Sara Perrett

Cheshire College Learner Looks Forward To Reaping The Rewards Of T Levels

As the only Further Education College in Cheshire selected by the government to offer T Levels, a new two-year qualification for learners aged 16-19 years, Cheshire College are preparing the finishing touches to their new courses which will begin next week in a range of industries including Construction, Digital, Science and Health, and Education and Childcare.  

Equivalent to three A Levels and comprising of 20% on-the-job work experience, T Levels have been designed with employers to help young people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to thrive in the workplace and for one learner at Cheshire College, starting on the new course will take them one step closer to achieving their dream job. 

18-year-old Serah Sharpes, joined Cheshire College in September 2020 to study Level 2 Engineering and having successfully completed the diploma has decided to progress on to the T Level in Building Services Engineering for Construction. 

Commenting on her decision to opt for a T Level, she said: “I wanted to complete the T Level course as it’s the most subject-specific course I can study to secure a place at university to study Constructional Engineering. I’d love to become a Structural Engineer and completing a longer work placement as part of the course will definitely help me achieve this goal and set me apart from others.” 

At the heart of each T Level programme is an extended work placement of at least 45 days which will provide learners with the important industry experience they need to further develop their skills and progress on to a higher-level apprenticeship, degree course or into employment.  

Serah continued: “I’m really looking forward to starting my T Level course, building on my current engineering knowledge and ultimately getting one step closer to my end goal.”  

Ruth Szolkowska, Vice Principal of Innovation, Curriculum & Quality at Cheshire College, said: “We’re so excited to deliver our new T Level courses this year. Developing the study programmes has been two years in the making, which has seen our committed team of tutors dedicate hours of planning and preparation to ensure the course content is informative, engaging and ultimately equips learners with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers.”  

To follow in Serah’s footsteps and join her on a T Level course this September, attend one of Cheshire College’s on Campus enrolment sessions taking place on a range of dates from Tuesday 31st August. To book an appointment click here.   

Exciting Enhancements at Cheshire College Sees Learning Extended Across The Classroom

The use of digital technology at Cheshire College has been pivotal to learner success during the past academic year and to further support this, the College has made significant investments in the availability of software and equipment for learners to enhance their learning on Campus and at home.  

The way in which learners are now taught at Cheshire’s largest Further Education College is not constrained to the four walls of their classroom. It has been extended across the College’s three Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester, incorporating as much technology as possible to engage learners regardless of their study programme and support them in reaching their full potential. 

The innovations introduced have seen lecturers and tutors utilising a suite of interactive programmes and applications for learners to participate in live quizzes, polls and video responses using personal or College-owned smart phones and tablets.  

To support staff and learners with the new technology introduced and ensure they are able to use it efficiently and effectively to reap the full rewards, Cheshire College have also hired Lead Digital Innovator, Shane Guildford. As a current Lecturer in Hospitality at Cheshire College, Shane has been seconded to his new role as part of the College’s Quality Team. 

Commenting on the exciting enhancements being made, Shane said: “The use of technology will have real impact within vocational areas in particular, as the industry specific innovations keep our learners engaged and increase their digital skills and literacy in a fast paced and ever evolving digital age.  

“Using this technology effectively will enable learning to take place outside of the classroom and it’s vital that we continue to keep our learners, staff and stakeholders moving forward by engaging with, and implementing, new innovative teaching, learning, assessment and feedback strategies and applications.” 

As well as the enhancements being made for staff and learners, the College is also on a mission to support the community with their new five-year project, ‘The Digital Hub’. Designed specifically to boost digital skills, enhance career pathways and develop confidence, The Digital Hub project is set to benefit further-education learners, schoolchildren, businesses and the wider community with increased access to technology.  

