January – March 2022


As part of Colchester Institutes student enrichment programme we have been working with Next Chapter to deliver #TrueNotToxic, to support people experiencing domestic abuse.

In January the #TrueNotToxic team delivered workshops to our students from Hospitality and Salon Studies, alongside the young person’s violence advisers at the College, to talk to students and staff to give information and offer support.

Our students found the sessions really positive and said: “the session was so informative and eye opening”, “it was really good, I learnt stuff I never knew before” and “I found it very informative and well presented.”

Renata East, Head of Hospitality and Salon Studies at Colchester Institute said. “This was an amazing opportunity for our learners to gain awareness and learn coping strategies for dealing with domestic abuse and unhealthy relationships, and know where to go to for support. This will aid them within their current and future careers in industry.”


Aleksandra, Children and Young Person’s Team Leader from Next Chapter said: “#TrueNotToxic is committed to stop the cycle of violence by educating young people about domestic abuse & unhealthy relationships, and empowering them to challenge myths, stereotypes and attitudes that normalise abuse. The students who attended our course learnt what domestic abuse is and how it impacts young people. They have also learnt about current service provision, where to get help and how to access support for someone they know.”

More workshops are being planned over the following months. You can find out more about #TrueNotToxic via their website https://www.thenextchapter.org.uk/truenottoxic which is designed for young people who may be in their first relationships and experiencing domestic abuse, or you can contact them on 01206 500585

Colchester’s newest police officer

Colchester Institute Public Services alumnus Daniel Palmer has become one of 70 new officers who have recently completed their initial training with Essex Police.

Marking the occasion at a passing out parade led by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, with guests including Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst, Essex High Sheriff Simon Brice, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce Denise Rossiter and family and friends, the new police officers will join policing teams across Essex.

For PC Palmer becoming a police officer is a childhood dream having already served as a special constable. “I like stepping into the unknown and helping people, that’s what I thrive on,” said Daniel, who has been looking forward to joining the team in Colchester.”

“Policing has been something I’ve wanted to do since I was five.”

Daniel Palmer

“I like a challenge and I don’t like waking up and doing the same thing. I like stepping into the unknown and helping people, that’s what I thrive on. Friday, my passing out parade was one of the best days of my life. I’ve been waiting for 19 years.”

“The training I’ve received has given me a view on what true policing is and the level of service I’m going to be providing. I absolutely love helping people. I joined the volunteer police cadets when I was 17 and from there, I applied to become a Special Constable. Then I applied to join the regulars.”

Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said: “Essex Police continues to grow, and it is a pleasure to see these new recruits joining. Working alongside national government we have significantly increased the investment in policing over the last six years and, by March 2023, the total size of the force will be 3,755 – a growth of 900 officers since 2016.”

George wins ‘Gauge of Excellence’

Colchester Institute furniture making student George Davey has won the first ever ‘Davonport Gauge of Excellence’ award.

Set up in partnership between the Colleges Wood Occupation’s department and Davonport, a local furniture company in Colchester that specialises in hand-crafted bespoke kitchens, the award will be run as an annual competition for the Colleges Furniture Production students.

Up and running for its first year, the award was open to all students on the Furniture Production programme. The competition involved a 6-hour task, where the students’ woodworking skills were put to the test, creating a footstool combining dovetail joints as well as mortise and tenon joints.

2022 winner George Davey was delighted to be the first winner of the award. “It was quite a challenging task and I was up against seven other great furniture makers. The day was great fun, I didn’t realise how competitive I really was before this!”

Richard and George

Presenting the award was Richard Davonport, the Founder and Managing Director of Davonport. “We have been working in partnership with the College for several years now, supporting and nurturing young talent of the future. However, this year I wanted to take it to another level and mark the partnership with an annual award.”

Head of Wood Occupations and Associated Trades, Chris Coe spoke highly of the award. “Davonport are a leading company in Colchester and already recruit a number of Colchester Institute students, either part time whilst studying at Colchester Institute or full time, once our learners have successfully completed their studies. By having the ‘Davonport Gauge of Excellence’ award, the learners have something to aspire to and it is also a reward for the outstanding work they have done.”

As well as the title, the award winner also received a handmade trophy, designed and made by Davonport.

Colchester Institute sees a successful return of the Progression Fair

The return of the Progression Fair was welcomed by over a thousand students, a number of universities and exhibitors from a range of industry sectors, allowing students to explore their next steps including apprenticeships.

Already, we have received excellent feedback, with one university commenting how impressed they were with the intelligent questions asked by our students.

The Careers Team would like to thank all those involved for making the Progression Fair such a success, with particular thanks to David Comish for escorting 62 students from the Braintree Campus to the Colchester site, as well as the colleges Marketing team, who without their expertise and support the fair would not have been the success it was.

Progression Fair

University Centre Colchester

Hospitality and Salon Studies students success recognised

Georgina wins award

Last year’s Level 3 Professional Chefs student Georgina has been given an award in recognition of her success from the Master and members of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Cooks (one of London’s oldest Livery Companies). She was invited to their annual prize winners’ Lunch with Dame Prue Leith being the guest of honour.

During half term Catering and Hospitality staff went to visit Level 3 Hospitality Supervision student Bobby, who has just completed a 12 week programme working at the prestigious restaurant Galvin at Windows, situated on the 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton.

