Good News Stories June 2017

Public Services students

Public Services students from Colchester Institute helped out at with an exercise with the Essex Fire Service recently at the Weston Homes Stadium. The Essex Fire Services commended the students on their great conduct.

Colchester Institute has been nominated as the college for students to assist with emergency exercises. This will provide a fantastic opportunity for our students in the future.

All Shook Up

On 1st and 2nd April, ‘All Shook Up’ was the BA Honours Musical Theatre Musical of the year. It was performed at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester to full capacity audiences and received standing ovations at all performances. The show was Directed and Choreographed by Andy Edwards and Musically Directed by Simon Warne, both BA Honours Musical Theatre Programme Leaders. Working over a 6 week rehearsal period of 20 hours per week, the staff and students learnt 42 pages of script, 10 full company dance numbers and 25 Elvis songs with up to 6 part harmonies.

This was by no means a small project – here are just some of the numbers: 920 audience members; 174 lighting changes; 140 staff contact rehearsal hours; 80 self-managed rehearsal hours; 90 costumes; 60 scaffolding poles supporting scenery; 30 BA Honours Year 3 Musical Theatre students; 12 piece band; 8 BA Technical Theatre students; 8 college departments involved; 3 teaching staff; 2 scenery builders; 2 Luton Vans.

Andy Edwards comments

It has been a fantastic project to be leading. It was great to be back at The Mercury Theatre as it offers an exceptional experience for all involved both on and off stage. The students stepped up to an enormous task in such a short space of time and under some immense pressures. This opportunity puts them right on track to understanding the demands of musical theatre rehearsals and performances giving them an insight into the demands, challenges and rewards it can offer.

Next performance is ‘an Evening of Musical Theatre’ at Mercury Theatre Studio on Friday, 26th May and Saturday, 27th May.

George Yard Shopping Centre sponsorship of the Carnival Costumes Workshop

In March Fashion/ Textile students on the Diploma and Extended Diploma at Braintree got involved with the making of carnival costumes for the Braintree carnival which will take place on June 10th, 2017.

Students were asked by the management of George Yard Shopping Centre to work in small groups to produce costumes for this year’s Braintree Carnival inspired by the theme ‘I Love London.’ The costumes will be used in the carnival on Sat June 10th and students will participate in the carnival, as dressers, giving out flyers, or modelling their costumes in the procession.

The brief also provided an opportunity to celebrate the talents of young people in the community and to build links between the college and community by working in partnership with local organisations. All proceeds from the carnival go towards supporting Farleigh Hospice.

The workshops were sponsored by George Yard Shopping Centre and facilitated by Vikki Walsh. Working at the forefront of UK’s craft revolution and determined to keep traditional crafts alive, Vikki runs a range of craft workshops and courses.

Energising Harwich Project

Adult students on the Energising Harwich Project, preparing for roles in the offshore and onshore wind energy sector receive Working at Height training using the Training Tower at the Colchester campus. Students also have the opportunity to receive First Aid, Abrasive Wheels, Welding and other Engineering skills training,

Since the start of the programme, there have been some fantastic outcomes and progressions, and overall job outcome percentage currently sits at 67% since 2013.

Following the recent completion of the 4 week Intro course (from which successful students progress onto a twelve week course) our students were encouraged to give feedback on all elements of the course. This is what one of them said:

The Working at Height day was filled with a combination of nerves and excitement! Followed by a huge sense if pride and achievement!

Jack Petchey Award Winners

We are delighted to have five winners in the next round of Jack Petchey awards and these are Leyla Razavi, Lauren Wincup and Louise Went in Colchester and Amy Braun and Joshua Hellen in Braintree. All have gone ‘above and beyond’ in their efforts, achievements or support of others and we wish them many congratulations.

Art Exchange: Vision and Reality Student Success

On 11 May 2017 at the Prize Giving Event, 2 of the 4 prizes were received by Colchester Institute Fine Art Degree students. The students were selected via a judging panel consisting of Curator’s, Academics and Students from the University of Essex.

