News

Extraordinary times calls for extraordinary acts of kindness

It is often the small gestures that we overlook and take for granted and more recently our resolve and resilience has been tested like never before.  

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Cheshire College – South & West have continued to support local businesses and communities surrounding their three Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester.  

Over the past 100 days, staff and learners at the College have gone above and beyond, from volunteering, fundraising and even developing online events for families.  Spirits have remained high and everyone has been committed to helping others. 

Several learners have been developing their creativity skills and thinking of new ways to show thanks to keyworkers.  Amy Heinemann, Art and Design learner at the Crewe Campus, has been baking and hand delivering over 100 cupcakes per week to local NHS Hospitals.  Amy has been funding this herself and experimenting with different techniques, to challenge and showcase her artistic ability.   

Specialist equipment and PPE from various departments has been collated and donated to the NHS, alongside stock from the College’s canteens being donated to charities such as The Port Grocery and The Salvation Army. 

Learners have spent time making wonderful new friends as part of a new pen pal initiative.  Each week, learners have been sending letters and drawings to care homes across Cheshire, sharing hope and happiness, to ensure residents don’t feel lonely and amplifying the need to build connections between different generations, contexts and walks of life.  

The College’s Computing and IT team have been busy developing videos, that can be used to support learners with Visual and Hearing Impairments, ensuring they can continue with teaching, learning and assessment, successfully from home. 

In addition, expert tutors have also spent their free time building weekly resources, to support parents that have been home-schooling.  

It doesn’t stop there!  Staff and learners have also spent copious amounts of time fundraising for the NHS.  Many have set out on walks, runs, cycles and have taken part in national challenges.  Some have even created their own campaigns, to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing.  

Dhesi, Principal and CEO, commented, “These are challenging times for everyone. The efforts of colleagues and learners have been a great source of positivity and inspiration during past months.  It is truly amazing to witness the College community come together, showing resourcefulness and commitment in unprecedented circumstances.” 

“Our College is at the heart of three thriving communities.  We continuously strive to make a positive and valued contribution to society, which is why we have and will remain ready to support where appropriate.  One small act of kindness really can release a wonderful chain of positive events.  I couldn’t be prouder of our recent accomplishments.”   

To find out more about the College’s extraordinary acts of kindness or for your daily dose of good news, follow Cheshire College – South & West on social media.  

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, visit www.ccsw.ac.uk

College launches Virtual Primary and Secondary College for local schools

Cheshire College-South & West, for the past 25 years, has delivered an engaging and inclusive programme to support the transition for young people from Primary School to Secondary School and Secondary School to Further Education. This much-loved Primary and Secondary College programme aims to extend learning opportunities, raise aspirations and assist in supporting with the transition for young people at these key milestone points. 

Coronavirus has changed the way in which we learn, socialise, work and play and Cheshire College – South & West has responded to ensure its Primary and Secondary College programme still reaches and supports young people. Entering its 26th year, these highly valued and unique events have now been developed into a ‘virtual experience’. 

Across the region, the Primary College programme engages a staggering 1,800 Year 5/6 pupils, from 50 primary schools and the Secondary College programme attracts over 2,000 Year 10 pupils from over 17 secondary schools. In addition, each year around 25 local employers and organisations are involved in supporting a varied and engaging programme of activities. 

Although Primary and Secondary College will not be taking place on Campuses as it would normally, the College is determined to support young people in the area at a critical time when they need it most. The virtual alternative will be accessible to all local feeder schools and is designed to support young people whether in the classroom, or as part of their home learning packages. Virtual programmes will offer interactive videos and worksheets that have been produced by the College, local employers and organisations. 

Melanie Lloyd, Careers and Post 16 Transition Advisor at Sir William Stanier School, Crewe, commented – “The benefits of Secondary College are truly endless.  Every year it provides our learners with a taster of what is available once they leave school, instilling confidence that they have made the correct choice and that they will succeed.” 

