News (302)

Newbury College is hosting its annual family fun Open Day at its Monks Lane Campus on Saturday 14 May, between 10am and 1pm. The event showcases the wide variety of courses the College has to offer and includes the launch of its new part-time guide for courses starting in September. Visitors will have the opportunity to speak to subject specialists, take part in interactive activities and watch visual displays.

Alongside the event, and as part of their Skills Project, the Animal Care students are running a charity dog show. Dogs and their owners are invited to enter the competition, all proceeds raised at the dog show will go to the National Dogs Trust.

Other activities on the day include a climbing wall, mountain bike pump track, interactive portrait sketching workshop and an international café serving delicacies from Italy, Spain and France.

Principal Dr Anne Murdoch, OBE said, “We are delighted to welcome the local community to the College, providing them with ideal opportunity to visit our facilities and understand the many programmes we have on offer. With such a variety of activities on offer there’s something for all ages to enjoy on the day.”

For visitors currently in year 11 the open event is a great opportunity to discover the options available when they finish school this summer. Adult learners, whether looking to further their career or take up a new hobby, can come and find out more about the courses on offer for the next academic year.

We recently commissioned a study to demonstrate our economic impact on the local area and help us quantify the financial benefits to our main stakeholder groups (learners, society, taxpayers and local businesses). The key findings of this report include:

  • The economic impact of Newbury College to the local business community in Berkshire is £63.4 million each year.

  • Every £1 that learners pay for their education at Newbury College yields £4.50 in higher future wages – an 18.1% annual rate of return on investment.

  • Society receives £5.60 in return for every £1 invested in Newbury College.

  • Taxpayers receive £5.70 in benefits for every £1 in costs – a 22.8% annual rate of return.

Commenting on the report, Principal, Dr Anne Murdoch OBE, said: “As the primary further education college in West Berkshire, we felt it important for everyone in the area to understand the role we play in the local economy and see the positive benefits we create both as an education provider and employer.

“For our learners, it’s reassuring to see that future earnings are higher as a result of the education they receive here. And when they leave to join the local workforce, the report shows that our leaners add a further £57.5 million in income to Berkshire’s economy each year.”

The report, published in March, was carried out by Economic Modelling Specialists International (EMSI), using a model that applies investment and regional economic investment analysis.

A two-page summary of the report can be downloaded here.



Making important decisions about the future can be a daunting task for many of the young people who are currently preparing to sit their GCSE exams and with such a wide choice of A Levels, vocational courses, apprenticeships and training opportunities now available to 16 year olds, who under recent government legislation are required to remain in some form of education until they are 18, parents and guardians often play a critical role in supporting the decisions young people make regarding their studies.

Newbury College recognises the important role that parents and guardians play as young people make the transition from school to college and regularly asks parents and guardians for their feedback on the provision provided to their children.

A survey conducted following the recent Progress Evening in March highlighted that parents and guardians thought highly of the education and skills that Newbury College provided to young people, with 98% agreeing that “the teaching is of a high standard” and 100% agreeing that their “son/daughter is gaining new skills to help them in the future”.

One parent commented “I am pleased that my child is enjoying college, that her confidence and learning is growing and that she is happy”. Another praised the support Newbury College provides by saying “This is the first year [my son’s] course has run and the college have been more than supportive in trying to keep my son’s interest and encourage him to complete it. They have given lots of praise where needed and have offered more than I could ever have expected in terms of encouragement and care”.

Newbury College also provides a range of academic and vocational programmes for 14 and 15 year olds, as well as professional qualifications, business training and higher education courses for adults. An Open Day is being held at the Monks Lane campus on Saturday 14 May from 10am to 1pm where members of the public are invited to come along and discover the wide range of opportunities available. Visitors will be able to talk to subject tutors and take part in a range of interactive activities to get a taste of what Newbury College has to offer.

Parents and guardians of young people looking to take the next step in their education are also encouraged to attend a special Information Evening on Wednesday 15 June which will be hosted by Principal Dr Anne Murdoch and feature talks from existing students on their own positive experiences at Newbury College.




Newbury College Music Technology students took an exciting opportunity to The Corn Exchange on Thursday 17th March. The visit was organised as part of their studies and gave them the chance to see what happens behind the scenes at a major regional theatre.

The visit was led by Andy Morris, the sound lead at The Corn Exchange, and enabled students to learn more about the technical side of the theatre. After an initial discussion on the general operation of the theatre, and its role as a receiving house, the students were taken on a tour of some of the key facilities.

