South Hampshire College Group has been commended by Ofsted inspectors for making significant progress in all of the areas reviewed in its recent monitoring visit, including the college group’s shared vision, effective management, quality of education, and highly efficient leadership structure. 

In their first visit since the merger of Eastleigh College, Fareham College, and City College Southampton, Ofsted praised the “exceptionally smooth transition into the new college group,” which aims to provide financially strong, responsive, and ambitious Further Education to meet the evolving skills demands in the Solent region. 

Additionally, the Ofsted monitoring visit report highlighted the college group’s curriculum review and planned Centres of Excellence, which will provide investment on each of the campuses ensuring students are “operating in new industry-standard and well-resourced teaching spaces.” Encouragingly, the inspectors also recognised that the college group’s “leaders clearly communicate their plans to students,” with staff “already working together as single teams ahead of the move, enhancing their collaborative effectiveness.” 

Further acknowledgement was given to the improvements made to the quality of teaching at Southampton College, including “highly effective teaching strategies in lessons”, “clear, useful and timely feedback” and “planning learning effectively to help students increase their knowledge”. Special commendation was also given to the increased access to high-quality resources as a result of the merger, enabling students to learn in environments that replicate industry. 

The college group also received significant praise regarding its progress in improving the quality of its apprenticeship provision at Eastleigh College. It was noted that the newly appointed apprenticeship leaders “have an excellent understanding of the strengths and areas requiring development of the provision” and have made “substantial progress in making improvements.”  

In addition, the Electrical department’s mentors were applauded, with inspectors commenting; “When they assess that apprentices are ready, they allow them to perform the same process under supervision. Consequently, apprentices produce work of a high standard, as well as making a valuable contribution to their workplaces.” 

Andrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group, was delighted with the report. He said: “This report rightly recognises the significant progress the college group has made since merger. South Hampshire College Group is very well placed to provide the highest quality education and training to meet the needs of the region. 

“Looking ahead, we are excited about our future plans for nearly £12m investment in our colleges, which will provide our students and apprentices with new, industry-standard, learning environments.” 

To view the full Ofsted monitoring visit report, please visit: https://www.shcg.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/shcg-ofsted-monitoring-visit-report.pdf

South Hampshire College Group (SHCG), comprised of Further Education colleges from Southampton, Eastleigh and Fareham, has acquired a state-of-the-art Digital Training Vesselto meet the needs of new and emerging skills in the Solent region. 

The new Digital Training Vessel (DTV) is an Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) which will support an ambitious new Further Education curriculum for both SHCG’s Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) in Lee-on-the-Solent near Fareham, and SHCG’s specialist Marine Skills Centre located by the River Itchen, Southampton. 

USVs are popular with industry and research bodies for surveying, patrolling, and search and rescue duties, as they have many benefits including zero emissions, lower operating costs, anti-fatigue, consistent routing, and are safer. It is believed to be a first for Further Education in the UK. 

The new Digital Training Vessel USV is controlled remotely from either a shore-based mission control centre, or onboard a mothership, through digital remote operations, with optional AI (artificial intelligence) decision-aided support.  

The SHCG Digital Training Vessel will contribute to supporting learning across new and innovative maritime skills, which will help to address the sector’s skills shortage and regional social employment challenges.  

The skillsets required for USV Remote Operators combine digital, marine engineering, marine electrical, systems engineering, net zero understanding and navigational knowledge, which until recently were unavailable as a single career pathway. Through a new curriculum being rolled out this coming academic year, students from across traditionally distinct faculty areas will gain invaluable experience, knowledge, and skills to raise awareness of the maritime sector as a viable career option in which to progress.  

The acquisition of the Digital Training Vessel was secured through a funding award by the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), as part of the Group’s focus on pioneering the education of innovative skills and as a contributor in delivering the Solent’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP).  

This exciting development comes off the back of numerous innovative assets recently unveiled by SHCG and LSIP include TECH:TRUCK, a collaborative mobile educational and technological roadshow shared between seven local education providers, and SHCG’s new multi-million pound Department for Education funded Institute of Technology (IoT) at CEMAST – the only IoT nationwide that is offering a specific Higher National Certificate in Robotics and Mechatronics. 

Naomi Smith, LSIF Programme Director commented: “South Hampshire College Group is a pioneer in identifying new and emerging skill requirements. Maritime has been identified in the Solent Local Skills Improvement Plan as a key area of focus, particularly in digital skills and where traditional roles overlap with new, such as marine engineering and vessel operations.’ 