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal and Deputy CEO said, “The idea of bringing together a wide range of departments and employers, to deliver talks and activities as part of events throughout the academic year, stretches the boundaries of raising aspirations. It is vital that we encourage young people to think about their futures, as it gives purpose to their learning and enables them to develop the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career of their choosing.” 

“It is a pleasure that we can work in partnership with local schools to empower young people and ensure nothing stops them from reaching their goals.” 

This year, both Virtual Primary and Secondary College will be available for 12 months and content will be updated regularly.  

For more information please contact the Schools Partnerships team, schools@ccsw.ac.uk.  

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, visit www.ccsw.ac.uk.  

Cheshire College Alumni inspiring learners with successful career stories

Cheshire College – South & West Alumni are inspiring and supporting current learners on their path to their future careers.  

Over the last month, the College has brought together learners with alumni and employers for a wide range of virtual presentations, careers talks and workshops.  

Designed to inspire learners next steps and future careers, as well as raise awareness of the options available to them, every department has had a packed schedule of activities, all delivered via virtual learning environments. 

Laura Harris, Lighting and Sound Designer, published Author and Director, who left the College to study Drama at Edge Hill University, was just one of many to meet with Performing Arts, Music and Technical Theatre learners. 

Laura caught up with learners to discuss her career to date, including the skills and experience needed to successfully enter the job market. 

This is not the first time Laura has met with learners, she arranges visits throughout the year and is passionate about providing them with the knowledge and materials needed to excel. 

Laura said, “The College prepared me for a successful career in so many ways, so I find it extremely rewarding to give back where possible.  It is always great to catch up with current learners and hear about what they have been working on.   One of my favourite memories was during induction week, building a bean stalk from paper mache.  The aim of the project was to enhance our teamwork skills and to help us develop new friendships.  I still speak to everyone from my group and it is  encouraging to see that the department still lives by these values.” 

“I will be forever grateful to the tutors for constantly believing in me and providing me with support and outstanding opportunities.” 

The College is committed to ensuring that all learners and potential learners have access to informed, impartial and supportive careers education and guidance, which will enable them to make career decisions that are consistent with their abilities, needs and progression goals. 

Jordan Swift, Director of Marketing and School Partnerships commented, “As the UK continues to work and learn remotely, Cheshire College is utilising virtual platforms as an opportunity to inspire and promote greater collaboration between learners and those already working in their chosen fields.” 

“We have a fantastic working relationship with our Alumni and their support, experience and encouragement is invaluable to our current learners.  A huge thank you to everyone that has been involved.” 

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, visit www.ccsw.ac.uk. 

Apply now for September 2020

The Lockdown Gallery is now OPEN!

Cheshire College – South & West’s annual end-of-year art exhibition is now open to the general public. 

The exhibition is traditionally held at the College’s Crewe and Chester Campuses, but due to the impact of Covid-19, this is the first year that the exhibition has been created and displayed virtually.  

Work produced by learners for their final major projects are on display, featuring drawing, painting printmaking, sculptures, photography, graphics, animation, textile design and much more.  

Daisy Taylor, 16, from Winsford, commented, “The virtual exhibition is fantastic! It is fun and full of standout artwork created by talented individuals. I am so happy to see it all come together, our hard work has paid off.  I have loved studying at the College this year, I have learnt so many new skills, made great new friends and had the opportunity to collaborate with other likeminded artists. I cannot wait to see what next year holds as I continue into the second year of my qualification.” 

To complement the virtual exhibition, the Visual Arts department has also been engaging with current learners, staff, applicants and the community, to create artwork that highlights the importance of connections and promotes positive wellbeing.    

Ian Prewitt, Art and Design Lecturer, said, “During these strange times when we have been asked to reduce the amount of people we see, it is natural to want to reach out to contact family, friends and colleagues. Using your creativity to communicate with others is powerful and can show how much you care.  Our learners have been working on a project called ‘Reach Out’ over the last few months and it was fantastic to see wider audiences engaging and creating such exceptional pieces of work.”  

