News (295)

Over sixty engineering students took part in Newbury College’s annual technology presentation day on 12 July 2017. The students, many of whom were apprentices, presented their end-of-year skills projects to visitors including representatives from local engineering companies such as AWE, Intersurgical, UKAEA, Williams and Xtrac, and local dignitaries, including Cllr Ellen Crumly, Mayor of Thatcham, Cllr David Fenn, Mayor of Newbury and Cllr Quinten Webb, Chair of West Berkshire Council.

The event was officially opened by former Newbury College engineering student and apprentice, Richard Musson. Richard works as a senior project engineer at transmission technology specialists, Xtrac in Thatcham.

Whilst addressing the students, Richard reflected on his career: “Sometimes I contemplate how from starting my apprenticeship I have gone on to be able to buy my own house and provide for my family. I would never have dreamed of anything like that back then and some of you may feel like that now. If you believe in working for something, have an aspiration and find the motivation, you are half way there. Having completed my apprenticeship and worked my way up to senior project engineer, I now a mentor to three apprentices in the team.

“We should be proud to be engineers at this exciting time,” he concluded. “The rate of change through technology in the last 30 years or so is amazing, and we get to be part of it.”

Students, ranging from those studying Levels 3-5 in mechanical and electronic/electrical engineering, were judged on the quality of their presentations and their ability to talk through their project. As well as the projects on display many students included physical models and in some cases, full working demonstrations.

Visitor John Hill, UKAEA Apprenticeship Training Manager, said: “The Newbury College Technology Skills Exhibition gave me the opportunity to view first-hand the hard work undertaken by all HNC and HND students. The quality of the work presented was to an extremely high standard and it was a pleasure to listen to the students talk about their engineering projects. It is vitally important to support and guide young students through this important phase of their training, clearly something that Newbury College and its staff take very seriously.”

The projects were judged on the day and certificates were awarded to the best in each category. The winners were:

• Josh Terry (Level 3 Mechanical Engineering) for his unloader assembly pin pushing device

• Emily Organ (Level 4 HNC Mechanical Engineering) for her JET rotary valve design improvements

• Aaron Scott (Level 5 HND Mechanical Engineering) for his pinhole adjustment device

• Mathew Howe (Level 3 Electronic/Engineering) for his automatic watch winder

• Paul Brookes (Level 4 HNC Electronic/Electrical Engineering) for his automatic joystick tester

• Stewart Morrison (Level 5 HND Electronic/Electrical Engineering) for his software-defined radio.

The overall winner was Aaron Scott. 

From September 2017, engineering apprentices at Newbury College can progress all the way from a Level 2 apprenticeship up to a Level 6 degree apprenticeship. The new programme, in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University, is offered in three different pathways: manufacturing, mechanical or electrical/electronic and is ideal for those who are deterred from studying a traditional full-time programme by high tuition fees and student debt. For details of this new programme, call 01635 845000 and ask for the apprenticeship team.

See all of the photos from this event on our Facebook page.


Are you waiting for exam results in August? Not sure what to do next? Have you considered applying for an apprenticeship?

According to UCAS, applications for university places in 2017 are down by 5%*. That means more and more young people are deciding to look for alternative routes into their chosen careers. In 2015/16 just over half a million people started an apprenticeship programme – an increase of 9,500 on the previous year**.

Here are five reasons why apprenticeships are fast becoming a popular choice for school leavers: 

1. Get qualified – Alongside work experience, you’ll continue to study towards a nationally-recognised qualification. Apprenticeships can be studied at three different levels; intermediate, advanced and higher. You can now even study right up to a degree qualification (level 6).

2. Earn money – an apprenticeship is a real job that will earn you a wage!

3. Relevant work experience – you’ll receive practical training and experience in a real-world working environment.

4. Available in a great range of subjects – apprenticeships are available in a wide range of subjects including accountancy, business administration, health care, hairdressing, IT, professional cookery, engineering, vehicle maintenance and more. 

5. Support and guidance – all apprentices receive support and guidance from an assessor. The assessor will meet regularly with the apprentice and employer to discuss progress.

Don’t wait for results day to apply for an apprenticeship.

If you want to work in business administration, customer service, HR or IT, or if your dream job is to be a chef, nursery nurse or engineer, apply for an apprenticeship now. Newbury College is currently advertising vacancies in all these areas. Don’t wait until results day, get ahead of the game click here or call the apprenticeship team on 01635 845229.

Careers Advice

Newbury College is offering free Information, Advice and Guidance sessions throughout the summer email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01635 845000 for details.

*UCAS – applications for UK higher education down 5% for UK students, Feb 17 **Apprenticeship Statistics: England, 21/11/16

As part of a collaborative project with Thames Valley Police, Newbury College media students have created a short video to help raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE). The video will be used as an educational training DVD aimed at staff working in hotels, helping them to recognise the signs, deal with and report suspected CSE cases.

