April – May 2019

Head Cadet in Tendring

Bethany Smith, one of our BTEC Level 3 Public Service students, who is a Police Cadet in Tendring is the first ever to receive the position of Head Cadet in the area.

In recognition of her achievement Beth will be attending the June passing out parade of regular police officers at Police Headquarters, Chelmsford in June.

Well done!

Move It
In March, the Level 3 Dance students attended Move It at the Excel Centre. This annual convention gives the students the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops with guest tutors currently working in the industry and watch performances from all the top vocational colleges from around the UK.

Chloe Smith from the 1st Year Level 3 got scouted in a contemporary class and has been offered a complete scholarship to attend a week long residential summer school at the Institute of the Arts in Barcelona. Here she will take part in an intensive week of dance receiving tuition in Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Commercial and Choreography taught by some of Europe’s leading professionals in the industry.

A fantastic and valuable opportunity for Chloe who hopes to progress to vocational training at the end of her course.

Sam is starring in Fishermen’s Friends

Former Level 3 BTEC Performing Arts student, Sam Swainsbury is starring in ‘Fishermen’s Friends’ currently on release in UK cinemas.

Fisherman’s Friends is a 2019 biographical comedy-drama directed by Chris Foggin from a screenplay by Nick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard and Piers Ashworth.

The film is based on a true story about Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, a group of Cornish fishermen from Port Isaac who were signed by Universal Records and achieved a top 10 hit with their debut album of traditional sea shanties.

The film stars an ensemble cast headed by Daniel Mays, James Purefoy and Tuppence Middleton with David Hayman, Noel Clarke, Dave Johns, Maggie Steed, Sam Swainsbury and Christian Brassington playing key supporting roles.

In the film poster Sam is third from the right.

Visit to Odisee University in Brussels

Students on BSc(Hons) IT Systems and Applications have recently spent 4 days working with visiting students from Odisee University in Brussels, to design and code a system that provides a solution relevant to Banking, giving them an opportunity to practise technical and team working skills, and to develop their awareness of business needs.

A few weeks later, a group of students from Odisee University in Brussels visited University Centre Colchester to work with our own Business Innovation and Applied Management students as the culmination of a 3-month joint project relating to their International Business and Globalization module. It was good to see the cross-cultural teams present the results of their projects at the end of the visit.

During the same visit, both groups of students were privileged to have a presentation from Mr Daisaku Yukita, Deputy Director-General of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) London office. He gave students and staff a fascinating insight into the factors involved in promoting mutually beneficial trade and investment relations between Japan and other nations.

Exercise Physiology Workshop

Sports students on our BTEC Level 3 first year were fortunate enough to participate in an exercise physiology workshop from the Human Sports performance unit at Essex University.

The students completed the bleep test with one learner wearing the portable gas analyser. Once this was completed, the students compared predicted VO2max to measured VO2max and looked at the differences between them. They also received a presentation on indirect calorimetry, VO2max, respiratory exchange ratio and how they can use exercise physiology to prescribe training.

The session was attended well and all students asked lots of questions which helped them with subsequent assignment work.

Ocean Olympics 2019

Level 3 Extended Diploma and Level 3 Professional Sports Coaching students organised an ocean themed multi-sports event for 330 Year 2 children.

On 22 May 2019, 11 infant and primary schools from across Colchester attended the Colchester Garrison Athletics Track for the Colchester Institute Ocean Olympics 2019. Each school participated in 11 activity stations, which included track and field events (long jump, hurdles, sprints, javelin), basketball shootout, golf, target throw and an egg and spoon race.

The Colchester Institute students organised everything themselves, including finding a venue, contacting and inviting schools and marketing the event. In addition, the students raised funds with other events and secured additional sponsorship from Tesco Express who donated water and fruit and Hare and Tortoise Running who donated all of the medals and trophies.

The feedback from Schools has been exceptional – please see some of the quotes below:

“An excellent day for all our children.”
“Fantastic day as always.”
“The whole day was extremely well run and fun for all of us! The coaches were so engaging and had a great rapport with the children.”
“Another well-run and age appropriate event. The children all had a brilliant day and we will definitely be returning next year. Thank you to all the people who led and organised the event.”

Georgie Roy Exhibition and Traction Engines at The Minories

Georgie Roy is a local artist with over 60 years of work. She has a passion for traction engines, but her art encompasses so much more from Aboriginal inspired art to urban nightscapes, musicians, the sea, landscapes, nudes and more.

On Sunday, 7th April the Mayor of Colchester officially opened the Exhibition. Despite the rain, the enthusiasts turned up with their traction engines at 08.30 and the smell was very nostalgic along with the organ playing.

BBC Radio Essex came along and interviewed Georgie and the Mayor.

Everyone enjoyed the event and took the opportunity to visit the Wilkins Tearoom at the Minories.

Health and Social Care to Paramedic progress

Ruby Simmons-Millard completed the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care at Colchester Institute in June 2018 and pursued her ambition to become a paramedic by successfully applying for the B.Sc (Hons) Paramedic Science course at the University of Suffolk in Ipswich.

The course combines classroom learning with placements with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

Ruby recently contacted Nick Nelson, Year 2 Course Leader to update him on her progress.

Ruby started her programme 10 weeks ago and has ‘loved every second of being at Uni so far’, Ruby continued ‘I’m in the ambulance the majority of the time, but have a few shifts on a rapid response vehicle’.

Ruby is the fourth member of her cohort to progress to Paramedic Science, class mates Callum Lloyd, Abigail Little and Sophie Ellis have also started their Paramedic degrees at Anglia Ruskin University and recently came back to support the Health and Social Care department in a University preparation day.