To view the lockdown gallery, visit: https://www.artsteps.com/view/5ed92318f5fed53b410a2f84 

To find out more about the College’s ‘Reach Out’ project, visit their Instagram page, @Reach_Out_CCSW 

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, visit www.ccsw.ac.uk. 

Oxbridge success for Cheshire College learners

There were celebrations at Cheshire College – South & West when they found out five of their A Level learners have been offered places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.  

Five learners, from the College’s Crewe Campus, have successfully been offered places to study at two of the most prestigious universities in the UK, University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. 

The Universities have been repeatedly ranked first and second in the UK and both are currently in the top 10 universities in the world. 

The College has an enviable track record of success for its A Level learners, who regularly gain places on competitive courses at universities around the country. 

The learners took part in a series of challenging selection processes, which included being interviewed by panels of university academics and having to sit admissions tests.  The learners have been offered conditional places on Undergraduate Degrees including Mathematics, Economics and Medicine, often competing against hundreds of applicants for limited places. 

Gaining their places, was the culmination of more than two year’s extra work by the learners, who were all part of the College’s ‘Futures Programme’, a unique and tailored programme designed to boost skills and confidence through academic and professional activities.  

A Level learner, Dylan Savage, who has received a conditional offer to study a Degree in Philosophy and Theology at the University of Oxford, said, “The College has helped me to progress and achieve my aspirations through the excellent teaching and the Futures Programme, which has prepared me for higher education.  Studying A Levels here has been a rewarding, enriching and enjoyable experience and I’m delighted that I have been offered a place at the University of Oxford.” 

Claire Barton, Dean of Higher Education, commented, ‘’I am delighted that so many of our learners have been successful with their university applications this year. Top universities look for learners who not only have good grades, but grades in the right subjects, for the course they want to apply for.” 

‘’Cheshire College – South & West has a dedicated Careers service and specialist University Ready programmes, which attract learners of the highest academic ability and provides them with the necessary support and encouragement to progress to top universities. 

‘’The dedication and ambition of our learners is exceptional. We are incredibly proud.’’ 

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, visit www.ccsw.ac.uk.  

Entrepreneurs’ success at Young Enterprise Competition

A team of budding entrepreneurs’ at Cheshire College – South & West have beat off many strong challengers at this year’s  Young Enterprise Competition and have been successful in winning the ‘Best Presentation’ category, as well as being awarded runner up in the ‘Company of the Year’ category.  

The UK-wide competition is organised by the Young Enterprise charity and involved learners setting up and running their own company.  This year, over 7,000 schools and colleges entered with 13,700 learners taking part.  

The teams have to make decisions about their business, from deciding on a company name and product, to creating a business plan, managing their finances and selling their products.  

The work started at the beginning of the academic year when Seeds ‘n’ Stuff came together and decided on their product – an eco-friendly memorial cross built with seeds, which over time would grow into wild flowers, designed to comfort people missing loved ones and suitable for all ages.  

The Covid-19 pandemic did not stop BTEC Business learners studying at the College’s Crewe Campus. As the final stages of the competition moved to digital, so did they.  Team Seeds ‘n’ Stuff continued to meet, innovate and problem solve, via their virtual learning environments.  

In addition to the team’s success, one learner, Olga Kubalewska, 16, from Crewe, won the prestigious ‘Student of the Year’ Award, for her passion, dedication and leadership skills.  

Olga commented, “The Young Enterprise Competition has been an extremely fun and enriching experience – I have learnt so much.  Continuing the competition through such unprecedented circumstances, we have been able to develop a sense of resilience that I am sure we will maintain as we progress with our next steps. I am really looking forward to celebrating with the team, at the awards presentation, once it is safe to do so.” 