Bobby’s prestigious work experience

Bobby was selected for the work experience programme after staff nominated him to Chris Galvin, Chef Patron and former Colchester Institute student.

Galvin at Windows general manager Peter Avis, was extremely happy with Bobby’s professionalism and effort, commenting on what a good ambassador he was for the college.

Georgina collecting her award

Each student is Unrepeatable!

Beks, our college Chaplain, is a major part of the enrichment programme offered to students and we are delighted that the ‘Unrepeatable’ workshops are once again being delivered in person.

The key message to students is “no one else can live the life you will live” as they are unique.

‘Unrepeatable’ provides a comfortable environment and opportunity for students to learn more about who they are, their skills, dreams and priorities, and how these could shape their lives.

Participants have the opportunity to pause, reflect and look ahead to the next stage of their lives and therefore the activities support the progression of students.

Staff who have taken part have found the workshop beneficial too “I’m so glad I attended. Having the opportunity to press the stop button and reflect was really worthwhile and I would thoroughly recommend this to colleagues.“

Unrepeatable workshop

Reflection in progress

Frank Howard Wood Occupations Sponsorship

Colchester Institute’s Wood Occupation department have joined forces with Braintree based independent tool stockist and supplier Frank Howard Tools & Fixings.

The announcement of the partnership was marked with the installation of a commemorative plaque, situated outside the main workshop.

The partnership will also see the creation of an annual ‘Student of the year’ award.

Frank Howards Tools & Fixings are incredibly proud to be working in partnership with Colchester Institute. “We have been working closely with the Wood Occupations department to provide tool demonstrations and offer expert advice to the team, in return we have received the warmest welcome from Chris, Gary and the rest of the team. We have found new friends and hope that together we can inspire the next generation.”

Unveiling the plaque

Art Foundation students begin researching for their FMP!

Level 3 Art Foundation students have started their Final Major Project and have been out visiting various art galleries to collate research.

Students have been working on how to identify, gather and use different types of research to inform creative practice ranging from daily newspapers, the good old library, contemporary art galleries and museums.

As part of their research students visited their local Firstsite gallery, to see their current exhibitions. As well as travelling further afield to visit the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford to view their extensive collection of objects and artefacts.

Art Foundation Students visit Firstsite

Art Foundation Students visit the Pitt Rivers Museum

RNLI Desk Top Exercise

Our Uniformed Public Services groups have been undertaking a series of presentations and desk top exercises with the RNLI which have proved popular with all learners who have taken part.

The RNLI have been running these exercises at Colchester Institute for several years, but had to pause during the pandemic, so it’s been great to welcome them back again.

At the start of the day, our learners were initially introduced to the importance of water safety, life saving techniques and the work of the RNLI, both nationally and around our local coastlines and waterways, through a series of presentations.

During the second phase of the day learners were split into groups to take part in an evolving, interactive sea rescue scenario which is based around a real-life incident. The scenario involves teamwork and leadership, communication skills, basic nautical navigation techniques and problem solving, with all participants fully-engaged in the scenario throughout.

Our learners not only enjoyed the day, but were also able to use the activity as part of their Level 3 Teamwork, Leadership and Communication assignment evidence.

RNLI desk top exercise in progress!

Interactive sea rescue scenario

Students celebrate their exam achievements

students celebrate btec results

Celebrating exam success!

There were celebrations last week as our students received their grades for BTEC exams sat this January.

After two years of uncertainty surrounding exams due to the pandemic, with results based on teacher-assessments due to exams being cancelled, students have displayed exceptional resilience and determination in tackling what for some of them have been their first public examinations.

With just the coursework units remaining before they attain their full qualification, many students have achieved results that will go a long way towards applications to a range of universities, or onto their chosen career path.

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas are work related applied general qualifications equivalent to A levels, and are designed to deliver the skills required for different careers. The courses are a mix of theory and practical, and students develop the skills and knowledge to progress to a range of next steps including university, apprenticeships or the world of work.

More than a thousand students sat exams across a wide range of subject areas including Science, Early Years, Health and Social Care, Engineering, Construction and Public Services, with some outstanding results in every area.

Business and Computing students were amongst the highest achievers, averaging 99% pass rates for both exams taken for each subject, whilst many students achieved distinctions across all subject areas.

With exams weighing heavily towards their overall grade, Carmel Asbury, Head of Business, Accounting & Computing is delighted with the student’s success.

“It was fantastic to see the results in the BTEC Level 3 January exam series for Computing and Business students, who have had so much disruption to their education in the last two years. There were no adaptations given for these exams, which makes this such a credible achievement and will boost the student’s confidence. On completion of their course these students will go on to University, Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, into employment or set up their own business.”

Charlie Williamson, a Business Level 3 student was pleased with his results and spoke about his plans for the future.

“I was very happy to receive the grades that I feel I deserve after the last two years of hard work at college. Having never sat a physical exam before, it made me a bit sceptical about the process, however I received constant support and mentoring from my tutors. The grades in which I have achieved will enable me to progress onto a degree apprenticeship after completing my course this year.”

Will Quince visits Public Services students!

Colchester Institute’s Public Services students participated in a question and answer session with MP for Colchester Will Quince during his recent visit to the campus.

The session enabled students to find out more about Will’s role as Colchester’s Member of Parliament, before being followed-up by learners putting a series of engaging questions to Will.

Will Quince answers students questions