvanced courses in hanging wallpaper for professionals are being held at South and City College in February by the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA).

A one-day course on Thursday 19 February and a two-day course on the 20 and 21 February take place at the college's Bordesley Green Campus construction centre.

Both courses cover the types and preparation factors for patterned papers and adhesives and the setting out of a range of complex surfaces, such as ceilings, stairwells, arches/alcoves, columns and sloping ceilings.

The one-day course includes the practical hanging of matching patterned papers to ceilings.

However, the two-day course includes the practical hanging of matching patterned papers to ceilings, stairwells and arches.

Both courses feature demonstrations and practical activities to learn more about the subjects – and health and safety is emphasised throughout all the training.

Neil Ogilvie, Chief Executive of the PDA, said: "Wallpaper is being increasingly requested by our members' clients and these courses offer detailed and advanced training for professionals looking to increase their knowledge and skills."

The PDA has teamed up with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to introduce the training programme after figures predicted a skills gap in the industry over the next five years.
Figures released by the CITB Construction Skills Network forecast reveals an additional 13,250 painters and decorators will be needed between now and 2018 to meet growing demand.
Almost 3,000 hours of training for its members will now be held in 2015.

Training courses will be offered at a discounted rate to PDA members. Non-members can also access the training, but will need to pay the full cost.

The cost of the one-day course is £100 for PDA members and £180 for non-members, and the two-day course is £150 for members and £300 for non-members. CITB grants of £50 per day apply.

Both courses may be used towards a Unit in the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Decorative Finishing – Painting and Decorating.

The courses are highly cost effective due to the financial support of the CITB.

To find out more and to register please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lucy-Cartwright-Tilda-Competition-South-and-City-College-BirminghamLucy Cartwright, a VRQ Level 2 Professional Cookery student at the college, recently won a bronze medal in Tilda Rice Young Chef of the Year competition, part of the open cookery championships held at the NEC this week. The competition required her to produce a dish in front of a live audience. Lucy was up against young chefs from across the country, all under the age of 24, with most of them already working in hotels and restaurants.

The event was a 30 minute competition where chefs were challenged with preparing, cooking and presenting two portions of a main course using rice as the base ingredient. Competitors were able to choose from any of the following Tilda range: Easy Cook Basmati, Brown Basmati, Fragrant Jasmine, Arborio Risotto, Original Pure Basmati and Basmati & Wild.

Mark Lyddy, Head of Tilda Foodservice said:

"Tilda will provide an ideal platform for junior, talented chefs to show what they can do in a competitive environment at a major industry event.

"The competition will give them an opportunity to compete against some of the best emerging talent in the business and see how their cooking skills compare. We hope this event will encourage more young chefs to come forward and put their skills to the test."

Lucy is part of the hospitality competition team for the college, and was the only learner entered for the championships. This was her first competition, so proved herself and did exceptionally well to compete against established chefs and come away with a bronze medal. She will be competing with the rest of the hospitality team next week in the Warwickshire & Hinckley Salon Culinaire.

Her mentor and trainer, Keith Davies, was very proud of Lucy's first attempt in a major junior competition, he said:

"30 minutes is not a lot of time to prepare any dish, let alone an Asian dish. She chose to cook king prawn, which was marinated in garlic, lemon juice and chilli sauce, with long brown rice alongside it. She did very well to adapt the recipe to fit the short amount of time she was given. I know it must have been very daunting for her to cook in front of a live audience, but she was organised, composed and very much deserved her bronze medal. She has expressed a desire to go on to compete in further competitions, and would one day like to open her own restaurant."

With confidence sky high, Lucy then entered a second competition a week later, coming away with a silver medal. The Warwick and Hinckley College Open Colleges Salon Culinaire, involved many colleges and universities, and required chefs to compete alongside five other colleges in front of a live audience, closely scrutinised by four judges all within 20 minutes. For Lucy's dish, she prepared two starter portions of an Asian inspired meal, which consisted of pineapple rice and spiced tiger prawns with a chilli prawn honey sauce.

Following Lucy's second triumph in under a fortnight, Keith added:

"This was a great another great experience, not only for the individual developments concerned but was also so inspirational for their class mates too. The total tally was two gold medals, seven silvers, three bronzes and three merits. All in all, it was a really good haul."

If you have been inspired by Lucy's win and are interested in any of the Hospitality and Catering courses available at South and City College Birmingham, click here for more information

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 -