“I want to give a huge thanks to the lecturers at the College and our Business Advisor, Angelo Apa, Global Head of Enterprise Vendor Management, Exterisfor of the time they have invested to support us throughout this journey.” 

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, visit www.ccsw.ac.uk. 

Explore Cheshire College from the comfort of your home with upcoming Virtual Open Day

With A-levels, Vocational qualifications, Apprenticeships and Higher Education courses, for school leavers making decisions about their future, there really is so much choice – and a lot to consider.

The event, taking place on Monday 13 July is aimed at learners of all ages wanting to study a course at one of the Colleges three Campuses, in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester.

The Virtual Open Day will provide opportunity to learn more about life at College, gaining more information about the various pathways, as well as being able to explore the industry-standard facilities.

Attendees will have the opportunity to chat with a variety of departments and the Colleges Careers team, to understand which courses are best suited to them, combined with discovering what exciting prospects they would be able to get involved in alongside their studies.

Dhesi, Principal and CEO said, ‘’We know that attending an Open Day is an important part of deciding whether Cheshire College – South & West is right for you.  We may not be able to welcome you in person at the moment, but we still have lots to show you.”

“It is important that prospective learners know that applications for September are still being accepted and that staff are on-hand to answer any queries. Whether you have already decided on a course, or are just investigating your options, this is a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand, the many opportunities, facilities and support that we can offer.”

‘’As one of the leading education and training providers for young people, adults and apprentices across the Cheshire region, everyone can benefit from the advice and guidance available during the Virtual Open Day.’’

Click here to sign up and gain exclusive access to the Virtual Open Day.

Exceptional Apprentices celebrated as part of NAW2020

The achievements of dozens of Apprentices from across the country were celebrated at Cheshire College – South & West’s Apprenticeship Awards ceremony last night.
The awards, part of the Colleges activities to mark National Apprenticeship Week (3-7 February 2020), recognised the outstanding performance and results achieved by Apprentices from across the region.

More than 180 guests gathered at the College’s Ellesmere Port Campus, with more than 30 awards being presented on the evening.

The event was sponsored by local employers, who are passionate about the impact Apprentices can have within an organisation and are working closely with the College to educate the next generation; Bentley Motors, Encirc, Brunning and Price, AO, Higher Horizons, Unipart Rail, West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce and the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce.

Jordan Roberts, Ellesmere Port, started her journey with the College within the Hair and Beauty Department, on day release from school at the age of 14. Jordan quickly began to excel and always went the extra mile to enhance her skills and knowledge. Now at the age of 22, Jordan has recently opened her own salon and has an ever-growing client base.

Jordan was awarded the Apprenticeship Ambassador of the Year Award for her commitment to representing Apprenticeships.

Jordan said: “I loved every moment of my Apprenticeship. It allowed me to develop my creativity and seek new challenges. I am really honoured to have won this award.”

Danny Milton, 21, Wrexham, an Apprentice at the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, won the Apprentice in Sales, Marketing and Creative Industries Award.

Danny commented: “My Apprenticeship has been fantastic. I have gained invaluable experiences, which have given me the skills needed to further my career, alongside gaining my qualification.

“I love working as part of a team and the support from colleagues has allowed me to develop in various areas. I would urge anyone exploring their options to consider an Apprenticeship.”

Carmalita Hardman, 58, St Helens, employed by Making Space, was named the Care Apprentice of the Year. Carmalita commented: “A few years ago, my mum was ill, and I left work to become her carer. I didn’t want to return to my old line of work after that and a friend suggested I give care work a try.

“I loved it right from the start and really feel I make a difference. My favourite part is encouraging the people I care for to get out and about and enjoy themselves.”

“Being able to learn new skills, getting hands on experience and earning, all whilst gaining a qualification is brilliant.”

Other awards on the evening included Degree Apprentice of the Year, Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacturing, and STEAM Apprentice of the Year.

Cheshire College – South & West have more than 1600 Apprentices and works with a range of SMEs to large national employers.

