LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES
Following the success of last year’s ‘Phobia’ Halloween event collaboration at Puxton Park, Further and Higher Education learners from Weston College and University Centre Weston (UCW) have collaborated with the Park to design and apply makeup to the 40 learner actors per night! The event ran from 21st - 28th October 2023, and had many haunted attractions including a Haunted Tractor Ride, Dolls House, Asylum, Freak Show, and The Dark Wood.
The impeccable hair and makeup were crafted by learners from Weston College's Hair and Makeup for Fashion and Media, Hair, Makeup, and Special Effects for Film and Theatre, and students from University Centre Weston on the BA (Hons) Hair, Makeup, and Prosthetics for Production. The transformation of actors into creatures of the night is a testament to the dedication and skill of the makeup artists, adding to the immersive experience that "Phobia" offers.
The learners from the Performing Arts department utilised their impressive acting skills to strike fear into the hearts of those brave enough to enter. Dressed in scary costumes and adorned with hair and makeup that was nothing short of spectacular, these actors made sure that the Phobia Event lived up to its name. Puxton Park's Marketing Manager, Grace Harvey, expressed her excitement about the event:
"Phobia is an exciting opportunity for all of us here at Puxton Park. Not only has it allowed us to welcome a wider range of visitors, but it also provided us the chance to collaborate with the exceptionally talented teams at Weston College and UCW. We have been impressed by the high level of professionalism and skills these students possess. Their passion and enthusiasm in their respective fields have truly shined, and we were thrilled to see their hard work come to life during the event."
This is the third year that Puxton Park has worked collaboratively with the College on this event and the students' remarkable talent continues to amaze year after year, taking the makeup designs to a whole new, spine-chilling level.
In addition to the spine-tingling performances, the Music department from Weston College also played a role in enhancing the overall atmosphere of the event, with student bands keeping visitors entertained.
Sandra Bull, Assistant Principal – Curriculum, commented “The professionalism and quality of work displayed by each learner working at ‘Phobia’ has been incredible – they have been an absolute asset to Weston College and UCW.
“I would like to thank Puxton Park for welcoming us back for another year and being so supportive to our learners – we can’t wait for next year!”
Phobia has been an incredible opportunity for Puxton Park and Weston College to collaborate again, creating an exciting, immersive Halloween experience for visitors from all around the area. This industry event experience forms part of both the Music and Hair & Beauty Careers Excellence Hub. The College Group has fourteen sector-specific Career Excellence Hubs, which support 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. This partnership with Puxton has provided these students with a platform to showcase their talent and skills and is a shining example of how businesses and educational institutions can work together to create something extraordinary and mutually beneficial.
My name is Richard Perks, and I am a professional chef living in Canada with my family!
I started my career at Weston College, completing the NVQ1-2 Professional Catering course from 2001-2003, which helped me lay the foundation of cooking basics. I had an interest in catering from a young age as my father and grandmother are both very good cooks, and I enjoyed cooking with them as a child. I made the decision to study at Weston College as I wanted to develop this passion into a career, and I knew Weston would give me the best opportunity to turn my dream into a reality. Furthermore, I knew Weston would have the best catering department in the local area, including top-of-the-range facilities and incredible teachers.
Through the course at Weston College, I was lucky enough to travel to Italy for work experience. My time in Italy went so well that I was asked to stay and continue the work I was doing for Massimo Spigaroli, who was known as the ‘Italian Salami King’. Through my work for Massimo, I attended an Italian university and studied traditional Italian cuisine. Just before graduating from this university, I was sent to a Michelin starred restaurant for work experience. After graduation I went on to work for Corrado Azensa (the pastry chef featured in season 4, episode 2 of ‘Chef’s Table Pastry’ on Netflix).
After living in Sicily and working for Corrado for a year and a half, I moved to Hong Kong for 6 months to work at an Italian restaurant. I enjoyed Hong Kong; it was certainly different than living in Sicily. After a short stint in Hong Kong, I moved back to Italy for a few more years under Massimo in Parma.
