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News and events

We aim to keep you up-to-date with the very latest Weston College news and events. Take a look below at what's going on at the College!

Got news you want to share with us? Email marketing@weston.ac.uk

Latest events at Weston College

Latest news and developments at Weston College

There is always so much going on across our various campuses and courses. Stay up to date on our latest news
Ellie delivering guest talk about monkeys

This week we welcomed back former Weston College learner, Ellie, to share her inspiring journey with our animal management students.

Ellie's journey began during her time at Weston College, where she seized the opportunity to secure an industry placement at Puxton Park, laying the foundation for her career in animal care. From there, her path led her to being offered a role as an animal keeper—a testament to her commitment and skill in the field.

However, Ellie's dream is to work with monkeys, and she is currently on a sabbatical, which included a 3-month voluntary placement in South Africa.

For two months, Ellie lent her expertise to Monkey Helpline, contributing to the rehabilitation of wild primates. This hands-on experience allowed her to witness first hand the challenges and rewards of primate conservation efforts. Subsequently, she spent a month with International Primate Rescue as a primate care assistant, playing a crucial role in rescuing primates from the perils of the pet trade.

During her spell volunteering, she has been offered a full-time job, showcasing the fantastic work she has been doing.

Subject Area Manager for Animal Management, Laura Link, said: “It was great to see Ellie, who shared all about her fantastic experiences with our students.

“She only had one-week back in the UK, during her sabbatical, so we were very lucky that she came to visit before heading back to South Africa.

“Ellie has been on an incredible journey, and her passion really shines through, which our learners found really inspiring. It showed that through studying Animal Management, you can achieve your dream career, and work anywhere in the world.”

This guest speaker forms part of the Animal Management Careers Excellence Hub; Weston College is committed to preparing learners for success in a rapidly evolving job market which is reflected in our offer via our bespoke Career Excellence Hubs, which form an integral part of all college programmes.

You can find out more about our Animal Management courses, by clicking here.

A manager showing their placement student the equipment

As someone responsible for employer engagement at a large college, I'm often asked about how we’re addressing ‘skills gaps’.

I remember being in a senior leadership meeting back in 2022 and being asked by colleagues which industries are experiencing skills shortages and my answer was all sectors!

Despite inflation pressures, many businesses still see recruitment as a challenge, whether it’s growing teams to deliver customer contracts or succession planning. As a result, Weston College is seeing significant growth in employers offering apprenticeships and young people choosing this route.

I make the point daily to employers that working with Weston College can help solve skills gaps. We had 25,984 course enrolments in 2022/23, and 10,181 of these enrolments were young people aged 16-18 years old. Quite the pool of talent!

I’m often asked by employers how we are supporting our students at college after leaving school, those not yet employed as apprentices, to prepare for a career with employers.

What are T Level qualifications?

T Levels are a key part of our agenda to deliver ‘careers not courses’ to young people who trust us with their future when they enrol at Weston College. They were introduced in 2020, so still new. They’re designed to bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical workplace experience.

These two-year courses, which include a 45-day work placement with an employer, offer students a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills that are directly relevant to their chosen industry.

At Weston College, we have 160 T Level students studying a range of courses from Digital, Engineering, Business Leadership & Management, Nursing, Construction Design & Surveying and Early Years Education.

Weston College is the largest provider of T Levels in the region, and on results day in August, an incredible 100% pass rate was achieved by our learners.

Student recruitment is looking positive for September 2024 supported by new T Levels courses being offered including a Legal Services T Level for school leavers.

The Industry Placement

One of the features of T Levels is the industry placement, which plays a pivotal role in enhancing the learner's understanding of the real-world workplace.

Approximately 100 employers are currently hosting our students on placement with some offering multiple placements.

There are a huge number of benefits of industry placements, and the results show a positive impact on the employers and their business. Employers can mentor the next generation of employees and many students are offered jobs and apprenticeships by businesses hosting placements.

We are also seeing the placement influence students deciding their next steps, with many choosing work and apprenticeships rather than going university, which is helping to retain talent in our region.

What is the impact?

I was speaking to a large national financial services business recently, they confirmed that after hosting five T Level students on placement last year, the had given four of those students a job offer upon completion of their T Level course before they had even finished their placement. That is proof that T Levels work.

Another employer, growing training business in Weston, told me that having two students on placements had enabled her to evolve processes, increase productivity and increase revenue as a result.

In addition to placements, employer interaction in the classroom is key. Students seeing the benefit of ‘real world learning’ with employers regularly visiting the College to be part of the curriculum.

Hannah, a recent Education T Level graduate said: “I have experience real nursery and school settings on placement, enabling me to be a better practitioner. I have also benefitted from guest lectures from nursery managers at college. All this has helped me secure a job in the industry.”

