Exceptional End of Year Shows from New College Swindon University Centre Students

Media Makeup End of Year Show

New College Swindon hosted its 20th Media Makeup End of Year Show at STEAM Museum. Students from Level 1 to Degree-Level strutted their final pieces down a catwalk in front of friends, family, and members of the public, inspired by a range of themes such as ‘monsters from the movies’, ‘fruit’, and ‘the circus’.

Once again, students from the BTEC Level 3 Photography course attended to photograph the show, alongside Degree-Level film and media students. The Media Makeup Show allows photography students to document before and after photos and help build their portfolios.

Graphic Design Showcase

The final Graphic Design HND show was a fantastic way to conclude the course, as each student not only exhibited their unique work, demonstrating our distinct skill sets, but also demonstrated their ability to work as a team.

HND Graphic Design student, Muriel De Souza said “Throughout the training, I gained a variety of technical abilities as well as learnt how to pay attention to detail when displaying my work at the show. Through this course, I also received an opportunity to work at a start-up called My Racing Colours as a junior graphic designer, which is surely an outstanding start for my career in design.”

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New College Swindon University Centre Creative Courses

New College Swindon School of Art End the Year on a High!

New College Swindon School of Art students had a busy end to the year with some exciting performances and showcases.

Mary Poppins – Performing Arts End of Year Production

Performing arts students teamed up with photography students to capture the end of year production, Mary Poppins. The production allowed students to develop professional and personal skills, such as time management and organisation. Clare Ashley, BTEC Level 3 Photography lecturer said “Photographing college productions is excellent work experience for my students. They’re challenged to work in low-lit conditions, still producing high-quality images.”

A BTEC Level 3 Photography student, Harry Jenner said “Mary Poppins was a great work experience. I loved the mutual benefit of working with other students. I’m a little shy, but this has helped me improve my networking and communication skills.”

A Level Textiles & Fashion Roundup

It has been another busy year for A Level fashion and textiles students who were involved in the Swindogs charity event where the student’s very own SwinPup was auctioned to a new home. In addition, students were involved in ‘Stitch your Story’ with a local production company, Create Studios, having their embroidery work displayed on heritage banners.

The work was displayed in the Swindon McArthur Glen Outlet showcasing exemplary printed textiles, lingerie pieces, woven garments, wallpaper, and interiors. To top it off, 91% of the Year 2 Textiles cohort gained places at university, with others progressing to do apprenticeships with various employers such as Rolls Royce and a kitchen design company.

Karen Pau, Assistant Curriculum Manager for Creative Industries said, “The End of Year Showcase was amazing and celebrates the diversity, dedication and creativity of all of our learners.”

Digital Music Production Show (DMP)

On the 27th of June, DMP students held a sell-out show in the Phoenix Theatre at Queens Drive, promoting their music. Of the 13 acts who performed, Casey Johnston won Track of the Year 2024, for her track “Fool”, voted by students and staff around the college.

Listen to the show

Ewan Varney was awarded Student of the Year 2024 for his outstanding work over the two years and for helping other students with their work. Ewan said “Everyone has been so helpful in helping my band start a music career. My lecturer, Stuart Rowe has guided me through some tough moments. I’ll miss the college a lot!”
Stuart Rowe, Programme Lead said, “The students were amazing, everyone stepped up to do a very professional show, they ran the sound, the lighting, the door, and all of the backstage organisation.”

In addition to all the fantastic events the students have held, they also have their work displayed in the main areas of the college campuses. Joanne Gennard, Curriculum Manager for Creative Industries said, “The End of Year Exhibition is a lovely opportunity to celebrate our student’s achievements throughout the year and showcase their favourite work.”


At the end of June, Creative Media students hosted their “Noscars” evening to celebrate young creative minds. The evening that was advertised, set up, run, and photographed by the students was a resounding success.