“South Hampshire College Group works with local industry leaders to ensure the skills, qualifications and progression routes provide further opportunities for our students to create better futures. In addition, providing public educational training resources such as the Digital Training Vessel is key to encouraging social mobility as it enables access to all.” 

The Digital Training Vessel project is entirely British, with the USV built by HydroSurv based in Plymouth, together with its vessel control systems, including maritime autonomy and remote-control operations, provided by Robosys Automation based in Southampton.  

The launch of the DTV was held at South Hampshire College Group’s Marine Skills Centre in Woolston, near Southampton, where maritime students and representatives from academia and industry were in attendance.  

The launch event was also an opportunity to showcase the broad range of technical skills and career pathways available within the maritime sector and was a pivotal catalyst in bringing together multidiscipline curriculum areas for students. The USV showcased its capabilities on the water, with guests experiencing remote operations firsthand. 

DTV “Trio” Collaboration Project Lead, Nigel Lee, CSO of Robosys Automation, which also provided the vessel control systems and autonomous operations for the USV said: “Today is a landmark moment for the maritime industry, as demand for trained operatives in this specialism is rapidly increasing, both across USVs and also larger vessels including uncrewed and lean-crewed ships. Having this advanced Digital Training Vessel as a Further Educational resource broadens the catchment opportunities, thus satisfying the very real skillset shortage in the maritime sector, whilst creating a consistent level of learning.” 

The event welcomed representation from the UK’s Marine Robotics Innovation Centre, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, National Oceanography Centre, Robosys Automation, Landau Marine, South Hampshire College Group, Solent Local Skills Improvement Plan, South Coast Institute of Technology, amongst others from supporting associations and industry. 

The Digital Training Vessel will enter service in September ready for the 2024/25 academic year. 

A student at Eastleigh College, part of South Hampshire College Group, has overcome challenging learning difficulties to procure paid work through a Supported Internship Programme. 

Alfie Cole is 20 years old and first joined Eastleigh College at the age of 17 in 2020, aiming to develop his personal and professional skills to the point where he could successfully work. Alfie spent one day a week at college honing his English and maths skills, alongside specialist training for interviews and application writing. During the remainder of the week, he worked in the storage department at Winchester Hospital and became a trusted and well-loved member of the team. In his second year, he also had the opportunity to live away from home for three days a week through the Internship programme, where he learnt various life skills such as cooking, washing and cleaning. Earlier this Spring, Alfie was offered paid work for the first time as an assistant at Novotel, a four-star hotel in Southampton. Despite having been there only a month, he is already making a strong impact, as can be seen by the below review on Trip Advisor: 

“At breakfast, we were especially impressed with the staff members Alfie and Veronika. Both were friendly, kind, attentive and polite. Thank you both for a great stay and a pleasant start to the day.” 

Alfie Cole commented: “The Supported Internship has made me feel more comfortable and confident in my everyday work, and I’ve learnt many different interview techniques. At my old work, I would stand around and wait for instructions, but now I feel more able to take the initiative and pursue tasks that need to be done. My favourite part of my new job is chatting with customers and socialising with colleagues.” 

The Supported Learning Internship is a one-year programme for learners with moderate learning difficulties who are seeking paid employment in the workplace. Most time on the course is spent on a temporary unpaid work placement, in combination with a support day at the College, in which students will undergo training in English and Maths where necessary, as well as specific career skills such as CV workshops and interview training. Students will also have regular tutorials with a job coach who will help them design a reliable vocational profile. 

Alfie’s mother commented: “One of the biggest worries for parents of disabled children is how they’ll manage in the future. The positive change he’s undergone during this programme is overwhelming, he is so much more independent now – he can go to town by himself and get public transport by himself too. We are so grateful for this programme, we don’t know what we would have done without it.” 

Lorna Cantwell, Alfie’s tutor and Job Coach at Eastleigh College, said: “Myself and everyone involved are extremely proud of Alfie and commend his motivation, dedication and progression into the world of work. We wish him the very best of luck with his journey at Novotel and his future in store for him.” 

For any further information, please contact South Hampshire College Group at info@shcg.ac.uk.  

Representatives from education, councils and the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce have come together to discuss the skills agenda and collaborative working. This collaborative event came at the end of Colleges’ Week, which celebrates the contribution that colleges make to their communities.

The full-day event took place at The Solent Hotel in Hampshire and offered a unique opportunity for key representatives from the county’s public sector organisations to discuss their goals and objectives for skills growth in Hampshire, identifying areas in which greater collaboration would help. Principals and governors from the region’s Further Education colleges joined with colleagues from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Hampshire County Council, and legal and governance advisors to discuss their shared strong ambition for local skills growth. 