1st Prize [£100] Emma Theedom for In with the Old
3rd Prize [£50] Lu Duan for Chinese Education

A Royal Day Out at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome

On 11 May 2017 The Duke of Gloucester visited the World War 1 Aerodrome at Stow Maries, near Maldon. He was fascinated by the historic aircraft on display. After watching the re-creation to mark the centenary of the first casualty evacuation by air, he also enjoyed the Forward Aid displays – with modern day Royal Army Medical Corps reserves demonstrating their skills alongside Great War medical support enacted by Parsons Period Presentations.

The day was a fitting way to thank the Stow Maries volunteers – instead of serving in the Mess Hall, they were able to savour tea and cake served by students from Colchester Institute who kindly came to help us out.

Karis Jack

Karis graduated from BA (Hons) Musical Theatre at Colchester Institute in 2012 and will star in the role of Eponine in Les Misérables in the West End in June.

After graduating Karis has appeared in Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown and most recently the lead role in Bubbly Black Girl at Theatre Royal, Stratford East.

Karis joins a long list of many success stories from BA Musical Theatre. A few names are:
Ngozi Ugoh – Book of Mormon
Rhys Davies – Book of Mormon
Dan O’Brien – Jersey Boys
Kevin Yates – Shrek, Rent U.K. Tour

College Football Team put best foot forward

The College 1st XI football team won the Essex Colleges Division 2 league, losing only 1 of their 16 matches!

In the semi-final and the final, the team came up against teams from football academies – no less – (Woodlands and Appleton respectively) and were victorious in both!

The team were drawn from courses in Business, Accounting, Sport and Construction and they are pictured and named below. A great effort by all the boys!

A huge well done to Steve Downey- inspirational coach, team manager and bus-driver!

Chandni Patel

Chandni graduated from BA Fashion and Textiles in 2016 and currently has two of her garments in the South Asian exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.

The College has also been credited underneath the statements near both her garments. This came about as a result of last year’s New Designers show, where a curator saw her work and invited Chandni to participate in the exhibition.

Shell Eco Marathon – 25th to 28th May 2017

The Shell Eco-Marathon is a unique competition that every year brings together around 200 teams and 3,000 students from universities across Europe to battle for energy efficiency on the road. The event took place this year at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London in late May.

The task is to design and build a vehicle that will travel as far as you can using a specific amount of energy of one of these fuels (Electric Battery, Diesel, Gasoline, Hydrogen, Comp. Natural Gas). Utilising new technologies through research and projects that are designed through the construction of the vehicle are the main goals of the competing students.

The event is a fantastic experience for the students, giving them that valuable first-hand experience of problem solving against time constraints, that life typically has. It is also an excellent showcase to demonstrate students individual and team building abilities that will be invaluable to them when in future employment.

Level 3 Extended Diploma and Level 3 Sports Coaching students

The students organised a two day, space-themed multi-sports event, for 500 Year 2 children. The two day event saw 18 infant and primary schools from across Colchester attend the Colchester Garrison Athletics Track on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th May for the Colchester Institute Space Race. Each school participated in eleven stations. Activities included track and field events (shot putt, long jump, hurdles, sprints, javelin) as well as basketball shootout, golf, target throw and sack race.

The students organised everything themselves, including finding a venue, contacting and inviting schools and marketing the event. They also raised funds themselves with other events and secured additional sponsorship from RAD Sports. The feedback from Schools has been exceptional with some quotes below:

Our sport coach and all the activity leaders were excellent. The day was organised brilliantly! Thank you very much.
Thank you for a great day! All the coaches led activities very well; they praised and motivated the children.
Really good organisation! Coaches were really approachable and good support for the children.

Colchester Walking Challenge – The Results!

Well done to everyone who took part in the Walking Challenge! 11 local organisations took part with 135 people walking who collectively racked up 452,818 activity points!

