Around 50 South Staffordshire College staff from both teaching and non-teaching roles have taken part in a development day dedicated to the increasing role of the digital technologies in the education sector, including a session explaining how the College is pioneering WAMEDU, an open, safe and secure social networking platform for students and staff. The day was introduced by Alan Greenberg, formerly Head of Apple Education first in Europe, then Asia, whose contribution to the online use of education content has had global impact. In Asia he managed the launch, deployment and adoption of Apple iTunes and while in Europe he masterminded the ‘Beyond Campus’ initiative. In his opening remarks, he said “I’m excited to be involved with this; seeing South Staffordshire College’s senior management daring to be innovative and aspirational, developing solutions that don’t yet fully exist in FE. For both teachers and students this is all about empowerment and for staff to share their IP on a digital framework. The College has embraced the technology and enabled us to understand how the system can best be used, applied and made to deliver its benefits.” Outlining the transformational potential of the digital techniques being pioneered by South Staffordshire College, Director of Strategy and Infrastructure Jamie Smith described the guest speakers as “thought leaders whose insights will help us establish innovatory techniques designed to radically improve the learning experience. Partnering with major players such as WAMBIZ and IBM will provide a template for Further Education that we hope all colleges will follow. At South Staffordshire College we’ve embraced the digital world because it helps us to pioneer, challenge and innovate – that’s what education is for.” The core presentation from Harry Jawanda provided an in-depth look at the workings and benefits of the WAMEDU system. Melanie Wilkes, Public Service Lecturer at South Staffordshire College, commented “There’s huge potential for this, we’ve used it in the pilot study in our area this year and the students love it. It’s really easy to use and the app will mean the kind of instant communication to an entire group that is so effective.” Trish Bolas, from the Hairdressing department of the College, added “I’ve really enjoyed today, I found it inspiring and for anyone who couldn’t be here today I’d say make sure you get involved. WAMEDU is going to help learners socialize from day one of College and help us to engage with them at every stage of their course.” Jamie Smith summed up the day. “Digital provides one-to-one learning that is delivered to many, with each student progressing at his or her own pace. It reshapes where learning takes place and enriches the experience. As today showed, South Staffordshire College has now secured a place in this education revolution.”
South Staffordshire College is joining with Lincolnshire-based Linkage Community Trust to provide the best specialist education, care and employment support services to disabled people in the area. An historic moment in the campaign for the rights and opportunities of the disabled was marked by a turf-cutting ceremony at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus. Chair of Governors Ray Faulkner and Chief Executive Principal Graham Morley were joined by Michael Oliver, Chair of Trustees at Linkage, the Trust’s Director of Education and Principal of Linkage College, Matthew Orford, and Luke Ford from the main contractor, Fords of Blythe Bridge. The development centres around a 750 square metre single-storey, timber-framed building, supplied by Fords, as part of a fully Government-funded £1.4 million project. It will provide superb facilities for the students, including classrooms, a skills kitchen, chill-out zone, IT room and drama area, in addition to administration, toilets and a medical room. Welcoming the co-operation on behalf of the College, Graham Morley said “We are delighted to be working alongside Linkage in this innovative project which extends South Staffordshire College’s pioneering approach further into the area of provision for the disabled.” For Luke Ford, the Rodbaston development has a special significance in that his grandfather studied agriculture on the same site in the 1920s and was the College’s Head Boy. He says, “This is a project we are all delighted to be involved with and the direct family connection adds even further to our commitment. We are working to a completion date later this year and with our headquarters in the Staffordshire Moorlands we look forward to playing our part in delivering this resource for the people of the area.” For Linkage, whose college is rated by Ofsted as ‘good with outstanding outcomes for students’, this is its first project outside its traditional Lincolnshire heartland. Director of Education at Linkage and Principal of Linkage College, Matthew Orford commented, “We couldn’t have wished for a better partner to provide this state-of-the-art, purpose-built joint venture. Together with South Staffordshire College, we will be delivering personalised study programmes to meet the complex needs of the 16–25 year olds who come here, in a safe, secure and beautiful setting. South Staffordshire College has made us feel instantly at home here and it will be the same for students.” Programmes at the centre will cover a range of content including mobility, communications, speech and language therapy, personal social and health education. Students will get work experience and qualifications in academic and vocational subjects as diverse as Animal and Equine Care, Business Administration, Catering & Hospitality, Construction, Customer Service, Horticulture, Maths, English and