June – October 2018

Student Wins National Musical Theatre Competition

Daisy Greenwood, one of our current Level 3 Musical Theatre students was announced as the winner in a national competition in August.  The competition was to find a future Musical Theatre star, and as winner, Daisy performed in Lambert Jackson’s ‘There’s Nothin’ Like a Dame’, a celebration of 100 years of women in musical theatre at Cadogan Hall on 30 August 2018. The judges commented that ‘whilst young, Daisy displayed a level of maturity in her performance that was far beyond her years’.

UCC Graphic Design Student wins prestigious international competition

The D&AD International Student Awards for Graphic Design and Advertising have been announced. Charlotte Anderson-Barrow, a Colchester Institute graduate of 2018, was awarded a Graphite Pencil, one of only 43 students to receive the accolade for competition work on the ‘live’ student briefs.

The event ended with the presentation of a prestigious Black Pencil, for the best submission from some six thousand entries. This coveted award was presented to Naomi Taylor a graduate of the course 3 years ago. Go UCC!!

Sailing Residential

In early October, Karl Delaine had the pleasure of taking ten learners on Sailing Barge Reminder for a five day residential, with the Sea-Change Sailing Trust. Our courses cater for learners with a multitude of learning difficulties, so consequently the group who took part in the sailing residential have a wide range of individual barriers to learning, in a social capacity, as well as academically. With this in mind, the sailing trip really is a great challenge for each individual.

MacMillan Coffee Morning

The Exams Team held a MacMillan Coffee Morning in September and raised £144.03 for MacMillan Cancer. Well done to all those involved.

ESOL Team provide a Welcome Tea Party

This year the ESOL Team decided to hold a Welcome Tea Party for our new ESOL and EFL students, complete with jam and cream scones and English breakfast tea. As well as providing an opportunity for students and staff to relax together and get to know each other better, this also gave everyone the chance to highlight an important aspect of British Values and culture. Students were very appreciative of the event and we hope to repeat it every year.

Hannah Wins Awards
Hannah Clark recently graduated from University Centre Colchester with a higher national certificate in Mechanical Engineering.  After accomplishing 11 GCSEs at grade A*-C, Hannah went on to study for a year at AS level but decided that she wanted to pursue a Level 3 Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship instead. Following a great experience as a Level 3 apprentice, Hannah moved onto degree level and never looked back.

Hannah has been involved in the Shell Eco Marathon, one of the world’s leading energy efficiency competition programmes, heading up the team in the national competition.  She has even been included in one of Shell’s national campaigns as an ‘Engineering Real-Life Hero’ and was interviewed by actress Letitia Wright regarding her experience as a young woman in STEM.

Since graduating, Hannah has been offered a position at her apprenticeship company, COMUS as a Project Engineer and has recently won the Tendring District Council Blue Ribbon Award.

“I would definitely promote Colchester Institute as an excellent option for all students looking to progress to degree level!  A high standard of tuition in a wide range of brilliant facilities ensures quality learning and exploration of knowledge.  The support offered to students makes learning enjoyable and tailored to every individual.  The opportunities that stem from studying at Colchester Institute are incredible.”  

Waitrose Community Matters Fundraising

Waitrose Community Matters Nomination raised £600 for the Foundation & Supported Learning Programme STEPS courses.

The money raised through Community Matters will help provide materials/tools for use when students are taking part in fundraising enterprise skills projects, as the students raise money to fund a trip to the Mercury Theatre pantomime every year for 50+ students.

STEPS students also take part in work experience within the college Sensory Garden and need to plant more bulbs and buy wild bird food. This will help continue to make this area a pleasant, safe and enjoyable surrounding for all students/staff to use.


For the first three weeks of term, two adult students from Germany joined the Foundation and Supported Learning Area to work as voluntary Learning Support Practitioners.

This was the fourth group of students we have welcomed as part of an Erasmus+ project and the experience was a great success for everyone involved. Ulli and Oksana were absolutely fantastic and we really enjoyed having them as part of our team (seen pictured supporting students at the Go4 Café in the attached picture).

