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Cheshire College delivers digital careers workshops at local high school

Committed to enhancing young people’s digital skills for the future, this week, Cheshire College has visited The Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England High School to deliver exciting workshops and showcase state-of-the-art technology, including handheld scanners, iPads with the latest software and a life-size 3D robot.

Left-right: Simonetta Pearce, School Partnerships Co-ordinator, Iain McCluskey, Media & Games Tutor and Gemma Kirk, Media Make-Up Tutor

As the largest provider of post-16 education in the region, Cheshire College is on a mission to support the community with their five-year project, ‘The Digital Hub’, which has been designed specifically to boost digital skills, enhance career pathways and develop confidence across communities with increased access to technology.   

The College’s School Partnership Team and expert lecturers delivered interactive and exciting digital skill workshops to 180 Year 10 pupils throughout the day, which demonstrated the versatile use of technology and extensive range of career pathways in a number of industries, including, Construction, Engineering, Media & Games, Science, Sport and Media Make-Up.  

Jordan Swift, Director of Marketing and School Partnerships at Cheshire College, commented: “The College is extremely passionate about providing young people with access to engaging educational experiences. It is inspiring watching pupils’ imagination and creativity when we visit schools to showcase a range of digital technologies and I am delighted that Cheshire College gets to play such a crucial role in empowering future generations.”  

Andrew Hardman, Careers Lead at The Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England High School, said: “The Digital Hub was an opportunity to provide our pupils with up-to-date information about a wide variety of careers in the digital world. Pupils have developed an understanding of the exciting opportunities that are available and can now use this knowledge to inform their choices in the future.” 

‘The Digital Hub’ project has been formed as part of a £5 million programme of investment that has prioritised Cheshire College as one of the further education providers in the region best placed to deliver digital and STEM-related training and education.   

The project comprises four main strands:  

  • Digital Doorstep: delivering skills and career pathways through the use of portable,  entry-level equipment in local schools, colleges and businesses 
  • 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  

To find out more about’ The Digital Hub’ and how your school, business or local community can get involved, email employers@ccsw.ac.uk or call 01270 654638 (Crewe Campus) / 01244 656455 (Ellesmere Port and Chester Campuses).  

2 Years, 2 Conclusions, 2 Initiatives! Why is Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) more important than ever?

As part of Colleges Week 2021 – a chance to celebrate and shout about all of the brilliant things that colleges do, day in and day out, to build communities, boost businesses and support individuals, we caught up with Jordan Swift, Director of Marketing and School Partnerships to find out more about why and what Cheshire College is doing to help young people navigate and enrich their career planning. Here’s what she had to say…

“Like many colleges across the country, last week marked the much anticipated first on-Campus Open Evening in nearly 2 years.  

As much as we have embraced the benefits of digital recruitment and know that we could not have navigated the last 18-months without it, I do need to confess that I was relieved to finally be in a position to meet with prospective learners face-to-face. 

Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) now has digital streams running through its core. It was clear to see at our Open Evening the impact the Covid19 pandemic has had on current Year 11s in their access to experiences that support and enrich their career planning.  

Like many careers teams across the country, our approach and innovation has been fast-tracked and all colleagues worked tirelessly to support young people in navigating their careers decisions at a time when the job market, university offers and Apprenticeship provision were changing at the speed of light.  

Don’t get me wrong, for all of my working life in education, young people have walked through our doors at an Open Evening and looked petrified to say, “I have no idea what I want to do next!” This is always the most common response from 15-year-olds. What was concerning, when delving deeper into conversations, is they had no toolkit to help them navigate their way and no experiences to draw upon to start to fine tune their career options.  

Within my team, I am fortunate to have some very experienced, and skilled Careers Advisors and between us we have over 80 years of experience. Despite this, collectively we agree that we’ve never been busier at an event!  

During our de-brief the next day, our focus shifted to why and what can we do to help.  

We came to 2 conclusions. Whilst we know locally, across the Cheshire region, many people have switched to Zoom video calls with employers, online Q&As and virtual work placements, all of which are a valued part of any careers programme… they don’t always work in coordination with access to experience, time to explore, reflect and review skills and strengths, the opportunity to, on occasion, put yourself out of your comfort zone, to feel the experience of walking into a workplace, greet a stranger and have access to one-to-one careers advice. One quite simply doesn’t work without the other.  