Keynote speaker was Lee Wright, Talent and OD Specialist at Encirc. Lee gave an insightful talk about the importance and benefits of Apprenticeships, highlighting the breadth of industries and roles available, as well as the talent and energy Apprentices bring into the workplace.

Karen Roberts, Assistant Principal Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement, at the College, commented: ‘’Apprenticeships create opportunities for young people, enabling them to develop skills, earn qualifications and build a career.

‘’We get to see Apprentices rise to the top of their industries with leading organisations, thanks to the outstanding traineeships and Apprenticeships.

‘’The awards provide us with an opportunity to celebrate success, alongside thanking families, employers and stakeholders who have been incredibly supportive and critical to the Apprentice’s success.

‘’We are extremely proud of all our Apprentices and wish them the best of luck as they progress in their career.’’

Learners from across various curriculum areas at the Colleges Ellesmere Port Campus supported the event. Hospitality and Catering learners prepared and served a delicious two-course meal to guests with support from Chef Brian Mellor of Harthill Cookery School and Technical Theatre learners managed the events logistics and technology.

Dhesi, Principal and Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to be celebrating at our Apprenticeship Awards for the thirteenth year.

“We are seeing more and more learners and their parents seeing Apprenticeships as a route into sustainable employment as well as an alternative route into Higher Education.

“We are extremely proud of our Apprenticeship programmes. We work in partnership with employers to deliver high quality and relevant training for a diverse range of industry sectors.

“Our award winners are recognised for exceeding expectations, making significant contributions to their workplace and demonstrating outstanding levels of achievement. They really are the cream of the crop and have incredibly bright futures ahead. Congratulations!”

To find out more about being an Apprentice, call 01244 656555 / 01270 654654 or visit ccsw.ac.uk. If you are an employer, interested from benefiting from an Apprentice, call our employer hotline on 01244 656499.

Cheshire College becomes and Active Workplace for employees and learners!

Cheshire College – South & West pledge to become an Active College with Active Cheshire to help improve the physical and mental wellbeing of workers and learners.

One of Cheshire College – South & West’s Campuses is based in Ellesmere Port. They plan to activate and embed physical activity into the daily life of all learners and staff across all three sites in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester. Approximately 600 staff work for the College, with the majority of them being office-based.

To drive cultural change to activate learners and staff, Cheshire College are working in partnership with Active Cheshire. An organisation who provides expert advice and equip employers and schools with the necessary tools to stimulate their inactive environments.

The severe and harmful effects of prolonged inactivity include an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, cancer, heart disease and premature death. This has led Active Cheshire to refer to sitting as ‘the new smoking.’

The College is committed to developing and improving ways to enrich the health, wellbeing and quality of life of their staff and learners. Additional support will be made educating and empowering the learners about the importance of regular physical activity and healthy eating. As well as health checks, corporate leisure membership and organised engagement activities.

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Cheshire College said: “We as a College aim to empower and enable employees and learners to lead healthy and active lifestyles in and outside of the College. We are delighted to endorse this Active Workplace proposal from Active Cheshire and are extremely excited to see how our partnership will blossom over the next few months.”

Anne Boyd, CEO of Active Cheshire “We want to start shifting attitudes in the workplace and education sector. There’s an unwritten expectation to be at your desk at all times. Activating the working environment, including office and break out areas, will be more encouraging to an active culture, promoting positive wellbeing choices and behaviors.”

Most of what Active Cheshire does is to do with change. By encouraging behavioural change, transforming attitudes, mindsets, and habits. The Charity are constantly learning to adapt to the needs and challenges in an increasingly inactive society.

Find out more about the work Active Cheshire do on www.activecheshire.org/
www.activecheshire.org/services/active-kids/

New year, new you and a new journey to embark on!

If you have thought about learning something new, taking up a new hobby or even starting a new career in 2020, then studying at Cheshire College – South & West could be right for you.

