March – May 2023

Ex-Musical Theatre student wins national award for Playhouse performance

An actor who studied with us has recently won a national award for their performance in a pantomime at the Salisbury Playhouse in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Jasmine Triadi won the Barbara Windsor Award for Best Principal Lead at the UK Pantomime Awards 2023 for her performance in the titular role in Cinderella.

Jasmine studied on the level 3 Musical Theatre Diploma at Colchester Institute, going on to become a 2022 graduate from Italia Conti and recently touring on the UK tour of Mudpuddle Farm’s Pigs Might Fly.

What a fantastic achievement!

Students produce film for NHS recruitment

Our level 3 second year film students have recently delivered the final film of the ESNEFT (East Suffolk and North Essex HNS Foundation Trust) Careers Fair filmed earlier this academic year at Colchester United’s JobServe Community Stadium.

The event was organised by the NHS Talent for Care team led by Louise Bennett.

From the beginning of September onwards Paul Herron and Reg Thompson liaised with Louise to enable the filming of what proved to be a hugely successful day.

More than twenty film students with almost all of the equipment held by the college, including cameras, tripods, lights and sound recording devices, travelled by mini bus to the stadium where they filmed and recorded interviews for 8 hours with more than 500 delegates and 70 NHS staff.

The students shot over 100 hours of footage which was then edited over a period of 3 months allowing for feedback.

The final film was delivered to Louise on Monday April 17th and will be used to advertise the next fair.

A job well done!

Public Services students attend Essex Fire & Rescue workshops

First-year students from the Public Services area recently attended two fantastic workshop opportunities conducted in collaboration with Essex County Fire & Rescue Service (ECFRS). They proved to be a resounding success and left a lasting impact on the participating students.

On 3rd May 2023, a presentation was given by the training team at ECFRS, which covered career application requirements and further detail into how staff are trained to become full-fledged firefighters.

Following the informative presentations, the students were provided with hands-on experience in basic fitness activities expected of fire applicants during the selection process. This practical introduction allowed the aspiring firefighters to gain a deeper understanding of the physical demands and the level of fitness required for their chosen profession.

The next day, a group of learners from the cohort visited the Witham Fire Training Centre, hosted by ECFRS personnel. The visit provided a remarkable insight into the world of firefighting and further prepared the learners for their future applications to join the Fire and Rescue service.

During the visit, the students received a comprehensive careers briefing, packed with invaluable information and tips on how to best prepare for their applications, as well as the opportunity to explore the state-of-the-art facilities at the training centre.

Business students arrange Charity Football event and Frankie wins Jack Petchey award

As part of their Event Management module, Level 3 Business students learn about event organisation whilst gaining practical skills in the planning and running of an event of their choice.

After some group discussion, the Braintree cohort decided they would plan a Charity Football Match with family-fun activities. All the proceeds made would go to Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund; a small, local charity who provide financial and emotional support to families of children who are fighting cancer.

During the lead-up to the day, two Event Managers from the charity came to the Braintree Campus and delivered a presentation to the students. This highly beneficial session allowed them to gain an insight into the event organiser role and routes into industry, as well as practical and impactful advice and guidance towards their own event.

The Braintree Business students worked extremely hard in the planning of their event, which took place on 11th April at Braintree Sport and Health Club. Activities included: a 9-a-side football match, a raffle, refreshments, and more.

The students successfully raised over £1000 for Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund, enough to send five families on a respite holiday. They are rightfully very proud of their achievement!

In other Business news, Level 3 student Frankie has won the prestigious Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement award, in recognition of his buoyant energy in class and the endless support he gives for his friends’ endeavours.

In selfless fashion, he shared his prize with his fellow classmates, taking them all out for an evening meal and trip to the local cinema.

Motor Vehicle tutor enters final of Automechanika National paint championship

Representing Colchester Institute, Auto Body Repair & Refinishing lecturer Julian Woodstock has been shortlisted to the final in the competition, being one of eight individuals to reach this stage. Julian will be competing against several professional custom painters whilst representing the college in the final at NEC Birmingham.

The championship requires finalists to custom paint a car bonnet, supplied by Automechanika, according to a particular subject theme. For this year, the theme is ‘Mobility Royale’.