Over the five-years, it is expected that over 50,000 learners will benefit from the project which comprises of four main strands:  

  • Digital Doorstep: delivering skills and career pathways in additive manufacturing and Virtual and Augmented Reality through the use of portable, entry level equipment 
  • Project 4.0: focusing on digital skills in the workplace with an emphasis on improving Advanced Manufacturing Skills  
  • Stream: facilitating access to technology within community organisations to raise awareness and develop confidence in digital applications  
  • ACT: driving collaboration between colleges and employers to develop, commercialise and promote digital technologies and skills training for construction, nuclear and allied industries  

If you would like to know more about studying at Cheshire College visit To find out more information about The Digital Hub email

Assistant Principal at Cheshire College Completes Epic Charity Challenge

Mark Parsons, Assistant Principal of Curriculum at Cheshire College has completed the mammoth cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again within just 18 days, raising over £7,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Society). 

After setting off from Cornwall on Friday 16th July, Mark rode just short of 1,000 miles from the southwestern tip of England to the most north-easterly point of Scotland, before embarking on the journey back which he completed earlier this month. 

Mark at the finish line on Tuesday 3rd August

Mark battled through heatwaves and heavy rain, but his spirits remained high as he patiently pedalled with stunning backdrops of the Scottish Highlands, The Shap Summit in Cumbria, Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and the Welsh hills in Monmouth.

Upon completion of the challenge, Mark commented: “The entire ride has been an amazing blend of euphoria, fatigue, camaraderie, along with an enormous sense of achievement. The highs have definitely outweighed the low moments.

“I have been training for over a year, and although the ride has tested me physically and mentally, the support from family, friends and colleagues has helped me push through at every level. I have been blown away by the number of messages of positivity and encouragement I have received daily. 

“It really has been an experience of a lifetime and I am so pleased to have raised a significant amount for such a worthy cause.” 

Mark is one of the very few individuals to complete the ride and in record time, as many that take on the gruelling Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge aim to complete one way in 14 days.

Numerous local businesses supported Mark’s immense challenge, including, Body Perfect (Wrexham), who donated a van for Mark’s support team to travel in, Gym Gear, who provided Mark with a spin bike to enable further training, LA Clothing, who sponsored all cycling clothing needed and Eniga Bikes, who designed, and custom built a brand new bike ensuring that Mark was travelling in style and many more. 

There is still time to donate quickly, safely and securely to the MS Society, click here to visit Mark’s JustGiving page. 

To catch up on Mark’s journey, click here visit his Facebook page. 

Cheshire College Computing & IT Learner’s Life Changing Experience

In the fast-moving world of today, it is essential young people have the necessary skills to keep up with the advances in modern technology and for one learner at Cheshire College, completing a computing course has changed his life.  

18 year-old Nathan Wainwright joined Cheshire College instead of staying on at sixth form after his GCSEs and despite being in new surroundings with new people has thrived during his time at the College’s Ellesmere Port Campus.  

As a Level 3 IT Computer Science learner, Nathan has spent two years studying at the College and, as well as developing a broad range of IT knowledge, has built upon his transferrable skills which has seen him successfully secure an offer to study Professional Policing at Edge Hill University in September.  

Talking about his experience at Cheshire College, Nathan said: “I was scared at first coming to College and having to get to know new people, but all the teachers have been lovely and it’s been really nice. The course is really good and it’s been a big help in terms of getting me to university, which I didn’t think would happen.  

“Coming to College has been life-changing for me! I’ve been able to attend College whilst working part-time and have completed my course to gain a place at university. In the future, I hope to finish my policing degree and become a police officer.”  

From September 2021, Cheshire College’s Computing & IT courses will be based at their Chester Campus which is home to the education provider’s innovation and entrepreneurial hub and business courses.  

Jacky Lowe, Assistant Principal of Business, Science and Computing & IT at Cheshire College said: “We pride ourselves on empowering people to achieve their full potential and it’s been fantastic to see Nathan thrive during his time at College. He has continued to work hard to ensure he has the skills and knowledge to succeed in ambitions of becoming a police officer and I, along with all of the tutors within the department wish him the very best of luck in his next steps.” 