I then returned to the UK and lived and worked in London for a Michelin restaurant as well as working under Head Chef Malcolm Campbell for a short period. Malcolm Campbell is now a top chef in Canada and a good family friend of ours.
I then moved to Australia, and I was Senior Sous Chef in one of a top 10 restaurant in Western Australia. I then met my wife and moved to Canada after 7 years in Perth. Since I've been in Canada, I have worked at Pinestone Golf Club as a job during the pandemic. From there I moved out to Nova Scotia to work at Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs, which are both in the top 10 public golf courses in the whole of North America.
From there, I have taken an Executive Chef role in a very good private school, just outside of Toronto. We serve a Marche-Style service to 1000 people a day. From homemade lasagne and pizza all the way to sushi bars. The change of pace is due to being a father to two very young children and looking for the right work-life balance. Since being at the school I have reached the Canadian Chefs Cup final two years running; I came 5th in my first year and last year I placed 3rd. I will be running again this year, hoping to place 1st.
My favourite part of working as a chef is the opportunity it provides to travel the world and experience so many different cultures and foods. If I had decided to enter into a different industry, I would not have had the incredible experiences I’ve had!
I have had so many highlights in my career and I could never pick just one, but a favourite from recent years has been competing in the Canada Chefs Cup. In my personal life though, raising my two children and being the best father I can be, is the most important part.
My start at Weston College really set the precedent for the rest of my career; being able to travel abroad for work experience in my first two years of studying inspired me to continue travelling the world and resulted in my extremely successful career so far. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next!
Weston College is taking on Movember headfirst! This year, the staff body is encouraged to take part in as much physical exercise and activity as possible.
Movember is a world-famous charity dedicated to tackling men’s health problems including, mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer. Movember has been active since 2003, with five million people having participated in this time.
Movember remembers the 60 men lost to suicide globally, every hour, and therefore, the College is launching a challenge for the organization's staff to collectively accumulate 60,000 minutes of exercise throughout November.
The idea behind this initiative is to demonstrate the profound influence of regular exercise on both physical and mental health. With increasing concerns about men's well-being, including high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, the College aims to raise awareness of these issues and provide access to anyone looking to increase their day-to-day physical activity.
As part of this endeavour, two of our Vice Principals, Ben Knocks and Gary Durant will commit to exercising for 60 minutes daily for the entire 30 days in November, contributing a total of 1,800 minutes each. Weston College will be encouraging all its staff to contribute to these 60,000 minutes by recording any physical activity that they complete during November. Any form of exercise is encouraged; from high-intensity workouts such as running or cycling, to low-impact activities such as a leisurely walk with friends, engaging in chair aerobics, or taking a gentle swim.
The College will through its own staff teams will be facilitating taster sessions for staff to participate in, including football, gym inductions, netball and others. Ben and Gary will also be taking part in a number of student activities, such as five-a-side football with students from the Faculty of Inclusive Practice, as well as them hosting a staff HIIT workout on Tuesday 21st at the Health and Active Living Skills Centre with the goal of getting 60 members of staff together to complete 60 minutes of circuit training exercise.
Weston College staff will also be encouraged to take part in a range of taster sessions for different types of exercise with inductions and introductions to ease any apprehension that staff may have about a new form of exercise. This initiative serves to raise awareness about mental health and highlight the positive impact that movement and exercise can have on both the body and mind.
The College is looking forward to seeing the strong efforts of our staff towards this endeavour.
Weston College is proud to announce that Victoria Williams, a remarkable learner with a unique journey, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Law Student of the Year category at the prestigious Bristol Law Awards. The awards ceremony will take place in November, and Victoria's remarkable story of determination and resilience has captured the attention and admiration of the legal community and beyond.
Victoria's journey to this achievement is nothing short of inspiring. As a survivor of sexual assault, Victoria's first encounter with the justice system fuelled her determination to understand and work within the legal field.
After completing her GCSEs with excellent grades, she chose to work as a waitress in Bath to support her family, particularly her mother, who had been a single working parent to Victoria and her brothers.
