Public Services Degree-Level students take their studies to the next level at their dream universities

All six Public Service HND students at New College Swindon University Centre who applied to continue to obtain their full degree have been successful! Students cover important modules such as; mental health and wellbeing, equality, diversity and fair treatment, crime, justice, rehabilitation, law and the legal system. The diversity of this subject, taught by specialist lecturers allows students to pursue careers in the police, fire services, criminal justice system and armed forces.

Most students who have applied to the top-up course are considering Criminal Justice studies, with another planning a career in the fire service. One student, who is going to complete the degree online with the University of Gloucestershire, said “I joined the police at the same time that I started the degree-level course at New College Swindon University Centre as my job and work complement each other. It was a complete career change for me. Getting back into education can be intimidating, but after one phone call with New College Swindon University Centre I immediately felt welcomed.”

Russ Williams, Public Services lecturer says “I am incredibly proud of this year’s cohort and those who have chosen to continue to do a full degree at their preferred universities. All my students are working alongside their studies at New College Swindon University Centre, allowing them to continue earning, maintain local connections and relationships, and stay home to raise their families.” Russ continues, “Some of my students have been with me from the very start of their college life. This means they’re very comfortable with asking for support and advice. Those who decide to move away for university get to sit in a large lecturer hall, at best, if they’re not studying online and don’t get a personable experience.”

Students who stay at New College Swindon University Centre have the benefit of saving money on their fees, accommodation, and travel. One of the key benefits of the centre is that parents can balance enjoying family life and working as they are only required to attend college twice a week.

Invest in your future

Apply for the Public Services HND

Industry Stardom for New College Swindon Media Makeup Graduates

New College Swindon University Centre has run the Media Makeup BA since 2018. Students on this course develop the skills and techniques needed to work as a make-up artist in film, fashion, theatre and television. Due to the course’s success, the New College Swindon University Centre Media Makeup department welcomes students from further afield for the top-up degree-level course, from areas such as Bristol, Northampton and Somerset.

Molly McGowan, a technician for the department, has worked on various film sets since completing the Media Makeup BA at New College Swindon University Centre. Her specialism was focused on film & TV. All students complete a portfolio that is printed and given to them at the end of their degree to showcase their work to future employers. Molly says “I do lots of music videos, shot a film a couple of months ago and I just went and did a premiere for it, which was boujie. I also do weddings as well.”

The Media Makeup BA is one year long, meaning students are close to achieving their dreams. As many of 80% of New College Swindon Media Makeup BA students have gone into the industry they have decided to specialise in, despite it being a tough industry to get into. Some of their work you might recognise in TV, film and theatre, such as Aladdin, The Lion King and All About Casey.

Media Makeup Lecturer Elouisa Baskerville says The BA is an opportunity for students to specialise in an area of the industry in which they want to pursue a career. The makeup industry directly informs this course and it has been rewarding to see so many of our students pursue their ambitions.”

Applications for our degree-level Media Makeup courses are open

Apply now

Unlocking Growth: Navigating Challenges with The Mindful Apprentice Podcast

The journey of learning and self-discovery never pauses, especially when it comes to the challenging yet rewarding path of apprenticeships. The Mindful Apprentice podcast has been a beacon of knowledge, empathy, and guidance for many navigating this journey. We’re thrilled to announce that episodes 5 through 8 are now available for streaming. Each episode unpacks valuable experiences, advice, and coping strategies from industry experts and former apprentices.

Episode 5: Culture Shock

Culture shock can often be a barrier to adjusting to new environments, especially in the workplace. Anna Morrison CBE from Amazing Apprenticeships shares her wisdom on navigating these waters.

“Anything new can feel a bit scary or daunting.”

Anna Morrison CBE, Amazing Apprenticeships

Anna emphasises the importance of finding coping mechanisms and seeking early support from mentors or buddies. It’s a reminder that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and that reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Episode 6: Managing the Workload

The transition to the working world brings with it a new set of responsibilities. Emily Hutchinson, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, discusses the importance of developing systems to manage workload efficiently. She suggests practical tips like maintaining a diary, setting up electronic reminders, and seeking support from the workplace. These strategies are vital for apprentices to not only manage their responsibilities but also to thrive in their roles.