ICT. For anyone wanting to find out more about the best provision of education for 16–25 year olds with disabilities, contact either 01785 710505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Louisa Cooper, 20 from Burntwood, who recently completed her Level 3 Diploma in Floristry at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus, is heading to the European finals of WorldSkills later this year as one of Team GB’s representatives. Continuing a proud record of South Staffordshire College success in WorldSkills – the global competition created especially for vocational students – Louisa won her place in the team over three days of competition at regional finals held in Northern Ireland, at the CAFRE Greenmount Campus. More than 160 of the UK’s most talented learners and apprentices battled for selection. Supported by the presence of South Staffordshire College’s Chief Executive Principal, Graham Morley and Head of Marketing & PR, Alison Gallagher-Hughes, Louisa completed nine tasks under the watchful eyes of the judges, including hand-tied bouquets, table arrangements and wedding pieces. Her success in joining the national squad for the EuroSkills event, which will be held in France later this year, is the next stage in Louisa’s ultimate ambition, to represent Team GB at the WorldSkills finals in Sao Paulo 2015. Louisa says her success is down to the support she has received from many people, but in particular her Mum, her employers the School Farm Shop in Shelfield, Walsall and, of course, her tutors at South Staffordshire College. “If they hadn’t been so supportive and encouraging I might never had entered the regional heats last May. I’m so proud to be representing South Staffordshire College and hopefully Great Britain too. I’ve already won a Bronze medal in the UK nationals and I’ll be looking to improve on that in France.” Graham Morley says Louisa’s achievements are a tribute to her skills and determination with tremendous backing from her lecturers. “Alison Gallagher-Hughes and I were delighted to get the opportunity to support Louisa in person. I know her Floristry lecturer, Jayne Bannister, has been a huge source of inspiration and all the hard work they have put in together has certainly paid off. At South Staffordshire College we have a fine reputation for our Floristry courses and Louisa will continue to be a great ambassador for her college and her country.” Anyone eager to learn more about South Staffordshire College’s Floristry courses can make contact on 0300 456 2424.
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South Staffordshire College is holding a series of Taster Days, showcasing the breadth of courses available across its Tamworth, Rodbaston, Lichfield and Cannock Campuses. For students already enrolled to start College in September, the Taster Days will provide an ideal opportunity to experience College life, and in particular give them a chance to try their hand as various activities within their chosen career path. For students still making up their minds, it’s a perfect way to see what’s involved, speak to students already studying at the College and take tours to see the facilities at the most successful College in the county. Join us at the Tamworth, Lichfield or Cannock Campuses from 10.00am – 3.00pm any day from Monday 7 July to Wednesday 9 July, with a host of activities taking place. The Rodbaston Campus events will also be running from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 July. You’ll be in good company – South Staffordshire College students are achieving outstanding results in regional and national competitions across a range of subjects. In the WorldSkills arena, students representing beauty, horticulture, accounting, cookery and floristry have competed at the top level and learners from the College have represented Team UK at the international final of WorldSkills for two years running. South Staffordshire College continues to grow and expand its role as a major seat of learning in the West Midlands. Figures released by the Data Service revealed that the College was the most successful in Staffordshire for the third year running and this comes hot on the heels of the launch of the￡3.5 million Foster Centre at Rodbaston Campus together with the opening of the ￡6million newly refurbished Cannock Campus. With a wide range of industry related courses on offer there is something for everyone at South Staffordshire College. Taster Days offer a relaxed and friendly environment in which to find out more. Click here to register your attendance
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A Lithuanian student studying at South Staffordshire College has received a Student of the Year Award after completing an IMI Level 3 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Principles. Svajunas Makonis, aged 20, moved to Tamworth from Lithuania with his family four years ago. He initially enrolled at South Staffordshire College on an Activate Course and despite English being his second language, moved on to complete GCSEs in English, Mathematics and IT. Svajunas continued with his studies at the College and is now a fully qualified Vehicle Technician. Senior Lecturer and Department Co-ordinator, Tony Meeney, said, “Svajunas worked very hard to overcome language barriers and has required no extra support with exams. He has achieved his goal through sheer hard work and determination. We have recognised Svajunas’ hard work and awarded him ‘Student of the Year.’ We are all very proud of him.” Svajunas added: “South Staffordshire College has helped me get to where I am today. All of the staff are very supportive and we have good equipment to work with. I really enjoy my time here.”
