LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES
Hey! I'm Maisy, and I recently completed my Digital Marketing Level 3 apprenticeship with Weston College, working for Visit Somerset.
After completing my apprenticeship in March, I was offered the role of Social Media Manager at Visit Somerset, which wouldn’t have been possible without my apprenticeship.
Let me take you through my apprenticeship journey, the highs, the lessons learned, and the growth I've experienced along the way.
Choosing the Apprenticeship Path
Why did I choose an apprenticeship? Simply put, I wanted to learn by doing. I've never been the most academically inclined, so the idea of working on the job while learning was the perfect balance for me. It allowed me to reach my full potential without the pressures of traditional education.
Gaining Unique Skills
One of the most significant benefits of my apprenticeship was developing my interpersonal skills. I had the chance to interact with customers and partners regularly, which boosted my confidence and communication abilities.
Memorable Moments at Visit Somerset
The highlight of my journey with Visit Somerset was an unforgettable trip to Noah's Ark Zoo.
There, I got to try out new animal experiences and help with filming and social media promotion. Feeding lions, bears, and armadillos was an experience of a lifetime that I'll cherish forever.
A Special Project: 'Dog-Friendly Somerset'
One project that's very close to my heart is 'Dog-Friendly Somerset.' I took it upon myself to showcase how pet-friendly our region is by creating a video at The Eastbury Hotel. The project was a massive success and continues to thrive.
Support from Weston College
I can't emphasise enough the support I received from Weston College during my apprenticeship.
My assessor was exceptional. She guided me, ensured I stayed on track, and relieved any worries about deadlines.
Advice for Future Apprentices
If you're considering an apprenticeship, my advice is simple: go for it!
You'll learn, grow, and get paid for doing what you love. I emerged from my apprenticeship more confident and equipped with skills I wouldn't have gained in a traditional job.
My journey from an apprentice to a Social Media Manager has been incredible. It's shown me the power of hands-on learning and the endless opportunities that come with it. So, whether you're starting your apprenticeship journey or just curious about it, remember that it could be the key to unlocking your full potential, just as it did for me.
Maisy, Social Media Manager, Visit Somerset
As we explore the incredible journeys of our University Centre Weston (UCW) alumni, we turn our attention to Paul, a talented performer who embarked on his educational voyage with a UAL Extended Diploma in Performing Arts, specifically in the Acting pathway.
His dedication and passion for the craft led him to UCW's BA Hons Performing Arts course, where he continued to hone his skills and develop as an artist. Join us as we dive into Paul's experiences, highlights, and aspirations as he continues his journey in the world of acting.
Paul's journey in the performing arts began with a UAL Extended Diploma in Performing Arts at Weston College, where he excelled, earning a well-deserved Distinction. He then progressed onto UCW's BA Hons Performing Arts course.
Lecturers with Distinct Teaching Styles:
One aspect that truly stood out for Paul during his time with us, was the diverse set of lecturers he encountered during his time at UCW. Each lecturer possessed a distinct skill set and teaching style, which not only kept students engaged but also broadened their horizons.
Paull added on his experience: “Due to the patience and people around me, it meant I was able to learn at my own pace. Combined, I believe both courses supported the development of my understanding of the industry I want to break into, but, they also supplied me with the confidence and skills on how to realistically do that.”
Reflecting on his time at Weston College and UCW, Paul cherishes the memories of various performances: “My highlight at Weston College comes from the end of my first year, when we performed ‘The Wonderful World of Dissocia’, as I wasn't sure if I wanted to do acting when I started the course, but at the point of ‘Dissocia’ I had so much fun that I just knew my answer.
“UCW's highlight on the other hand is a hard one to pick, as I poured my heart into a lot of performances from ‘The Dumb Waiter’, ‘Angels in America’, ‘Tomcat’ and others.
“But the real highlight came just the night before my class’ performance of ‘The Castle’, in which we had raised all the money ourselves to go the Manchester Fringe, perform and stay there for 4 days. We all shared accommodation together and spent the night before playing silly games, laughing and reflecting on everything we had accomplished across the course. We all knew that this would be our last show on the course, but we were all prepared to give our all to round us off.”
The Present and Future:
Currently, Paul is actively pursuing acting opportunities, taking on featured roles and walk-on parts. His dedication to furthering his education is evident as he saves money to pursue an MFA at a Drama School. In addition to acting, he plans to collaborate with fellow student Craig, on writing and filming projects. Paul has also become a certified free running coach, contributing to the community by coaching at the only school offering free running in the area, Hans Price.