Cheshire College’s Computing & IT department has also introduced a new Higher Education course in Computing which would see successful learners gain a Higher National Certificate (HNC). The HNC Computing course has been designed for learners to meet the demands of employers in the computing sector, which will enable them to develop a range of specialist technical skills.  

Jacky continued: “The introduction of our HNC Computing course has come at a time when digital skills are more important than ever. All modern workplaces thrive on digital skills, such as software programming, digital marketing and design, web analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine and manufacturing technology, along with computer and networking support systems to name but a few. It is a really exciting time for any learner looking to enter the industry and I am extremely pleased that we are able to help train the next generation.” 

To find out more about Computing & IT or Higher Education at Cheshire College visit – there’s never been a better time to Get In, Stand Out. 

Applications for Cheshire College’s NEW Engineering Scholarship Programme Open

Cheshire College has joined forces with the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) to launch a brand-new two-year scholarship programme for school leavers aspiring to pursue a career in the sector. 

The largest provider of post-16 education in Cheshire is the only College in the North West to offer the ECITB Scholarship programme, which has been designed for learners to gain nationally recognised engineering qualifications that will support their progression on to apprenticeships or into employment. 

The programme will start in September 2021 at the College’s Ellesmere Port Campus and during enrolment learners will be able to select their specialist study route, choosing from either mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.

The programme comprises of a range of qualifications combined with work experience which will develop learners’ specialist skills and allow them to gain a broader understanding within real work environments. During term time, learners will also receive a weekly allowance of £140 by the ECITB.

Mohammed Hoq, Assistant Director of Engineering, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for budding engineers to not only gain nationally recognised engineering qualifications, but also enhance their practical skills with training that has been developed in consultation with industry specialists and training providers to ensure on completion of the course learners leave with the relevant knowledge to meet the needs of future employers. We’re delighted to be working with the ECITB on this and are looking forward to getting started in September!”

Adrian Wookey, the ECITB’s Head of New Entrants, said: “We look forward to working in partnership with Cheshire College to deliver the ECITB Scholarship.  

“The Scholarship gives learners the opportunity to enter the workforce at a critical time and reflects the ECITB’s support for a new generation of engineers prepared with the skills and knowledge we need for the future of our industry.”

The full programme of study for the ECITB Scholarship includes a BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma, a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Construction Maintenance, practical skills training and a CCNSG (Client Contractor National Safety Group) Safety Passport which is the engineering construction industry safety card that workers much have to enter many engineering and construction sites.

 To find out more and book an appointment to enrol on to the course click here.

100% Pass Rate Success for BTEC Learners at Cheshire College

Over 600 learners at Cheshire College received Level 3 BTEC Qualifications yesterday (Tuesday 10th August) with more than 50% achieving 3 x Distinction* and/or Distinction grades each. All second-year Level 3 BTEC learners at Cheshire’s largest Further Education College achieved an amazing pass rate of 100% across a variety of study programmes. 

Studying on a wide range of BTEC L3 qualifications across the College’s three campuses, all Cheshire College learners have excelled in their chosen specialisms, showing commitment and resilience to complete their studies in what has been an unusual two years of learning.

Level 3 Applied Science learners have been celebrating particular success, with 65% achieving 3 x Distinction* and/or Distinction grades each – making the study programme one of the College’s highest performing subjects of the year. 

18-year-old Eliza Evanson, who joined Cheshire College from Sandbach High School, is one of the learners who achieved fantastic success receiving triple Distinction* in Applied Science and has secured a place to study Pharmacy at Aston University in Birmingham from September. 

Eliza commented: “It felt so good to receive my results today and a huge relief has now been lifted. I’ve had a brilliant time at Cheshire College during the past two years and the entire teaching and support team have really helped me get where I am today. Overall, it’s been a really great experience.” 

Ruth Szolkowska, Vice Principal of Innovation, Curriculum & Quality at Cheshire College, said: “We’re so pleased for our learners and the successes they have achieved over the past two years – both academically and personally. The two years they have studied with us have been like nothing we have experienced before, however they have all taken it in their stride, showing exceptional dedication and we’re extremely proud of them all.” 