The backstage technical area was of particular interest as it contained a wide selection of microphones, amplifiers, speakers and sound equipment. Andy discussed how each piece of equipment was used at the theatre, giving the students some useful workplace information to support their studies. The visit ended with a practical session in the main auditorium. Andy showed the students how the main digital mixing console work and then worked with them in groups to set-up up and balance some microphones around the theatre’s Steinway grand piano.

Matt Foster, Music Technology lecturer at Newbury College said, “The mix of theoretical and practical input during the visit was great and really developed on the topics we have already covered in class. After visiting a recording studio in the first term, this visit gave students the chance to learn that theatre sound is another possible career choice for them once they have completed their studies”.

Newbury College Motor Vehicle Apprentice Ryan Oxley has been given the opportunity to undergo additional intensive training at the Thatcham Research Automotive Academy after being nominated for an award at the College’s annual Apprenticeship Awards earlier this month.

Ryan, who completed his Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair whilst working at L.J & C.A Cannings, was recognised for his hard work and commitment to the course. He showed exceptional knowledge of the subject both in the theory and practical element. Ryan has now completed his apprenticeship, finishing his course with distinctions in all his exams, and has started working at a local garage, One Stop Service Centre Ltd.

Based in Faraday Road, One Stop Service Centre is extremely pleased to have Ryan as an employee and said, “His mechanical knowledge is exceptional for one so young and the offer of additional training from Thatcham Research Automotive Centre will be an additional benefit to his skillset”.

Newbury College Senior Business Executive Martin Russell who looks after the Apprenticeship programme said, “We are grateful to Thatcham Research for their continued support of our Apprenticeship programme and the opportunity they have offered Ryan. The Apprenticeship Awards is held in National Apprenticeship Week to celebrate the success of Apprentices and to thank the organisations involved in the programme”.

The Thatcham Research Automotive Academy is one of the UK’s leading providers of crash repair skills training and accreditation. Backed by a fully operational repair technology centre the Academy is ideally positioned to understand the challenges brought about by the latest vehicle technologies, including new materials, alternative powertrains and advanced driver assistance systems.

Head of Operations at Thatcham Research, Dean Lander said “As we know from running our own accident repair and motor insurance industry apprenticeship programmes, the automotive industry is reliant on emerging new talent to fill skills gaps and keep pace with technological change. Ryan’s ability has already been recognised and we’re therefore delighted to support his development with an offer of specialist training to build on the foundations he has gained at Newbury College.”

Apprenticeships offer a robust approach to work-based learning by ensuring that learners acquire practical skills, experience and knowledge to meet organisational needs now and in the future, through offering both on and off the job learning which leads to a nationally recognised qualification

Newbury College once again played host to the annual West Berkshire Work and Careers Fair on Wednesday 16 March. The Fair, which gathered over 55 organisations with both work and training opportunities for people in West Berkshire, was officially opened by Councillor Peter Argyle, Chairman of West Berkshire Council.

Following on from the success of previous years, the event is the largest of its kind staged locally and is produced under the direction of the West Berkshire Skills and Enterprise Partnership with the support of Newbury College.

Dawn Ray of dawnrayconsulting who organised the Fair said, “The event this year has been the most successful to date in terms of number of exhibitors and visitors throughout the day. The Careers Fair is a great way for people of all ages and skills to speak to advisors and employers about jobs, career options and to gain advice about getting work”.

With over 55 exhibitors, the Work and Careers Fair has brought together businesses and organisations from a wide range of sectors who are actively offering opportunities via apprenticeships, full and part time jobs, internships and voluntary work. Amongst the exhibitors, some of the big names included Barclays, IKEA, Job Centre Plus, McDonalds, Microsoft, Ridgeway Motor Group, Thames Water and more.

Newbury College Principal Dr Anne Murdoch OBE was delighted with the turn out at the Fair, “Newbury College is very pleased to once again host the West Berkshire Work and Careers Fair. The event has been fantastic with many local and national employers recruiting for local jobs in their organisations. The visitor numbers this year exceeded our expectations with more than 500 visitors attending throughout the day. We look forward to some very positive outcomes for both the exhibitors with jobs on offer and the individuals looking for jobs. My thanks go to Dawn Ray for organising the event and to Councillors Peter Argyle and Sheila Ellison for attending the official opening of the event”.

In addition to meeting employers, there were a series of workshops and one to one sessions taking place throughout the day offering advice on successful job hunting, help for self-employed, how to start your own business, writing CVs and preparing for interviews as well as learning how to effectively job search.

As part of National Apprenticeship week, Newbury College held its annual Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony on Monday 14 March with guest speaker, Andy Murrill, Editor of the Newbury Weekly News. The event celebrated the success of local Apprentices and recognised the support of their employers.

