January – March 2019

Colchester Institute students interviewed for BBC Look East

Leigh Milner from the BBC was at Colchester campus on Monday 4th February interviewing our students!

The 4th February 2019 marked 15 years since the creation of Facebook and the BBC wanted our students’ take on social media and how they use it. The piece was then aired on the 6:30pm showing of BBC Look East.

Students, Dee Dee, Nikita, James, Luke and Mark did a great job and were naturals in front of the camera!

Former student, Jamie Houghton is crowned sugar skill world champion

Jamie Houghton and his fellow teammates have earned 5th place in worldwide competition, Coupe de la Monde de la Patisserie. Not only did the team achieve the highest spot the UK team has ever seen but their sugar piece was crowned the best in the world. Jamie led on the sugar piece, as the sugar candidate for the UK team. The theme of the piece was ‘Oceana’ and the design was monochrome with highlights of blue, which Jamie said was chosen to create more of an impact.

The competition has been a dream of Jamie’s for many years and after 13 months of preparation, his vision has come to reality. Offering advice to those looking to follow in his footsteps, Jamie said “Don’t be scared of working hard because you can learn to do anything. If you want to be a master of your craft, you can achieve anything with hard work and dedication.”


Phoebe picks up her Apprenticeship and Further Education Award

Phoebe Hockney, an Engineering apprentice, picked up her Ian Smith Memorial Award for Innovation. Phoebe was nominated by Shane Steward for ‘Outstanding Achievement’.

Phoebe has been working on an electro-pneumatic test rig, which has required all disciplines of engineering to complete, design, fabrication, manufacture, fitting and assembly, test and commissioning. This test rig has provided an excellent resource for her fellow students on the course she is studying.  Phoebe really is an outstanding student who deserves every success in
the future.

Ex-student, Patricia Allison plays ‘Ola’ in new Netflix hit

Alumna of Colchester Institute, Patricia Allison is appearing on screens worldwide after filming new Netflix series, ‘Sex Education’ playing series regular, ‘Ola’. The show has received a significant positive response online and is well-known on social media platforms. This is not her first time on a popular TV show, Patricia also appeared in BBC1’s series of Les Miserables in the role of Marguerite.

Patricia studied Musical Theatre and spoke highly of the course, commenting: “Colchester Institute was the first taste of what was yet to come in terms of my drama training. I learned an immense amount of discipline, whilst exploring my inner creativity; it was so exciting to come straight out of school and into a vocational acting (Musical Theatre) course, I felt I had definitely taken a step in the right direction. Being amongst like-minded peers was a joy - they, like my tutors helped shape my short, but sweet time there."

AMI UK Manufacturing Apprentice Winner

Congratulations to Jordan Nicholas who won the AMI UK Manufacturing apprentice in November 2018.  Jordan of Essex-based precision machining company, Tridan Engineering Ltd, is a Level 3 apprentice studying at Colchester Institute.  This is an accolade awarded to the very best apprentice.

Jordan said: “Winning the award was quite a shock!  This could not have been achieved without the workforce around me, every single person has always offered myself help, advice, and expertise about engineering.”

Tridan are particularly proud of an in-house apprenticeship scheme.  They believe that the continued success of the company is due to the constant drive for improvements, and the importance of growing their own talent. In 2017, Tridan were recognised for best practice by the Parliamentary Review, an accolade they are particularly proud of.

Business students developing Networking and Entrepreneurial skills

On 15 November 2018 a group of Business Level 3 students competed in an exciting entrepreneurial activity ‘Aspirations in Business’ against 5 other schools/colleges in Essex at Felsted School.  Four students, Zak Johnson-Hardcastle, Frankie O’Brien, Megan Potter and Ben Robins won not only prestigious membership of Institute of Directors (IoD) for a year but are also invited to join Directors of successful businesses from all over Essex at their next breakfast meeting with Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards.

University Centre Colchester launches Film and Gaming Suites

Must-have Film and Gaming equipment now takes pride of place inside University Centre Colchester’s new state-of-the-art learning zones.

