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LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES

The Mayor of Weston delivering a talk about democracy and local government

Weston College was proud to welcome the mayor of Weston-super-Mare, councillor Ciarán Cronnelly last week for a talk about democracy and the role of local government.  

Mayor Cronnelly was elected to both North Somerset Council and Weston Town Council in 2019, representing Winterstoke ward. In May of 2023 he was elected mayor. His background before taking up this position was in the charity and volunteering sector, spending his whole career in this area including working for Citizens Advice for a number of years. Mayor Cronnelly said: “This work and volunteering has given me the skills I have now”.  

As a functional role, the mayor is the Chair of Weston Town Council. This means that they make sure that decisions are fair, and that everyone has had their voice heard. People on the council come from a wide range of backgrounds with a diverse range of views, making this incredibly important.  

The mayor also acts as a local and national representative for Weston. Mayor Cronnelly explained to students that he often meets with other mayors in the surrounding area, discussing how the surrounding towns can help each other. He also represents the views of residents by advocating for the Town Council nationally, even visiting Parliament to discuss Weston Town Council.  

The mayor also engages with the police and crime commissioner, as well as carrying out community visits and charity visits. He celebrates the important work that these people and organisations are doing and helps to promote their work to a wider audience. Each mayor chooses a charity for the year with Mayor Cronnelly choosing the Weston Foodbank. He has raised over £7000 since taking office!  

One of the key reasons that the mayor visited Weston College was to discuss democracy with our learners. With a general election approaching this year, the mayor spoke about how important it is to register to vote. Although you can’t vote if you are under eighteen, you can register to vote from sixteen.  

A way Mayor Cronnelly suggested to get involved with democracy at a college level as a student is to get involved with the Student Union. This is a great way to get involved with decisions around college directly and make a difference! The mayor also encouraged students to contact their councillor, or their MP if they have a view on something and tell them this view. “You won’t be heard unless you do get involved.” 

One of the reasons for the visit is to celebrate the AoC Colleges Week 2024. With a general election happening this year, this year’s Colleges Week has a focus on democracy and educating learners about the process and importance of getting involved with government at both a national and local level.  

Mayor Cronnelly was able to give us a strong insight into the workings of local government, as well as informing students on how they can get involved politics and influence change that they want to see from their leaders!  

A huge thanks to the Mayor of Weston, Ciarán Cronnelly for coming in! 

Joe, Weston College's performing arts lecturer, in Beijing, China on stage in empty theatre

Joe Miller, Weston College’s lecturer in Performing Arts, recently confirmed his dedication to both education and professional performance with a triumphant return to the stage. For 21 years, Joe graced international venues with his talent, particularly as the lead in the acclaimed Irish dance show "Spirit of the Dance." After a five-year hiatus from performing, where Joe concentrated on his teaching, Joe received a special invitation to lead the show once more, this time in Beijing, China, during the February half-term break.

Joe's decision to continue his involvement in the professional dance scene shows his commitment to inspiring his students in Dance and Performing Arts at Weston College. By demonstrating first-hand the rewards of dedication and pursuit of one's passion, Joe hopes to instil a similar drive in his students. Witnessing their lecturer actively engaged in the industry in which he teaches serves as a powerful motivator for students to pursue their dreams with enthusiasm and resilience.

Performing at the prestigious National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing, Joe captivated audiences of up to 5000 attendees each night for a week.

Reflecting on his experience, Joe shared, "I love what I do, and seeing my learners' excitement as they watched videos and photos of me performing professionally once again is truly inspiring. They need to see that passion and hard work can lead to fulfilling careers in the performing arts."

In addition to his performances, Joe seized the opportunity to contribute to the show's promotional efforts by participating in the filming of a new promotional video.

Joe's return to professional dance not only reaffirms his expertise but also serves as a beacon of inspiration for our aspiring performers. His dedication to maintaining industry relevance while nurturing the next generation of talent embodies the ethos of Weston College's commitment to excellence in arts education.

Interested in applying for Performing and Production Arts? Click here.

female student playing with children

Weston College and North Somerset Council are pleased to announce a partnership aimed at providing invaluable real-life experience for Education and Early Years learners while offering vital support to families in the local community.

Through this partnership, North Somerset Council will be running their ‘Let’s Play’ group from the 17th April, every Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 11:00 am at Weston College's Knightstone Campus. This initiative brings together Senior Children Centre Workers and Children Centre Workers from the Council to facilitate the sessions, and the College’s students will be able to take part in planning and delivering these sessions to gain a real insight into the sector.