Featuring in Wolf:
Paul's journey took an exciting turn recently, when he received a text from Phoenix Casting, a company that presented him with script segments for a self-tape audition for the new BBC show, Wolf.
His talent and hard work paid off, and he was chosen for a role.
On set, he had the opportunity to interact with the cast and crew, gaining insights into their experiences and collecting valuable advice.
The Long-Term Dream:
Looking ahead, Paul's long-term dream is to become a recognised actor who can transport audiences on unforgettable journeys and adventures through his performances. His aspiration is to provide the same magic and inspiration that he found in the actors and movies he admired during his formative years.
If you would like to follow in Paul’s footsteps, and study a Performing Arts course, click the relevant link below:
In an era where virtual arenas are as fiercely competitive as traditional sports fields, esports has risen to become a globally recognized and respected industry. Among those looking to succeed in the area is Level 3 BTEC Esports learner Ciaran, who is ready to take the next steps towards his future career. But this isn't just any step – it's a leap across the Atlantic Ocean to join Northwood University's esports team in the USA.
The journey began with a spark of curiosity that blossomed into a well-orchestrated plan. Studying abroad had always been on the radar, but it wasn't until a past esports team manager suggested it that the idea gained serious traction. With Overwatch boasting an official collegiate circuit in the USA, opportunities to transition into pro leagues from universities abound, unlike the UK's esports landscape. These American institutions also offer scholarships to talented players, setting the stage for both academic and esports advancement.
Ciaran had honed his Overwatch skills for over five years, and his aspirations extended beyond gameplay alone. A desire to work in collegiate esports in the UK fuelled his ambitions, and a transatlantic education seemed tailor-made. However, the decision wasn't made lightly. The selection process was methodical, involving careful filtering of potential universities based on factors like esports courses, strong teams, and scholarship opportunities.
Directly reaching out to coaches, esports directors, and managers of collegiate Overwatch teams was the next strategic step. Each university had its own scouting process, which often entailed showcasing gameplay through VODs (videos of gameplay), revealing ranks, and detailing path-to-pro experiences. The standout choice was Northwood University, renowned for its robust esports program and a victorious collegiate circuit run. Surprisingly, before he even sent a comprehensive application, Northwood had already scouted this aspiring esports pro.
The news of selection came from none other than Cody Elsen, the Director of Esports at Northwood. Ciaran's prowess had caught the eye of this prestigious institution, underlining their talent and potential. Now came the momentous decision of accepting the offer. While the prospect of moving abroad alone was daunting, the scale seemed to tip overwhelmingly in favour of acceptance. The allure of enhancing their CV, gaining valuable experience in the US collegiate esports system, and playing alongside esports heroes became irresistible.
Fast forward to the present day, and preparations are well underway. Flights are booked, residence secured, and essential arrangements like healthcare and banking are being sorted. The anticipation is palpable, fuelled by the excitement of experiencing American life, excelling in a future career, and elevating esports prowess.
However, the journey isn't without its apprehensions. Battling anxiety and social anxiety in the past, Ciaran acknowledges the challenges of acclimating to a new environment and starting afresh. Having previously experienced living away from home for his studies, this transition is an entirely different ballgame. But with resilience honed over the years, Ciaran is ready to tackle these new challenges head-on.
Ciaran concluded by saying: “I'd like to thank my parents their financial and social support. My mother has helped me through the whole application process immensely (the recent decision to study abroad has made this quite the rush). She is all things esports. She might actually watch more esports in her own time than I can. My father has kept me grounded and realistic. I'm lucky to have to both of them as my parents. I'd also like to mention that my lecturers at Weston, Cam Lyes and Will Price, were excellent all throughout my time there. We said goodbye to Cam at the end of this year, I wish him the best in Bristol. Will is staying at Weston College this year. People planning to study esports at Weston are in good hands.”
We wish Ciaran the very best of luck with his future!
In a resounding testament to educational excellence, Weston College's T Level learners have achieved an extraordinary 100% pass rate this year – outshining the national pass rate of 90.5%.
T Levels, introduced as a new technical qualification pathway, emphasise a blend of classroom learning and practical experience, making Weston College's achievement even more noteworthy.
The achievement of a flawless pass rate is a reflection of the dedication put forth by students and the unwavering support provided by staff at Weston College.
Sandra Bull, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Cross College T Level Lead, at Weston College, said: “We are so proud of our T Level learners, and the amazing results that they have achieved – bucking the national trend!
“The results demonstrate the hard work and commitment of our students, staff and also the employer partners who play such an important role in the T Level journey for our learners.
“Our learners are now progressing onto their next stage, which looks different for each learner, with some progressing to university, some going on to complete degree apprenticeships and others going straight into their chosen industry.