South Staffordshire College has helped to launch the first in a series of Engineering courses aimed at helping local unemployed people into work. Officially recognised as the most successful in Staffordshire, the College is supporting a campaign to help local automotive and engineering businesses which are looking to recruit . South Staffordshire College is working with Staffordshire County Council, Job Centre Plus and South Staffordshire Council to create a range of tailored training programmes for local unemployed people to develop the skills required get jobs within the engineering and automotive sector. The first 6-week Engineering Programme is now complete with the secondwell underway, with 30 local people from Cannock, Stafford and Longton attending South Staffordshire College’s Cannock and Tamworth Campuses, covering basic engineering skills as well as enhanced Maths and English, how to approach competency based interviews, team exercises and interview preparation. As well as these skills, students on the course will obtain a Level 2 qualification in Engineering and Manufacturing which is highly regarded by employers to help them find a job elsewhere in the industry. The introduction of the engineering programme follows hard on the heels of the announcement that South Staffordshire College is creating an Automotive and Engineering hub by transforming the TORC Centre in Tamworth and upgrading its Tamworth campus. Both centres will provide a broad range of opportunities for students to learn and develop engineering and automotive skills. Also from this September, the hubs will offer a brand new Access to Engineering Course. This course is aimed at adults who have been out of education for a while or who want a change of direction and wish to progress on to University to obtain higher level skills in engineering that are in great demand. The hubs are playing a vital part in boosting skills to provide work-ready candidates for employment. This is a priority for both the County Council and local enterprise partnerships as they offer a range of courses for people from the age of 14 ensuring they make the most of increasing opportunities in this growing sector in Staffordshire. South Staffordshire College Principal Graham Morley said: “The College is delighted to expand its engineering and automotive provision through these new courses and is committed to working with schools, the local community and business to deliver the skills that employers need. These new courses will allow people to gain vital automotive and engineering skills that are in high demand from the regions’ employers.” More than 4000 young people enrol at South Staffordshire College every year, enjoying a first-class learning environment that includes a commercial farm, a working art gallery, a film and media company and a zoo! As well as engineering courses, the College’s four campuses at Rodbaston, Cannock, Tamworth and Lichfield offer academic and vocational courses ranging from art, sport, floristry and beauty to business, public services and agriculture. Degree courses are also now available and there are numerous opportunities for students who want to excel in Arts, Sciences, Vocational or Environmental Studies.
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South Staffordshire College’s Lichfield Campus is holding an Open Day on Tuesday 17 June, offering students and parents the chance to find out more about courses in Art & Design, Business Studies and Administration, Childcare, Health & Social Care, IT/Computers, Media, Music Technology and Performing Arts. The event starts at 6.00pm and will conclude at 8.00pm. There will be a range of Have-a-Go activities on offer to encourage students to try their hand at subjects of their choice. Experienced staff and students will also be on hand to give advice and discuss the positive support services available to learners, with updates on the varied social activities. The Open Day provides an insight into College life and an opportunity for students to meet tutors, listen to presentations and take tours to see the facilities at one of the most successful Colleges in the county. It’s not too late to sign up for a wide variety of academic and industry-recognised courses, both full and part-time, and with Government figures confirming a success rate of 89% among 16 – 18 year olds at South Staffordshire College,you can make the smart choice and be a part of that success. And you can sign up on-line in just 25 seconds! South Staffordshire College works in partnership with some of the best and most reputable employers, including Francesco Group, Lichfield Garrick and Triumph giving students the opportunity to gain professional experience and employability skills. The College has also developed innovative business partnerships with global brand leaders such as Araldite, providing students with exciting projects to work on and combining learning with practical experience. South Staffordshire College continues to grow and expand its role as a major seat of learning in the West Midlands. Figures released by the Data Service revealed that the College was the most successful in Staffordshire for the third year running and this comes hot on the heels of the launch of the £3.5 million Foster Centre at Rodbaston Campus and the £6m refurbishment of the Cannock Campus opened earlier this year.
