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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
Learner smiling at the camera

Weston College and North Somerset Council are proud to announce the arrival of Empower an innovative initiative dedicated to supporting individuals with learning difficulties, learning disabilities, or autism on their journey to meaningful employment. The scheme is being funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. As one of four national Centres for Excellence SEND, Weston College seeks to support employers to create inclusive work environments, supporting diverse recruitment practices to enable people with learning differences to enter the workforce. This new initiative is part of the college's Supported Employment Excellence Hub, a network built to support individuals from 16 – 60 into paid employment.

Both the College and the Council are proud to lead this essential initiative, driving positive change and fostering inclusivity in the workforce. Empower aims to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals facing unique challenges in the workforce. With only 5.7% of people with Learning Difficulties and disabilities in full-time employment, there is a need to support individuals to break down the barriers into work. The funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will play a crucial role in delivering a comprehensive program designed to empower participants and facilitate their successful integration into the job market.

The initiative encompasses an initial assessment and support planning phase, where specific needs, skills, and aspirations are identified. A 'career passport' is created to guide participants on their pathway to paid work, and personalised vocational support plans are developed with achievable outcomes in mind.

Nicola Lace, SEND Operations Manager at the College commented: "We are very pleased to be able to extend our support to adults in the community through the Empower programme, which aims to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals facing unique challenges in the workforce. This initiative will play a crucial role in empowering participants and facilitating their successful integration into the job market."

As part of the programme, participants will undergo skill enhancement and training, which includes guided training, specialised interventions, work experience opportunities, and job coaching tailored to individual support plans. Specialised training will focus on enhancing employability skills, covering interpersonal, vocational, and industry-specific aspects.

Upon securing suitable employment, participants will receive extended support, including job coaching, to ensure a smooth transition into the workplace over 12 months.

The initiative concludes with a comprehensive programme review after 12 months, followed by ongoing follow-ups to track participants' progress and provide additional support if needed.

Individuals interested in joining the Empower initiative can either self-refer or be supported by external organisations, and/or partner agencies. For more information or to express interest, please contact empower@weston.ac.uk

Further details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and places, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus

Two students looking at an engine

Weston College Automotive students received a generous donation from Avon & Somerset Police this week when they contributed three Vauxhall car engines. The donated engines are set to enhance the hands-on learning experience for our automotive students, providing them with valuable opportunities for skill development and practical application.

As the engines had reached the end of their fleet life, rather than allowing them to go to waste, Avon & Somerset Police decided to donate them to the education of our future automotive professionals.

The hands-on aspect of our Automotive courses is fundamental to developing well-rounded and skilled automotive professionals. With the addition of these engines, students will have a further opportunity to work with real-world equipment, gaining practical knowledge that goes beyond traditional classroom learning. The engines will be integrated into the curriculum, allowing students to apply theoretical concepts to actual engine repairs and maintenance tasks.

A massive thank you goes to Avon & Somerset Police for their thoughtful contribution, which will undoubtedly have an impact on the education and future careers of our Automotive students.

As we celebrate this contribution, we also extend an invitation to other potential donors or supporters who may wish to contribute in similar ways. Whether it be spare parts, equipment, or industry expertise, we welcome partnerships that enrich the educational experience of our students and prepare them for successful careers. For any enquiries regarding donations or partnerships, please contact Louise Greene at louise.greene@weston.ac.uk

For those interested in exploring Automotive courses at Weston College, please visit Motor Vehicle | Weston College

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! 

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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.