Individual Winners

1st – Danielle Woraker – Colchester Borough Council
2nd – Lisa Cherry – University of Essex
3rd – Robert Diamond – Ingleton Wood

54 people walked for Active Travel and collectively would have saved 383kg of CO2 had they done the same journey by car.

The top 20 Active Travellers were entered into a free prize draw and Natasha Sayers from Colchester Institute won afternoon tea for 2 at Wivenhoe House!

Also rewarded as the top walker was Katy Scott from CHUFT who won a pair of tickets for the Laughter Zone at Colchester Arts Centre having racked up a whopping 21,178 activity points over the two weeks.

The top three winning workplaces with the highest average activity points were:

1st – CHUFT
2nd – Colchester Institute
3rd – Colchester Borough Council

The Winning Departments (more than one participant):

1st – Clinical Audit at CHUFT
2nd – The Walkie Talkies team from CBC
3rd – Facilities Department from Colchester Institute

For the full workplace leaderboard and number of participants from each workplace go to

Thanks for joining in, hope you enjoyed the challenge and are feeling the health benefits? Look out for the cycling challenge coming up next month

Stepping Up students

Haben Tekeste and Khalilullah Omarkhail, recently completed 3 days of work experience at The University of Essex in the Biological Sciences Department. Their work included; making buffer solutions, conducting spectroscopy of haemoglobin, looking at crystallography of proteins and studying spectroscopic measurement of the oxygen binding capability of haemoglobin. Feedback from Julie Double, the department technician was glowing:

We really enjoyed hosting your students again this year, we find their enthusiasm and ability to learn very refreshing which makes having them here an absolute pleasure

Phil Toms, Head of Digital Media, Music and Performing Arts

Phil was recently awarded a commemorative gold brick by Steve Mannix, Chief Executive Director of the Mercury Theatre. Phil co-ordinated and performed a rare concert of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells with a 12-strong band of staff and graduates and raised over £8500 for the theatre’s Mercury Rising campaign. The UCC Performing Arts degree students regularly work backstage and perform at the theatre and Phil’s fundraising concert has helped strengthen the partnership between the Mercury Theatre and Colchester Institute.

Murder Mystery lunch

On Thursday 25 May the Level 1 Creative Arts students entertained 65 diners in Colne Bistro with a Murder Mystery lunch. The diners were invited to guess ‘Who Dunnit’ as the drama unfolded around them. It was a very successful afternoon and provided a great partnership between CH&FS students and Creative Arts students!

Working with local companies

The Motor Vehicle Team at Colchester Institute have been working with local companies from both the Refinishing (body/paint) and mechanical routes. The companies are Auto Restore (sister company of Autoglass) and Halfords Autocentres.

Auto Restore is looking to employ learners from our exiting Level 3 Body Shop students coming to the end of their time with us here at College. After they visited us on 23rd May, response back from Auto Restore has been very positive and they are returning to speak with interested learners in June. It is intended that we will be able to continue to provide Auto Restore with newly qualified Level 3 learners into the industry on a yearly basis.

With Halfords Auto Centre we have setup a College Technician Part Time Recruitment Partnership. This is where our current full time level 2 mechanical learners apply for part time work with Halfords autocentres and continue with their full time qualification at Level 3. Halfords are looking to employ up to 15 learners on a part time basis in centres in Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford, It is a is intended that the programme is to continue into the new academic year and beyond.

Response from learners and both companies is very positive and we will continue to work with Halfords and Auto Restore throughout the selection process.

Building Heroes

We are delighted to say our first cohort of Building Heroes graduated with Colchester Institute at the end of May. The next cohort starts on Monday, 5th June. The programme provides Armed Forces Service Leavers with the opportunity to gain construction skills, potentially to kick start a new career.

BA Management students

Our Level 6 BA Management students are currently studying strategic management as a core module. As part of the module requirements, the students are to visit an organisation to understand the processes of Strategic Management in practice.

Some of the students attended a workshop at Tendring District Council on 28 April 2017. The workshop stimulated the students on strategic formulation, implementation and evaluation within a local council. All the students, including one of our exchange programme students from Belgium, enjoyed the sessions.