“These results, and the feedback we are receiving, demonstrate the impact that T Levels can have and is having on creating the next generation of skilled employees for the evolving demands of the modern workforce.”
One of the driving forces behind this remarkable success is the college's emphasis on putting the learner first. Weston College is renowned for its student-centred approach, ensuring that each individual's unique strengths are harnessed and that support is on hand to support learners in any way that is needed. The dedicated teaching staff, equipped with a wealth of expertise, have played a pivotal role in shaping students into confident, knowledgeable professionals ready to make a meaningful impact.
Hear from some of the learners, and the impact T Levels has had on them, below.
Students studying A Levels, Vocational subjects, and T Levels at Weston College celebrate outstanding grades on results day 2023.
Results at Weston College were yet again very impressive for learners across the campuses of the College Group. The new T Levels included the subject disciplines of Health, Engineering, Education & Early Years. Digital, Design, and Construction achieved a 100% pass rate with 77% of learners achieving the highest grades.
T Levels are qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds, taken after GCSEs. They are broadly equivalent in size to 3 A Levels and focus on technical and vocational skills. They can help students into skilled employment, higher study, or apprenticeships.
Similarly, for A Levels, 100% pass rates were realised in Computer Science, Economics, English, French, Media, Photography, Textiles, Criminology, IT, and Sport with Polish and Russian scoring 100% A*-B!
The College also witnessed hundreds of students achieving their vocational qualifications, in Animal Management, Business, Construction, Creative Arts, Education, Hair and Beauty, Health and Social Care, Hospitality and Catering, Motor Vehicle, Public Services, and Sport.
Weston College Group Principal and Chief Executive Sir Paul Phillips CBE said:
“These results are a testament to the hard work and diligence of both staff and students and reflect yet again a superb progression to Higher Education and employment”.
“At Weston College, you’re not just taught how to pass an exam. Our focus looks not only on the present, but the future too with a key focus on kickstarting incredible careers. Our study programmes raise aspirations, and we work alongside industry to prepare students for their next step – whether that’s a Degree, Higher Apprenticeship, or the world of work.
“A massive congratulations and thank-you to the cohort of 2023. I wish each learner every success in their onward journey.”
A Level student Harrison Byrom who picked up his results today commented:
"It's an incredible feeling to have achieved A* in English Language and Literature, A in History, B in Politics, and an A in my EPQ. These results have opened the door for me to pursue my passion for History at Oxford University. For me, Weston College has an environment that is so much more enriching than traditional school settings, and the curriculum content has been an absolute blast to engage with. My time here has truly helped shape my character, pushing me to grow and evolve. I'm amazed at the brilliant friendships I've forged along the way. Weston College has been a pivotal chapter in my educational journey, and I can't wait to see where the next one at Oxford takes me."
Also, Iona Chambers was delighted with her results, which she collected from Loxton Campus with her Mum, Iona said:
“I am absolutely thrilled with my results and couldn't be happier. Achieving Criminology A*, Biology A, and English Literature B is a dream come true. My journey at Weston College has been nothing short of amazing. The support I received from the teachers and the Autism Hub has been incredible. After my GCSEs, I wasn't certain if A Levels were the right path for me, but from the moment I stepped into the College, I was embraced with warmth, encouragement, and unwavering support from everyone around me. I am particularly grateful to Jude and Nadine from the support team who have been absolutely incredible. With this solid foundation, I am eagerly looking forward to the next chapter of my education, studying Conservation and Archaeology at Cardiff University.”
T Level student in Education and Early Years, Hannah Morris picked up her results today and said:
“I am really happy with the results I have received today. I feel really grateful to all my tutors at the College who really encouraged me and helped me reach my goal. The T Level course has really helped boost my confidence and make me the person I am today. With this qualification, I can now continue to pursue my career within a local nursery.
T Levels are backed by employers and also contain 315 hours of an Industry Placement, which this year Bristol Port has given five Weston College T Level learners the opportunity to carry out their placements at the Port. David Brown, the Chief Executive Officer commented:
“The Bristol Port Company are passionate about developing future talent within our business and we have hosted T Level students from Weston College on their industry placement this year. The students have worked closely with our team and have made a positive impression. It’s good to see the new employer-led T Level courses giving young people the technical skills and practical experience they need for the workplace, supported by Weston College.”
The College’s Vocational qualifications were also outstanding this year. Business Extended Diploma student, Tallulah Stradling received the top grade and commented:
“I am really happy with my results! I can’t believe that I managed to get D*, D*, D*, and I am now off to Exeter University to study Law. I have really enjoyed my experience at Weston College – from the support to the course, it has been amazing.”
