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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
Bakers Dolphin team showing our students their coaches engine

We had the privilege of hosting Lisa Phillips, Mark Vearncombe, Nick Denham and Matt Maynard from Bakers Dolphin Coaches, who delivered an enlightening presentation to our Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Full-Time Motor Vehicle learners. The session provided invaluable insights into the rich history and evolution of Bakers Dolphin, from its humble beginnings offering funeral services via horse and carriage in 1889 to its current stature as a leading coach operator business boasting a fleet of over 100 coaches. 

Bakers Dolphin Coaches, a renowned provider of services to schools, coach tours both domestically and internationally, as well as private hire, shared their journey of growth and adaptation with our students. The highlight of the presentation was the announcement of their forthcoming move to a new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility near the Food Works in Weston-Super-Mare. This relocation underscores their commitment to modernising and expanding their workshop operations, with plans for a 10-bay centre designed to accommodate their scaling needs. 

During the engaging session, the Bakers Dolphin team elucidated the diverse career opportunities available in PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) Service and Maintenance operations. Each learner received a comprehensive insight into the job role, complemented by a detailed explanation of the activities integral to the position. As a token of appreciation, the students were gifted goody bags containing a Bakers Dolphin PCV inspection/service report along with a tyre depth gauge, fostering practical learning experiences. 

 

Bakers Dolphin delivering a presentation to students

 

Further enriching the experience, students were treated to an immersive tour of one of the coaches brought to the site, offering a firsthand glimpse into the operations and upkeep of these vehicles. Students displaying a keen interest were extended a special invitation to tour the current workshop facilities and offered the invaluable opportunity for a week-long work experience placement. This initiative aims to provide students with hands-on exposure, aiding them in making informed decisions about potential career paths within Bakers Dolphin, whether through direct employment or formal apprenticeship training. 

 

Bakers Dolphin showing students a coach engine

 

This guest visit forms part of the Motor Vehicle Careers Excellence Hub. At Weston College our approach goes beyond the traditional classroom setting. Through industry speakers, workshops, employer projects, and more, we equip our learners with the real-world experiences and insights that set them apart in the competitive job market. It's not just about getting a job; it's about standing out from the crowd when they embark on their job searches.   

To discover more about our Motor Vehicle courses, click here

If you are passionate about education and are looking for an opportunity to join the staff team at a leading college, then look at the latest job vacancies available at Weston College here. You can find all the latest job opportunities that Weston College has to offer, with a commitment to providing quality education for learners and a focus on continuous professional development for staff, Weston College is an excellent place to work and grow in your career.

 

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

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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.

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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.