Forensics Taster Day at Anglia Ruskin University

20 students from Colchester Institute recently attended Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge for a Forensics Taster Day.

The students took part in the following activities:

  • Evidence collection and contemporaneous notes: students had to unpackage a t-shirt that was collected from a crime scene and examine it. They had to make detailed notes about the t-shirt including the suspicious red stains on it and the size of them.
  •  Blood testing – Leucomalachite Green (LMG) Test: students had to determine if the suspicious stain on the t-shirt was blood. They had to take positive and negative samples using sheep’s blood and water, and then swab the t-shirt looking for a turquoise blue reaction to indicate it was blood (it was!).
  • Saliva testing – Phaedebas Press Test: students were given a scrunched up tissue in an evidence bag and discovered there was a piece of chewed chewing gum that was collected from a crime scene. They had to run a test to see if the gum tested positive for saliva – if it did then further tests could be done e.g. DNA testing. They had to take positive and negative samples using their own saliva and water, and then swab the chewing gum. This was then placed in the Phadebas paper and left to see if there was a colour change (blue), which there was!
  • Drug testing using Dragendorff Reagent: students were given nine different vials of various drugs and were looking at colour changes. They had to compare them to samples of pure ketamine, a 10% ketamine mix with starch and a 10% cocaine mix with starch to determine if the nine different vials contained any ketamine or cocaine.

At the end of the day, students benefited from a talk about writing personal statements for University. A really enjoyable and successful day out!

Public Services Student Enrichment

During April and May trips, visits and enrichment for our Public Service students have proved very successful.

The learners had the opportunity to visit:

36 Squadron Army Reserves – students received talks and demonstrations on equipment and recruitment at Colchester Garrison. Some enjoyed the experience so much they are now in the application process to work part time with the Reserves whilst completing their course next year.


Chelmsford Fire Station – students received talks and information on communication techniques used in the Fire Service and experienced some drills including wearing the breathing apparatus and entering a smoke-filled room.


Ashdown Forest – our 2nd Year Level 3 students participated in their outdoor expedition trip and took part in navigation exercises, set up an overnight camp and prepared food. On the morning of the second day they took part in a planned expedition around the area.

The photos below show the students at the Winnie the Pooh stone and the Airman’s grave.

Spotlight on BA Hons Fashion and Textiles – and what an exciting year they’ve had!

Visiting Lecturer – It all starts with great Colour…

Lucy Day, Assistant Home Designer, John Lewis, said “I really enjoy the creative buzz and the busy studio atmosphere at Colchester and helping to develop the final year student’s ideas through colour is always exciting”.

Lucy has been a visiting lecturer to the BA Hons Fashion and Textiles students this year, delivering a masterclass in developing colour palettes that translate across fashion and interiors.

After finishing her BA Hons in Fashion and Textiles at Colchester with a first class degree, Lucy went on to study for an MA in textiles at the prestigious Royal College of Art, supported by the first Orla Kiely scholarship.

Lucy’s achievements whilst studying at Colchester include seeing her hand printed garments on the catwalk at London Fashion Week and being a Texselect designer, winning the prize for the Best Fabric for Interiors at Premiere Vision, Paris.

Lucy has experience of designing for a number of prestigious brands and design studios including Liberty Fabrics, Orla Kiely, Zoffany, Emma J Shipley and Circleline Design Studio, she now works with the major high street Brand John Lewis as an assistant designer for home.

Industry Brief – Working with Brands and Industry Mentors

Working with different companies and brands is an important feature of the Fashion and Textiles degree course and helps to formulate ideas about career directions after graduation.

Lucy Tiffney, Interior Designer, said “It was great working with the 2nd Year students, the day involved lots of mark making and drawing, this became the starting point for the brief; I can’t wait to see the finished ideas!”

Lucy Tiffney is an instinctive designer, who gained national recognition through her great work on TV’s ‘Great Interior Design Challenge’. She has a unique and vibrant style. Year 2 students have been working with Lucy to develop both fashion and textile ideas and propose future directions for her online brand.

Our unique Industry Mentoring programme matches each final year student with a useful contact from industry, who will feed into every aspect of the creative work and act as a link between education and joining the industry.

Lee Lapthorne, Creative Director ON|OFF, is considered one of the country’s most significant talents in fashion design. Lee has achieved success as a designer, curator, show director and event manager; he has collaborated with talents such as Rankin, Gareth Pugh and Groove Armada.

Lee has previously contributed to the course as a visiting lecturer and this year has been acting as an Industry Mentor for Chloe Carter a final year student, who said “It has been amazing having Lee as my final year mentor. I have been able to intern for him both at LFW and at his studio, he has really helped me to understand how the industry works and develop my strengths as a designer”.

Prestigious student Award

Designers from Paul Smith visited Colchester to shortlist the crème of this year’s design talent.

Clare White, Designer Manager at Paul Smith, said “We were very impressed with the students. It was so encouraging seeing such well documented research, development, colour and drawing work. It was a tough decision as there were so many strong students, therefore we selected four finalists this year and look forward to welcoming them to the Paul Smith head office in London so Sir Paul can select the winner!.”

Graduate photoshoot
David Lam, an acclaimed fashion photographer, has worked with many of the best models and shot some of the most beautiful garments, including covers for Vogue and Tatler.

Students from Colchester Institute collaborated with David on styling and art direction, during an action packed 2 day shoot.

David said ‘it was lovely to work with such good energy and some very beautiful garments; this year’s work is looking very strong.’