Someone else who is extremely proud is mum, Jenni Brock, whose son Declan Scannell achieved triple Distinction* in Level 3 Creative Media Production. Speaking about her son’s success Jenni commented: “We’re all so proud of Declan – he really couldn’t have done any better. He has thrived off the College experience, which has allowed him to grow in independence and mature into a sensible young man. Completing a BTEC qualification has been perfect for Declan as he has had the opportunity to really develop his passion and drive for media.” 

With brilliant results, Declan has secured a place at the University of York to study Interactive Media. 

It’s not too late to join #TeamCCSW and study at Cheshire College. To apply, drop-in to one of the College’s Enrolment Days taking place throughout August and early September – just click here to find out more.

There’s never been a better time to ‘Get In, Stand Out’.  

Cheshire College A Level Learners Achieve 100% Pass Rate

250 A Level learners at Cheshire College had cause for celebration today as they collected their A Level results at the College’s Crewe Campus. Having shown extreme resilience and adaptability in what has been an unusual two years, learners at Cheshire’s largest further education college achieved an astonishing pass rate of 100% across all 30 A Level subjects. 

The College was filled with excitement as learners arrived to collect their results before celebrating their next steps in the Campus’ courtyard. Over 62% of learners received A*-B grades with 33% achieving a grade profile of A, A, B or higher and have gone on to secure places at some of the country’s top universities including University of Oxford, University of Exeter, University of Bath and University of Manchester, as well as prestigious Degree Apprenticeships with the likes of Vodafone.  

Progressing on to study Maths at the University of Warwick is learner James Williamson who achieved A*, A* and A in Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science respectively. 18-year-old James, who joined Cheshire College from Malbank School & Sixth Form College in Nantwich, commented: “I always knew about Cheshire College from its great reputation, and they have so many options available. I secured a place on the College’s dedicated Scholar’s Programme which has really helped strengthen my core skills.   

“I’ve had amazing support from all staff at the College and if I had to sum it all up in three words I would have to say, valuable, high-quality and friendly.” 

Family and friends joined learners to celebrate their success including the mum of A*, A*, A grade learner Elly Jo-Ollier. 18-year-old Elly studied A Level English Language, Philosophy & Religious Studies and Sociology at Cheshire College and is going on to study English Language at the University of Chester with ambitions to become a secondary school English teacher.  

Talking about her daughter Elly’s success, mum Joann Haigh from Stoke said: “I’ve noticed so much growth in Elly since she’s been at Cheshire College. We knew as soon as we visited for an Open Evening the College was the place for her. Despite a difficult 18 months due to the pandemic, the College has been nothing but supportive and they are a credit to education.” 

Creative learners at the College are celebrating particular success, including 18-year-old Zoe Bailey who achieved an A* in Drama & Theatre Studies. Zoe who joined Cheshire College from Madeley School in Crewe has dreams of becoming an actress and has spent the summer performing in a local Shakespeare production with more shows lined-up for later in the year.  
Talking about her experience, Zoe commented: “As soon as I walked into Cheshire College I could see myself studying here and making great friends. College has given me the confidence to know I have the ability to do the things I want to do and my results have cemented this for me.”   

Sarah Bradley, Assistant Director of A Levels at Cheshire College, commented: “I can’t put into words how proud I am of all our A Level learners and what they have achieved during what has been another challenging year. Throughout the past year they have shown dedication and commitment to their studies, and I wish them all every success for the future.” 

Dhesi, Principal and CEO of Cheshire College, commented: “I am absolutely delighted for our learners and all they have achieved this year. Despite the challenges they have been faced with and adversities they have had to overcome, all learners have been nothing short of exceptional and this is reflected in today’s success. 

“It’s been fantastic to celebrate with our learners today, alongside their teachers who have provided them with the care and guidance to succeed. I am extremely proud that Cheshire College has been able to play a part in our learners’ success to date and a small part of who they will become in the future.”  