Following a series of training sessions with the West Berkshire neighbourhood policing teams, the Level 3 media students fully researched the subject and worked closely with the police on all aspects of the video’s production. The video, entitled ‘Penny’s Story’, was officially launched at an event at Newbury College on Thursday 29 June, with students, tutors, parents and police in attendance, and where Chief Inspector Lindsey Finch, Deputy Area Commander, presented students with a special commendation for their work.

“Police officers and PCSOs have been working with partner agencies to educate our communities, including young children, to report any concerns about potential child sexual exploitation. By working on the project, the students have gained a valuable insight into the subject area,” explains Inspector Warren Mckeown from Thames Valley Police. “I have been impressed by the hard work and support of the students and their tutors, who have assisted us with other community CSE awareness events as part of the project. They should be very proud to have produced this DVD knowing it will help us raise awareness of this horrific crime.”

Commenting on the work experience, tutorial programme leader, Sian Ellis, said: “The students have worked really hard to produce a piece of work which is both impactful and informative. The end result is reflective of their commitment to the project and highlights their skills as young film makers. We’d like to thank the police for giving us the opportunity to work on this project – we are proud to have contributed to the safeguarding and welfare of young people in the area.”

The video was shot on location in Newbury and will be rolled out to hotels in West Berkshire.

Listen to student Ashleigh Cock's interview with Phil Kennedy on BBC Radio Berkshire's Drive Time Show. (1:20:00 to 1:26:00)

Today’s publication of the Higher Education funding Council’s (HEFCE) Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) awarded Newbury College its ‘Provisional Status’. The award is given to higher education providers that meet ‘rigorous national quality requirements but which do not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed’.

In the autumn term of 2016, Newbury College submitted its Annual Provider Review to HEFCE and a review of this confirmed that the College ‘fully meets HEFCE’s requirements for quality and standards’. 

This means that:

  • Qualification standards are reliable and reasonably comparable to those across the UK
  • The student academic experience is of a high quality
  • Student outcomes are generally good or excellent and the provider has demonstrated continuous improvement in relation to them.

Newbury College continues to grow its higher education provision with programmes available in Art and Design, Business*, Engineering, Graphic Design, Health and Social Care*, Public Services and Sport.

Newbury College is excited to be developing a new B.Eng. (Hons) degree apprenticeship* with Buckinghamshire New University and is accepting enquiries from those interested in studying on this programme from September 2017. Call 01635 845000 for details.

For more details on the TEF outcomes, visit:

*Note: Some HE courses are subject to awarding body approval.

On the evening of Monday 19 June, as part of their end-of-year skills project, Newbury College hair and beauty students put on a spectacular circus-themed catwalk show.

Each student demonstrated their creative talent by designing and creating a look for a model based on their interpretation of the theme. The creations took inspiration from the fun, whimsy and magic of the circus and included ring masters, lions, trapeze artists, fortune tellers and flame throwers.

The students were judged on their techniques and creativity, and by the quality of finish they applied. The judging panel included local professionals Jason Palmer, Jason Palmer Hairdressing, Jemma Nightingale, Tiara Jems, Flo Field, Benefit consultant, Jess Stevens, Lancôme counter manager at Debenhams, Newbury, and Hannah Barrett-Mohsen, Diva Professional Styling. The event was sponsored by Parkway Shopping, Newbury, Jason Palmer Hairdressing, and Diva Professional Styling. The prizes presented by Parkway Shopping’s Operational Manager, Liz Large.

There were four winners, one for each category, plus an overall winner. These were: Nicola Flake, Level 1 hair, Ellie Plank, Level 1 beauty, Eva Dudman, Level 2 beauty and Sophie Pitcher, Level 2 hair. The overall winner was Sophie Pitcher for her circus lion.

Rachael Elsey, Curriculum Manager for Hair and Beauty, said: “Our students did so well interpreting the brief and really had fun with the theme this year. Once again, the standard was high – making the job for the judges very difficult indeed! It was lovely to see so many parents and family members coming along to support the students. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to make the event a success and hope that the students really enjoyed it.”

Discover your creative side at Newbury College, click here for details of hair and beauty courses or call 01635 845000 and ask what you can do this September. To see all of the photos from the evening, visit the album on our Facebook page.

In a recent short inspection by OFSTED, Newbury College, West Berkshire’s only further education college, retained the ‘good’ rating it was awarded at its last inspection in 2015.

Inspectors noted that the college has worked with governors, managers and teachers to make sure it continues to provide good education and training for students. The report states that college staff share a culture of high expectations for students, which encourages the students to work hard, enjoy their learning, and have a good level of confidence in their abilities. It also states that the college provides ‘a very wide range of enrichment and sporting activities, many of which are employment-focused’.

In line with previous inspection reports, the college continues to provide a comprehensive programme of engagement with local and regional employers. This engagement has led the College to expand and enhance its resources, including the opening of an engineering solutions laboratory, designed to prepare students for work with local high-technology industries.