So, what next? Similar to other teams, resource and time are precious commodities, so we have to think smart, whilst still ensuring we have an impact. After much discussion, we landed on 2 new initiatives:  

  • Develop bitesize videos aimed at parents supporting their young person to explore jobs. Many parents come to us, wanting to help but just not knowing where to start and what resources to use. 
  • Introduce twilight, group careers guidance sessions for Year 11 pupils, aimed at 3-6 young people each evening exploring careers resources, asking questions, identifying skills and likes.”

10 Cheshire College learners successfully qualify for WorldSkills UK finals

10 Cheshire College learners have successfully qualified for the WorldSkills UK finals after taking part in rigorous competitive qualifying rounds against learners from training providers across the country.   

WorldSkills UK competitions are designed by experts to be highly competitive, assessing numerous abilities, including practical skills, knowledge and employability against a set of strict criteria. The competition is designed to encourage, inspire ambition, push for excellence and equip entrants with world-class skills. 

18-year-old, Keanu Dowsett, joined Cheshire College instead of staying on at sixth form after his GCSEs and this September, progressed onto a HNC Creative Media Production course at the College’s Chester Campus. Keanu said: “I first heard about the WorldSkills competition when I joined the College back in 2019. I am truly grateful for the tutors that encouraged me to get involved. It is a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and a unique experience to add to my CV. I will be spending the new few weeks preparing to compete in the National Finals. Hopefully I do well, I am certainly going to give it my best shot!” 

Keanu Dowsett, HNC Creative Media Production

Jennifer Waddington, from Ellesmere Port, recently completed her Level 3 Gym Instructing and Personal Training course. Talking about her WorldSkills experience to date, Jennifer said: “The entire experience has been so refreshing! It is really important to me that I inspire others pursuing a career in the fitness industry and WorldSkills has given me a platform to build my confidence and showcase my skills.  

“My tutors have been there every step of the way, they are amazing and the opportunity to compete has allowed me to grow my network with other like-minded individuals. I can’t wait to see what the finals bring!  

Ruth Szolkowska, Vice Principal – Innovation, Curriculum and Quality, commented: “We’re extremely proud of our learners and their achievements. Competing in the finals is an opportunity for our learners to showcase their specialist skills on a national stage and benchmark themselves against the very best in the country. What they have achieved so far reflects their commitment and dedication to their respective career paths and I, on behalf of everyone at the College, wish them every success.” 

Each year WorldSkills has a real impact on those taking part, with 90% of previous entrants saying their career progression improved after competing and 86% stating their personal and employability skills had improved. 

The College’s team of 10 will be joining over 400 other finalists to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals, which will be taking place at 25 venues across the UK from 9-19 November 2021.  The winners will be crowned at a ceremony hosted by TV Presenter Steph McGovern from her Channel 4 ‘Packed Lunch’ Studio on Friday 26 November 2021.  

Full list of finalists: 

  • Keanu Dowsett, 3D Digital Game Art 
  • Lily Burt, Commercial Make-Up 
  • Ivan Barzev, Culinary Arts 
  • ️Jenni Waddington, Fitness Trainer – Personal Training  
  • Gabriela Pawlicka, Graphic Design 
  • Ella Banks, Graphic Design 
  • Samantha Reid Masters, Nail Technician  
  • Lauren Robertson, Nail Technician 
  • Leah Castleton, Restaurant Service  
  • Lauren Jones, Restaurant Service  

As the largest provider of post-16 education in the region with Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester, Cheshire College has over 11,000 learners and 1,000 Apprentices and works with more than 500 local, national and international employers to offer offers a range of courses from Entry Level to Level 7. To find out more visit www.ccsw.ac.uk – Your Career Starts Here. 

On-Campus Open Evenings are back!

The largest provider of post-16 education in the region, Cheshire College – South & West, are hosting their first on-Campus Open Evening of the upcoming academic year on Monday 11th October, 5:30 – 8:00pm, across all three Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester. 

Come along and find out for yourself what sets us apart and makes us your first choice in your next step.  With a wide range of activities taking place, prospective learners will have the opportunity to talk with expert tutors about an extensive range of learning programmes, engage in taster sessions in the College’s world-class facilities and seek advice on a wide range of topics, including learning support and enrichment opportunities. Come along and visit our classrooms, learning centres and have a go with some of our amazing technologies, including virtual reality headsets.  

The College offers a range of courses from Entry Level to Level 7 and provides learners with the skills, experience and qualifications that will prepare them for their future career or higher-level study and encourage them to become confident individuals who will make valuable contributions to businesses and the economy.   