The Council’s ‘Let’s Play’ team’s expertise will not only support the College's Early Years learners but also enrich the lives of local families with children under the age of 5.

The ‘Let’s Play’ group is a free weekly gathering open to all families with young children in the local community. It aims to provide a nurturing environment where children can engage in activities aligned with Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) developmental goals. Additionally, the group fosters a supportive atmosphere that encourages positive interactions and enhances the home learning environment.

Councillor Catherine Gibbons, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, Families and Lifelong Learning, said: “This partnership is a fantastic way for North Somerset Council and Weston College to work together and enhance people’s skills, learning and employment opportunities, while also helping local families.

“Students can learn from our knowledgeable and skilled children’s centre colleagues, and by helping to deliver ‘Let’s Play’ sessions they’ll gain invaluable hands-on experience of working in the early years sector.

“Local families will also benefit, as our popular free ‘Let’s Play’ sessions provide a range of fun indoor activities for children under five, designed to help their development.”

This collaboration demonstrates North Somerset Council's dedication to supporting the College in nurturing the workforce of the future. As an employer endorser of the Weston College Education Careers Excellence Hub, this is another example of the Council being committed to providing learners with hands-on experiences that prepare them for the demands of the workforce while serving the needs of the community.

By witnessing first-hand the role of support and social workers in the community, learners will gain valuable insights into the complexities of child development and family dynamics.

This initiative aligns with Weston College's mission to provide innovative educational opportunities that empower learners to succeed in a rapidly evolving world. By partnering with North Somerset Council, the College continues to break new ground in experiential learning and community engagement.

For more information about the ‘Let’s Play’ group and North Somerset Council’s Children’s Centres, please visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/childrens-centres. You can also follow the team on Facebook (NorthSomersetCC).

If you are interested in studying an Education and Early Years course or apprenticeship at the College, please visit Education and Early Years | Weston College

Floristry learners sitting at desks while learning about a floristry industry

Our Level 2 Floristry learners recently received a captivating floristry masterclass featuring industry expert Vanda Flowers. The students were provided an enlightening experience as they delved into crucial topics surrounding the floristry industry. 

Vanda Flowers engaged the florists with an insightful industry talk that included an interactive Q&A session. The primary focus of the discussion was the escalating costs of flowers and the underlying causes, shedding light on the challenges faced by florists in the current market. 

One of the key takeaways from the masterclass was the exploration of alternative strategies to enhance profits within the floristry business. Participants were guided through innovative approaches to diversify their stock and maximise revenue streams, contributing to the sustainability and growth of their businesses. 

A significant portion of the discussion centred around the increasing demand for locally sourced flowers, as opposed to relying solely on Dutch suppliers. The emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility emerged as a prevailing theme, reflecting the industry's commitment to eco-friendly practices. 

We are hopeful of a potential relaunch of the Level 2 Floristry course in September. However, this initiative is contingent upon securing necessary funding. The college eagerly awaits confirmation to proceed with this valuable educational opportunity. 

The floristry masterclass with Vanda Flowers served as a dynamic platform for industry professionals and enthusiasts alike to gain valuable knowledge, exchange ideas, and collectively work towards a more sustainable and thriving floristry sector.

Beauty students giving hand treatments to worle school staff

Weston College's Level 2 Hair and Beauty learners recently lent their skills and expertise to Worle School's Staff to celebrate Wellbeing Day, offering mini hand treatments to the school's hardworking staff. The event proved to be a resounding success, providing an opportunity for staff members to unwind and indulge in a pampering experience. 

The Beauty Therapists demonstrated their proficiency in the field, showcasing a combination of professionalism and genuine care throughout the event. The mini hand treatments were well-received, leaving a positive impact. 

"We are delighted to have had the opportunity to contribute to Worle School's Staff Wellbeing Day," said Jenna Ratcliffe, the Divisional Lead of Service Sector Industries at Weston College. "Our Hair and Beauty learners have not only showcased their talents but have also embodied the values of our college – professionalism, skill, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of others." 

 

Beauty students giving hand treatments to worle school staff

 

The mini hand treatments provided a moment of relaxation and rejuvenation for Worle School's staff, reinforcing the importance of self-care and wellness in the educational community. 

