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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.

Mohammed ZafranSouth and City College Birmingham staff member has been nominated for the UK's largest diversity awards.

Mohammed Zafran, who is well known as Zaf, has been nominated for the Positive Role Model of the Year 2014 award at The National Diversity Awards.

Zaf, who is a community liaison officer at the college is also the director of a company called All 4 Youth & Community which gives young people in Birmingham the opportunity to get back in education via sporting programmes.

His inspiration to set up the company was the tragic death of his brother in law and the death of his blind sister.

His organisation helps young people who have little drive or future and who spend their time on the street, in gangs, alleyways and parks. He ensures they are given a new source to get their life back on track and that by giving them support and kindness they are able to prosper.

Over 21,000 nominations were received for the awards, paying tribute to the inspirational individuals and groups nationwide who have dedicated their time and lives to enhancing the equality agenda.

The awards will take place on 26 September in London.
All 4 Youth & Community is a charity organisation that now has over 7500 youths registered on their books, and has completed 97 projects.

Zaf said: "I am honoured to be nominated but surprised as to being shortlisted from over 21,000 people! It goes to show the confidence, trust and faith people have in me.
"What started off as a helping hand to turn a few lives around has gone on to help thousands of people and that pleases me; that is my biggest award.

"My biggest satisfaction comes when I see the youths I have been working with progress in life. My long term aim is to keep on helping the youths get back into education and help other community groups grow who need assistance.

"I feel I have set something up which will live on way after me as we needed more young people to help others in the community because nobody has the time.

"I felt frustrated looking at the youths and what route they were taking. There is still a lot of work to be done but thankfully more people are coming forward to help with this cause and together we can all make a difference, I am certain of that.

"We have managed to achieve what we have with no external funding. The only help me and my team are getting for our projects at the moment are from Mike Hopkins, who is Principal of South and City College.

Zaf has also won the Birmingham Sports Community Award 2013 and the BBC West Midlands Sports Community Project of the Year 2013. He has appeared on BBC West Midlands News, Unity FM, Radio WM Breakfast Show, BBC Midlands Masala and Heart FM to talk about his community projects.

He has also been nominated for the Pride Of Birmingham Awards 2014 also on the 26 September.

Zaf added: "I would like to thank all my friends, family and organisations who took time out to vote for me and especially my work colleagues at South and City College Birmingham, who have always been there to support me."

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.