Victoria's career in law began when she applied for a role as a conveyancing office junior in Bath. She quickly rose through the ranks and discovered her passion for the conveyancing process. This experience led her to embark on a journey to become a Legal Executive through the CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) qualification. She attended evening classes at a college in Bristol while balancing her responsibilities as a working parent.
Recognising the importance of supporting her own mental health, Victoria sought therapy to work through the emotional toll of her past experiences. She knew that she had a challenging journey ahead but found the strength to persevere with the support of her family.
In 2021, shortly after completing her Level 3 studies, Victoria was appointed Head of a Residential Property Department at her law firm. She took the opportunity to provide training and mentoring to junior conveyancers, demonstrating her passion for sharing legal knowledge and offering support to emerging legal professionals.
Victoria's journey continued as she enrolled in Level 6 studies at Weston College. Motivated by the 'Me Too' movement, she bravely contacted the police to re-open her historical assault case. In early 2023, charges were brought against her assailant.
Recognising the potential impact on her studies, Victoria made the ambitious decision to bring forward her final exams from January 2024 to June 2023 and passed both exams successfully, with just two weeks between the plea hearing and the exams.
Victoria's dedication and determination have resulted in her being shortlisted as a finalist for the Bristol Law Society Law Student of the Year Award. She has courageously waived her right to anonymity to inspire other survivors and demonstrate that academic success is achievable in the face of adversity.
In her own words, Victoria expresses her gratitude: "I am delighted to have been shortlisted as a finalist for the Bristol Law Society Law Student of the Year Award. As a survivor of sexual assault, I have overcome a great deal in my journey to become a qualified lawyer. Juggling study while also working full-time in legal practice is certainly not for the faint-hearted! I am truly grateful to Weston College not only for the nomination but for the fantastic teaching, support, and encouragement they have generously given during my studies. To have my achievements recognised in this way is humbling indeed and motivates me to continue to share my story with the aim of helping other survivors. This last year has been particularly challenging, but with the support of the team at Weston College and my family, colleagues, and mentors, I am proud to have now achieved my Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice and be in the final stages of becoming a Chartered Legal Executive."
Weston College is proud to celebrate Victoria Williams' remarkable journey and her well-deserved recognition as a finalist in the Law Student of the Year category at the Bristol Law Awards. Her story is an inspiration to all who face challenges and adversity in their pursuit of academic and professional success.
Our level 2 and level 3 Public Services learners recently had the amazing opportunity to visit HMS Raleigh!
HMS Raleigh is a Royal Navy training establishment in Torpoint near Plymouth, comprising of over 239 acres of land. This site is where ratings from all branches of the Royal Navy receive their 10-week Initial Naval Training, making this the perfect place for students to visit to find out more about Navy life.
A wide range of training is provided by the site including the Military Training Unit, the Board and Search Training School, the Royal Navy Submarine School, the Royal Navy School of Seamanship, and the School of Maritime Survival. Training is provided to as many as 2200 people on the site!
Our students were introduced to the fitness requirements required for the Royal Navy with exercises performed in the onsite gymnasium. Fitness instructors demonstrated the strict training regimes that recruits go through, emphasising the importance of staying in peak physical condition.
Students were also given an introduction to the Submarine Service. They gained insights into the advanced technology and complex operations that submariners experience. The Royal Navy personnel shared their experiences, emphasizing the significance of teamwork and attention to detail, which are crucial in submarine missions.
Finally, students had the chance to see a demonstration of the firefighting specialisation at the base. They witnessed the courage and precision required to combat onboard blazes in naval vessels. Royal Navy instructors showcased their firefighting skills and the specialized equipment used during emergencies at sea.
Student Honey said “the fire fighting demo was exhilarating. The whole day opened my eyes to the Royal Navy."
This trip forms part of the Public Services 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.
To find out more about public services courses, click here.
Makaton tutor, Ali, recently spent the afternoon delivering an ‘Introduction to Makaton’ workshop to Health & Social Care learners and staff. For learners looking to go into a career in the Health & Social Care industry, the ability to communicate effectively is not merely an advantage but a necessity in providing the best possible care and support for clients and patients.