This pampering day forms part of the Hair and Beauty 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.   

To see more about our Hair and Beauty, click here

Learners performing at The Brit Bar

Our music learners performed brilliantly at The Brit Bar! Acts including Lilac Sundae, Pavillion, The Like-Minded and The Koppers performed to promote Independent Venue Week. Our music learners were specifically requested, due to their quality and dedication! 

Independent Venue Week is an annual celebration of independent music & arts venues and the people that own, run and work in them. Over 200 independent venues take part in the annual Celebration, with this number growing every year. During the week, independent venues come together with artists, promoters, agents, record labels and media to create a unique series of special live events to highlight the work these venues do year-round. Independent venues are cultural hubs for learning, creativity, arts and culture more widely connecting people in their local community. 

Music Instructor at Weston College, Oz Cahill said “It has been amazing seeing these students perform so well at The Brit Bar, they really shined. It is excellent to see the students performing for a good cause as well, promoting Independent Venue Week.” 

This real-life industry experience 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. 

Find out more about music at Weston College by clicking here!

Students and lecturer on train at harry potter studios

A Level Media and Creative Arts students embarked on a captivating journey, curated by Media lecturer Ethan in collaboration with Creative Arts lecturer Nichola, delving into the mesmerising universe of Harry Potter to see the stages of the Hollywood-style feature film production. 

This extraordinary joint trip aimed to provide learners with a unique opportunity to broaden their horizons and ignite inspiration for their practical coursework in Media and Creative Arts. 

The students were treated to an enchanting tour where they had the chance to explore the original sets and props used in the iconic Harry Potter film series. From the magical allure of Diagon Alley to the majestic Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 ¾, the learners were transported into the heart of the wizarding world. 

One of the highlights of the trip included a thrilling greenscreen film experience, where students got dressed into their wizarding robes and rode broomsticks, mirroring the exhilarating scenes from the movies. The hands-on activity allowed them to understand the magic of filmmaking and provided a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes wizardry that brings the beloved characters to life on screen. 

Ethan expressed his enthusiasm for the trip, stating, "This immersive experience was designed to go beyond the classroom, providing our students with a tangible connection to the magic of film production”. 

The learners were thrilled by the experience, expressing their delight at the opportunity to step into the magical realm they had only seen on screen. The trip not only provided a fun and engaging outing but also enriched their educational journey, allowing them to draw inspiration from the rich tapestry of the Harry Potter universe. 

This magical visit forms part of the Sixth Form 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. 

This trip forms part of the A Levels 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. 

Interested in our Media A Level course? Click here.

Want to see more about our Creative Arts courses? Click here.

Picture of a dog

We welcomed some canine models to our Loxton Campus recently, for an exciting dog photoshoot!  

Level 3 Creative & Commercial Photography students opened up their studio to members of the public for a free photography session for their dogs. Working in shifts over three days, the learners worked carefully to produce amazing snaps of the dogs, capturing the best angles and getting doggy smiles. After each session, dog owners received their photos in high-resolution digital form. 

Animal welfare was our top priority. All the dogs and their owners had a great time and were well looked-after. Among the excitement, the dogs lapped up all the attention and put their best paw forward! It wasn’t just the dogs enjoying themselves, the students enjoyed the interaction with the dogs and the exercise also proved very beneficial for the mental health of students and staff alike. 

Aside from all the fun and enjoyment, the sessions taught photography learners a wide range of important skills. Students learned to work with clients by working with the dog owners, plan their time effectively, prepare and use studio and camera equipment creatively, carry out risk assessments, solve practical and technical problems, and work as a team. Achieving success in these areas, and overcoming challenges helped to build learner’s self-confidence as well as their communication skills.  

Photography lecturer Paul French hailed the session as a triumph, saying: “Despite some excited behaviour among our doggie divas, the shoots were a huge success and rewarding experience for the learners who enjoyed a great sense of accomplishment. The owners were delighted with the photos which are even now enhancing our student portfolios to support progression.”  

Always quick with a joke, Paul added: “I anticipate seeing our pet portraits on the cover of DOGUE magazine shortly!”  

Find out more about our UAL Diploma in Creative and Commercial Photography here. Find out more about all of our Creative Arts courses 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 marketing@weston.ac.uk.

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 www.ucw.ac.uk.

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 photography@weston.ac.uk.

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 marketing@weston.ac.uk.

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 marketing@weston.ac.uk.

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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.