College Theatre Company makes National Theatre Festival ‘Connections’

BAFTA winner and Cheshire College – South & West to produce own soap opera Regent Street for lucky acting learners.

Cheshire College – South & West’s theatre company PRO:Jections, has been accepted to be part of the prestigious National Theatre Festival ‘ Connections’ this year.  This exciting opportunity will see the College’s Level 3 Acting learners involved with industry professionals at a national level, introducing them to new and exciting experiences, which will inform their future careers.

Each year the National Theatre commissions ten new plays for young people to perform, bringing together some of the UK’s most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow. 300 youth theatre companies and over 6,000 young people from every corner of the UK are producing a ‘Connections’ play this year. Directors from the National Theatre will visit each company to watch their performance and then write a report offering guidance for transfer to a professional venue. The companies selected will form a group that will have the opportunity to perform at The National Theatre in London.

Alongside this, Acting and Drama Lecturer, Paul Moss and Actress Natasha Symms, have also been in talks with local writer, Steve Lawson, to produce a soap script especially for the learners of Cheshire College – South & West.  Steve Lawson is a BAFTA award winning and accomplished writer who wrote for both Hollyoaks and Brookside. Steve has close links with the College and has written the script to ensure the learners and Cheshire College – South & West are at the centre of the story.

Paul Moss, Acting and Drama Lecturer, said: ‘’We are really excited about being able to offer our learners the opportunity to work with such well known industry names such as the National Theatre and Steve Lawson. It is a testament to our Performing Arts tutors who have been working tirelessly over the summer to ensure there are many exciting opportunities in place for our learners to get involved with in the upcoming academic year.”

The Ellesmere Port campus will see their HNC/HND learners from Acting and Media involved in the production of Regent Street, set to be filmed and released across College. Filming starts this September with a premier planned for the summer term of the academic year 18-19. 

Follow us on social media to keep updated with all of our events throughout the upcoming academic year. If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, call 01270 654 654 (Crewe Campus) / 01244 656 555 (Ellesmere Port and Chester Campuses).

Apprentice turns his hobby into a career

What started as a hobby building BMX jumps in his back garden, led talented carpentry and joinery Apprentice from Cheshire College – South &West, Max Tonge, 19, into a career making high-quality bespoke furniture and kitchens.

Max, from Frodsham, an Apprentice at furniture makers Brownlow in Chester, said: “After my GCSEs I started studying carpentry and joinery at Cheshire College – South & West. I’d always been interested in building things out of wood– so it seemed like a natural choice for me.

“After a few months I applied for an Apprenticeship at Brownlow. I was delighted to get accepted as it meant I could learn from talented craftsmen, earn some money and still study at College.”

Max started on a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery and then progressed onto Level 3. Max added: “Working for Brownlow is an amazing job. We custom build furniture that is unique and personal for customers – one of the most unusual requests was to design a secret door in the back of a wardrobe.”

As well as developing his craft, Max has also grown in confidence since starting the Apprenticeship. Max said: “I’m definitely more confident as not only do we build the furniture in our workshop we often have to deal with our customers face to face in their own homes when we fit the furniture. The best thing for me is the satisfaction when job has finished and installed in a customer’s home.”

For more information about studying Carpentry and Joinery at Cheshire College – South & West’s Ellesmere Port Campus from September 2018 visit ccsw.ac.uk or call 01244 656555.

College supports growth of Ellesmere Port’s engineering and construction industry

The Engineering and Construction industry in Ellesmere Port has received a welcome boost following Cheshire College – South & West’s decision to move its Engineering and Construction departments to the town.

The move demonstrates the College’s commitment to ensuring the region’s Engineering and Construction workforce has the skills it needs to ensure future investment and growth.

The College has delivered high-quality training and Apprenticeships in the industry for over 30 years working with some of the region’s largest employers such as Vauxhall and Unilever to develop their future workforce.

Nathan Richards, 20, from Ellesmere Port who is studying a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Process Engineering at Vauxhall Motors said: “I started on a Maintenance Engineering Apprenticeship with Vauxhall straight after leaving school. After two years I was given the chance to move onto the Higher Apprenticeship which I’m studying now.