Andrew Kaye, Chief Executive Officer of South Hampshire College Group, commented: “Collaboration is at the heart of our organisation and events like this provide a wonderful opportunity to come together with key groups across the public sector and work toward our shared objectives of economic prosperity and reducing skills gaps in the Solent region. We’d like to thank everyone who attended and we eagerly look forward to our next collaborative session.”

Colleges’ Week was launched in 2018 as part of the ‘Love our Colleges’ campaign run by the Association of Colleges. The week provides a chance to celebrate the brilliant achievements of colleges, day in and day out, to support employers across innovation and skills and to recognise a college’s valuable role as an anchor institution in the community.

The Solent Hotel is a premier four-star hotel near Portsmouth with spa facilities and a specialised business lounge, designed for collaborative meetings and brain-storming sessions.

For any further information, please contact the group at info@shcg.ac.uk

South Hampshire College Group has officially launched its multi-million pound Institute of Technology (IoT), impressing TV technology guru, Jason Bradbury, who compared it to Marvel Hero Tony Stark’s state-of-the-art laboratory.

Backed by over £13 million in funding from the Department for Education, the South Coast Institute of Technology is a pioneering collaboration between South Hampshire College Group, Solent University, University of Portsmouth, HSDC, Brockenhurst College, and The Isle of Wight College.

The launch was hosted at South Hampshire College Group’s Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Designed to address the skills gap within the maritime, engineering and digital sectors, the South Coast IoT will work with employers to increase the number of students pursuing technical education in STEM industries. With 50 unique career pathways currently available, the South Coast IoT aims to improve the talent pipeline into industries that are vital to the future growth and prosperity of the region.

Andrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group, the lead Further Education College in the partnership, said: “The Solent region has a proven track record of delivering excellent further and higher education and has done so through proactive employer engagement.

“The South Coast Institute of Technology will provide further opportunities for the region’s current and future students, staff, partner organisations and the wider community, developing the higher technical skills needed to support local and regional growth and long-term prosperity across the South.”

The VIP event was attended by more than 100 distinguished guests, who were greeted with speeches by Andrew Kaye and Matt Johnson, Director of the South Coast IoT. Following this, Jason Bradbury, known for his role in ‘The Gadget Show,’ took the stage and delivered an inspirational talk on changing landscape of technology and the importance of its role in our society.

The ceremonial cutting of the ribbon was performed by Andrew, Matt and Jason, and afterwards guests were taken on an eagerly anticipated tour around the new building. Boasting state of the art facilities and equipment, the IoT at CEMAST is the only IoT offering a specific Higher National Certificate in Robotics and Mechatronics, and invests in high-quality training, industry-expert teachers and real-world curriculum.

After taking a tour of the facilities himself, Jason said: “The South Coast Institute of Technology is incredible. If your goal is to galvanise young people’s interests and really inspire them to learn, it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Key employers include the Royal Navy and Portsmouth International Port, IBM, QinetiQ, Leonardo, Maritime UK Solent, GKN, DDC, and Teemill.

Rear Admiral Jude Terry, Director of People and Training, Royal Navy said: “The Royal Navy is delighted to be a core employer partner of the South Coast IoT, as its impact will be significant.

“Integral to the bidding process, through our Solent Maritime Enterprise Zone team, we see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the higher technical skills shortage not only in the region but nationally and is essential in supporting a much-needed growth in productivity particularly in the maritime, engineering and digital industries.”

Matt Johnson, Director of South Coast IoT, said: “The South Coast is on the edge of a new era, heralding a fourth industrial revolution driven by the Solent 2050 Strategy, Solent Maritime Enterprise Zones, and the Solent Freeport initiative.

“With huge technological advancements on the horizon, our area’s industries in maritime, engineering, and digital are some of the fastest growing and we have tens of thousands of local vacancies waiting to be filled.

“To address this growing demand, the South Coast Institute of Technology is here to help by getting more students into STEM subjects. We’re working with businesses to make sure our students are ready for these great jobs, helping our region grow and thrive.”

For more information on the South Coast Institute of Technology, please visit: https://southcoastiot.ac.uk/

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has established a new collaboration programme with South Hampshire College Group (SHCG) to help develop and deliver courses that make students attractive candidates for roles within the logistics sector.

This is an extension of a campaign the trade association that represents the UK freight forwarding sector started in 2021 to encourage its members to work with schools and colleges to promote careers in logistics, forwarding and supply chain management.

The collaboration will see BIFA and SHCG work together through continuous and structured interaction to engage with the extensive community of BIFA members in the Solent region.