The evening began with a welcome from Principal Dr Anne Murdoch OBE, before Joe Pringle, a Business Administration Apprentice at Hitachi, gave a speech to the audience about why he choose to study an Apprenticeship instead of going to University, and his experience of the programme. The ceremony concluded with an inspirational talk from guest speaker for the night, Andy Murrill, on his career in the press industry and the importance of achieving job satisfaction.

Nominees, employers, College Governors and award sponsors attended the evening at the College’s Monks Lane campus, along with VIP guests including: Chairman of West Berkshire Council, Councillor Peter Argyle, The Mayor of Newbury, Councillor Howard Bairstow, The Mayor of Thatcham, Councillor Shelia Ellison and Corporate Director of West Berkshire Council Rachael Wardell.

The awards were generously sponsored by some of West Berkshire’s leading employers and organisations, including; ApplePrint & Creative, AWE, FutureSense, Hitachi Capital, Intersurgical, Newbury College, PC Cox Ltd, Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Thatcham Automotive Academy and Xtrac Ltd.

Newbury College Principal, Dr Anne Murdoch OBE, said, “The Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony is a wonderful occasion for apprentices, employers, friends and family to celebrate the outstanding achievements of all those involved in the programme. Newbury College is committed to working with local employers, and we are very grateful to all our sponsors for their generosity in sponsoring each of the awards presented. Our thanks also goes to Andy Murrill, Editor of Newbury Weekly News, for his inspirational talk to the audience”.

There were a number of award categories, which included: Best Apprentice in a large, medium and small business; Best Engineering Apprentice; Workplace Mentor Award; Assessor Award; Outstanding Contribution Award. This year the Peter Atkinson Gold Award for Outstanding Achievement; named in memory of the late Peter Atkinson, a member of The Chamber who showed continued support and dedication to the development of young people, was awarded to Jamie Rusbridge, Engineering Apprentice at Xtrac Ltd.

The event was part of the ninth annual National Apprenticeship Week which this year took place from 14-18 March 2016, with hundreds of events taking place across the country.

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications alongside workplace experience. They bring considerable value to organisations, employers, individuals and the economy. As an Apprentice, you can earn as you learn and gain practical skills from the workplace. Apprenticeships create a lot of advantages not only in terms of a highly skilled workforce but also by boosting productivity and staff retention.


Newbury College was excited to welcome producer and lecturer in electronic music at the University of West London Nino Auricchio on Wed 2nd March. During his visit he gave a guest lecture to the College’s Music Technology students and provided them with information about progression routes with the University.

Alongside working at the University of West London Nino is a musician, composer and producer. His professional credits include performing at international festivals, the Jazz Café in Camden, playing and engineering on the BBC for live sessions, arranging for Song Music and writing/producing for films and Red Bull events. Nino is also currently studying a PhD in electronic music composition.

His particular expertise is in synthesis and his guest lecture focused on analogue synthesis using his analogue modular synthesis system. Unlike a digital synthesiser, a modular system contains individual components such as oscillators (which create the initial sound), filters (which change certain characteristics of the sound) and effects (such as delay and reverb) which can be connected together in an infinite number of creative ways.

Matt Foster, Music Technology lecturer at Newbury College said, “We are very grateful to Nino for coming to talk to our students. His talk explored areas of Music Technology that are new to this student group and they really enjoyed the opportunity to create some of their own sounds using Nino’s modular synthesiser”.

Newbury College hair and beauty students recently took part in locally run event ‘Prom Day’ at Donnington Grove Hotel. An event specialising in Prom and Wedding suppliers including dresses, hair and make-up and transport.

Hair and Beauty students attending the event were involved in providing the hair and make-up to the catwalk models and also offered hair-ups, make-up and nails to visitors at the event.

Curriculum Manager for Services, Rachael Elsey said, “The event was a fantastic opportunity for our Hair and Beauty students to demonstrate their skills. With a constant stream of models it provided great work experience for the students and enlightened them into what could be expected of them in the industry. The students all thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”

As part of their skills project Newbury College Art students set up an exhibition at The Green Park Conference Centre, Reading,
where employers are voting for the pieces they would like to see displayed permanently on site.

Each year students at Newbury College carry out a skills project that meets the needs of a local organisation. The project is aimed to build students’ knowledge and skills and develop their confidence in leadership, communication and teamwork. Students had been asked to produce art work on the theme of ‘Spring’ to refresh the corridors of the conference centre, Reading.

Art Lecturer Jackie Heggs said, “This creative project has given students an amazing opportunity to showcase their work whilst gaining invaluable employability skills in working to a real brief. Students have really grown in confidence as a result of the experience and we hope that this project will become part of a cycle of opportunities to produce art work for the site”.