“Growing up in Ellesmere Port there’s a lot of engineering focus. The opportunities I’ve been given at Vauxhall and the College have been amazing. I’m so glad I chose to do an Apprenticeship – the knowledge and skills you learn from colleagues and tutors who are qualified, competent and experienced are incredible.”

Supporting the College’s Apprentices are a dedicated team of highly experienced teachers and assessors at the College. Graham Fox, a former Vauxhall Apprentice and now teacher at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “I completed my Apprenticeship with Vauxhall in the 1970s and then went into the Merchant Navy. I then came back to Vauxhall in the 80s just as they were starting to make the Astra. After that I went on to work on aeroplanes, ships and cancer treatment machines.

“Going into teaching at a later stage in my career means I can give things back to young people from my lifetime of experiences. Moving to Ellesmere Port is an exciting time for us all – with opportunities for more specialist rooms and labs which will benefit our students as well as employers.”

For more information about studying Engineering and Construction at Cheshire College – South & West visit ccsw.ac.uk or call 01244 656555.

Learners work with Michelin Star chef at County Show

Professional cookery learners from Cheshire College – South & West have been supporting celebrity chefs at this year’s Royal Cheshire County Show.

The six learners, all studying Professional Cookery Level 1 and Level 2 at the College’s Ellesmere Port Campus, have been helping celebrity chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and Sean Wilson prepare for their live cooking demonstrations at the show.

Learner Ben Pocock, 17, from Chester, said: “It’s been an amazing experience. We’ve helped prepare food before each demonstration as well as had the chance to work on stage with Jean-Christophe.

“I’ve learnt so many new techniques and tricks it has been incredible to work on a live show.”

The learners got the opportunity thanks to the College’s partnership with professional chef Brian Mellor, who is an ambassador for the College.

Brian, who runs Harthill Cookery School, said: “My role as ambassador for the College is to support and provide opportunities that expose learners to real working experiences.

“Working on such a high-profile event with a multi-Michelin Star award winning chef is an incredible opportunity.”

Attracting over 80,000 visitors each year, the Royal Cheshire County Show at Tabley, near Knutsford, is one of the most highly anticipated agricultural shows in the country.

Richard Harrison, Lecturer in Hospitality at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “All the learners have shown a huge amount of passion and commitment over the past two days and they should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.”

For more information about studying hospitality and catering courses at Cheshire College – South & West visit ccswdev.wpengine.com or call 01244 654555.

Crewe Campus College Awards

Cheshire College – South & West hosted the second of its two annual College Awards at its Crewe Campus this week.

Celebrating the achievements of learners over the past 12 months, 33 individual awards were presented to the delight of parents, family, friends, college colleagues and employers.

Holly Kneale, 18, from Crewe, who won Travel and Tourism Student of the Year, said: “I’ve just completed my Level 3 Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism

“I’ve enjoyed the course so much – the tutors have been brilliant. I’ve learnt so many things on the course about how the industry works and what jobs there are. We’ve been to East Midlands Airport and took part in a Thomas Cook training day. The best thing about the course this year has been completing the Air Cabin Crew diploma – I loved the practical assignments we did in the cabin room.

“I’ve decided to continue my studies and I’m really excited about starting the Level 4 course in Travel and Management in September at the College’s Ellesmere Port Campus. It means that I can get a HE qualification at College rather that going to university. When I finish I’ll either go on to complete the Level 5 qualification or decide to work in a travel agents or cabin crew.”

Roisin Burns, 17, from Nantwich, who won A Level Student of the Year, said: “I’ve just completed my first year of A Levels and I’m studying Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English Literature. I’ve really enjoyed my first year and it’s definitely a good stepping stone between school and going to university.

“I’m planning to apply to study Medicine and I’ve had a lot of support from the Honours team here at College. They’ve helped me understand what I need to do for my application as well as given me extra curricular opportunities – we’ve attended Leighton Hospital for a series of talks as well as visited Keele University Medical School to see what it would be like to study there.