A key objective will be to inform and update BIFA members about the skills courses that SHCG runs that are relevant to the logistics sector; whilst enabling them to provide input into those courses to ensure students have the essential foundation knowledge they need for a successful career within the industry.

Through its Solent regional group, BIFA will be encouraging its members to engage with SHCG students to provide valuable insight into the many aspects of logistics and the wide variety of career opportunities that are available.

There will be an initial meeting at SHCG’s Eastleigh College on 29th February to share further information and have an open discussion with attendees as to how best to work together to achieve the objectives, and set up and run a continuous and structured dialogue between BIFA members and SHCG.

Carl Hobbis, BIFA Member Services Director says: “Brexit, the Covid pandemic, and now the crisis in the Red Sea, have put global supply chains in the news more than ever, so what a great time to encourage someone to consider a career in the international freight sector that manages those supply chains.”

Anoushka Ottley, Executive Director of Business & Partnerships at South Hampshire College Group, says: “We’re excited to be working in partnership with BIFA to help raise greater awareness of the many career opportunities within the logistics sector and to further develop our high-quality training to meet the current and future skills requirements across the Solent region.”

Two Level 3 Creative Media students at Fareham College have had their pieces published in the annual Creative Writing in FE: An Anthology book. 

Beatrice Villaneuva and Lana George are approaching the end of their Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production, with both looking to progress onto higher education at university in September. Although both have enjoyed writing as a pastime, these submissions marked the first time either had embarked upon an official writing project. Both short pieces were fictional, incorporating a variety of literary language devices and emotive imagery in the narration.  

The annual Creative Writing in FE Anthology publication brings together Creative Writing excerpts from students in further education across the country. Many submissions are received each year, all analysed carefully by an expert panel including representatives from the Copywriting Licensing Agency, the English and Media Centre and the Association of Colleges. All submissions are assessed on their quality of writing, adherence to the brief, and the imagination and emotion evoked through each piece.  

Beatrice commented: “This project interested me because I saw it as an opportunity to experiment with different writing techniques. It was a huge surprise for me to see my work published, and this has built up my confidence in my creative ability. This course has given me a taste of everything, and the teachers’ support has allowed my creative freedom to flourish. My next step is to build upon this foundation at university as I work toward my goal of becoming a Film and TV Producer.”

Lana said: “I was so happy to see my work in print. With this piece, I wanted to increase awareness of the effect that parents arguing can have on a child, and I hope this publication has managed to achieve that. I plan to continue studying Creative Media at university and would love to become a writer or editor one day.

Gregory Kitchin, Faculty Director of Creative Media at Fareham College, commented: “Lana and Beatrice have already matured into talented videographers on their Level 3 Creative Media Production course and this accolade is further proof that they will have long and fruitful careers in the creative industries. The excellent writing skills demonstrated in their published work adds to their technical abilities and allows them to approach creative projects from several angles, making them true all-rounders whilst still at College. Lana and Beatrice’s achievements are also testament to their lecturers’ high expectations for learners in the Creative Media department.” 

To see all content from the Creative Writing in FE: An Anthology 2023 book, please click here

For any further queries please contact the College at business@shcg.ac.uk.  

Eastleigh College have hosted the final heat of the 2024 Major International Culinary Challenge, with eighteen medals received across the students competing.

It was a strong performance from all students, who were tasked with creating a uniquely inspired dish within a limited time frame, before presenting their dish to a trio of judges. Level 3 Hospitality and Catering Student Oscar won ‘best in class’ for his Pan-fried chicken breast, served with Hassleback potatoes, braised leeks and carrot puree. He will go on to compete in the grand final of the competition at the Excel Centre in London.

Oscar said: “It was a tough competition with a lot of skilled chefs. I’m chuffed to have been awarded best in class and it’s an amazing opportunity for me to get out there in London and network with chefs and employers across the industry.”

The Hospitality and Catering team at Eastleigh College commented: “We are very proud of all our students’ efforts today at the final heat of the Major Chef Culinary Challenge. Eighteen medals is an outstanding achievement and we wish Oscar the best of luck as he goes on to compete in the final later this Spring.”

Andy Mackenzie is an Executive Chef for the Exclusive Chef Academy and was one of the judges for the heat. He commented: “It was a fantastic and impressive display from our competitors today, there was such great imagination across the menus and it really shows that the future is very bright.”

Sky was the recipient of a gold medal in the heat. She said: “I’m very happy to have been awarded a gold medal, it shows that hard work pays off and has given me a real feeling of accomplishment.”