Supported Internship Student Offered Permanent Position at Arkells Pub Strawberry Thief

New College Swindon (NCS) Supported Internship student, Freddie, has been employed as a permanent member of staff at the Strawberry Thief, Swindon’s newest pub in Tadpole Garden Village. The Supported Internship programme is designed to support young people who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to gain paid employment.

Freddie said “The programme has given me the opportunity to showcase my skills and get out of my comfort zone. I’ve built up my confidence and practiced good time management skills. I’m really pleased they’re [Strawberry Thief] keeping me on board as I enjoy the role and the staff are really welcoming and helpful.”

As a thank you for Freddie’s hard work and a congratulations for securing his job, Arkells presented Freddie with a hamper of beverages, popcorn and cinema tickets. All of his favourites!

During the presentation, Arkell Managing Director, George, commented about Freddie’s achievement, saying, “It is an accolade to you, Freddie, that you have been taken on as a full-time member of staff after just 6 months of your Supported Internship at the Strawberry Thief. The team are lucky to have you on board.”

After the presentation, we caught up with Michelle Ferris, Supported Internship Job Coach at NCS, who added, “Freddie joined the Supported Internship Programme at New College in September 2023. Freddie wanted to improve his customer service skills and Arkells were happy to place him at Strawberry Thief pub.”

Freddie has been working for three days a week at the Strawberry Thief. He has discovered he is a dab hand at making and serving coffee. He enjoys making sure customers are happy and now looks forwards to the regular customers coming in as well as meeting new customers. Freddie has done so well; Strawberry Thief has taken him on as a permanent employee.”

Foundation Learning and Supported Internships

New College Swindon Hosts 4th Annual FE Student Awards

A night to remember! New College Swindon celebrated, alongside their families, governors, college staff and dignitaries in the Phoenix Theatre at Queens Drive, the success of 26 students who have gone above and beyond in the classroom in the last 12 months.

The ceremony, hosted by Leah Palmer, Principal and CEO celebrated more than academic excellence. Proud lecturers shared inspiring citations of students who have overcome personal hurdles, contributed to the community, and made a positive impact in college.

Former Principal and CEO, Carole Kitching, presented the first ever Carole Kitching Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community. The winner, Rhys Stacey, was congratulated for his advocacy for students with physical and learning disabilities. His citation read “This year, Rhys met with Robert Buckland to discuss funding for accessibility in colleges. His efforts have been instrumental in driving positive changes and raising awareness for this important cause. Rhys has also played a significant role in creating informative leaflets for new students, which will undoubtedly benefit incoming students in September 2024.”

Following the ceremony, students were asked how they felt about receiving the award and to share advice with the next generation of students to inspire them to work hard towards receiving their own FE Award. Daniel Farmer, winner of the Enterprise Award said “Two years seems like a long time, but it comes around quickly. Make the most of the time you have here!”

We wish all of our students the very best with their exams and hope they continue to shine their excellence in their future endeavours.

There’s still time to apply for September

New College Swindon Student Wins Guild of Bricklayers Regional Heat

New College Swindon played host to the Guild of Bricklayers for their annual competition in which Level 3 student, Ethan Lee, won the senior category.  Level 2 Student Austin Baily-Tobin also took part and said of the competition, “Although it was challenging and quite stressful working under pressure, I enjoyed the competition. It was a great opportunity to showcase the skills I have learned so far whilst studying at the college.” 

The competition celebrates the rich heritage of bricklaying and sets an important stage for emerging talents to display their skills and vie for the coveted title of UK’s top junior bricklayer. 

When asked about his win, Ethan said, “This is the first competition I have been part of which was exciting. It was a chance for me to showcase the skills I have learned, and it was good experience. I’m very pleased with myself for winning and making it to the National Final in London.” 

Bill Bowman, President of the Guild of Bricklayers said, “competitions are a long-standing tradition within the Guild of Bricklayers, dating back over 40 years. The craft, skills, and knowledge are clearly demonstrated at these events.”  He continues, “Our thanks go to all the college staff involved for all their effort in making this competition possible.  The Guild of Bricklayers greatly appreciate the contribution of the college for their generous hospitality.” 