“I’ve also had work experience in a GP surgery and I’m working with the fragility team at Leighton Hospital in the summer.”

Thomas Morbey, 20, from Crewe who won Vocational College Student of the Year, said: “I’ve studied the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts and I’m really excited to be going on to study a BA in Performing Arts and Media at the University of South Wales.

“I took part in shows at high school but here at College I’ve really grown in confidence. My time here has made me realise that I want to pursue acting as a career. My tutors have been really supportive but they’ve also pushed me to be the best I can be. They’ve challenged me as an actor and I’m delighted to have achieved a triple distinction.

“I’ve been involved with so many productions here at College including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol as well as the leading role of Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.”

Richard Postles, 18, from Winsford who won Hospitality and Catering Student of the Year, said: “I enjoyed studying Food Technology at high school and when I came to the Open Day at College I was really impressed. The College had just been awarded its AA Rosette for The Academy restaurant and has a great reputation for its links to industry. I’m studying full-time at College but I’ve also got an Apprentice Chef position working part-time for Brunning & Price’s Hayhurst Arms in Northwich.

“The tutors here are great – I feel really privileged that they are passing on their knowledge and passion for food to me. As well as working in the restaurant I’ve worked at events at Nantwich Football Club and the Chester Food Festival.

“I’ve just finished my Level 2 in Hospitality and Catering and will start my Level 3 in September.”

Sophie Cliffe, 17, from Winsford, who won Science Student of the Year, said: “I’ve just completed my first year of a BTEC in Forensic Science and I’ve also completed an AS in Psychology.

“I’ve always been interested in Forensic Science – the idea of being able to solve cases and help people really appealed to me. I was a Police Cadet and I’ve done a lot of volunteering which I’ve enjoyed.

“The course has been really good – I’ve loved learning about fingerprints, DNA and genetics. One of my highlights was visiting the Crime Scene House in Stoke where we got the chance to collect evidence just like we would do in real-life. Once I’ve completed my course I’m hoping to study Forensic Science at Staffordshire University.”

Thomas Powell, 19, from Stoke-on-Trent who won Engineering Student of the Year, said: “I’m fascinated with how things work. I’ve always loved building and making things from a very young age. Whether it was building objects out of Lego or just taking things apart to then put them back together.

“I’ve already achieved an A grade in A Level Maths at College and have just completed a BTEC in Engineering which I achieved triple distinction star grades. I’m now going to study a BSc in Civil Engineering at Bath University. The course includes a year in industry and the option to progress to a Masters Degree.”


To find out more information about courses at Cheshire College – South & West call the College hotline on 01270 654654.

Celebrating success – College Awards 2018

Cheshire College – South & West hosted the first of two annual College Awards at its Ellesmere Port Campus this week.

Celebrating the achievements of learners over the past 12 months, 36 individual awards were presented to the delight of parents, family, friends, college colleagues and employers.

Dhesi, Principal and Chief Executive at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “This is a very special evening for Cheshire College – South & West.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to recognise the outstanding achievements of these learners, in front of the family, friends and tutors who supported them along the way.

“We are committed to helping all of our learners reach their potential so that they can enjoy successful futures.”

Learners receiving awards had completed a wide range of courses this year including vocational qualifications, higher education qualifications and apprenticeships.

Alex Howson, 21, from Chester who won Computing and IT Student of the Year, said: “I’ve always been interested in computers and came to the College Open Day. I met the tutors here and found out more about the courses available. I chose to study the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Software Development. I really enjoyed the programming parts of the course – especially the opportunity to programme the robots we have in College to do dance routines. I’m due to finish my course this month and I’ve already started applying for jobs including some Apprenticeship opportunities.”

They were praised for their excellent academic achievements and for the impressive ambition, determination and enthusiasm they demonstrated which helped them to reach their goals.

Award winners and their guests arrived to a selection of delicious non-alcoholic mocktails and canapés made and served by the College’s Hospitality and Catering learners.