When finished Julian’s design will represent a piston morphing into a crown, and the images below show various stages of the design in progress. A piston is considered to be the royalty of components, and the top of a piston is called a crown.

The winner will be selected on the 7th June, as part of a live ceremony, and be named the National Paint Champion. They will then be invited to attend Automechanika Frankfurt in 2024, where participants will compete internationally with the chance to become world champion.

We wish Julian the best of luck! You can vote for his masterful submission here.

Public Services students visit units of the Army Reserve

Level 3 learners recently visited units of the Army Reserve at the Army Reserve Centre on Colchester Garrison, where they were introduced to transport, medical and signals units, as well as seeing some of the equipment used and speaking to soldiers about their roles.

In addition, they tried their hands at some basic skills, such as wearing combat clothing, using stretchers and medical equipment, building shelters and using a laser target range.

All participants enjoyed themselves, with the day providing a great insight into an exciting occupation and possible career path, with one of our learners starting the application process.

As a college, we have good links with the Army Reserve, having engaged heavily with them previously as they offer an opportunity for our learners to join and learn new skills and qualifications whilst still here at Colchester Institute.

Mechanical and Electrical Services Industry Workshops

Learners on plumbing programmes have recently received an number of practical workshops and seminars from visiting employers as part of a industry day.

Frankische, an international pipe manufacturer for drainage, heating and electrical systems, conducted a seminar on multi-layer composite pipework and innovative pipe joining methods from current industry and REMS, who are recognised as the worlds leading manufacturer of machines and tools for professional pipe installation, conducted a seminar on modern, innovative tools from industry.

Various groups attended over the course of the day, including Level 1 and Level 2 full-time learners and Level 3 apprentices.

These days provide learners with valuable up to date industry knowledge, with all learners in attendance receiving certificates.

Jack awarded Coltsman of the Year

One of our 1st-year Public Services learners, Jack Gostling, has just been awarded “Coltsman of the Year” – as the best under 17 and 18 Rugby player within the Colchester RFC Colts team, which is a fantastic achievement based on hard work and dedication.

Jack’s twin brother, George, also plays for the team, and both brothers are highly motivated to the game and strive to achieve the highest standards of skill, competitiveness and teamwork: all key attributes within the uniformed protective services.

Well done Jack!

Colchester Institute Student Scoops 1st Place at Skill Build Competition

Colchester Institute is proud to announce that Elliot Piper-Hunter, a second-year Joinery apprentice working with Churchill Brothers, has achieved an outstanding victory in a recent regional competition. Elliot, representing Colchester Institute, competed against talented students from various educational institutions across the Southeast and emerged as the first-place winner.

The competition, held on 11th of May 2023 at Lewisham College, brought together aspiring joiners to showcase their skills, knowledge, and craftsmanship. Participants were evaluated based on their technical proficiency, attention to detail, creativity, and adherence to industry standards.

Elliot Piper-Hunter, with his dedication, passion, and exceptional talent, demonstrated remarkable expertise throughout the competition. His ability to transform raw materials into finely crafted joinery pieces impressed the judges and set him apart from his peers. Elliot’s exemplary workmanship, combined with his meticulous attention to detail, resulted in a well-deserved first-place achievement.

Elliot Piper-Hunter

As an apprentice at Churchill Brothers, Elliot has been under the guidance of skilled professionals who have nurtured his talent and provided him with valuable opportunities to refine his craft. Colchester Institute takes pride in its apprenticeship program, which not only equips students with theoretical knowledge but also prepares them for real-world challenges and success.

Elliot’s victory is a testament to the commitment and dedication of both the apprentice and the educational institution. Colchester Institute celebrates his remarkable achievement and commends him for representing the Institute with exceptional skill and professionalism.

Area Head Christopher Coe is thrilled with Elliot’s performance: “This victory not only recognises his remarkable talent but also reflects the quality of education and training provided by Colchester Institute. We are proud to have Elliot as an ambassador for our joinery apprenticeship program.”

Elliot’s achievement highlights the significance of vocational education and the bright future that awaits skilled tradespeople. With his determination and proficiency, Elliot is poised to make significant contributions to the joinery industry and inspire other aspiring craftsmen.

In addition, Nathan Usher, a second-year level 3 furniture production student, has also represented Colchester Institute in a recent Skillbuild regional qualifier, again achieving an outstanding result.