South Staffordshire College’s Open Day at Rodbaston Campus on Monday 16 June will be a fun affair, with lots of ‘Have a Go’ activities on offer for everyone to enjoy. The Open Event offers students and parents an opportunity to find out more about the wide selection of land-based courses available covering Agriculture, Animal Care, Construction, Countryside Management, Electrical and Engineering, Equine, Fisheries, Floristry, Forestry & Arboriculture, Horticulture, Plumbing, Public Services, and Veterinary Nursing. The event starts at 6.00pm and visitors can try their hand at a vast array of Have-a-Go activities. Construction students will get the opportunity to test their site surveying skills using a laser level; Animal Care students will be encouraged to handle creepy crawlies; Floristry students can get involved in plant identification; Equine students will be assisting in horse bandaging activities and Countryside Management students will put their knowledge in identifying birds and mammals to the test. Experienced staff and students will be also on hand to give advice and discuss the positive support services available to learners, with updates on the varied social activities. Information will be available on the UK’s first dedicated Rural Enterprise Academy, where students from the age of 14 gain a broad education, mixing traditional and essential qualifications alongside rural enterprise, environmental sustainability and land-based subjects. It’s not too late to sign up for a wide variety of academic and industry-recognised courses, both full and part-time, and with Government figures confirming a success rate of 89% among 16 – 18 year olds at South Staffordshire College,you can make the smart choice and be a part of that success. And you can sign up on-line in just 25 seconds! South Staffordshire College works in partnership with some of the best and most reputable employers, including Francesco Group, Lichfield Garrick and Triumph giving students the opportunity to gain professional experience and employability skills. The College has also developed innovative business partnerships with global brand leaders such as Araldite, providing students with exciting projects to work on and combining learning with practical experience. South Staffordshire College continues to grow and expand its role as a major seat of learning in the West Midlands. Figures released by the Data Service revealed that the College was the most successful in Staffordshire for the third year running and this comes hot on the heels of the launch of the £3.5 million Foster Centre at Rodbaston Campus and the £6m refurbishment of the Cannock Campus opened earlier this year. With a wide range of industry related courses on offer, ‘A’ levels for those who prefer a more academic route and Apprenticeships for those who want to learn whilst in employment, there is something for everyone at South Staffordshire College. Open Days offer a relaxed and friendly environment in which to find out more.
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South Staffordshire College is holding a series of Taster sessions – from sugar craft to family history and Bollywood dancing to sign language – as part of an initiative to get adults back into the classroom in support of Adult Learners Week (14 – 21 June). The free taster sessions are being held in the heart of the community – around the libraries of South Staffordshire in Tamworth, Cheslyn Hay, Brewood, Great Wyrley and Penkridge and are aimed at adults over 19. South Staffordshire College has a wide range of courses on offer, so there is every chance of finding something that is both useful and enjoyable, whether on a short-term, part-time or full-time basis. ‘Taster’ courses are ideal ways to see if a subject will suit. A large proportion of South Staffordshire College learners are ‘older’ students so everyone will feel quite at ease. College is friendly, quite informal and there is ample opportunity to socialise too. Tutors will readily understand if those returning to education may need extra help and support, at least to start with. More information can be found here http://www.southstaffs.ac.uk/events/showevent/?id=5528
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South Staffordshire College Chief Executive Principal Graham Morley is on record as saying that no-one should end their first day at College without a friend. Now a collaboration between the College, led by Director – Strategy & Infrastructure Jamie Smith and Cannock entrepreneur and England Hockey international Harry Jawanda, co-founder of WAMBIZ, is set to make that ambition a reality across the entire education sector. WAMBIZ has created Wamedu, a social networking platform devoted to students which has all the benefits of current social media without many of the safety and wellbeing concerns that unfettered social contact can produce. South Staffordshire College has become an established leader in the use of digital learning resources, its recent launch of the refurbished Cannock Campus caused quite a stir with its immersive learning, internet connectivity and use of augmented reality, and is also committed to working in partnership with local entrepreneurs and businesses. The Wamedu project is currently on trial with 300 volunteers among the teaching and student communities at South Staffordshire College, where it is being used as a teaching aid, a social platform, an ideas exchange and a means for students to catch up on a missed assignment, get reassurance and advice from teaching staff or their course mates and generally to create a friendly, co-operative and exciting atmosphere around their course and their College. Jamie Smith comments, “The face of education is changing, with the digital revolution and the opportunities social media platforms open up. Working with young entrepreneurs like Harry Jawanda makes sure we are in touch with our students and he is a role model they can relate to – local, successful and inventive. South Staffordshire College is proud to be pioneering this use of a private social network which is devoted to the needs of students, teachers and college administrators alike. We already have evidence that Wamedu improves teaching, connects students in a way no other medium can, and reduces the numbers of students leaving their courses. This is a classic case of a private/public collaboration which will further establish our credentials as a leader and innovator on a world stage.”