Penny-Jane Prior, 18, from Chester, who won Media and Games Student of the Year and won Gold in the WorldSkills competition last year, said: “When I was at high school I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do. I thought about studying art and then found out about the video gaming course here at College. I came to the College Open Day and met my tutor Paul Browne. I’d always liked games and was part of the gaming community, so as soon as I came here it just clicked and I knew this was the course for me.

“I’m now a completely different person to who I was when I started two years ago. At high school I used to be very quiet and didn’t have a large group of friends. But coming here I’ve met so many new friends, people just like me. The tutors here are amazing – they give us creative freedom and space to express ourselves. I’m now going on to Staffordshire University to study a BA in Games Art.”

The evening started with a stunning performance by the College’s Dance learners who performed a routine ‘That’s Entertainment’ from their forthcoming show-inspired routine.

Guest speaker for the evening was adventure travel writer and broadcast journalist Simon Parker who delivered a fascinating and thought-provoking speech.

Kayley Pritchard, 18, from Ellesmere Port, who won Health and Social Care Student of the Year, said: “Since I started my course at College I’m a lot more confident – I’ve had the opportunity to meet new people and had work placements at a nursery day-care centre and care home. I’ve now got a job as a Care Assistant which I’m really excited about. The tutors have been amazing and given me so much support during my studies.”

Leah Hunt, 17, from Frodsham, who won Motor Vehicle Student of the Year and has just started a three-year Apprenticeship with Vauxhall, said: “After I finished my GCSEs last year, I started the Level 1 in Motor Vehicle course at the College’s Chester campus. School wasn’t an easy place for me but here at College I’ve completely changed as a person. I’m a lot more focused and I love studying a course that is practical and hands-on.

“When I applied for the Apprenticeship in Motor Vehicle at Vauxhall, I didn’t think I’d get offered the position, so I was delighted when I did. I’ve only just started but I’m really enjoying it. It’s hard work as we have to work 40 hours a week. I work in the garage and we check over 60 cars per week – we have to complete MOTs and visual health checks.”

To find out more information about courses at Cheshire College – South & West call the College hotline on 01270 654654.

College welcomes world’s first luxury hybrid vehicle

Cheshire College – South & West has welcomed the arrival of a Bentayga Hybrid, Bentley’s first-ever high voltage vehicle, to its dedicated training facility in Crewe.

The training facility, based at the College’s Crewe Campus, supports the learning and development of both existing Bentley colleagues and new apprentices.

The arrival of the world’s first luxury hybrid vehicle to the College, is part of a continuing strategic partnership between Bentley and the College to invest in new skills development for the company’s future technicians and engineers.

As well as supplying the vehicle, Bentley has invested in continuing professional development for one of the College’s experienced Engineering Lecturers who will be able to deliver specialised training to apprentices at the College.

Mark Parsons, Assistant Principal for Services, Engineering and Construction, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our apprentices to develop their skills and knowledge of working on electric vehicles. It demonstrates the ongoing commitment between the college and Bentley to ensure that our apprentices are working on the latest innovative technology.”

The Bentayga Hybrid was revealed to the public earlier this year at the Geneva International Motor Show.

Nigel Tew, Director of Whole Vehicle Engineering at Bentley, said: “As we enter an exciting new era of electrified vehicles, it is essential for Bentley to establish a safe, reliable training infrastructure. Importantly, we need to ensure that all our existing staff and new starters joining the business (including Apprentices) follow approved training.”

For more information on studying Engineering at Cheshire College – South & West visit ccsw.ac.uk or call 01270 654654.


College celebrate launch of risual Microsoft Academy

Employers, staff and industry professionals attended the launch of Cheshire College – South & West’s risual Microsoft Academy, an initiative that will provide Microsoft accredited digital training for learners and local employers to equip them and their staff with the skills and knowledge they require in the workplace.

The new collaboration between the College, risual and Microsoft aims to embrace the digital revolution and link employers with learners. The digital training centre contains the latest Microsoft technology and will be used to train internal and external staff, access digital apprenticeships and provide industry qualifications.

Paul Edge, Microsoft Learning Consultant said: “Our aim as a company is to empower people to achieve more and this is what we are hoping to accomplish with the Academy. Through digital literacy we want to empower people within the College, both learners and staff, and arm them with the skills they need for the future.