Nathan placed second in the Furniture & Cabinet Making category, beating out competitors from colleges across the country. The World Skills competition is a highly prestigious event that brings together the best young professionals from various fields, including technology, construction, and creative arts. 

Nathan won 2023’s Davonport gauge of excellence by winning our in-house furniture competition, beating four other students, Sophie Finlayson, Freddie Corbyn, Sam Hogarth and Luca Anzalone, and was awarded the prize by Richard Davonport, owner of Davonport’s Kitchens and sponsor of the competition.

In doing so, he achieved selection to represent the college at the Skillbuild regional qualifier taking place at the City of Oxford College.

Participants undergo rigorous training and preparation months in advance, and only the most skilled and talented individuals are chosen to compete.

Nathan demonstrated remarkable aptitude and expertise in furniture making, impressing judges with his technical skills, attention to detail, and ability to work under pressure. His second-place finish is a testament to his hard work, dedication, and passion for furniture making and is a source of pride for Colchester Institute.

The next stage of the competition will hopefully see him compete in the national final for a place in the World Skills squad GB and have the chance to compete internationally. 

Nathan found the day a thoroughly enjoyable experience. “It showing my hard work and knowledge from previous SkillBuild competitions, as well as my course with Colchester Institute, has come to be of good use in subsequent challenges.” 

The wood occupations department congratulates Nathan on his impressive accomplishment and wishes him continued success in his future endeavours.


Nathan travelled to Edinburgh to take part in the WorldSkills UK final after his result in the regional qualifier.

For Nathan, along with the other Level 2 and 3 students who also attended, it was a great opportunity for the students to network with national employers and to observe ‘excellence’ in the trade professions.

During their time at the event, they saw the top eight students in the UK competing in the following disciplines: Plumbing, Painting and Decorating, Bricklaying, Stonemasonry, Plastering, Landscape Gardening, Roof-tiling, as well as Carpentry and Furniture Production. This national competition celebrates young, skilled people while supporting their technical education via competitions-based training.

Area Head Christopher Coe said “All the competitors were working so hard, against the clock and to such a high standard. It was truly an inspirational event for those involved”.

Level 3 BTEC Foundation Diploma in Business at Braintree Trip to Bank of England and Westfield Shopping Centre

The Braintree Campus Level 3 BTEC Foundation Diploma in Business students enjoyed an educational trip to London on Tuesday 21st March.

The students had the opportunity to visit The Bank of England, including exploring the museum and attending a presentation focused on the role of The Bank of England. The presentation and Q&A opportunity gave the students a very relevant insight into current UK economic challenges and what The Bank of England is doing to try and lower the current rate of inflation.

Following this, the students enjoyed the afternoon at Westfield Shopping Centre, in which they had free time for shopping and lunch.

Foundation and Supported Learning students take part in a sailing trip

Earlier this month, a group of eight students from our Foundation and Supported Learning area took part in a four-day residential trip aboard the Blue Mermaid Sailing Barge. They were accompanied by two members of staff, Julie and Paula, who chronicled the journey.

On day one, they arrived at Heybridge Boat Yard and began their voyage down the River Blackwater. The students were able to get involved immediately; clear and patient instructions from crewmembers Richard, Hilary and Olly, meant our learners could take on new challenges and learn new skills in a safe and supported environment.

Day two saw the Blue Mermaid sailing past the familiar Brightlingsea coastline to Sandy Point, East Mersea, where Hilary, one of the crewmembers, had set up a treasure hunt for the students.

On day three, everyone was up bright and early to hoist the foresail and travel out to sea. In the evening, Richard took some students out for rowing lessons around the boat before dinner and all enjoyed a night of board games.

The final day saw everyone sailing back in good spirits. The students discussed the skills they had learnt and waved farewell to the crew before heading back home.

Educational and Pastoral Support Officer Julie showed immense pride in the students who took part in this trip, “This experience was exceptional in every way. Every one of our students gained so much: learning new skills, building on and improving their social and personal development, gaining self-esteem and confidence and having the opportunity to take part in something completely away from their everyday lives.”

The trip was funded by £4960 of donations to the Sea Change Trust from Active Thames and The Gostling Foundation. The College sincerely thanks them for their contribution that have helped to truly enrich these student’s lives.