During the training, participants learned the core principles and elements of Makaton, including basic signs and symbols. Ali seamlessly integrated practical exercises and role-playing scenarios into the session, enabling attendees to put their newfound knowledge into practice immediately. This hands-on approach not only made the learning experience engaging but also helped cement the understanding of Makaton's application in real-life situations.
The feedback from the learners was overwhelmingly positive. Many expressed gratitude for the opportunity to expand their communication skills and a newfound enthusiasm for incorporating Makaton into their daily routines. Participants eagerly embraced the chance to receive a certificate for attending Ali's training session, acknowledging the commitment they made to improving their communication skills.
Lecturer, Louise, shared her appreciation for Ali's dedication and passion. She stated, "Thank you, Ali, for your dedication and passion. You have left a lasting impact on our learners, and I am confident that you will continue to inspire and empower others wherever you go." Louise's sentiments perfectly capture the sentiment of everyone who had the privilege of attending Ali's Introduction to Makaton.
This guest speaker forms part of the Health and Social Care 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.
Collaboration with industry professionals like Ali is undoubtedly crucial for students and professionals in the fields of Health & Social Care. These partnerships bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, preparing students for the multifaceted challenges they will face in their future roles. In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare and social care, effective communication is paramount, and Ali's Introduction to Makaton has proven to be a valuable step in the right direction.
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 employees ability to succeed.
- Race-based hair discrimination is illegal under the Equalities Act 2010. Workplaces have the right to enforce a dress code as long as it is fair and does not unduly discriminate against any staff. Policies and practices that prohibit hairstyles which are primarily used to maintain Afro-textured hair can lead to indirect discrimination.
- The Halo Code focuses on hair textures and styles most commonly associated with the Black community. The term Black has historically been used as a racial and political label. Here, we use it to refer to members of the African diaspora, including those with mixed heritage, who as a result of their ancestry have Afro-textured hair.
- The Halo Code is a gender neutral policy.
- In order to embody the sprit of The Halo Code, all staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with different Afro-textured hairstyles and their cultural significance, and to avoid labelling Afro-textured hair with terms such as messy, unprofessional, or inappropriate.
- The Halo Code does not prevent workplaces from issuing additional guidance around Afro-texture hair and protective styles if applied consistently across all students and staff, including:
- That head wraps and scarves should reflect other elements of the uniform code such as the school’s colours.
- That hair be tied up for health and safety reasons, such as during sports, science labs, or to avoid trip hazards.
- That hair colour is reflective of wider school uniform policy.
About the Halo Collective:
We are an alliance of organisations and individuals working to create a future without hair discrimination, founded by young Black organisers from The Advocacy Academy.
Race-based hair discrimination has been illegal in the UK since the the Equalities Act became law in 2010, and yet it still happens all the time.
For too long, Black people have been told that our hair textures and hairstyles are inappropriate, unattractive, and unprofessional. We’ve been suspended from school, held back in our careers, and made to feel inferior by racist policies and attitudes.
Together, we are fighting for the protection and celebration of Black hair and hairstyles.
The Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) at NHS Somerset course, a lifeline for many seeking to revamp their professional lives, has been nothing short of a revelation for adult learner Mark.
Mark's journey with the NHS SWAP course began when he was at the job centre. He stumbled upon a brochure about the program that piqued his interest. Mark recalls, "I was in the job centre and saw the NHS Swap scheme; I spoke to Sarah, and she made me feel at ease and that the NHS would not discriminate against me due to either my age or disability. Sarah convinced me it would be a great opportunity."
The reassurance provided at the job centre played a pivotal role in Mark's decision to apply for the course. It highlights the inclusive nature of the NHS SWAP course, welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds and circumstances.
Before embarking on this transformative journey, Mark was unemployed and had encountered discrimination in his previous job. The desire for a fresh start, a chance to rebuild his career, and escape discrimination became the driving force behind his decision to participate in the program.
