News (295)

Motivational speakers form just one facet of Newbury College’s student enrichment programme and last week, students on higher education and Level 3 programmes had the opportunity to meet Penny Mallory.

Penny became the first woman in the world to compete in World Rally Car. With over 20 years’ experience in sporting and business success, Penny shared her unusual, yet inspiring story. Penny has coached elite athletes and is also an accomplished keynote speaker, event host and TV presenter. She is the perfect embodiment of what can be achieved with will, determination, focus and commitment.

Course leader, Julian Bellmont, said: “Penny was an inspiration to my students – some of whom could relate to her story. It made them realise that there are no boundaries to what they can do. We feel privileged that Penny visited us three times in one week to reach a variety of students and are very grateful to her for giving up her time.”

For more information on Penny, visit:

BBC Breakfast’s sports presenter, Mike Bushell, was guest of honour last night at Newbury College’s graduation and award ceremony. The event celebrated the achievements of students completing higher education courses (level 4 and above) and rewarded some of its exceptional further education students.

Students were invited on stage to accept their certificates and awards from Mike Bushell and Newbury College Principal and Chief Executive, Anne Murdoch and representatives from many local organisations who helped sponsor the event.

“Our event enables students to celebrate their successes and achievements with their family and friends and each year we invite a special guest speaker,” explains Anne.

“Mike spoke about his career and how he got started in journalism, he also explained how the educational experience can be enhanced by trying a range of different activities and how this can often open up new career avenues and possibilities. He also talked about how sport and education go hand and hand, highlighting that it’s never too late to try something new.”

Other guests in attendance included Ellen Crumly, Town Mayor of Thatcham, Quinten Webb, Chair of West Berkshire Council, Shaun Wood, Hungerford Town Council, and members of Newbury College’s governing body.

Sponsoring companies included: AWE, Bluebird Care, Busy Bees, Conservatree, Corn Exchange Newbury, David Lloyd Clubs, Heart, Hitachi Capital, IED, Jewson, M&B Hair & Beauty Supplies, Midguard, MWS Media, Parkway, Resonates, Salon Services, The Castle School, The Living Rainforest, The Vineyard and West Berkshire Council.

Click here to view the photographs from the event.


On Saturday 19 November, Newbury College played host to Thatcham Rotary’s Young Chef Competition.

This national competition is open to young people aged 17 years and under. Contestants must create a healthy meal for two people for no more than £15. Everyone who takes part has the opportunity to experience what it’s like working in a commercial kitchen. As part of their entry, contestants must also be able to show the judges their work sheets and costings. The winners of each of the regional heats are put through to a national final.

The winner was Harry Hutchins from Trinity School.

Commenting on the standard of the entries, judge and Newbury College catering tutor, Malcolm Baggott, said: “The contestants used some advanced skills to produce their menus, including the filleting of fish and removing meat from the bone, and under the tight time constraints of the competition, this was an impressive achievement. The food was presented to a professional standard and it was very apparent that the contestants had plenty of practise beforehand.”

Sheila Ellison, Thatcham Rotary, said: “We are very grateful to Newbury College for once again hosting our competition and for giving the entrants a taste of what it’s like to be a professional caterer. It was clear that all those taking part (including their families) enjoyed the experience thoroughly.”

See more photos on our Facebook page.



Newbury College HNC students, George Collins and Christopher Prozzo, have both been awarded the Institute of Engineering Designers (IED) annual student award for their final year projects.

Annual IED prizes are awarded to students members on HNC/HND courses who produce exceptional final year projects, which have to achieve at least two distinction grades. Each year, colleges and universities put candidates forward to be considered by a panel of IED judges. Out of all the nominations, only a limited number of students are given the accolade.

George’s project, creating a gearing assembly for a hydrochloric acid level gauge, was supported by his employer, Bayham Ltd in Basingstoke. The process saw George investigate, design and analyse three initial concepts, taking one design through to the field testing stage. The results from his final design were so successful that Bayham added it to its product catalogue.

Commenting on his project, George said: “For me, the process was fun not just because I was working towards creating a well-designed end product, but because there was so much research required throughout. There were a lot of opportunities to learn something new.”

For his project, Christopher designed, built and tested an Echelon ankle vacuum management system for prosthetic limbs. This was carried out with the support from his employer, rehabilitation providers Blatchford, in Basingstoke. After design and prototyping, Christopher’s adjustable valve was fitted to the limb systems of volunteer amputees, who tested it in a real-world environment. By offering an adjustable product, Blatchford can cater for the needs of many customers at once, so Christopher’s design will go on to be developed further.