Overall, college results were exceptional with a similar set of outcomes to last year, albeit with a slight overall downward shift of 1%-2%. Sir Phillips added how pleased he was to see the take-up and advancement of T Levels reflecting their importance in curriculum delivery and learner progression.
We are so thrilled to celebrate the outstanding success of a Weston College Fashion and Textiles A Level learner, Tom, who recently completed an exciting work experience opportunity at the renowned tailoring establishment Anderson & Sheppard on Savile Row, London.
Tom's journey to this exceptional experience began with his proactive approach. He took the initiative to contact Anderson & Sheppard, a 117-year-old tailoring house located at Mayfair’s historic No. 32 Old Burlington Street. Tom reached out to the Managing Director and, after careful consideration of his CV, he was granted the opportunity to participate in a day of hands-on learning on July 11th.
During his time at Anderson & Sheppard, Tom delved into the intricate world of tailoring, gaining insights into various aspects of the craft. He told us, "I began with the trimmer, who taught me about his role within the business: ordering and stock-checking in all materials...We then assembled what is called a tailor’s parcel, which contained the threads, facing felt, buttons, zippers and buckles rolled in the suiting patterns that had been cut and then wrapped in the canvas.”
Throughout the day, Tom had the privilege of working with skilled tailors, including both the trouser cutter and jacket cutter. He even had the chance to try on a piece of history – Daniel Craig’s electric pink velvet jacket, worn on the red carpet at the 2021 James Bond Premier. Tom told us how excited he was to spend the day somewhere with such rich history, with the most iconic clientele such as Fred Astaire, Charlie Chaplin, Laurence Olivier, and more.
Reflecting on the experience, Tom emphasised the significance of his time at Anderson & Sheppard for his future pursuits. "This experience has introduced me to the fundamentals of tailoring and all the materials involved. My hope is that with a few more visits, I can take measurements and draft an exquisite jacket. My next step is to begin enrolment on the University of the West of England’s BA Fashion course, local to me this autumn."
Tom also shared advice for fellow Fashion and Textiles learners: "Fashion’s a harsh game. But so long as one is prepared to carry on and go out to new places, meet new people, and learn new things, even without having any confidence, the world is your oyster."
Throughout his time at Weston College, Tom has demonstrated exceptional commitment and passion – continuously investing in his future in the fashion industry. He even hosted his very own debut fashion show, which featured 15 bespoke looks designed and styled by him. Read more here.
We commend Tom for his dedication, enthusiasm, and proactive approach, which led to this remarkable opportunity. We are confident that his experience at Anderson & Sheppard will continue to shape his journey in the world of fashion and textiles, and we eagerly anticipate the future accomplishments that lie ahead.
To find out more about our A Level in Fashion and Textiles, click here.
To find out more about other A Level options, click here.
I found out about the job when they wanted to bring me in as a Content Creator for streaming. They found my studies interesting and then asked me to apply for the job. The application was pretty straight forward as they knew me already but the trip up to the stadium was amazing and I loved that part of it!
Studying at Weston College was great; the classroom was kitted out with high-end equipment, and we definitely made the most out of it. I learnt a lot from the course about how to build both mine and other peoples brand online.
In my first year, the support team at Weston College helped me with my dyslexia by guiding me to the dictator function on Word. For me, it’s easier to get my ideas down by speaking them instead of writing. I found it challenging and it has always been difficult trying to understand things more than once, but I finished the course with top marks which is brilliant!
The wait for the phone call confirming the job was incredibly long, and truthfully when they told me I had got it, I didn’t believe them, but I was relieved and couldn’t wait to get started! I officially start my job on the 7th of August and I’m both nervous and excited. Moving away from everything I know is the worst bit, but I know I’ll learn and adapt to new surroundings and hopefully it will be a good few years!
I’m looking forward to starting a career I’m passionate about and also getting paid for it. As well as this my office is in the football stadium which is awesome! I can’t wait to get started!"
The Esports Course at Weston college explores both the theoretical and practical areas of the industry. On the course you cover a variety of subjects including Business, Sport and Creative media. 69% of parents believe that the Esports Course at Weston college teaches their children skills that cannot be learnt by traditional learning. Alongside the course you can join our Esports Academy, train for national competitions and become an ambassador for our area.
Weston College's Foundation Learning Team is thrilled to announce that it has been honoured with the prestigious Association of Colleges Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Sport Award. This recognition acknowledges the college's unwavering commitment to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion in its sports programmes, enabling learners with a diverse range of barriers to learning to thrive and achieve their aspirations.