The winners of the regional competitions will go on to the grand final taking place on the 20th of June at Herts Regional College Broxbourne Campus. 

Empowering Women Through Student-Led Sports Sessions: Breaking Barriers and Building Confidence

Recently two Sports students at New College Swindon were selected to become This Girl Can Ambassadors as part of a programme created by the Association of Colleges. The purpose of the programme is to promote, inspire and support other females within their colleges to participate in sport and physical activity’ (AOC Sport, 2024)

The award has been designed to help young people to take part in sport/physical activity that they may not have the confidence or the opportunity to do. The students planned and ran sessions in volleyball, boxing, yoga and Netball, the sessions were available for any female student at the college to sign up to.

This Girl Can Ambassadors and students Jade and Dextra said “We have provided a variety of different activities based on feedback from students around the college. As sports students we understand the importance of keeping fit, not just for your physical wellbeing but also your mental health. We hope that this has had a positive impact on the students that took part views on exercise”

Sports Lecture, Lisa Benson said “It is a delight to see students taking part in new activities they may have not tired before. This is even more rewarding when the students taking part are those that do not regularly take part in physical activity. Jade and Dextra have taken their roles very seriously, they showed confidence when talking to different groups and took charge of the event ensuring everyone was involved and enjoying themselves.”

Celebrating Diversity: Photography Exhibition Showcases the Talent of New College Swindon Students

New College Swindon is proud to announce the opening of “Diversity,” an engaging photography exhibition featuring the work of 10 talented students from the Creative Practice Photography BTEC Level 3 course.  

The exhibition, located at the heart of the Swindon Designer Outlet, adjacent to Clarks, will run from May 6th to May 12th, 2024. It will provide a captivating glimpse into the diverse perspectives and creative prowess of emerging photographers. 

“Diversity” invites visitors to explore an array of captivating images that reflect the rich tapestry of human experience. From mesmerizing landscapes to thought-provoking portraits, each photograph offers a unique insight into the multifaceted nature of our world. 

“We are thrilled to showcase the remarkable talent of our students through this exhibition. Every year the work keeps getting better and better” said Clare Ashley, Photography BTEC Level 3 Program Lead at New College Swindon. She continues “Through their lens, they capture the essence of diversity in all its forms, inviting viewers to embrace the beauty of our differences.” 

The exhibition serves as a testament to the dedication and creativity of the next generation of photographers. Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the artwork, engage with the students, and celebrate the power of visual storytelling. 

For more information about the “Diversity” exhibition or the Creative Practice BTEC Level 3 course at New College Swindon, please contact Clare Ashley at clare.ashley@newcollege.ac.uk.

From Maternity Assistant Practitioner to Successful T Level Health Programme Lead

New College Swindon T Level Health Programme Lead, Karen Beecroft began her career in health at Horton Maternity Unit in Banbury as a Maternity Support Worker, before moving to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford as a Practice Education Maternity Assistant Practitioner. After 20 years in the maternity field, Karen joined the T Level journey at New College Swindon.

In 2019, New College Swindon became one of the first providers of T Levels, which are equivalent to 3 A Levels with a focus on practical study and work placements. T Levels present students with new routes into employment, allowing them to learn practical skills inside and outside of college. Karen says “Students might think they want to be a nurse and think they understand what it involves, but the reality is different. The practical side of T Levels means students get to see what it’s like and make their decisions early.” Some of the students at New College Swindon finish their course to train as a midwife, paramedics, paediatric nurses, psychologists and more.

To stay up-to-date with an ever-evolving industry, Karen keeps in touch with her local hospital and occasionally does a few shifts. This ensures that she’s teaching the students the right things. In addition, Karen has attended various training courses, for example, Infection and Control. New College Swindon offers courses like this to local care homes to fill skill gaps.

In response to what Karen thinks of T Levels, she said “I wish T Levels had been around when I was at school because I would’ve loved it and jumped at the chance to study this practically and realistically. T Levels provide invaluable skills in a safe environment whilst you’re still young, giving students a solid foundation before heading to university or working within the health care sector.”