Cancer Centre Campaign receives £2,222 cheque from Colchester Institute

Colchester Institute recently celebrated a year of partnership with Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity. The College has supported the charity’s Cancer Centre Campaign for the past year as their designated charity of the year.

Staff and students at the College have worked hard over the past academic year in order to raise funds. The College supported the charity through fund-raising events such as participating in a Santa Fun Run, Big Sea Dip, Starlight Walk, a Christmas jumper day and many more. Collection pots were also dotted around campus, to raise awareness and funds.

One of Colchester Institute’s staff members, Nicky Withycombe organised the Starlight Walk, which raised extensive funds for the charity. Many Colchester Institute staff members supported Nicky with the walk through participation and donations.

The final sum of £2,222.40 was presented by Colchester Institute’s Principal and Chief Executive, Alison Andreas to Community Fundraising Manager, Julie Arthur.

BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles Staff Exhibition

The team of teaching staff and technicians worked on a collaborative Fashion Interiors project over the summer break, and the work was recently on display at The Minories Gallery, High Street, Colchester along with work by a number staff at University Centre Colchester.

The Fashion Interiors work was produced as a group project by BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles staff: Val Jacobs, Louise Seager, Becky Alexander and Gill Morgan. This was a collaborative installation in response to the work of Beatriz Milhazes’ exhibition, Rio Azul at the White Cube Gallery.

Garments demonstrate complexity of cut. Techniques include transformational reconstruction using curved or circular seams; straight lines translate into gored skirts and trousers with a continuous spiralling seams. Glitter, flock and smooth vinyls are digitally cut and collaged with giant sequins to reflect light.

A twelve colourway, screen printed length used a variety of binders evoking brightness and luminescence.

Digital printing was applied to wallpaper and fabrics translating curves and circular shapes into a vertiginous visual experience.

Print and Fashion design combine to illustrate the richness of these disciplines, reinforcing the crossover between fashion and interiors.

GO4 Café Work Experience Partnership

Foundation and Supported Learning students have now completed their first year of running the GO4 café located within the Old Heath Recreation Ground each Thursday. It has been a great success, providing excellent opportunities for students to gain really useful work experience in a working café and the chance to practice and improve their social skills. The team said, ‘We have become a valued part of the GO4 enterprise and a part of the local community; we have our own regulars on Thursdays who come in particularly to support the students and enjoy their excellent customer services! Building upon our success, we have been asked to run this for a second day per week!’

Talented furniture-making qualifies for a place at World Skills UK finals…

Charlie Teager-Neale, on a Furniture Course at Colchester Institute, has qualified for a place at the finals of WorldSkills UK putting him in the top 7 students in the country. The final takes place at the Birmingham NEC during 14th-17th November.

WorldSkills UK is a partnership between businesses, education and Governments that accelerates young people’s careers giving them the best start in work and life. There is an international final every year in the Autumn, so this might only be the beginning for Charlie!

Many of the students and staff from the Wood Occupations (Furniture) Department will be travelling up to Birmingham on Friday, 16th November to cheer him on.

Colchester School of Art Prize

Hayley Chapman was awarded the Colchester School of Art prize for outstanding achievement at the 2018 graduation ceremony. During her final year she had the opportunity to present her textile collection to Sir Paul Smith who was very encouraging and gave valuable feedback.

Hayley is one of 24 graduates selected by TexSelect, a prestigious industry organisation who offer a mentoring programme to support new talent. She has just exhibited her work at Première Vision Paris following this Hayley will be interning at Lake Como, Italy.

British Values – Houses of Parliament Education Team, Guest Speaker

Colchester Skills to Succeed, Skills for Enterprise and Progression Studies have had a visit from the Houses of Parliament Education Team. They have learnt about how MPs are elected, what the parliament do and took part in a Kahoot quiz (see attached photo). Our Clacton students will also benefit from this opportunity as a further visit has been arranged for this campus!

Colchester Citizens Delegate Assembly

On 3rd October, the College Principal attended an event to pledge the College’s support for the establishment of a Citizens Alliance in the town.  Representatives of schools, the University of Essex, the Church, the Mosque, the Foodbank and many other town organisations were present – also pledging their support.  Once formally established the Alliance will work together to tackle issues of importance to our community. These are likely to include Mental Health, Hate Crime, Housing, and Transport for people with disabilities.