Recruiting and training new employees can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Engaging with students in education on courses like T Levels can deliver real benefits, such as employers are effectively getting to know potential future employees. T Level learners bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to businesses, as they are tasked to apply theory into practice and add value to a business.

Contact me at employers@weston.ac.uk if you would like to engage with our T Level students, and access the future workforce here at Weston College.

Dave Crew, Head of Business Growth and Employer Partnership

the C.I.S team standing with their self made tinsel olympic rings

We are proud to announce the remarkable success of our recent RAG Week, where staff and students across all campuses united in a week-long effort to raise funds for charity. RAG Week, short for "raising and giving," saw an impressive total of £3,947.04 raised, thanks to those that kindly donated! 

During this week, participants engaged in a variety of activities and events aimed at supporting charitable causes. This year, we selected two charities to benefit from the funds raised: YoungMinds, a mental health support charity for young people and Weston Hospicecare, our local charity that cares for people with life-limiting illnesses.  

This year, nearly 100 Public Services learners and staff showcased their commitment to our charity week by organising and participating in a marathon run along the seafront. Collectively, they covered 26 miles while dressed up as Spartans and other fun clothing and raising an impressive £921.90 for charity! 

In addition, the Student Experience Team at Weston College had an extraordinary initiative for this year's RAG Week - to host the Olympics! Transforming the campus reception with vibrant decorations reflecting the spirit of the Olympics. Everyone was greeted with a delightful array of cakes and cookies, sold to support charitable causes. Adding to the festive atmosphere, members of the team were dressed in sportswear attire! 

Eve Tullett, Weston College's Student Participation Officer, played a pivotal role in organising RAG Week, ensuring its smooth execution. Eve has expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming support from staff and students, emphasising the impact of their collective efforts. "As my first year organising this cross-college event, it was really heart-warming to see learners and staff coming together to put on a vast range of events and activities in aid of charity”. 

" There were lots of innovative ideas, it was incredible to see so many learners and staff taking time out of their days to participate in activities which benefit the wider community”. 

Eve and the Student Executives gained insight into the impact of our fundraising during RAG week by visiting to Weston Hospicecare. They got to see how the funds raised are used within the hospice. Aleksandar, President of the Students' Union says “I found the visit to Weston Hospicecare very insightful, and I learnt a lot. It was nice to see where the money we raised during RAG goes to”.  

Vice President Izabella similarly explains “I entered the hospice with a huge stigma in my head and worries that it would be similar to a hospital, however I left feeling assured, knowing those accessing the hospice are surrounded by love”. Their reflections highlight the importance of community engagement and supporting organisations like Weston Hospicecare. Read more into the Student Union at Weston College here. 

Firstly, we want to thank Eve for her hard work and dedication in managing RAG Week – it has been truly outstanding. Thank you for your tireless efforts in making this event a success! 

And a massive thank you goes to all the staff and students for their generosity and dedication to raise such an incredible amount for spectacular causes! 

 

Please see below the list of winners for the RAG Week Awards 2024:

 

Best Dressed: 

Knightstone College Information Services (CIS) - in their own time, the staff even made their own costumes and props! 

Most Innovative Fundraising Idea: 

Early Years and Education – the Task Master style event 

Best Team Event: 

Carpentry – learners and staff excelled in their own idea to make benches from scratch for Ashcombe School! 

Best Team Player: 

Anne Draper (Social Action Apprentice) dedicated her time to commit to the ESOL penalty shootout and Early Years activities. 

Outstanding Contribution: 

Liz Greaves (Health and Safety) for her continuous effort to attend every RAG Week event and give generous donations. 

Most Funds Raised: 

Public Services – staff and learners raised an incredible £921.90 running 26 miles along the seafront! 

 

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One Message, Different Voices

Take a look at this powerful film made by the staff of Weston College to show how important it is for everyone from different backgrounds to be included. The film shares heartfelt stories and interviews with a diverse group of staff, showing how accepting different identities and backgrounds can make a big difference. Its purpose is to encourage viewers to think about their own biases and work towards making our community more welcoming to all. We invite everyone, regardless of their background, to join us and be a part of our journey toward a more inclusive future.

Halo workplace logo

Our workplace champions the right of staff to embrace all Afro-hairstyles. We acknowledge that Afro-textured hair is an important part of our Black employees’ racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities, and requires specific styling for hair health and maintenance. We celebrate Afro-textured hair worn in all styles including, but not limited to, afros, locs, twists, braids, cornrows, fades, hair straightened through the application of heat or chemicals, weaves, wigs, headscarves, and wraps. In this workplace, we recognise and celebrate our colleagues’ identities. We are a community built on an ethos of equality and respect where hair texture and style have no bearing on an employee's ability to succeed.