Construction students from South Staffordshire College have taken part in a prestigious painting and decorating competition after being entered by their tutor. Charles Boyles from Stafford, Gareth Rowley and Joshua Gittings from Cannock and Mario Savva from Cheslyn Hay competed in a qualifying heat of Johnstone’s Young Painter of the Year, a competition which celebrates young talent, promotes best practice and encourages young people to pursue a career in the decorating industry. The students are currently studying for their Level 1 Painting & Decorating diploma at the College’s Progress Centre in Cannock. They were given tasks to perform on the day, including marking out measurements from a booklet using straight rules and compasses to draw the radius of circles. Launched in 2005, the competition consists of a series of regional heats and a national final. It assesses students painting and decorating skills including setting out a design, working to a technical specification, applying different types of paint, selecting and using application tools and applying stencils. The one-day heats take place at various locations around the UK with winners from each heat receiving a prize of £100 and qualifying for the national final. The ultimate winner will receive a package of prizes worth £2000 and be crowned “Johnstone’s Young Painter of the Year”. Charles, Gareth, Mario and Joshua did extremely well in their heat and received excellent feedback from the judges, as well as a goody bag of useful painting tools. Phil Bogacki, College Lecturer and Assessor, Painting & Decorating is very proud of his students’ achievement saying, “I was confident that the students would do well in the heats and they always produce excellent work in College and they will all excel in their chosen career.” South Staffordshire College puts students at the heart of everything it does, creating a vibrant educational institution with commitments to delivering an outstanding learner experience and providing skilled and work-ready employees for local and national businesses. The College offers CAA Diploma in Painting & Decorating courses at Level 1, 2 and 3 at its Cannock Campus. For more information on Construction courses, please visit http://www.southstaffs.ac.uk/courses/painting-decorating/ or call 0300 456 2424.
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A Horticulture Apprentice from South Staffordshire College has received industry recognition for his achievements. James Tillotson, aged 21, was nominated for the BALI Chalk Fund award by John Renshaw, Workforce Development Manager at South Staffordshire College, after he completed his Level 2 Apprenticeship in general horticulture at the College’s Rodbaston campus whilst in the employment of Greenfingers Landscape Group. The BALI Chalk Fund was established in 1975 with a legacy from the widow of Geoffrey Chalk, a founding member of BALI (the British Association of Landscape Industries). The charity supports the advancement of education and training in the landscape sector by offering scholarships. The trustees recognise the achievements of landscape students who have excelled in their studies whilst BALI provides support and advice for students at an early stage in their careers. James, from Burnley, was presented with his certificate and a cheque for £100 by BALI’s Jonathon Tame at an awards ceremony at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus. He said: “I really enjoyed the apprenticeship programme and could see the direct relation and benefit to my job role. I have had a promotion within Greenfingers and am now looking to doing my Level 3 at South Staffordshire College.” John Renshaw, who was at the presentation, said: “South Staffordshire College has worked with Greenfingers for five years, training and up-skilling their horticultural workforce. “James is a very deserving winner of this award and produced a portfolio of high standard that reflected his keen approach and enthusiasm at work. It’s great to see young people winning awards like this and getting the recognition through the apprenticeship scheme for their hard work and commitment and South Staffordshire College is looking forward to working with two new groups of apprentices in November.”
A construction student from South Staffordshire College has been honoured in prestigious industry awards. Michael Tinkler, aged 21 from Stafford, was named Trainee of the Year in the 2014 Tile Association Awards (TTA), recently held in London for the first time and attended by over 300 guests. The awards recognise the brightest and best individuals from the industry, the most innovative new products and the sector’s best and most interesting projects. Trophies were awarded in 17 categories with scores of finalists present to see their contribution to the tiling industry recognised. Michael is studying for his Level 2 Work Based Diploma in Tiling at South Staffordshire College’s Tiling Academy based at its Cannock Campus and is on target to achieve his diploma in October 2015. He started working with Stafford Tiles & Flooring as an apprentice in March 2013, building his portfolio and working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Wall and Floor Tiling. He has been involved in many residential and commercial jobs over the past 10 months, with thousands of square metres of successful work already behind him and is setting the bar for other trainees at Stafford Tiles & Flooring. When presented with his award by CITB’s Darren Lawrence, Michael said: “I am very honoured to have received the award. I feel I am now achieving my full potential through attending South Staffordshire College and working at Stafford Tiles and Flooring. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in gaining this award.” Ian Kershaw, Chairman of The Tile Association, says: “Of all the awards that were presented at the recent TTA Awards in London, Trainee of the Year was the one that gave me particular pleasure. It is great to see new apprentices joining our industry, as they are the future. In my view, encouraging the young trainees and allowing them to discover the rewarding career that awaits them in tiling is what the TTA is all about. Although he only joined Stafford Tiles & Flooring last year, Michael has already proven to be a shining example of young commitment and determination. He has demonstrated a passion to learn and to develop his skills.” Peter Davis, Director at Stafford Tiles and Flooring, is extremely proud of Michael’s award, saying, “All the staff are delighted with Michael’s success. The transformation he has undergone over the past year is just amazing and he has become an integral part of our team. It proves that the national apprenticeship scheme can be a fantastic success for both company and apprentice.”