Foundation Learning at Weston College specialises in providing personalised study programmes for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including those with severe, profound, and complex learning difficulties, social, emotional and mental health, physical impairments and barriers to learning. Many of these learners have faced previous educational setbacks and require specialist support to prepare for higher level courses, employment and independent living. The college's highly inclusive curriculum design fosters self-esteem, confidence, and self-awareness among learners, empowering them to overcome societal barriers and actively participate in managing their own challenges.
Within this specialist area of Weston College, sport and enrichment activities play a pivotal role and the positive impact is evident through a wide range of learner led achievements and initiatives. The college's partnership with Somerset Cricket Foundation has facilitated coaching packages in table cricket, promoting access to cricket for all. Recently, the College’s Sports Academy emerged victorious in the County championships of table cricket, underscoring the success of this collaboration. Additionally, the College’s Football Academy represented the South West region in the Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport National finals, becoming unbeaten champions and contributing to the South West's winning of the esteemed Wilkinson Sword Trophy. These accomplishments reflect the Academy's dedication, teamwork, and commitment to fair play.
Beyond competitive tournaments, the Foundation Learning team actively participates in the South-West pan-disability league, fostering teamwork, physical literacy, and inclusivity. The college's sports programmes transcend boundaries and provides opportunities for learners from socially deprived backgrounds who may face financial constraints in accessing sporting activities within their communities. By offering accessible and inclusive sports opportunities, Weston College empowers learners to develop their skills, pursue their sporting interests, and experience the life-changing benefits of engaging in physical activities.
Weston College's commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion extends across all provision, with a whole college approach that ensures the diverse needs of learners are addressed in all aspects of college life. The coaching methodology follows the principles of open games, parallel games, and disability games, with sports coaches collaborating closely with Foundation Learning SEND specialists to deliver inclusive coaching sessions adapted to individual learners' requirements. Learners and staff actively promote social inclusion, problem-solving skills, and communication through physical education, fostering resilience and cohesion within teams.
Principal and CEO of Weston College, Sir Paul Phillips CBE, expressed his pride in the remarkable accomplishments of learners and staff: "Our success in the Association of Colleges Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Sport Award is a testament to the unwavering dedication, teamwork, and celebration of diversity that underpin our sports programmes. We are proud to create a safe and inclusive environment where all learners can flourish, regardless of their background or barriers. This recognition further motivates us to continue evolving and embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion into all that we do."
Weston College Foundation Learning's outstanding achievements in promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion through sports exemplify the positive impact of inclusive education and sporting opportunities. The college remains committed to creating brighter futures, nurturing talent, and ensuring that everyone can access and enjoy the benefits of sports.
As the academic year drew to a close, the talented Performing Arts students of Weston College took the stage by storm with their mesmerising performance of Willy Russel's critically acclaimed play, Blood Brothers. The enthralling production left the audience in awe and admiration, proving once again that the performing arts program at Weston College is a breeding ground for exceptional talent.
Blood Brothers delves into the gripping tale of two brothers, tragically separated at birth and raised in vastly different circumstances. As fate brings them together once more, their lives intertwine, leading to a shocking and dramatic conclusion. Under the brilliant direction of Fiona Philip and Lisa Frost, the students brilliantly captured the essence of this powerful story, allowing the audience to be transported to the gritty streets of Liverpool.
For the aspiring performers, this production was more than just a show; it was an opportunity to experience the dynamics of a professional working environment. The dedication and hard work put in by the cast and crew was evident in every scene. Their commitment to their craft and their passion for the art of storytelling shone brightly on the stage.
Elissa, a Level Three Performing Arts student who took on the pivotal role of Mrs. Johnstone, emphasised the importance of having fun during the rehearsal process. In her words, "creating fun warmups and exercises allows the cast to enjoy the shows as they get to connect further with each other away from the stress." Such camaraderie amongst the students fostered a positive and encouraging atmosphere, enhancing the overall performance.
Moreover, participating in such a significant production was a transformative experience for the students. Elissa expressed how the role helped boost her self-confidence and pushed her beyond her comfort zone. "I had the opportunity to do what I thought was unthinkable," she remarked.
Congratulations to all the performing arts learners for their incredible show!
The performing arts courses at Weston College are a nurturing platform for individuals with a passion for the stage. They equips students with the skills and knowledge essential to pursue further studies or a career in the performing arts industry. Situated at Knightstone Campus, these well-rounded programmes offer exciting opportunities for students to audition and participate in full-scale productions like this unforgettable rendition of Blood Brothers.
To find out more, click 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.