T Levels at New College Swindon

Local Employer Nominated for High Sheriff Awards in Recognition of Exemplary Service to the Wiltshire Community 

Michael Steel, owner of Yuzu, one of New College Swindon’s (NCS) subcontracted training providers, has been nominated for a High Sheriff Award for his exceptional efforts in enhancing the lives of residents. 

James Terry, Head of Partnerships and Bids at NCS expressed his enthusiasm for this new partnership with New College Swindon, stating. “We are delighted for Michael and the team at Yuzu on the High Sheriff award. We are working extremely hard to ensure our subcontracting activity has a positive impact locally in Swindon and surrounding areas. We are really looking forward to continuing our partnership with Yuzu and all the positive impacts we can achieve together in the future” 

Yuzu works with New College Swindon to offer support for funded short courses. These courses provide upskilling opportunities, designed to raise awareness and confidence in various subject areas. By offering individuals the chance to enhance their skills and knowledge, these courses open doors to new employment opportunities and career paths. At the end of the courses, participants will receive a Level 2 certificate, providing them with a recognised qualification to support their career advancement. 

In partnership with local employers, Yuzu Training has been delivering apprenticeships as opportunities to upskill the people of Wiltshire, enabling them to reach their full potential. Notably, they have collaborated with the Scoffs Group, the UK’s largest Costa Coffee franchise which has stores in Wiltshire, creating pathways from entry-level (Level 2) apprenticeships in Hospitality up to higher-level Management apprenticeships (Level 5), equivalent to a foundation degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND). 

Michael expressed his enthusiasm about the future initiatives, “At Yuzu Training, we believe in the transformative power of education and the importance of equipping individuals with the skills they need to thrive in today’s digital age. Our partnership with New Swindon College and the Scoffs Group represents a shared commitment to building a brighter future for Wiltshire by empowering individuals to succeed in the rapidly evolving landscape today’s employees must navigate. 

We are deeply passionate about nurturing talent and fostering skill development in Wiltshire. That’s why we are excited to announce our collaboration with the college, a partnership aimed at addressing skills gaps and creating more opportunities for individuals throughout the region.” 

Staff and Students in the Hair & Beauty Department Celebrate ‘Excellence’ Nominations

Janine Webb, Associate lecturer at New College Swindon (NCS) has been nominated by the hairdressing department for the VTCT Excellence Award for Educator of the Year. Janine said “Having worked in the hair industry for 30 years, and as an educator at the college for 22 years, I am passionate about training and inspiring people to fulfil their potential. My biggest achievement is seeing many of my students running successful businesses and I love to follow their ongoing accomplishments. Being nominated for this award is an honour, as we have so many great educators. I am dedicated to my students and will continue to help them strive to be the best.”

VTCT is the UK’s market-leading specialist vocational and technical Awarding Organisation and End-Point Assessment Organisation for the personal services and well-being sector. The VTCT Awards were set up to celebrate excellence across the VTCT industries and are designed to inspire students and partners to unlock their potential and flourish in rewarding careers.

Curriculum Manager for Lifestyle, Eleanor Exley said “Janine is always positive and always goes above and beyond for her students, which is reflected in their excellent results. The department is very proud that she has been selected by VTCT for this award.”

Gemma Golding, hairdressing lecturer at NCS nominated Alicia in the Student of the Year category. Alicia works outside of her college hours to give her an advantage in competitions, such as the Colouring Competition for Concept Magazine, and World Skills; an international charity that organises world and national championships for vocational skills. Entering the competition helps improve professional and personal skills such as; time management, communication and problem solving. In the future, Alicia hopes to go to Japan to do hairdressing.

Gemma Goulding said “Alicia is consistent and has pushed herself outside of her boundaries. Doing a work placement has been a challenge for her, especially some of the hair colourings she has completed. She deserves the nomination and we are very proud of her”

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