Dhesi, Principal and CEO, commented: “The majority of current learners studying at the College started their journey after attending one of our Open Evenings and I am very much looking forward to meeting all of our prospective learners on 11th October. This is not only an opportunity to show them how incredible our College truly is, but also to tell them all of the brilliant things that we have planned for the future, including our mission to enhance digital skills and our newly designed Honours Programme.” 

Just come along on the evening or you can register your place here. By registering your place, you can keep up-to-date with the latest news and what’s happening on the evening. 

Need more information? get in touch: 

  • Email: info@ccsw.ac.uk 
  • Call 01270 654654 for the Crewe Campus or 01244 656555 for the Ellesmere Port and Chester Campuses 
  • Or message us on social media! 

If you are unable to attend this particular event, the College will also be running another Open Evening on Tuesday 23rd November 2018, 5:30 – 8:00pm. 

Cheshire College’s Partnership With Sustainable Vehicle Company Drives Learner Experience Forward

Building long-standing relationships with regional, national and international employers, Cheshire College are extremely proud of the partnerships they make which support their 11,000 learners to reach their full potential.  

One of the 500 employers Cheshire College work with is the largest UK’s largest salvage and vehicle recycling company, SYNETIQ, who recently donated six new vehicles to their Motor Vehicle department ahead of the new academic year for learners to gain hand-on experience servicing and repairing cars and vans.  

The College’s well-established relationship with SYNETIQ has seen numerous cars donated to its Crewe Campus over the 8-year partnership. To ensure learners have access to the very latest technology in the ever-changing industry, SYNETIQ provide access to a range of makes and models, including Ford, Honda, Nissan and more. 

Daniel Hunter, Assistant Director of Motor Vehicle at Cheshire College, said: “We’re extremely fortunate to have such strong relationships with employers who recognise the value of giving learners access to real-work environments whilst they learn to prepare them for their future careers in industry.  

“SYNETIQ have been a fantastic company to work with throughout the years and all our learners have significantly benefited from working in our industry standard garages on their vehicles.” 

Rob Hampson, Operations Manager for SYNETIQs Winsford site said: “It’s really important for us as business to support learners who want to learn hands on skills in the automotive trade. The support that Cheshire College offer their learners is excellent.” 

Cheshire College offer a number of Motor Vehicle courses, all of which make it easy for young people and mature learners to progress into higher education or straight into employment. Their impressive workshops have the same equipment and facilities as commercial garages and, along with donated vehicles, they also have engines on stands for learners to gain further insight on the intricacies of the industry.  

To learn more about studying at Cheshire College visit ccsw.ac.uk and register for the College’s next Open Evening which will be taking place on Monday 11 October between 5:30pm – 8pm. Attendees will be able to experience all the College has to offer, explore their options for study and discover the support services available.  

History In The Making For Cheshire College Alumni

Cheshire College’s principle purpose is nurturing talent and empowering people to achieve their full potential and for one A Level alumni number who has just secured a sixth month placement at a local museum, it really is history in the making.  

21-year-old Emma Berger joined Cheshire College in 2016 to study A Level Archaeology, English Literature and History as well as an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) surrounding museum and archive research, and after achieving straight As went on to study History at The University of Leeds. 

Now, a fully-fledged graduate with lifelong ambitions to pursue a career in heritage, Emma is quite literally making history as an Exhibitions & Marketing Assistant at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester.  

Talking about her new role, Emma said: “I am currently assisting with an exhibition called ‘Curated Closet’ and have been installing and handling the collection, as well as overseeing the social media campaign we have create. I wanted to gain some broad experience in the sector before choosing a specific specialism and my role provides me with the perfect opportunity to gain a great range of skills. 

“I’ve always wanted a career in heritage and chose to study my A Levels at Cheshire College as they offered Archaeology as a subject and the topics taught in English Literature and History really interested me too. The opportunities I gained during my two years at College have really helped me get to where I am now and I still refer to the research I did for my EPQ on my CV and in job applications as it was such a useful experience.”  

21-year-old Emma Berger

Cheshire College has a long-standing history with Grosvenor Museum itself and is one of the corporate partners inspiring staff, learners and their friends and families. Throughout each academic year, the College works extremely closely with the museum, which is just a stone’s throw away from their Chester Campus, and regularly works with them to exhibit learner work.  

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “I am delighted that Emma is proving to be a terrific addition to the team at the Grosvenor Museum. She has joined as part of Hope Streets a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which is providing career pathways for young people. We are delighted that Emma has joined us at the start of her career and hope very much that she will provide a positive role model for young people looking to work in Arts and Heritage.” 