Cheshire College – South & West will open its doors to the public on Monday 27 January between 5:30-8pm.

The College’s three sites in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester will welcome visitors who may be interested in full-time, part-time and higher education study and Apprenticeships.

Designed to be relevant in the workplace and to help you update your knowledge and enhance your skills. Many of the part-time qualifications available could be part-funded or even free, depending on your circumstances and existing qualifications. Your course could also be FREE* if you are in employment and earn less than £16,009.50 per year (£1334.12 per month).

Carole Scott, from Crewe, recently completed her Level 3 Human Resources Practice (CIPD) qualification, after joining the College to study part-time in 2018.

Carole said: “I came to onto the course through my role as a People Manager looking after 13 restaurants, as I felt I needed a qualification to support my job role.

“The course has given me the reassurance that I can work with authority and knowledge, and my tutor has really inspired me to believe in myself much more than I have in the past. I have left school with not many qualifications and this is the highest level of qualification I have achieved throughout my education.

I’m so pleased I chose Cheshire College – South & West as it’s proved to me that if you believe in yourself you can achieve anything!”

Whether you have already decided on a course, or are just investigating your options, Open Evenings provide an ideal opportunity for you to see exactly what Cheshire College – South & West has to offer.

With a wide range of activities taking place across the event, prospective learners are able to engage and enjoy in taster sessions in the College’s state-of-the-art facilities. Learners will also get the chance to seek advice on a wide range of College related topics, including learning support and enrichment opportunities.

You can meet tutors, find out more about courses and discover for yourself the atmosphere of a well-established and highly supportive College, where everybody is encouraged to inspire, believe and achieve.

Jordan Swift, Director of Marketing and Schools Partnership, commented: ‘’We have a wide variety of Vocational, A Level, Higher Education and Apprenticeship options available for potential learners, so the event is a great opportunity to see first-hand what College life is really like.

‘’The majority of our current learners started their College journey by attending one of our open evenings. It is important to see the College in action to get a feel for the culture and to hear of successes from both our staff and learners.

‘’It is always a fantastic evening seeing so many people exploring their options and getting involved with all activities.’’

Eryk Nowicki, 18, from Ellesmere Port, started his College journey after attending an Open Evening.

Eryk said: “Since joining the College, I have constantly felt supported with my studies. Staff and other learners are friendly, and this contributes to the positive atmosphere on campus. It’s a great place to be!

Eryk has embraced every challenge that has come his way, including his new role as Student President, and is expected to achieve exceptional results upon completion of his course.

He added: “The College really values our input and opinions on projects, initiatives and strategies before they are put into practice. My new role as Student President allows me to be involved with changes happening College wide, that will continue to benefit learners many years down the line.”

Visit the Crewe Campus for information on:

  • A-Levels
  • Apprenticeships
  • Access to Higher Education
  • Applied Science
  • Business and Fashion Industries
  • Computing
  • Construction and the Built Environment
  • Early Years Education
  • Engineering
  • Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
  • Health and Social Care
  • Higher Education
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Media and Games
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Part-time courses
  • Performing Arts and Music
  • Sport
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Uniformed Public Services
  • Visual Arts

Visit the Ellesmere Port Campus for information on:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Access to Higher Education
  • Computing
  • Construction and the Built Environment
  • Early Years Education
  • Engineering
  • Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
  • Health and Social Care
  • Higher Education
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Part-time courses
  • Performing Arts and Music
  • Sport
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Uniformed Public Services
  • Visit the Chester Campus for information on:
  • Applied Science
  • Business and Fashion Industries
  • Media and Games
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Visual Arts

Visit the Chester Campus for information on:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Applied Science
  • Business and Fashion Industries
  • Higher Education
  • Media and Games
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Part-time courses
  •  Visual Arts

If you are unable to attend this particular event, the College will also be holding another Open Evening on Monday 9 March from 4:30-6:30pm. Please visit ccsw.ac.uk to see all upcoming events.