Competition Success – Vehicle Body Repair

Kieron Purton is a student in Vehicle Body Repair who entered the Farecla Apprentice and Student Bonnet Painting Competition. This is a national competition which sees hundreds of entries each year. We were all therefore delighted that Kieron’s amazing work won him one of just five places in the grand final – where judging took place on 3rd October.

Although not selected as the winner, this was a fantastic achievement and all finalists won great prizes.

Graduate Award Scheme Winner announced

In late August, the interview process for the UCC School of Art Graduate Award Scheme was undertaken by Amy Turnbull [Co-ordinator at Cuckoo Farm Studios].  Simon Carter [Painter and President of Colchester Art Society] and Mick Stubbs [UCC Head of School of Art].


It was a very strong field of shortlisted graduates by the selection panel finally selected UCC BA Hons Fine Art Graduate Clare Chennells as recipient of the 2018-19 Graduate Award.


The annual Graduate Award Scheme supports the progression and development of a graduating student from UCC School of Art. The scheme is aimed at providing a fantastic opportunity to an individual looking to jump start their creative career, becoming part of Colchester’s vibrant creative community, and based at one of the largest artist studio collectives in the South East.


The Graduate Award Scheme is a partnership between Colchester Art Society, Cuckoo Farm Studios and UCC School of Art.

The selected School of Art graduate, Clare will receive:

  • A multipurpose studio at Cuckoo Farm Studios for one year.
  • £1000 materials bursary from Colchester Art Society.
  • One year Colchester Art Society membership.
  • A solo exhibition at The Minories.
  • Annual exhibiting opportunities: including selection on the two annual Art Society shows.
  • Mentoring and Networking opportunities to support a viable practice.

Retro Revival

Fashion and Textiles students had their end of year show entitled Retro Revival on Tuesday, 22nd May in the Swinburne Hall.  The show featured collections from both year one and year two students – a recycling project from the first year group and an architecture project and the Final Major Project by the second year group.  The Retro Revival event also featured vintage singer Lisa Day.  The evening was a great success – the students did really well either modelling or helping backstage.

For the FMP Retro Revival brief, the Extended Diploma students researched a decade (1950’s, 60’s or 70’s), identifying how artists, designers, advertising, manufacturing, political influences, music, icons and social change impacted on the fashions of the decade.  Using this research they produced a digital textile design, juxtaposing their research of their chosen decade with contemporary textile design.  To create their final garments the students adapted vintage commercial patterns to create cutting-edge fashion garment/outfits utilising their digital textile designs.

Dino Games 2018

Level 3 Extended Diploma and Level 3 Sports Coaching students organised a two day, space themed multi-sports event, for 360 year 2 children.  The event saw 12 infant and primary schools from across Colchester attend the Colchester Garrison Athletics Track in the summer term for the Colchester Institute Dino Games 2018.  Each school participated in 12 activity stations.  Activities included track and field events (long jump, hurdles, sprints, and 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 Tesco Express who donated water and fruit.  The feedback from Schools has been exceptional with some quotes below;

“One of the best organised!”

“We have been coming for the last five years and it keeps getting better”

“Please can we come back next year?  Lovely helpful students.  Enjoyed seeing our past pupils.”

“A very well organised event that gave children an opportunity to take part in some activities they haven’t been exposed to.  The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we loved the enthusiasm of the coaches.  Thanks for a great day!”

Braintree Business Students raise hundreds for charity

Three of our BTEC Level 3 Business groups in Braintree have taken part in the Farleigh Hospice £50 challenge to turn £50 into as much money as possible for the charity. Collectively, the groups raised £309.76 as well as more money which was donated into the Farleigh Hospice charity pots on the days of the events. This has meant that the charity have received in excess of £159.76 profits for the local charity. Most of the money was raised through cake sales, raffles and gaming competitions which the students organised themselves, promoted and ran from the Braintree campus. This has also helped them with one of their Business units for their main course.

10 Years of Stepping Up (ESOL) 16-19 Study Programme

On Friday, 1st June, ESOL tutors and former Stepping Up students came together to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the ESOL 16-19 Study Programme, which started in September 2008.  Over the years, more than 200 young learners have studied on the programme, representing a total of 44 different nationalities.