Major International’s annual Major Series is one of the longest-running young chef competitions in the UK and gives learners of varying skill levels the chance to learn new skills, gain valuable tips from industry professionals and experience the competition arena for the first time. Outstanding performers in each heat will progress to compete at the Excel International Convention Centre in London in front of a live audience. With many senior chefs in attendance, the event provides a prime opportunity for networking with industry professionals, with the competition historically often proving a gateway into more exclusive competitions and opportunities.

For any further queries please contact the College at business@shcg.ac.uk.

South Hampshire College Group (SHCG) held its inaugural edition of National Apprenticeship Week as one united group.

With over a dozen events spread over three college sites, the SHCG 2024 National Apprenticeship Week successfully delivered key information to thousands of students, through workshops, presentations and a variety of guest speakers. Networking breakfasts and parent information evenings also ensured that students were not the only beneficiaries of the week’s programme and there were plenty of opportunities for question-and-answer discussions throughout.

The national theme of 2024 National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Skills for Life’ and the week’s programme was tailored accordingly, with most content focused primarily on apprenticeship opportunities, but a T Level webinar and an internship presentation by Autotech Academy ensuring that there was truly something for everyone. The blend of online and in-person events made certain that nobody missed out even if they could not physically attend.

Trudy McKenzie, Careers Lead at Eastleigh College, commented: “National Apprenticeship Week is such an important and informative week for students, and the varied range of talks, workshops and presentations that have taken place this week have been able to provide something for all. We have had a strong turnout from students for our workshops and activities and a further excellent turnout from parents for our special Apprenticeship evening earlier in the week. We want to give a big thanks to all the organisations who have supported our week’s programme, including Wiser Futures, Adams Morey and Autotech Academy.”

A special Networking breakfast was held at Fareham College as part of the itinerary. This brought together employers from across Hampshire, representing a diverse range of sectors, to discuss apprenticeships and how employers and colleges could work together to fill local skills gaps.

Joanne Pawley, the organiser of the breakfast, commented: “The employer breakfast networking event was an opportunity to bring current and new employers together to look at the range of apprenticeship offerings across South Hampshire College Group. It was also an opportunity for potential new employers to understand what an apprenticeship is and to gain an insight into the benefits that an apprentice could bring to their business.”

The week’s success has already led to more planned events, including a second parents’ evening later this term (date TBC), following a sold-out attendance for the first evening.

For any further queries, please contact the Group at: business@shcg.ac.uk.

South Hampshire College Group are proud to have launched a new T level course in Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction, the latest in a growing list of 34 specialised T Level courses across a range of sectors.

T Levels are exciting modern qualifications that are enjoying a surge in popularity across the UK amongst both students and employers. A T Level qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels in UCAS points, making this learning pathway a highly credible and valuable alternative to A Levels. Comprised of an 80/20% split between class work and industry placements, T Levels are specifically designed to focus on high-level technical and work-ready skills.

South Hampshire College Group is delighted to be one of the pioneers of T Levels in Southern England, currently offering 34 courses covering a range of sectors such as childcare, media, beauty, electrical and many more.

Rudi Kochanowski, Course Manager for the new T Level in Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction, said: “T-Levels are a great way to get ahead in the construction industry. The qualification has been developed with a range of sector leading employers to ensure that learners are learning the skills and knowledge to succeed in the construction industry. The range of topics covered is very wide and the modules have been designed in consultation with employers.”

Debbie Eacott, Digital T Level Lead at South Hampshire College Group, said: “The T Levels provide a wide variety of skills and industry experience that could roadmap a student into their desired career. This is a fantastic opportunity and journey for students to prepare them for a technical mindset that will build talent pipelines to support the industry.”

Benita Raphaels, Student President of Fareham College, said:I chose a digital T Level as it comes with attractive features not conventionally seen with A-Levels such as the 20% work placement. This and various other opportunities expose us to the world of work and allow us to build our networks and experience early on, which is invaluable in an age with a highly saturated workforce.”

Sarah Eggleston, T Level Placement Employer and Owner of Flow.io, said:”I have been very impressed by the quality and enthusiasm from my T level students, and the level they work at. They are already growing in productivity and independence, I can only imagine how valuable they would be if progressing onto a higher apprenticeship”.

It is an exciting moment in time for T Levels at South Hampshire College Group, with two special T Level community events scheduled to take place this term. A virtual T Levels online event will take place on Thursday 22nd February, providing valuable insight from both teachers and employers on the various programmes available, along with a special question and answer discussion with the audience. A further in-person T Levels Parents Evening event will take place at Fareham College on Thursday 1st February featuring many of the same discussion points.

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