“Technology is a constant evolution and with a blended approach we can enhance our future with the latest innovations. This is a partnership that benefits the whole organisation, creating pathways around digital skills and use of technology to improve overall effectiveness.”

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal/ Deputy Chief Executive at Cheshire College – South & West opened proceedings at the event and commented: “The Academy idea was born out of a conversation some 12 months ago with our Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Representative, Mark Livesey. We discussed how we can respond to the digital world, and agreed we needed to invest time and effort in the right areas by creating a digital hub with the aim of sharing knowledge and information.

“It is a critical time for any organisation as the pace of change in the world of digital and technology continues to accelerate. We want to prepare our learners so that they have the skills they need for when they begin the next stage of their career. We are engaging with employers nationally and locally to understand specific needs and prepare our learners accordingly. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity, which we hope will soon have an impact in the anytime, anywhere learning forum.”

Mark Livesey, Deputy Chief Executive at Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) added: “I am delighted to see the developments over the past year come to fruition and feel tremendously proud to have played a part in scoping out this programme. We believe this will have a significant impact on the local economy, drive economic growth and create additional job opportunities. I look forward to seeing what’s to come.”

Leading IT consultants, risual, have been transforming organisations with technology for over ten years, providing market leading consulting, managed services and solutions in IT. risual have experienced first-hand the difficulty in bridging the digital skills gap between education and in the work place. Hence, they have teamed up with Cheshire College – South & West to narrow this margin and create an effective learning programme.

Richard Proud, Co-Founder and Director of risual said: “As an employer, I experienced the problem that existed around talent and education. It became evident that the issue was in the skills gap. I was gaining talented learners but their skills didn’t match my requirements and we had to start again with their training.

“That’s when I decided I wanted to make a difference and act now to improve the quality of learning, in order to effectively align young people with employers to create a better fit. Since then we have been working with our partners Microsoft and Cheshire College – South & West to create and develop a programme that makes learning more relevant.

“We have built this risual Microsoft Academy with the aim of affecting young people’s lives in a more positive way. Through the Academy we have created a learning environment that is more aligned to the skills employers are looking for, essentially connecting people in the right way and reducing the digital skills gap we have witnessed directly in the market. The pace of change alters daily now, we want to be with it, keeping on top of it and benefitting from it.”

Digital literacy is one of the most valuable tools for lifelong learning. The influence of social media, technology and online resources has had a huge impact on society. Having an understanding of the evolving digital world can be the difference between success and holding people back.

Julian Cobley, Managing Director at the Skills & Growth Company commented: “We are whole heartedly behind this Academy and what can be achieved with this additional facility. This is a big step in the right direction to meet with local digital skills needs and will drive a positive change with employer engagement.”

For more information on the risual Microsoft Academy at Cheshire College – South & West and details on how you can benefit, visit ccsw.ac.uk or call the College hotline on 01270 654654.

The Academy hosts the North West’s Young Chef of the Year Finals

The Academy restaurant at Cheshire College – South & West’s Crewe Campus played host to the North West’s Young Chef of the year competition with six finalists battling it out to claim the title.

The impressive judging panel included Essential Cuisine Business Development Chef, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes; ex-Le Gavroche head chef, Steven Doherty; Paul Askew of Liverpool’s The Art School and Graham Price, formerly of pub group Brunning & Price.

Highly acclaimed Chef and Master Chef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor also lead the panel as chairman of the judges. Brian, who is an ambassador for the College works regularly with the learners to progress their development, techniques, skills and concepts.

Cyril Gabriel, 23, cooked his way to glory on the day, seeing off tough competition including chefs from Northcote and the Punchbowl at Crosthwaite. His winning three-course menu consisted of: Wye Valley asparagus served with free range poached egg and Hollandaise sauce starter; a main course of Welsh Mountain Lamb saddle served with pickled baby carrots, pea textures, carrot jam, creamy mashed potato and for dessert lamb jus and a Lime biscuit Dacquoise served with cherry cremeux, stuffed caramelised cherry, praline Chantilly cream, lemon balm and cherry beer ice cream dessert.