Team Building – White Water Rafting Trip

Last week the BTEC L2 Travel and Tourism group participated in their team building activity trip to white water rafting at the Lee Valley Centre. As a group they planned and organised the entire trip for one their unit assignments. Staff members from Sport and Tourism, Justine Downey and Alex Lacey, went with them.

The trip was a great success and the students and staff had a great time and enjoyed themselves. The students demonstrated some excellent team building skills.

Congratulations Ian

Ian Perkins, Assistant Area Head of Hospitality, has been nominated and been successful in the nomination for the following award:

Master Chef of Great Britain – a select group of Professional Chefs from around the country recognised for their skills and contributions to the industry

Ian has amongst other things been nominated for his services to education and charity fund raising with CH&FS students.

Internships Inside Out

Two students from the School of Art have acted as ‘interns’ for Inside Out, a group which exists to use creative practice as a way of managing mental wellbeing. Most of Inside Out’s clients are either living with or recovering from serious mental ill health and the charity creates a community for them to be part of, using art as a way of exploring some of the issues that clients wrestle with. The internships allowed the students to gain valuable work experience within the arts and health sector and also offered the possibility of them leading workshops as practitioners.

Allan Williams, Inside Out Programme Leader, said “We value and rely on our volunteers at Inside Out as we believe that the internships benefit the students and we hope to continue this valuable relationship with Colchester Institute”.

Farleigh Hospice £50 challenge

Braintree Business students challenged their tutor to a brilliant fundraising day! The group set about raising funds through a sale, whilst single handedly, the tutor organised and conducted a raffle-type fundraiser. This was a fantastic effort by all concerned and a total of £163.00 raised.

Colchester Institute wins ‘A Passion to Inspire’ competition

A student team from Colchester Institute have triumphed after winning ‘A Passion to Inspire’ following a series of heats against 5 competing colleges. The star-studded final, hosted by Colchester Institute on Tuesday 13th June 2017, featured professional chefs Russell Bateman, Nick Henn, Nick Claxton-Webb, Eric Snaith and Mark Poynton as judges to assess the teams’ ideas and execution. Judges Shara Ross and Nick Mills

were also on hand to assess the students’ front of house skills. The competition differs to other catering and hospitality skills competitions due to the focus on each aspect of the creative process.

Team members Amy Brown, Jade Walmsley and Hazel Webb, who impressed judges with their three course menu, were delighted to be hailed as winners commenting “We are shocked because the standard was so high this year, we didn’t expect to win. Everyone was a worthy winner in our eyes and we feel humbled to come out on top. It was definitely worth all of the effort and late nights”

Ian Perkins, Assistant Area Head of Hospitality at Colchester Institute highlighted the opportunities that winning will bring his students, commenting:

“It’s an inspiring journey and opportunity for the students to develop and perfect new skills in the heats all the way through to the final. Winning the competition now gives Amy, Jade and Hazel the chance to experience new, exciting tastes and techniques with Stages and taster menus at Alimentum, Titchwell Manor and the Skills for Chefs Conference in Sheffield. The students really enjoyed participating in the competition and are now excited by the opportunities they now have after winning.”

Colchester Institute students film video book for Essex County Council

Colchester Institute Film and Television students, past and present, have come together to create a series of short films to feature in a video book produced by Essex County Council (ECC). The new initiative will provide those who have autism or a learning disability with the confidence needed to face certain medical procedures they may find

daunting. The project was carried out by four current Film and Television students Glory Ramazani, Isaac Ramazani, Oliver Findlay and Molly Costello as well as former students Harry Thompson and Laura Yapp.

Reg Thompson, Programme Leader in Creative Media commented:

‘The project required a great deal of commitment from the students over a long period and a high level of skill. Films had to be shot without forward planning and under pressure in difficult environments and working with medical professionals who could not be asked to “do that again because the lighting wasn’t right. The final video books are a testament to the skill and strength of character of our students. I am very proud that our students have played a significant part in this truly innovative project”