Commenting on his project, Christopher said: “It was an interesting project to work on – challenging me to think about mechanics in a different way than I usually do. There were also plenty of opportunities to work closer with the amputees whose lives we strive to improve.”

Newbury College engineering lecturer, Richard Willis is delighted that both students have been recognised for their hard work, and said: “The students worked very well to present professional technical projects. Only two could be submitted to the IED and it was very difficult to select from what was an exceptionally high standard within the group – I could have put at least six projects forward for consideration. Congratulations to George and Chris."

George and Christopher were interviewed by BBC Radio Berkshire's Bill Buckley during the October half term, ahead of their awards being officially presented by a member of the IED at the College's graduation event in December.

Bill Buckley interviews George, Christopher and Richard on BBC Radio Berkshire

Click here for more information about engineering courses.



The Newbury College Lake Conservation Group has won a Dorothy Morley Conservation Award and a £500 grant.

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Julia Hawkins, the Lake Conservation Group project leader and lecturer at Newbury College, said: “The award recognises the hard work of two groups of students with learning difficulties who have, over the course of two years, transformed the lakeside environment. The ‘Health Walk’ is used by students, staff and members of the public as somewhere beautiful to walk and enjoy the wildlife. 

“The students worked with the Wildlife Trust on Crookham Common, learning how to use tools such as loppers and saws to clear scrub and allow species such as heather to thrive.  The students also learnt about the wildlife that would benefit from their work. 

“Our students then applied these skills to work at the lakeside, clearing overgrown trees and shrubs and allowing light to penetrate. A pond dipping survey carried out together with BBOWT in May, revealed that the lake was teeming with species including smooth newts, dragonfly nymph and water stick insects.

“This year’s First Skills group will continue the work as part of their Project in Sustainability. The prize means we can now buy more tools and perhaps join forces with our multi trades department to build benches and nesting boxes.”

Dan Akam, Community Wildlife Officer for Berkshire with the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust praised the Newbury College group. “The Newbury College Lake Conservation Group showed us they are carrying out important conservation work for wildlife with great enthusiasm and ambition. The lake is a welcome area of tranquillity and bird life, and is a focal point on the College campus for a health walk, encouraging students and local residents to enjoy being close to their local wildlife.

“The Award judges were impressed with how the volunteers have learned new skills and practical conservation techniques, and put them to good use on the Lake Conservation project.”

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust runs the Dorothy Morley Conservation Awards scheme, which highlights all the superb work done by volunteers in Berkshire for the benefit of their local community and wildlife.

The bi-annual Dorothy Morley Conservation Award scheme is a tribute to the memory of dedicated conservationist Dorothy Morley who lived near Newbury. It was set up in 2000 and continues to support local groups and their projects thanks to the outstanding generosity of the Morley family.

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Despite some fantastic opportunities available, Newbury College is currently experiencing a shortage of suitable candidates applying for apprenticeship positions this September, especially in the catering, motor vehicle, engineering and hair industry areas.

The Government’s apprenticeship programme gives people the opportunity to experience practical on-the-job training whilst simultaneously studying for a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships were designed to help bridge the skills gap in certain industry areas such as catering, hospitality, engineering and construction.

After a UK-wide marketing campaign to promote the take up of apprenticeships, the number of people starting apprenticeships in 2014/2015 rose to 499,900 (up 14% on the previous year). Despite this increase, the College is still concerned that not enough school leavers are considering apprenticeships as a route to a career.  

“We have a wide range of local employers waiting to offer candidates fantastic opportunities to earn a salary and gain industry-specific training at the same time,” explains Anne Murdoch, Principal and Chief Executive, at Newbury College. “When school leavers come to us they often haven’t even considered apprenticeships as an option. What they don’t realise is that many apprenticeships offer training up to Level 5 and above, which is the equivalent to a degree.”

“Whilst it is often possible to start an apprenticeship at any time of the year, a few of the opportunities we have available at the College will come to an end this month due to the requirement to attend a day release programme,” continues Murdoch. “So we urge potential candidates who haven’t yet decided whether to stay in education or enter the workplace, to consider apprenticeships as an option.”

Newbury College is offering candidates the chance to find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships and obtain help with applying for one of 22 current vacancies, by attending an Apprenticeship Information Session on Wednesday 21 September between 16:30-17:30pm. Click here to register for the event.

For an informal discussion, contact the College’s Advice, Information and Guidance or Apprenticeship team on 01635 845000.