Episode 7: What if I’m Not Up to It?

Doubts and fears are part of the human experience, and apprenticeships are no exception. Jessa Lee, a former apprentice and now a Quantity Surveyor at Stace, shares her fears of failing the End Point Assessment and how confiding in friends helped her overcome them.

“The fear of not being as good as everyone else is very common. You’ve got to believe in yourself. You got this apprenticeship for a reason so you need to show them what you’re capable of.”

Olivia Skane, Apprenticeship Ambassador

Olivia Skane, an Apprenticeship Ambassador, also touches on the common fear of inadequacy, encouraging apprentices to believe in themselves and their abilities. This episode is a powerful reminder that it’s normal to feel uncertain, but believing in oneself is key to overcoming these fears.

Episode 8: Workplace Relationships

The impact of workplace relationships, particularly bullying, on mental health cannot be overstated. Paul Reeve, Chief Executive at Cornwall Mind, defines bullying by its impact on the victim rather than the perpetrator’s intention. Dr. Adrian Flynn, a Consultant Psychiatrist at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, emphasises the importance of acknowledging the effect of workplace dynamics on mental health and seeking support. This episode is crucial for understanding the significance of healthy workplace relationships and the steps to take when they are not met.

Wrapping Up

The Mindful Apprentice podcast offers invaluable insights and practical advice for anyone on the apprenticeship journey or supporting someone who is. Each story, each piece of advice, underscores the importance of mindfulness, support, and resilience in the face of challenges. Whether you’re an apprentice, mentor, or just someone interested in personal growth, these episodes are a treasure trove of wisdom.

Remember, the journey might be daunting, but you’re not alone. Tune in, listen, and let these stories guide and inspire you.

Stream all episodes here.

New College Swindon Students Celebrate Colleges Week with Rt Hon Sir Robert Buckland Q&A

A Level politics students hosted a Q&A with local MP Sir Robert Buckland recently as part of the 2024 Colleges Week celebrations.

Colleges Week aims to raise the profile of colleges across the country by engaging with local MPS’s and other stakeholders to celebrate the successes of colleges and the vital work they do in the local community and to support the local economy.

As well as celebrating individual student success stories, the week was focussed on shaping conversations expected election in the autumn and highlighting the importance of registering to vote.

Colleges week culminated in the Q&A with Sir Robert hosted by A Level politics and GCSE Citizenship students. A wide range of topics were covered; the crisis in Gaza, university funding, and how to make politics more interesting to young voters.

When asked about university funding, Sir Robert was keen to highlight that the traditional model of studying away for 3 years is evolving. “It’s important to tailor degree-level courses to the needs of the student and make them more accessible to students needing to stay locally such as people doing a degree later in life whist working to support a family”.  He continues, “You [New College Swindon] now have the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology and the New College Swindon University Centre that can offer that tailored course for local people”.

Constance Roach, Politics Lecturer at the College was delighted that Colleges Week was such a success. “We always aim to offer an engaging experience for all our students and this week has been brilliant.  The students organised voting registration desks throughout the week at our Queens Drive Campus, and really put a lot of thought into the types of questions they were asking Sir Robert.”

New Animal Enclosures Bring New Opportunities and a New Degree-Level Course to New College Swindon

New College Swindon hosted a launch for the brand-new Animal Management Centre in October 2023. Level 3 Animal Management students, alongside experts at Zoofab have been building more outside enclosures. These include a lorikeet aviary, raccoon haven and prairie dog den. The new additions to the animal family open up opportunities for degree-level students to have experience with both farm and zoo animals, conservation and wildlife.

Kim Monahan, Animal Management Lecturer says “We have worked tirelessly over the past two years to bring a professional animal facility to Swindon students. After discussions with local employers, we found that there was a deficit in the provision of zoo-style animal education locally. Our new enclosures will be completed in the spring and our outside facility will be ready for teaching our new T Level qualification and our new HND.”

New College Swindon University Centre is launching its first Animal Management HND this year, allowing students who have already been studying Animal Management at Level 3 to progress to the next level, with little disruption to their routine or high fees. This new degree-level course also opens doors for any local people who have an interest in working with animals and have previously studied a science or humanities subject. This new facility will open up many new higher-paid job opportunities for the local area.