Beauty Therapy Students from South Staffordshire College are celebrating progress through the regional heats of the WorldSkills UK competition. WorldSkills UK is a framework of regional and national skills competitions delivered each year across the UK for young people and adults. The WorldSkills competitions aim to showcase excellence and help lift standards of training and performance. The South Staffordshire College Beauty Therapy students, studying at the College’s Tamworth and Cannock Campuses, competed in the WorldSkills regional competition held at Newcastle-under-Lyme College and enjoyed successes across the board. Jade Aspley, aged 19 from Rugeley and Michaela Hackett from Burntwood competed in the Beauty Therapy Intermediate category of the regional WorldSkills competition held locally and walked away with 1st and 3rd places respectively. The students had to perform a manicure, facial cleanse and evening makeup and half leg wax treatment. The success story continues, with Rebecca Hall, aged 20 from Tamworth taking 2nd place in the Beauty Therapy Advanced category, performing a facial galvanic, body EMS and a back massage treatment, and Stevie Sherlock, aged 22 from Tamworth and Emily Slater, aged 18 from Cannock taking 1st and 2nd place in the Nail Enhancements Intermediate category, completing a full set of acrylic or gel nails. In the Nail Art Intermediate category, South Staffordshire College Beauty students were given a design brief entitled Once Upon a Time and swept the board, with Nicola Newman from Lichfield, Katie Bacon and Amy Craddock, both from Burntwood, taking the top three slots respectively. And at the most recent regional heat held at St Helens College, Beauty Therapy student Rebecca Stevens, from Cannock, continued the success story, coming second in the Beauty Therapy Advanced category. The students started preparation about two months ago leading up to the regional heat to prepare them for the tough competition and their hard work has definitely paid off. They will now have to wait until August to find out if they have qualified for the WorldSkills National Final as finalists are selected on points not places, with the top ten highest scorers in the Country from the regional competitions going through to the November UK final. Annette O’Connor, Beauty Quality Co-ordinator at South Staffordshire College, commented “Our students have really impressed us with their level of commitment, after coming into College in their own time to develop their skills. It also increases the standard of their work at College and competitions like this give them time management skills, encourage team work and enable students to perform at the highest standards while under pressure.”
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After a hugely successful year which included the launch of its first performance season, South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Department has released details of a brand new, groundbreaking Foundation Degree in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) in partnership with Staffordshire University. The qualification is a two-year course which can be converted to a full BA Honours degree with a one year top up provided by Staffordshire University or an appropriate degree at other providers. Laurie Asher, the creator of the new Foundation degree and Course Leader – BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts at South Staffordshire College - commented, “Musical Theatre as a genre, whilst being the most challenging, is also one of the biggest employers of performers within the Entertainment Industry. South Staffordshire College aims to attract students who have potential to succeed in this demanding industry, including those who may have been offered places at Drama School but were unable to afford the fees typically associated with those courses.” The new Foundation Degree in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) programme is designed to meet this demand with a full first year of intensified acting, singing and dancing training and an innovative second year focusing on professional industry work-based performance. Setting it apart from existing University Musical Theatre programmes is its second year, which takes the form of an ‘in-house’ based fringe theatre company, performing a minimum of 3 small scale musicals, initially within the London Fringe Theatre scene. Trading as Greasepaint Productions, South Staffordshire College will deliver the qualification and provide students with the opportunity to work as professional performers, with industry practitioners (Directors, Musical Directors and Choreographers) towards a profit share production. This will enable them to build their performer’s CV and network with professionals within a conducive industry setting. Laurie continues, “The fringe arena will expose our students to casting directors and agents, who only usually attend accredited Drama School showcases and fringe productions to add performers to their books, bridging the gap between University-led Higher Education Performing Arts courses and Drama / Stage School.” As the course is based on Fringe Musical Theatre, the Performing Arts students will be working on student assisted/student led business projects to give a true understanding of the rigours and challenges undertaken by the often self-employed “jobbing” actor. These include, but aren’t restricted to; Live Event