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal and CEO, added: “We’re passionate about ensuring our learners leave Cheshire College with the skills, experience and qualifications that will prepare them for their future career and it’s fantastic to be able to follow Emma’s successful journey as she gets one step closer to achieving her dreams.” 

There’s never been a better time to ‘Get In, Stand Out’. To attend one of Cheshire College’s on Campus enrolment sessions taking place between 9am-4pm every weekday click here

Cheshire College Support Adults To Futureproof Their Career

Cheshire’s largest provider of post-16 education has launched a range of new part-time courses for adults to upskill, retrain and futureproof their career in a range of industries. Designed specifically to be relevant in the workplace, Cheshire College’s part-time courses aim to update learners’ knowledge and skills to ensure they reach their full career potential.  
 
With courses available across a range of departments including Business, Construction, Engineering, Catering, Fitness and Health & Beauty, learners can enrol on a course that suits them at a time that suits them with flexible delivery and start dates to ensure they’re able to achieve their goals with study that fits around their lifestyle.     

Also included in Cheshire College’s part-time study provision for this September is their nine-week ‘Stream Fast-track’ course in Digital, Maths and English for adult learners to refresh their knowledge and develop confidence in these highly desired skill areas, as well as their National Skills Fund courses. 

The National Skills Fund was launched in April after a £2.5 billion investment by the Government to help adults across the UK gain the valuable knowledge required by employers to enter key sectors. In response, the College selected National Skills Fund courses which meet the skill requirements across the region and these are fully-funded flexible study programmes adults aged 19-years or over can study for free if they’re looking to achieve their first Level 3 Qualification.  

James Eagney, Assistant Principal of Quality at Cheshire College, commented: “We’re really excited about the part-time courses we’re delivering at Cheshire College this year. The courses running provide a real opportunity for adult learners to upskill and meet their educational and career goals.  
 
“Whether you’re looking to upskill or change career and retrain, we have a range of courses that have been purposefully selected to meet the demands across Cheshire and give adults within our local communities the very best possible chance of career success.” 

All of Cheshire College’s part-time courses are taught by industry professionals in real work environments and many of the qualifications could also be part-funded or even free, depending on individuals’ circumstances. The College can also help support adults wishing to study some of their courses with an Advanced Learner Loan.  
 
To find out more about Cheshire College’s part-time courses and apply online visit https://www.ccsw.ac.uk/part-time-courses-for-adults/.  

There’s never been a better time to ‘Get In, Stand Out’. Attend one of Cheshire College’s on Campus enrolment sessions taking place between 9am-4pm every weekday to secure your place.  

Dreams turned into reality as Cheshire College learner secures place at prestigious Royal School of Needlework

Access to HE Learner, Isabelle Langton-Davies has secured an offer to study at The Royal School of Needlework, based in Hampton Court Palace, turning her dream into a reality.  

21-year-old Isabelle, joined the College in September 2020, after instantly making a connection with tutors at one of the College’s open evenings. Isabelle, who previously studied Maths, Physics and Economics A Levels, started embroidering in her free time, but following her Mum’s advice of ‘do what you love’, decided to pursue her passion and enrolled on the College’s Access to Higher Education – Design pathway.   

Before joining the College, Isabelle had no Art & Design qualifications, but knew she wanted a fulfilling career in something that she found enjoyment from.  

Isabelle said: “The variety of experiences and opportunities available as a Cheshire College learner are phenomenal. The tutors are extremely inspiring and go above and beyond to support our ambitions.  

“I thought my dreams of studying at The Royal School of Needlework were outrageous, but over the last year I have boosted my confidence and I now have the courage to follow my dreams, however crazy they may initially seem.  

“Deciding on your next steps can be really daunting, especially at 16 when you are leaving school and your friends for the first time, however I encourage everyone to take time to find something you are passionate about.” 

Rachel Davies, Art & Design Tutor, said: “I am absolutely delighted Isabelle has secured an offer to study at The Royal School of Needlework. She has worked extremely hard, and her achievements are testament to the dedication and commitment she has put into her studies over the last year.   

“Our Access to Higher Education – Design course enables learners to experience working within different Art and Design disciplines during taught workshops from specialist staff, as well independently revisiting areas they wish to specialise in, ultimately, providing learners with the knowledge, awareness and skills they need to progress into Higher Education.” 