The report praises the college for excellent student behaviour and for improvements in attendance, progression and standards in English and mathematics, citing that ‘attendance in English and maths lessons has risen sharply during the past year and students’ skills have improved in these subjects’.

Inspectors also noted that senior leaders, managers and governors are proud of the fact that the college is good and steadily improving.

Commenting on the report Anne Murdoch, Principal and Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that as well as praising the provision for young people aged 14 to 18, the report also recognises that achievements for adults students at all levels are excellent.

“The report is especially positive about the relationships the College has with local employers and partners, and comments on how this greatly enhances students’ preparedness for their future careers. I’d like to thank the staff for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the continued rise in standards.”

The inspection was carried out on 23 and 24 May, the full report can be read here.

Newbury College Sport students headed down to the south coast on Friday 16 June 2017 for the annual West Wittering U19 College Mixed Beach Rugby Tournament.

Course Leader, James Ross, said: "The college team performed well, winning their opening match and finishing 4th in their pool. Special mention should be made to the outstanding effort of the players in a sport some of them had never played before."

Three members of staff and an ESOL student were winners at West Berkshire Council’s 2017 Learner Achievement Awards held at Shaw House School last Friday night. The awards celebrated the achievements of adult learners, teachers and organisations across the district who have gained success in education and training over the last 12 months.

The winners included:
• Art lecturers Jacky Purtill and Sarah Whittam shared the Inspiring Others Award
• Martin Russell, Senior Business Manager, received an award in the Teacher, Tutor and Trainer category
• Syrian refugee and ESOL student Mostafa Haji won the award for Determination.

Martin Russell has been central to Newbury College’s engineering apprenticeship programme for 32 years. Commenting on his award, Martin said: “I am so pleased to have won this award, I really benefit from seeing so many young people become apprentices who then go on to work in highly skilled technology jobs and contribute towards the country’s future and prosperity.”

“I feel honoured and privileged to win and share this award with Sarah,” explains Jacky Purtill. “It validates all that we do here at Newbury College in terms of supporting the learners and as creative practitioners and in teaching and learning.”

“We are very lucky here at Newbury College to have so many dedicated teaching staff,” explains Anne Murdoch, Principal. “The awards won by Martin, Jacky and Sarah reflect their hard work and the positive impact they have on learners – we congratulate them all. Mostafa thoroughly deserves his award for determination, it just shows what people can achieve in the face of adversity.”

Newbury College sponsored the Outstanding Achievement Award which was won by Vernon Pocock for this success in achieving an advanced apprenticeship in plumbing and heating.

All of the awards were presented by Councillor Quentin Webb, Chairman of West Berkshire Council. For more information on all the winners, visit the West Berkshire website. For more photos visit our album on Facebook.

Students and staff at Newbury College were flying the rainbow flag for a special week of activities and events that celebrate the rich diversity of the college community.

The activities formed part of this year's student-led Skills Project by Academy (pre-GCSE) students who actively encourage all members of the college community to come together to promote awareness of LGBT+ issues, help celebrate diversity and raise over £100 for Stonewall, a charity that campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across Britain.

Students produced engaging displays on LGBT+ awareness and advice on tackling homophobic bullying and behaviour, as well as a rainbow cake sale and photobooth where students and staff could pose with props and upload their photos to Instagram with #newburypride.

A mixed-ability 5-a-side football tournament was also held with teams of students and staff, both to help raise funds for the charity and encourage participants to sign a pledge to support LGBT+ in sport.

Academy Tutor, Jess Durham, said: “The students themselves came up with the idea of putting on a Pride week. It is something very relevant and personal to a lot of our students and this was an excellent opportunity for them to celebrate their diversity.”

Academy students at Newbury College can study vocational or academic pre-GCSE and GCSE programmes. Students can start their career at Newbury College in year 10 and progress through to higher education.

For a few weeks every Friday, students on our Level 2 Carpentry course are attending kitchen fitting sessions at Howdens Joinery in Newbury. As part of their work experience and under supervision, Howdens has allowed them to revise several kitchen displays at its depot.

Ian Dodd, Depot Manager at Howdens said: “We are keen to help Newbury College students qualify as carpenters and by offering work experience, we help them to put their carpentry skills into practise. Working in partnership this way allows the industry to develop new talent.”

“The students really appreciate the opportunity to apply their skills in a real life situation,” adds course leader Mark McDonald. “It gives them an insight and an appreciation of the quality of a Howdens’ kitchen and it also gives them the knowledge and confidence to fit a kitchen in the future. We are very grateful to Howdens for their support.”

Newbury College is always on the lookout for local businesses/organisations to help place our students on work experience. If you’d be happy to work with us, please call 01635 845000 and ask to speak to a member of the Learner Services Team.

Click here for more information on our carpentry courses.

To find out more about Howdens Joinery, visit