It’s not too late to join #TeamCCSW and study A Levels at Cheshire College. To apply, drop-in to one of the College’s Enrolment Days taking place throughout August and early September – just visit to find out more. There’s never been a better time to ‘Get In, Stand Out’.   

Cheshire College’s Super Six Support Services

As the region’s largest provider of post-16 education, Cheshire College is committed to ensuring learners are able to make the most out of their time studying at one of their state-of-the-art Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester.

As well as helping learners during their course, the College can support with advice before learners even join and when embarking on their next steps into employment, further study or on to university.

This year, Cheshire College has introduced even more great initiatives to ensure learners have the best experience possible with them. Alongside the College’s hugely popular free transport provision for learners living over one mile away from their chosen Campus, from September 2021 all learners will be able to take advantage of a free breakfast every morning from the College’s Campus Canteens. 

The College’s Super Six Support Services comprise of:

  • Bursary and transport 
  • Careers 
  • Learner Services 
  • Learning Support 
  • Personal Development Tutors
  • School Partnerships

Before even applying to study at the College, learners will have had an opportunity to meet with our School Partnerships team, who work with schools across Cheshire and neighbouring counties, to offer a variety of activities to enable learners to find out about their options. Throughout the summer months, the College’s School Partnerships team will be offering Campus tours and personalised call backs for anyone that is interested in applying for a course starting this September.  To request an appointment for a Campus Tour click here

Before, during and after completing a College course, learners can access the College’s client-centred, confidential and impartial Careers team, for support with a range of topics, including career planning and employability skills. 

Learners travel to College from Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Merseyside, North Wales and beyond. Taking the stress out of the College commute, transport is free* to all full-time learners aged 16-18. The College also provides information and advice on a range of bursaries and other financial support available, which could help pay for things such as equipment and trips. Making a comeback in September, all learners will be able to enjoy a free breakfast on days they have timetabled lessons.

The Colleges’ Learning Support team have a wealth of experience and knowledge in helping learners who have physical and learning difficulties and specialist staff work closely with learners, both in groups and on an individual basis to ensure the individuals needs are met. 

Personal Development Tutors, commonly known as PDTs, work with all other support services to provide a holistic approach in the development of each individual learner and are there to guide both academic and wellbeing obstacles. 

There are a variety of different study environments across all three Campuses that can support a range of preferences which includes space for quiet and group study. Each Learning Resource Centre has an expert team to help enhance learners’ skills and is equipped with a wide range of books and online resources to support particular courses. 

Chris Baggs, Director of Learning and Learner Services, commented: “Here at Cheshire College, not only do we provide learners with the academic qualifications that will prepare them for their future careers, we are committed to ensuring they are fully supported before, during and after College so they are able to confidently make informed decisions for themselves.

“As one of the leading training providers for young people, adults and Apprentices across the Cheshire region, everyone can benefit from the support and guidance available from our teams.”

All support services are available in person, online, email or phone and are designed to help learners succeed. 

To secure your place on a course starting September 2021 at Cheshire College – South & West click here.

Industry Experts Inspire Future Generations Thanks To Cheshire College’s NEW Lecturer Development Programme

Employing over 200 academic staff across its three Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester, Cheshire College has a passion for empowering individuals to thrive in the workplace and has launched a programme to provide support and training for new lecturers joining, including the opportunity to complete recognised teaching qualifications.

Industry professionals make up over half of Cheshire College’s current teaching staff and bring with them a wealth of specialist sector knowledge to enhance learners’ understanding and skills, with many still working within the business or running their own to keep up-to-date with the latest innovations. 

Cheshire College’s new Lecturer Development Programme has a dedicated range of support and development opportunities for industry experts joining their academic team with no prior teaching experience or qualifications, including the chance to complete a Level 4 Certificate in Education & Training before progressing on to a Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training.

Silke Novak, Lecturer in Construction joined the College after 11 years of experience in industry which included working as an Electrical Building Services Engineering and also studying for a Master’s in Engineering. She completed her PGCE whilst teaching learners on full-time programmes and said: “Being able to join the College as a lecturer whilst continuing to complete my qualifications on the same site was extremely convenient and meant I was able to draw on my classroom experiences when completing my qualification and vice versa. 

