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 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! 


Students visiting a Berlin kindergarten

Early Years and Education students recently had the opportunity to go to Berlin! Students immersed themselves in new educational settings and cultural experiences. The trip was an exciting adventure filled with new friendships, personal growth, and profound insights into alternative educational approaches. 

The trip offered students the opportunity to explore early years and primary settings vastly different from their own, visiting both the Kita Perelplatz kindergarten and Fichtelgebirger Primary school. Led by dedicated lecturers, the group delved into the heart of Berlin’s educational landscape, at an early years setting catering to children aged 2-6 and a primary setting for children aged 6-11. Both environments embraced an ‘open work’ approach, prioritizing choice, independence, and freedom for the children — a stark contrast to traditional educational paradigms.   

Going abroad was a big step for students, but it was all worth it! One student said: “This is so out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad I had the courage to come.” Another student said: “This has been an amazing experience and I want to go on the trip next year.”  

Beyond the educational immersion, students relished the opportunity to explore the vibrant city of Berlin. From its rich history to its modern cultural offerings, Berlin captivated the hearts and minds of the students. Students were able to visit the Berlin Wall as well as the famous TV tower!  

Early Years lecturer Stacey commented on the trip saying: “Everyone wants to make education and the care of young children the best it can be, and the reflective conversations that followed our visit to the German educational settings highlighted our shared vision for the children in our care and the difference each one of us can make to a child’s life.” 

This international trip forms part of the Education Careers Excellence Hub. Weston College's Career Excellence Hubs are designed to be the launching pad for our learners' careers. In a world where connections and relevant skills matter more than ever, these hubs offer a holistic approach that prepares learners to thrive in their chosen industries. With the support of these hubs, our learners are well-equipped to make a significant impact in their professional journeys. 

Find out more about Education and Early Years by clicking here

Luke Potter giving a guest lecture

Weston College is proud to announce a recent visit from Luke Potter, an esteemed musician, songwriter, and producer, renowned for his extensive experience in the music industry with top-flight artists. As part of our ongoing commitment to providing unparalleled educational opportunities for our music learners, Luke Potter generously dedicated his time to share invaluable insights into various facets of the music industry. 

During his visit, Luke Potter imparted his wealth of knowledge and expertise, offering students a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the music business. From songwriting techniques to production secrets, his guidance proved instrumental for budding artists seeking to navigate the competitive landscape of the industry. 

Recognising the immense value of Luke Potter's mentorship, Weston College is thrilled to announce that he has agreed to return in the upcoming academic year to host an exclusive songwriting workshop. This workshop promises to be an unparalleled opportunity for students to further hone their skills under the guidance of a seasoned professional. 

Luke Potter's commitment to nurturing the next generation of musical talent aligns perfectly with Weston College's mission to empower students with the tools they need to succeed in their chosen field. We eagerly anticipate the upcoming workshop and are grateful to Luke Potter for his ongoing support and dedication to education within the music industry. 

Music lecturer Oz Cahill said: “Luke’s visit is adding great value to our courses, alongside yet another important industry connection.” 

This guest speaker forms part of the Creative Arts 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. In a world where professional networks and industry-specific skills are integral to landing employment, these hubs provide a unique solution to bridge the gap between education and industry demands. 

A big thanks to Luke for coming in! To find out more about Music at Weston College, click here.

Orlan working at the Co-op on the shop floor

Supported internships can be a powerful tool to unlock young people’s potential, and also support employers with attracting a wider talent pool, which can be highly effective.

Supported internships offer a valuable chance for young individuals aged 16-24 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to acquire significant work exposure, all under the guidance of a skilled job coach. The job coach works closely with both the individual and the employer, to find a successful match.

The aim is to support young people into sustainable paid employment, giving them the confidence and skills to work independently.

They are also a fantastic opportunity for employers, not only to gain extra support, but often young people on supported internships will bring fresh ideas and new approaches, which can be highly beneficial. Through supported internships employers can create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

We caught up with a few of our learners, who are on their supported internship, to see how they were getting on:

Prison Event attendees watching presentation

On Thursday 21st March, Weston College and Acorn by Synergie hosted ‘Diversifying the Bristol Workforce – Prison Engagement Special’ at Ashton Gate Stadium.

The event which shed light on the potential of hiring Prison Leavers within the construction sector, was abuzz with enthusiasm from industry leaders, looking to unlock a new talent pool.

With approximately 50 attendees, including representatives from various construction companies, the event provided a platform for meaningful discussions and insightful exchanges.

As part of the discussions, was an informative, inspiring, and insightful panel of prominent figures, including:

  • Paul Kerslake, Managing Director of RTS Group and Chair of the Employment Advisory Board at HMP Leyhill
  • Neil Lavis, Regional Broker for New Futures Network Avon, South Dorset, and Wiltshire
  • Megan Porter, Recruitment Diversity Manager for Kier Group
  • George, a Bristol-based site manager with lived experience shared his personal journey of rehabilitation and successful integration into the construction sector after being offered an opportunity during his time in prison.
  • Alastair Phelpstead, Assistant Principal for Weston College Prison Education Group.