It was wonderful to see ex students again and to catch up on what they have been doing since leaving Colchester Insitute: many have progressed on to and completed vocational courses elsewhere in the college; several have completed Higher Education qualifications; lots have gone on to find employment and, of course, many have started families.!  One of Stepping Up’s very first students, Adriana, said: I always think fondly of the Institute and our ESOL programme! If it wasn’t for the Stepping Up, I’d have never learnt to speak English like I do now.  It’s quite amazing but I have contact with most of the class still. I think the bond and friendship we formed is beyond anything else.”

Stephanie and Neil cycled 55 miles for…

In summer 2018 two members of staff from Hospitality, Neil Bishop and Stephanie Conway, cycled 55 miles for The National Autistic Society as part of the Anderson Foundation’s annual charity bike ride. The 150 cyclists proved that pedal power can make a real difference to young people’s lives.

The Foundation, which was set up by Chelmsford-based construction firm Anderson Group, who will be putting the money towards the brand new Anderson School it has built for the National Autistic Society in Luxborough Lane, Chigwell. The school, for 128 children aged 11-19 with autism, is due to open in September.

Well done Stephanie and Neil!

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

Shortly before term ended in the summer, a group of ESOL and EFL students took the train to Frinton-on-Sea and then walked along the coast to Walton-on-the-Naze – a round trip of about 8km.  We sampled traditional fish & chips (eaten out of the paper on the beach!) and climbed to the top of the Naze Tower, a historic building dating from 1720, which now houses an art gallery and café and has beautiful views of the coast.  Along the way we had plenty of English conversation practice and learnt some interesting facts about Frinton and Walton.

On Saturday, 23rd June another group of ESOL and EFL students visited a second English seaside town: Brighton. Students marvelled at the exotic Royal Pavilion, enjoyed some shopping in The Lanes and an ice-cream on the beach. Some more adventurous students ventured on to the pier.

Business Plan presentations

Year 1 Business Innovation and Applied Management Programme students recently presented their Business Plans to a panel of judges. The Business Plan is part of assessments for Business Start Up Skills’ module. Chloe Wood was awarded the best Business Plan of the year.

Terrry Tesner, Barclays Business Manager, Eastern Region who was one of the judges and presented the awards commented:

“For the past four years Barclays Bank has been pleased to support University Centre Colchester business degree students by observing their business start-up presentations. It’s always enjoyable to see new entrepreneurs in action and this year the presentations were of a high standard. It was very difficult to decide which ones to award commendations to, I chose Chloe’s as the best of the year because of the detailed content and clear delivery style.”

Creative Conscience

On 3rd July, one of our Foundation Art students, Jed Shaftain-Fenner, was in London to attend the Creative Conscience awards at IBM on Southbank. His entry was a film about Homelessness which he scripted, filmed and edited himself. He thoroughly enjoyed the event and many people expressed surprised at what he had achieved, as he was up against, in some cases, small groups of undergraduates and graduates. There were different categories and numbers of awards but, in film, there were 2 Commendations, 2 Bronze Awards, 2 Silver Awards and 2 Gold Awards. We are proud and pleased to say that Jed achieved one of the Golds!

BA Fine Art Year 3 Graduates Show at FREE RANGE Graduate Art Fair

FREE RANGE is an Old Truman Brewery special project, established by Tamsin O’Hanlon in 2001 to showcase the work of emerging creatives.  Since its inception thousands of students have exhibited at the shows, taking over OTB spaces each summer and connecting with a London audience.  This results in the largest gathering of graduate work in Europe.  The BA Fine Art course previously exhibited in 2014, but having successfully fund raised they were able to secure a large exhibition space for the 2018 series of shows in ART WEEK.  Running 6th July to 9th July, the show saw approximately 3000 visitors and is located on Brick Lane.


The UCC group show ‘Mixed [Hon]ours’ had some excellent feedback, with a number of student approached by art talent scouts and other interested businesses.  The curated show was a great way to cap off the year and further build on their experience of exhibiting in a professional contemporary fine art context.