Consumer group Which? has published survey results which suggest that further guidance is needed for students when deciding on what subjects to study after GCSEs.

The poll of 1,020 UK teenagers revealed that 30% felt inadequately informed about how their subject options would affect their university and degree courses, with 29% agreeing they would have appreciated more advice.

The survey also revealed that over half of the students polled picked their sixth form or college subjects without considering their future prospects.

“This, coupled with the news reported recently by The Guardian that one in four UK graduates remain low earners ten years after leaving university, makes it even more important for young people to consider what they want to do in the future and seek advice from a range of different sources prior to choosing what subjects to study after GCSEs,” commented Dr Anne Murdoch, Principal at Newbury College.

Which? also advises students to consider vocational qualifications as a route to university.

“The traditional route to university isn’t ‘one-size-fits all’,” continued Murdoch. “BTEC diplomas (HNCs and HNDs) and apprenticeships offer an alternative to higher education, and include practical experience relevant to the subject choice.”

Newbury College student, Bryony Petersen, recently completed BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Uniformed Public Services, and has a place at University of Northampton to study paramedic science in September. “The BTEC course taught me the self-discipline to develop leadership and teamwork skills, expedition training, command, control and much more. My results have earnt me a place at university in a subject that will ultimately lead to me to my dream career as a paramedic,” said Bryony.

Newbury College is holding an open enrolment event on Saturday 3 September between 10am to 1pm. Curriculum subject leaders will be on hand to discuss the various options available to students, who can also seek advice from members of the College’s Information, Advice and Guidance team.


classic cars on display

On Sunday 14 August, West Berkshire Classic Vehicle Club held its annual Classic Vehicle Show in the grounds of Newbury College. Now in its 24th year, the event attracted over 4,000 visitors and featured many different exhibits ranging from a rare 1905 Fiat Fraschini, an AEC coach, to modern day classics such as the Ford Escort.

Funds raised from the event are donated to the blood cancer charity Bloodwise (formerly known as Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research).

West Berks Classic Vehicle Club Chairman, Mike Kent, said: “In the 24 years the show has been running, it has raised a total of almost £129,000 to help with the fight to beat blood cancers.

“We could not do this without the support of the club members, our supporters and Newbury College. Thank you for allowing us to use your wonderful venue. We were blessed with fine weather on the day and everyone had a great time.”

Newbury College Contracts Manager, Steve Long, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to once again host this important fundraiser for West Berkshire Classic Vehicle Club. It was great to see so many people enjoy the classic vehicles on display and have our extensive grounds used for such a worthy cause.”

The total amount raised at this year's show was approximately £12,200. This includes a donation of £425 raised by Newbury Radio Control Car Club, who held races in the sports hall.

Click here for more information on West Berkshire Classic Vehicle Club. Click here for more information on Newbury Radio Control Car Club.

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Newbury College is one of four further education colleges in the UK to achieve a 100% student satisfaction rating in this year’s National Student Survey.

The survey was undertaken by over 300,000 students across the UK from 155 higher education institutions, 190 further education colleges and 13 alternative providers. The survey takes place each year and the results, announced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) today, help universities and colleges further improve the education service they provide.

Commenting on the results, Principal and Chief Executive, Dr Anne Murdoch said: “We are delighted to be one of four further education colleges to score highly in terms of student satisfaction. The result, which surpasses this year’s benchmarked score of 88%, is testament to our hard work and determination and supports our aim to provide an outstanding level of further and higher education in the West Berkshire area.”

More data and details of the results can be viewed on the HEFCE website.

The other three colleges were Richmond Adult Community College, St. Mary’s College in Blackburn and Trafford College.

Read more on this story in the Times Education Supplement (TES).

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Newbury College is holding a series of advice clinics and a specific post A Level/Level 3 guidance event at its campus on Monks Lane this summer, where members of its Information, Advice and Guidance team will be on hand to answer questions. The dates are:

Thursday 18 August, 11am to 4pm – A-level results day advice clinic

Monday 22 August, 11am to 4pm – Post A-level/Level 3 guidance event

Thursday 25 August, 11am to 4pm – GCSE results day advice clinic

Friday 26 August, 10am to 12:30pm – GCSE results day advice clinic

At the post A-level/Level 3 guidance event on Monday 22 August, students can find out about options for higher education courses, as well as obtain information and view the current opportunities for apprenticeships. Apprenticeships combine paid employment with on-the-job training and offer the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications.

All of the sessions are free to attend. The College is also open every day throughout the summer holidays for queries or advice on all courses starting in September.