Brian commented: “Yet again the technique on show across the board has been excellent, this was one of the hardest competition’s we have ever had to judge, but in the end, Cyril’s consistent quality shone through. There was also real passion, pride and endeavour on show – something we’ve come to expect from the competition, but should never take for granted. We will be flying the flag for Cyril, come the national semi-finals.”

A well-attended inaugural dinner and awards ceremony at Cheshire College – South & West was also held to mark the competition. Brian added: “Special mention must go to Cheshire College – South & West for hosting the event. It was great to see so many people come out to support the young finalists. Thank you also to each and every one of the catering and front-of-house students who helped on the day – a truly inspirational group of young people and the next generation of this fantastic industry.”

The Academy restaurant is a training restaurant based on the ground floor of the College’s Crewe campus, featuring a modern and innovative twist on Manchester’s famous Northern Quarter in its facilities and décor. It also won the 2017 AA College Restaurant of the Year.

Shane Guildford, Chef and Lecturer at Cheshire College – South & West’s Academy restaurant added: “It’s been a great day and fantastic to see the restaurant hosting such a highly esteemed competition. We have been honoured to host the event and see so many admired and successful industry professionals in the kitchen with us today.

“It was also a great opportunity for four of our learners, who were involved in the event, acting as runners and assistants for the day. It gave them an insight into the pressures of a professional kitchen and they were all inspired by the food that was on display.

“There’s a lot going on at the restaurant this year with new initiatives and partnerships underway. We’re continually growing and attracting more talented chefs due to our winning status as the best college restaurant in the country.

“It’s already been an exciting start to the year and we’re looking forward to what can further be achieved throughout 2018.

If you are interested in Hospitality and Catering courses available at Cheshire College – South & West, or would like more information on the courses available, visit ccsw.ac.uk or call the College hotline on 01270 654654.

Learner in the limelight

For former learner, Joshua Jones, a HND in Technical Theatre at Cheshire College – South & West gave him the skills and confidence to start his career as a successful Lighting Engineer.

Since high school, Joshua, 22, from Bagillt in North Wales developed a passion for lighting within the event and theatre industry. After completing his HND in Technical Theatre at the College’s Ellesmere Port campus, Joshua secured a fantastic job working for leading European lighting supplier, VME, as a Lighting Engineer.

Joshua commented: “My tutor, Angie Berwick mentioned that a position had become available at VME and so I applied for the role of Lighting Engineer. I started in June last year and I love it.

“The HE qualification I studied really gave me the skills I needed to fulfil this role. I gained some great opportunities and experience whilst I was there, which has helped me to progress to the next step at VME. Angie was also very supportive, always there when I needed her for help or advice and she really encouraged me along the way. All the support has given me the confidence to push on and achieve my goal.”

VME are a major European supplier for all aspects of sound, lighting, AV and broadcast equipment. Committed to advanced technology and design, VME have been in the industry for over 20 years and are a highly specialised organisation.

Angie Berwick, Course Team Leader for HE and Technical Theatre at Cheshire College – South & West said: “Joshua has always been very committed and hard working so I had no doubt that he would go on to be successful in his field.  Employers specifically come to us looking for their next Technician because they are confident the course creates world class Theatre Technicians from all specialisms and Josh is one of them.  I am incredibly proud of him and his new role at VME, who are well known in the industry. This valuable experience will enable him to thrive.”

Cheshire College – South & West offer learners an opportunity to excel in their career with a choice of over 30 different Higher Education qualifications, all developed with partner employers to meet the needs of modern businesses.

Joshua went on to say: “ I wouldn’t be where I am now without the HE course and the support of the College. Now that I’m at VME, I’m still continually learning every day, which is great.  My next goal is to continue to gain more experience, enhance my skills as a Lighting Engineer and hopefully progress further with VME.”

For more information on studying Technical Theatre or for details on Higher Education courses available at Cheshire College – South & West, visit ccsw.ac.uk or call the College hotline on 01244 656500.