Promotion, Networking, Marketing and self employed administration tasks relating to self tax assessment and insurance. All of these provide shared skills that can be used towards employment opportunities outside the Performing Arts arena. South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Department, which specialises in Musical Theatre training and Education, began its first ever Performance Season in November 2013 with ‘Two’ and ‘Trivial Pursuits’ last year, followed by ‘Little Women – The Broadway Musical’ and ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ in March. All productions have been a huge success for both the team and the students, earning reviews of 4 and 5 stars from industry online publication Remotegoat. To see why South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Department has been critically acclaimed, why not book to see the BTEC Musical Theatre students in their final major production, ‘All Shook Up’ which runs at The Lichfield Garrick Theatre from 10th – 11th June. Tickets are £12 and can be booked in person at The Garrick Box Office or over the phone on 01543 412121, or alternatively, you can book online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com
South Staffordshire College Performing Arts students are set to return to The Garrick Theatre next month to close their 2013/14 Performance Season with the smash hit Broadway musical ‘All Shook Up’. Based on the songs of Elvis Presley and set against a hilarious retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘All Shook Up’ tells the story of a mysterious, leather-jacketed stranger who shakes up a small Midwestern town in the 1950s. This high energy tale of cross-dressing, mistaken identity and romance features over twenty of Elvis Presley’s hits including ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘Don’t be Cruel’, ‘A Little Less Conversation’ and, of course, ‘All Shook Up’. Think ‘Mamma Mia’ but with Elvis music!! Stepping into the shoes of Cheyenne Jackson, who played the male lead Chad on Broadway, is Tamworth’s Daniel Roberts who also played Robbie Hart in ‘The Wedding Singer ‘ last year, alongside fellow student Lucy Hawthorn, also from Tamworth, who plays Natalie, the female mechanic whose many attempts to win Chad’s affections include dressing in drag as a man! Supporting Daniel and Lucy are Jamie Jones as nerdy sidekick Dennis, Vitalyia Harbord as the fiery matriarch Sylvia, Eliott Lolley and Chloe Burke as “loves young dream”, Dean and Lorraine, with Alfie Kentesber as hopelessly uncool Jim and Sadie Derbyshire as the sassy museum owner Miss Sandra. South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Department, who specialise in Musical Theatre training and education, began their first ever Performance Season last November with ‘Two’ and ‘Trivial Pursuits’, followed by ‘Little Women – The Broadway Musical’ and ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ earlier this year and the productions have been a huge success for both the team and the students, earning reviews of 4 and 5 stars from industry online publication Remotegoat. Speaking of the success, Laurie Asher, Course Leader – BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts at South Staffordshire College, said, “This past year has really stretched both the teaching staff and the students but in an extremely positive way. The reviews that we have received so far have been absolutely fantastic and the fact that they come from an industry publication will hopefully not only raise the profile of our Musical Theatre training provision at South Staffordshire College, but hopefully also convince potential audiences that the standard of our productions are really above most people’s perceptions of College shows.” Through its partnership with the Garrick Theatre, South Staffordshire College offers a BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Performing Arts, a BTEC Extended Diploma in Musical Theatre, a BTEC Extended Diploma in Dance and a groundbreaking new Higher Education Foundation Degree in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) in partnership with Staffordshire University course, providing students with knowledge, understanding and practical application of performance skills for those wishing to follow a career in Performing Arts. To see why South Staffordshire College Performing Arts Department have been critically acclaimed, why not book to see ‘All Shook Up’ which runs at The Lichfield Garrick Theatre from 10th – 11th June. Tickets are £12 and can be booked in person at The Garrick Box Office or over the phone on 01543 412121, or alternatively, you can book online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com