“I had a fantastic mentor during this time within the department who supported me with my teaching and completing my qualification, and I’m so glad I made the move from industry into education to inspire the next generation of construction workers.” 

Available to all lecturers and assessors joining from industry as well as those with prior experience, as Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) or trainee teachers, Cheshire College’s Lecturer Development Programme also includes an assigned curriculum mentor and regular 1-2-1 support from the Quality team. 

Ruth Szolkowska, Vice Principal of Innovation, Curriculum & Quality, said: “I’m delighted to announce the launch our new Lecturer Development Programme which will provide academic staff joining us with a range of help and support to ensure they feel comfortable within their role and can confidently provide learners with an outstanding experience.

“We’re committed to ensuring our staff are happy and enjoy their work, and alongside the Lecturer Development Programme we provide a structured induction, annual performance development reviews and excellent CPD opportunities all in a safe, fulfilling, team-centred working environment at one of our state-of-the-art Campuses.” 

As the largest provider of post-16 education in the region, the College’s world-class facilities are the result of a £140m investment in the latest technology and real work environments. Home to 11,000 learners and 1,000 Apprentices, Cheshire College is passionate about driving economic growth through the development of future e-focused skills and work with over 500 employers, industries and organisations to achieve this.

With a variety of lecturing vacancies currently live, ranging from health, science and engineering to education, art and design, Cheshire College welcomes applications from all sections of the community with different teaching experience. To find out more about the College’s range of vacancies, click here.  

Cheshire College Assistant Principal Sets Off On 1,900 Mile Cycle Challenge In Support of MS Society

An Assistant Principal at Cheshire’s largest Further Education college has embarked on a charity cycle challenge that will push him to the limits as he attempts to become one of the very few people to complete Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again within 18 days, whilst raising vital funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Society).

Mark Parsons, Assistant Principal of Curriculum at Cheshire College, set off on the 1,900 mile cycle ride today (Friday 16th July) with an aim to complete the full route in 18 days and raise £6,000 for the MS Society in the process. 

Commenting on this epic challenge, Mark said: “The average time to complete one length of Land’s End to John O’Groats cycling is 14 days and I’m attempting to get there and back again in just 18 days. I know this ride will test me physically and mentally at every level, but it doesn’t compare to what individuals who live with Multiple Sclerosis and their loved ones have to endure day-in-day-out.

“I have been training for this day for over a year now, gradually increasing the length and incline each time I get out on the bike, and I can’t believe it’s now here. The backing I have received over the past 12 months from companies who have donated food, drink, clothing and equipment to help me has been overwhelming, not to mention the support from staff and learners at Cheshire College.”

Learners at Cheshire College’s three Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester have all been supporting Mark’s efforts by hosting a range of fundraising events to help him reach his £6,000 target.

A former professional chef, Mark began his career in restaurant kitchens working alongside world-renowned chefs such as Gary Rhodes before making the move into education 15 years later as a Hospitality lecturer, and still has connections in industry with Michelin-Starred Celebrity Chef, Tom Kerridge, reaching out on social media to send him well wishes for the challenge.  

Every academic year Cheshire College get involved in a wide range of events to support charities they’re passionate about and that help some of the most vulnerable people in society and have fundraised for the likes of NSPCC, Cancer Research and Guide Dogs UK alongside the MS Society. The College has also recently signed up in support of the national ‘Good for ME, Good for FE’ campaign, which will create a sustainable programme of community action across the UK and generate £1m of social value with strands such as ‘Foodbank Friday’, the development of corporate and charitable partnerships, and the encouragement of staff volunteering within and outside college communities.  

Cheshire College will be keeping their social media channels up to date with the latest news on Mark’s ride throughout the 18-day challenge. To donate quickly, safely and securely to the MS Society, click here to visit Mark’s JustGiving page. 

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