The suites, decked out with games consoles, 3D cameras and production equipment, were launched at the end of January exclusively for Digital Media students to help prepare them for their future careers.

One of the students, Georgie Peck, who is on a degree course in Digital Film Production and showcased her 360 virtual reality videos of the UCC rooms at the event.  Georgie said “This is a great asset for our learning and it enables us to become more creative.  We can now produce things we couldn’t before and this will really help me with my final year assignments.”

Mark Backler from The Games Hub and Innovation Centre at the University of Essex cut the ribbon. He said “It’s really great equipment and excellent for the students to have this technology available to them.  The gaming industry is growing rapidly and it’s great for University Centre Colchester to be recognising this and pushing ahead.”

Accounting Apprentices have passed …

The first 9 Accounting apprentices have passed the new Apprenticeship Standards End Point Assessment. These apprentices are the first area in the College to do so with 3 of the students achieving distinction. Well done!

Public Services visit the Parachute Regiment

BTEC Level 2 and Level 3 Public Services students along with lecturer, Richard Holland, went to the Parachute Regiment Barracks on Wednesday, 6th February to present them with their mounted poppy on a commemorative plaque as a lasting memorial to WW1 Centenary.

The students, Chloe Western; Jordan Davies; James Ross and Adam Ayala, were selected by the Course Tutors based on achievement and progress to date and their very keen interest in wanting to join the Army.  In addition, they were privileged to receive a small tour of the Barracks and a talk about weapons.

Firefighting Apprentices now signed up

Colchester Institute have now signed up their first 12 Firefighting apprentices with Essex County Fire and Rescue.

The apprentices are undertaking the Level 3 Operational Firefighting Apprenticeship.  Currently, apprentices are undergoing their first 14 week basic training before being assigned to their own watch in and around Essex.  Apprentices are signed onto the apprenticeship for 24 months.

A further 12 Firefighting apprentices are due to be enrolled in May 2019.

Zest Quest Asia 2019 National Finalists

Zest Quest Asia is the student catering competition that recognises talent, knowledge and understanding of Asian cuisine.

Colchester Institute was shortlisted to the top 6 out of 55 colleges and universities taking part and got through to the national final in London on Friday, 8th February.  The other teams taking part were North Hertfordshire College, Sheffield College, Sheffield Hallam University, University of West London and Westminster Kingsway College.

The Team representing Colchester Institute were students Harry Wilton; Ryan Plummer and Ruby White along with their Tutor, Neil Bishop.  They did exceptionally well winning two categories (i) Kelly Bronze Best Use of Local Sourcing Award and (ii) Master Chefs of Great Britain Best Team Spirit Award.  Congratulations to all those who took part.

Ebony is offered part-time employment

One of our Skills for Enterprise students, Ebony Ladner, has been offered part-time employment with Hype Hair Studio following a successful industrial placement with them.  Following her engagement in this placement, Ebony has decided that she is very keen to explore future training and employment as a hair stylist.  We are hopeful that a possible apprenticeship opportunity will arise from this in September.

Keith Fletcher Award 

Michael Allport, an Access to HE Science and Maths student at Colchester Institute, received runner-up success for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

Michael left school with few GCSEs but a strong desire to study BSc Computer Science.  Having a clear goal in mind led him onto an Access to HE Science and Maths Diploma at Colchester Institute, where he truly excelled; achieving Distinctions in every unit he studied on the programme.

Michael said: “If there were ever an experience I could aptly define as life-changing, my time on Access would be it.  Core studies and my specialist subjects have taught me fundamental skills which have not only enabled me to progress onto University but have already been highly beneficial in the professional work.  The course content was rich with deeply engaging materials and taught by amazing teachers who were interested and able to explain complex subject matters.  All subject material was very well organised and easily accessible online.”

Michael’s abilities were quickly noticed by his course tutors who praised his outstanding work and academic achievement.  Richard Farrar, Course Leader, Access to HE Diplomas, Colchester Institute, said “Michael’s Extended Writing Project was outstanding”.