Following the panel discussion, attendees had the opportunity to engage with the panellists, asking questions and seeking further advice.

Louise Greene, Employer Partnership Manager at Weston College and Lawrence Beach, Client Development Director at Acorn by Synergie co-organised the event, Lawrence commented: “It was inspiring to see that many people linked with the construction industry sharing experiences, keen to learn more, with a will to help prison leavers.”  Louise commented: “This event marked a significant step towards fostering inclusive employment practices within the construction industry, emphasizing the transformative impact of providing opportunities for Prison Leavers.

“Working together with companies across the region, we can create brighter futures for all.”

For more information about the work Weston College do to support employers, please click here.

Students at the Glow Festival

The annual Glow Festival transformed Grove Park into a mesmerising spectacle of light, art, and performance, with Weston College students getting involved with an immersive theatre production. 

Organised by Super Culture, the Glow Festival welcomed local talents, creating a vibrant tapestry of creativity. Among them, Weston College's acting students showcased their prowess, delivering an enchanting performance that captivated audiences of all ages. 

Crafted around the theme of nature and play, the college's immersive piece of theatre wove through the park's pathways, inviting festivalgoers to immerse themselves in the magic of storytelling. What truly set the night ablaze was the students' ability to engage the audience. 

Under the luminous canopy of disco lights on the bandstand, the synergy between performers and audience reached its peak, with a collective celebration of artistic expression. 

For our learners, the Glow Festival isn't just an event; it's a platform for professional growth. By participating in site-specific performances, they gain invaluable industry experience, paving the way for their future endeavours in the arts. 

This project etc forms part of the Creative Arts Careers Excellence Hub. The College has fourteen sector-specific Career Excellence Hubs, which evidence our dedication to supporting both employers and learners in achieving their future goals. By creating a seamless connection between industry and education, we enable learners to acquire not only the essential skills and knowledge but also the professional networks necessary to excel in their chosen fields.

The Glow Festival not only illuminates the night sky, but also fosters community spirit and nurtures emerging talent, making it a highlight of Weston's cultural calendar. 

To find out more about performing arts at Weston College, click here: 

Aleatory exhibition

The Island Gallery in Bristol was home to a fantastic week of artistic innovation and exploration as Art Foundation and Extended Diploma students unveiled their creations in the Aleatory24 exhibition. Showcasing an array of diverse and dynamic art, this event marked the culmination of two weeks of intensive artistic endeavour, serving as a catalyst for the students' Final Major Study. 

Challenged to channel their creativity within the confines of a 1ft cube, the students embraced this limitation with fervour, pushing the boundaries of their imagination to new heights. Despite the constraint, the students used ingenuity as they employed a variety of mediums to bring their visions to life. 

From captivating 2D compositions to intricate 3D sculptures, from digital marvels to analogue wonders, the exhibition was a testament to the students' versatility and resourcefulness. Visitors were treated to a sensory feast, with some students using both visual and auditory elements making for interactive and thought-provoking displays. 

Aleatory24 not only showcased the students' artistic talents but also underscored the importance of creative freedom and experimentation in the artistic process. As these young artists continue their journey towards the Summer Show at Loxton Campus in June, their experience at The Island gallery serves as a springboard for further exploration and innovation. 

A big congratulations to all of the students who took part in the exhibition. Find out more about Art, Design, Graphics and Fashion at Weston College by clicking here.

Marketing and Communications

The marketing department is responsible for promoting Weston College to the public, by promoting the Colleges courses, achievements and events.

Our aims are to attract learners to study within the Weston College Group, build and grow the College’s brand and highlight its reputation, and promote the College Group’s success, student progression and outstanding support for our learners.

The marketing department manages the College’s websites and official social media accounts, runs advertising campaigns, creates press releases, and manages many of the College Group’s events, such as Graduation, the Celebration of Success and the Business Awards.

We produce a wide range of publications including our full-time, Higher Education and part-time prospectuses, course leaflets and posters, and other documents such as the College’s annual report, magazines and newsletters, course brochures and the student handbook.

Weston College is committed to providing accurate and timely information for local, regional and national media, and the general public.

The marketing team is available between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays. You can get in touch with us by emailing

All of our press releases are uploaded to the news section of our websites. News from the academies we sponsor, including the North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College, can be found on the news section of the Inspirational Futures Trust’s website. News pertaining to our Higher Education Provision can be found on

The marketing department produces most imagery and film in house, and keeps an extensive archive of the photographs it takes. If you would like a copy of an image featuring you or a member of your family, please contact us at

Our photos of graduation and many other events can be found on the College’s Facebook page. High quality images can be found on the College’s Flickr account.

Weston College is able to accommodate many requests to provide locations for film and photography. The College has a range of attractive, modern and adaptable facilities which can be viewed on our youtube channel.

We also are able to provide heritage facilities such as the Victorian Hans Price designed Conference Centre and, from September 2017, the 1927 Winter Gardens Pavilion.

For booking details, contact

For enquiries about sponsoring key events such as Celebration of Success, Business Breakfast, Business Awards and Graduation, please contact the marketing team by email at

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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.