Mark's experience with the NHS SWAP course has been nothing short of amazing. He credits this success to the support and guidance he received throughout the program. He speaks highly of Niki and Caroline, who were instrumental in his learning experience. "Niki and Caroline were really helpful and supportive, and the content and timings were perfect," Mark says, reflecting the dedication and adaptability of the course coordinators.
One of the primary goals of the NHS SWAP course is to equip learners with practical skills for their careers. Mark attests to the course's effectiveness in this regard, saying, "So many skills to list, however, I have used various skills in everyday life, and I have no doubt that with my new job, I will be able to utilize many more." The course serves as a springboard for developing new skills and honing existing ones.
When asked about the highlights of the NHS SWAP course, Mark finds it challenging to pinpoint just one. He enthusiastically praises the entire experience, emphasizing the engaging teaching methods, the support he received, and the interactive components like role-play and video presentations.
Though the course was online, Mark did have his last day in person in Bridgwater which he thoroughly enjoyed. He also had high praise for the teaching and delivery of the course, noting that it was nothing short of superb.
Mark's participation in the NHS SWAP course has already had a profound impact on his career aspirations. The program has boosted his confidence and motivation to secure a job. Excitingly, Mark reveals, "I'm delighted to say I have now received an offer from Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust." His story is a testament to the life-changing potential of this initiative.
Mark enthusiastically recommends the NHS SWAP course. He emphasizes the world-class support provided throughout the program, stating, "There is nothing to lose but so very much to gain." Mark's journey, filled with renewed confidence and opportunities, stands as a beacon for those who have been out of work for a long time and need the support and encouragement to succeed. He encourages anyone considering the program to take the leap, as it offers much more than a chance to return to the workforce.
Mark's story, filled with hope and newfound enthusiasm, is a testament to the remarkable potential of the NHS SWAP course. As Mark sums up, "I only wish I had known about the course earlier, I am so very happy and cannot thank everyone enough for all that this course has done for me." His experience underscores that the NHS SWAP course is a valuable resource for anyone seeking a career change or looking to re-enter the job market, proving that it is indeed the very best available for individuals in his position.
Last week, Weston College had the privilege of hosting alumni Naomi, the proud owner of the Music and Movement business, Boogie Beat. Naomi paid a visit to Level 2 Early Years learners, and her engaging talk and interactive session was an incredible experience for the class, emphasizing the importance of hard work, determination, and the wide variety of opportunities that follow an Early Years course at college.
Naomi's journey from a Level 2 Early Years student at Weston College to becoming a successful business owner is nothing short of inspiring. As she addressed the eager learners, she shared her remarkable transformation. Naomi emphasized how her time at Weston College had provided her with the foundational knowledge and skills she needed to embark on her career path. Her experience demonstrated that with determination and dedication, it's possible to turn your college education into a thriving business.
Naomi's talk was not just a nostalgic reflection of her time at Weston College; it was also filled with invaluable insights for the Level 2 Early Years students. She underscored the significance of working hard during their college years, a message that resonated with the young minds eager to set their own path in the field of Early Years education. By sharing her personal journey, Naomi provided students with a tangible example of how a college education can be a stepping stone to entrepreneurial success.
One of the highlights of Naomi's visit was her ability to open students' eyes to the vast array of opportunities available in the Early Years sector. Her success story served as a testament to the versatility of a career in Early Years education. It was a reminder that this field extends far beyond traditional teaching and can be a launchpad for diverse and fulfilling career paths.
The engagement didn't stop at an inspirational talk. Naomi had the students up and active with a lively practical session. Learners had a blast as they participated in singing and dancing, wielding rainbow streamers, and even sharing the floor with Giggles the Boogie Beat Monkey. This hands-on experience not only added an element of fun to the afternoon but also reinforced the idea that learning can be both enjoyable and instructive.
This guest speaker forms part of the Education 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.
As the session concluded, the Early Years learners were buzzing with excitement and inspiration. Their feedback echoed the sentiment that the afternoon was not only informative but also incredibly enjoyable. Naomi's visit left an indelible mark on these students, reminding them that with hard work, dedication, and a passion for what they do, they can carve out successful and fulfilling careers in Early Years education.
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.