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.

South Hampshire College Group has announced its membership of The Solent Cluster, the first major decarbonisation initiative to substantially reduce CO2 emissions from industry, transport and households across the Solent and the south coast of England.

The Solent Cluster is a cross-sector collaboration of international organisations, including manufacturers and engineering companies, regional businesses and industries, leading logistics and infrastructure operators and academic institutions, with decades of proven expertise in carbon capture and storage and hydrogen technology. The Solent region has the capacity to potentially capture and safely store up to 10 million tonnes of CO2 annually as part of the project’s ambitions.

South Hampshire College Group (SHCG) joins over 100 members as part of the Cluster alongside founding members the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), global energy provider ExxonMobil and University of Southampton. The founding members have each shared details of their vision for the Solent and how it could secure existing jobs and produce low-carbon fuels for sectors including maritime and aviation, as well as providing energy to heat homes, businesses, and public buildings. This effort could position the Solent at the centre of low carbon fuel production in the UK and make a major contribution to the country’s Net Zero ambitions by 2050.

Anoushka Ottley, Executive Director of Business & Partnerships at SHCG said,

“South Hampshire College Group are deeply committed to aligning our educational offerings with the specific skills required to meet the objectives of the Solent Cluster’s vision. Through close collaboration with local industries, training providers across the region, and strategic planning, we will ensure that our curriculum and training programs are tailored to cultivate the skills essential for realising the Solent Cluster’s goals. Our college group will serve as a dynamic hub for skills development, empowering individuals and the communities we serve to excel in pursuit of the Solent Cluster’s objectives.”

In a recent socioeconomic report released by the Cluster, it confirmed over 70,000 jobs could be secured, including the creation of over 18,000 new skilled jobs as part of a potential £11.9bn economic boost for the Solent region. The Cluster also has the potential of over £4.4 billion gross value added to the economy by 2035.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, chair of The Solent Cluster said,

“Decarbonisation will be a catalyst for transformative change as we seek to propel the region into a new era of sustainable growth. The importance of identifying the potential for thousands of new jobs and billions in investment, cannot be underestimated.”

“The Solent Cluster is an important opportunity to decarbonise the Solent Region, and we are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from multiple sectors,’’ said Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions.

Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, associate professor of mechanical engineering and academic cluster lead for the Solent Industrial Decarbonisation Cluster at University of Southampton, said:

“The Solent is recognised as one of the leading contributors of CO2 emissions from energy-intensive manufacturing processes every year. The formation of a decarbonisation cluster that spans the public, private and higher education sectors is a monumental step forward for the region.

“It will introduce sustainable fuels for local transportation, the aviation and the shipping sectors; create low carbon energy to heat homes, businesses and public buildings; and open up new highly skilled jobs opportunities. This can only be achieved by working together as a community, covering all sectors and ultimately working with the same desire to achieve a low carbon economic future for the Solent region.”

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