South Staffordshire College’s Animal Zone has welcomed its first commercial sponsor with the news that a local company is supporting the Exotics Room. Stafford Industrial Supplies (SIS), a well-established local business supplying high quality industrial safety products and safety footwear for the workplace, is sponsoring the area, which is to be found at the College’s Rodbaston Campus and forms part of the popular visitor attraction there. Animal Zone Manager David Riley approached SIS initially to ask if they would support the building of the Exotics Room as they had supplied the College with a wide range of health and safety equipment in the past and the company agreed, making a generous donation towards the building materials. Paul Walters, Managing Director of SIS, and his team Garedd Duncan, Lee Wright, Laura Walters, Brandon Gimbert, Jaylene Foster and Margaret McKenzie) visited the Animal Zone recently to see how the construction was progressing. During their visit, they enjoyed a guided tour of the Animal Centre and got to meet and hold a Dumeril’s Ground Boa, one of the world’s largest snakes. David Riley outlined the important work the College is doing to protect endangered species and the role the students play in the day-to-day activities, with a typical week involving classroom sessions studying animal health, nutrition and feeding management, along with tutorials and functional skills support. He commented “South Staffordshire College is delighted to be working in partnership with SIS and we hope this will continue onto other projects in the future.” Paul Walters added, “It was David’s passion and enthusiasm that persuaded us to support such a worthwhile project, we are honoured and proud to be associated with South Staffordshire College.” The Animal Zone has received recognition as one of the Midland’s best tourist attractions, achieving a Visitor Attraction award three years in succession. It works in co-operation with other zoos and animal collections to preserve endangered species, including cotton top tamarins, black lemurs, red ruffed lemurs and Egyptian tortoises. It is open to the public at weekends and College holidays and visitors can enjoy the daily “Animal Encounters” or “Meet the Keeper” sessions where they have the opportunity to handle animals and ask questions.
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The NFU’s magazine for the next generation of farmers has been shortlisted for a top award among the likes of Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar. #studentfarmer, launched in September 2012, is the only farming magazine shortlisted for Cover of the Year in the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Awards, and it’s the only category open to public vote. The NFU is calling for the farming community’s support in helping the ‘Fighting Farming Stereotypes’ edition win Cover of the Year against some of the biggest magazines in the business. While other entries in the category capitalise on celebrity presence – Miley Cyrus, Kate Moss and even HRH The Prince of Wales – #studentfarmer stays true to its cause with an original and quirky design involving a piglet in a flat cap. Emily Cole, editor of #studentfarmer, said: “Although we may appear to be the underdog in this competition, bearing in mind the big names we are up against, we believe that with the farming community’s backing, we can give the bigger publications a run for their money. “#studentfarmer’s aim is to get more young people to think about farming as a career choice. Winning Cover of the Year in these really high profile awards would go a long way to helping prove all the stereotypes about farming are wrong.” The award will be given to the front cover which has the most votes. Members of the public can vote once a day, every day until June 6 2014 here: www.ppa.co.uk/theppaawards.
Starting in May and June 2014 South Staffordshire College have a range of exciting short courses for adults over 19 years of age, unemployed and claiming state benefit to help give them the skills needed to get the right job. If this applies to you, the courses have been designed with Job Centre Plus so they do not affect your benefit and all fees are paid for you. There is a range of areas available from First Aid to Engineering and from Catering to Construction. This could be your pathway to becoming a teaching assistant, working in social care or simply improving your Maths and English. See the poster below for more information and contact us by telephone on 0300 456 2424 or by emailing: EmploymentPathways@southstaffs.ac.uk
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South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus has played host to a visit by students from Ormiston Horizon Academy as part of their Curriculum Enrichment Day. The Year 8 students are in the process of choosing their options for further education and, living in a rural community, many are interested in the land-based sector. So it seemed an ideal opportunity for them to visit the College’s Rodbaston Campus, dedicated to land-based studies, to spend the day looking at activities based around Fisheries, Animal Care, Equine, Horticulture and Agriculture. The students were able to watch and learn about animals, interacting with the lambs, horses and cows and even witnessed a sheep giving birth, with the assistance of the College’s Farm Manager Jon Giles. They also visited the on-site zoo, where they observed lemurs, turtles, rabbits, monkeys, lizards, fish and birds and the College’s commercial fishery. Ormiston Horizon Academy student Holly Saxon spoke for all her classmates when she said “It was a really fun experience to see all the different types of animals and habitats. It was amazing and a really nice day out.” Gerard Proudman, South Staffordshire College’s Land-based Industry Liaison Manager commented “It was a pleasure to host the students from Ormiston Horizon Academy. I hope we have showed them what Rodbaston Campus have to offer and that their visit will help them with decisions on their study options to get the grades required for the courses they choose.”
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