As the largest provider of post-16 education in Cheshire, the College offers 5 specialist Access to Higher Education routes at its 3 Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester:  

  • Design
  • Health Professionals 
  • Science  
  • Social Science and Humanities  
  • Social Science with Law 

As the academic year draws to a close, success continues for Access to Higher Education – Health Professional learners, Jonathon Mackay, Rebecca Coles and Felicity Milazzo who were all named winners of the Outstanding Commitment to Study award at this year’s virtual Open College Network West Midlands Brian May ‘Access to Higher Education (HE)’ Learner Awards. 

Ruth Szolkowska, Vice Principal – Innovation, Curriculum and Quality, commented: “We have all been very impressed with the positive and mature attitudes our Access to Higher Education learners have shown towards their studies. Each and every one has shown an exceptional desire for learning and education, and we are delighted that their dedication has been recognised through a range of success.” 

To find out more about Access to HE courses at Cheshire College visit www.ccsw.ac.uk – there’s never been a better time to Get In, Stand Out.  

Cheshire College Learners Set To Study Abroad

This year, learners at Cheshire College will have the opportunity to study abroad as the region’s largest provider of post-16 education has successfully secured funding to take part in the government’s new Turing Scheme.  

The funding secured as part of the new scheme will provide learners at Cheshire College with the chance to explore other cultures and gain wider-world experience as they learn in a completely different country for free.  

The College is one of 363 universities, schools and further education and training providers to successfully secure funding for the inaugural Turing Scheme which supports the government’s Global Britain objectives.  

Cheshire College’s International & External Funding Manager, Stelios Yalarakis, commented: “Following the launch of the Turing Scheme, which has been designed to enhance international educational links, I’m delighted that Cheshire College has managed to submit a successful bid which will enable us to send both learners and staff to Brescia in Italy for free.  
 
“During their time in the Lombardy city, learners will have the opportunity spend 2-3 weeks completed on-the-job work placements at carefully selected businesses in cooperation with one of the College’s long-standing partners.” 

Cheshire College has a wealth of experience working with global partners to offer learners the opportunity to study abroad and international learners to study at one of their three Campuses. Studying abroad can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience which allows young people to develop invaluable transferable, language and employability skills.  

There’s never been a better time to ‘Get In, Stand Out’. To attend one of Cheshire College’s on Campus enrolment sessions taking place between 9am-4pm every weekday click here

Cheshire College Delivers Robot To Local High School’s Doorstep

Committed to enhancing young people’s digital skills for the future, Cheshire College has taken technology directly to them with their state-of-the-art bus which is bursting with the very latest portable equipment including a life-size 3D robot.  

Cheshire College is on a mission to support the community with their five-year project ‘The Digital Hub’, which has been designed specifically to boost digital skills, enhance career pathways and develop confidence across communities with increased access to technology.  

As part of ‘The Digital Hub’ project the College is focused on supporting local school children to develop skills in coding and virtual reality through its ‘Digital Doorstep’ initiative, which has seen College learners design and prototype robots for local high school pupils to interact with in their brand-new ‘Digital Hub Bus’. 

Featuring streaming equipment and virtual reality technology, the Digital Hub Bus visited Queen’s Park High School in Chester, where the College’s School Partnership Team and Media & Games lecturers delivered exciting digital skills sessions to over 200 pupils across two days.  

L-R: Simonetta Pearce, School Partnership Coordinator and Iain Mccluskey, Media & Games Tutor

Jordan Swift, Director of Marketing & School Partnerships at Cheshire College, commented: “The Digital Doorstep initiative is aimed specifically for school pupils to engage with new and emerging technology and equip them with the digital skills we know employers want and need at an early age.  

“It’s been fantastic to be able to go into schools and showcase the digital technology and equipment to spark pupils’ imagination and creativity and we’re looking forward to be able to host many more events like this in the new academic year.” 

Careers Lead at Queen’s Park High School, Andrea Watts, commented: “We took part using the College’s Digital Hub Bus during our school enrichment week. It provided the perfect opportunity to work in partnership with Cheshire College and enabled our Year 9 and 10 pupils to experience a taste of the digital revolution!  
 
“The outreach activity has benefitted our pupils as they have had the opportunity to speak to industry experts from the College and use a wide range of equipment including the robot, which has enhanced their understanding of the digital world and transferrable skills for the future.” 

‘The Digital Hub’ project has been formed as part of a £5 million programme of investment that has prioritised Cheshire College as one of the further education providers in the region best placed to deliver digital and STEM-related training and education.  

The project also includes three other strands: 

  • 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 

To find out more about The Digital Hub and how your school, business or local community can get involved email employers@ccsw.ac.uk or call 01270 654638 (Crewe Campus) / 01244 656455 (Ellesmere Port and Chester Campuses).