Kim continues “The addition of these animals will allow our students to have real-world experience of animal behaviour through our prairie dog cams and they can also train our Raccoons to complete husbandry practices, such as showing their arm to help administer injections, or crate train them safely. Alongside these exotic animals, we are working with Cats Protection on an exciting new project that will benefit Swindon and our students immensely”.

Abigail Giles, who has applied for the new Animal Management HND at New College Swindon says “I have chosen to study here because they have the best animal facilities in the local area. This new course means I can continue living at home whilst pursuing my dream of working with animals long-term.”

New College Swindon University Centre offers local degree-level courses for anyone from the age of 18+. Our state-of-the-art facilities set us apart from any other local provider; offering mature students the opportunity to focus on their studies 2 days a week, whilst maintaining a work/life balance. For those who aren’t yet ready to complete a full degree-level course, there are many other routes through our adult provision to help you reach your goal of a better-paying job, changing careers or personal development.

Apply for the Animal Management HND

New College Swindon Collaborates with Local Charity

New College Swindon (NCS) is collaborating with local charity Shine, offering support sessions run by Early Years T Level students.

The T Level students will be planning all of the activities with the early years lecturers on hand to oversee the sessions. The first session planned is a Mother’s Day special where the mums and children will have an afternoon tea alongside themed activities. Clare Ashley, Photography Lecturer at the college and her photography students will be offering a free Mother’s Day photo shoot.

Lynette Buebird, Lecturer in HE Early Years and HND Public Services at New College Swindon has been a volunteer at Shine since her friend, Sarah, founded the Swindon branch 6 years ago. She says, “we have been trying to set up stay and play sessions over the past few years at our Little Stars Nursery, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to support the local community and also give our learners the chance to show off the amazing skills they have learned through the Early Years T Level course and work experience in nursery/school settings”.

Shine is a local charity offering a vast range of support to mothers dealing with anxiety and post-natal depression. Currently overseen by Project Manager Rachael Stone, Shine has recently lost its local funding and has had to cut the number of venues in which it hosts drop-in sessions.

Rachael says, “We were so sad to have to cut the number of drop ins we offer a week, due to our funding being pulled. We are always hopeful and working towards gaining funding again so we can reopen the other venues”. She continues, “Offering a safe space for mums to connect with other mums going through similar experiences and working with them to feel like themselves again is so important”.
Whilst these specialist sessions are for existing visitors to Shine drop ins, there is a weekly drop in in Abbey Meads.

About Early Years courses at New College Swindon:
Childcare, Early Years and Teaching subjects are taught by highly qualified lecturers with industry experience and strong links to nurseries and schools allowing students to put theory in to practice via work placements. The facilities on site at the Queens Drive campus include the state-of the-art Little Stars Nursery and sensory room.

About Shine:
Shine Drop-in sessions are informal, welcoming and supportive stay and play sessions for mother’s wanting to reach out, to find and give support to others experiencing similar emotional feelings such as anxiety, postnatal and antenatal depression (with or without a formal diagnosis), feelings of isolation and loneliness, and those hoping to make some supportive and meaningful connections and/or build a support network.

The Podcast That Tackles Mental Health Head-On

In a world that often feels like it’s spinning too fast, where traditional paths to success are being questioned and reinvented, “The Mindful Apprentice” podcast emerges as a beacon of light for those pondering the road less travelled. Apprenticeships are making a comeback. Appealing not only to young learners, apprenticeships are for all ages who crave meaningful work and learning through experience. The first four episodes of this groundbreaking series are now available, offering invaluable insights into the world of apprenticeships.

Episode 1: What is an Apprenticeship?

“An apprenticeship is an incredible option, not just for young people but for everyone in every walk of life, to be able to get a skill or to train, leading to a good job at the end of it.”

Robert Halfon MP

Apprenticeships are breaking the mold, offering versatile paths to acquiring professional skills outside the conventional classroom setting. Robert Halfon MP, Minister of Apprenticeships, frames apprenticeships as a golden opportunity for individuals to gain practical skills and secure promising employment. This episode is an introduction to the concept of apprenticeships, underlining their significance in today’s job market and their potential to transform lives.

Episode 2: Is it Right for Me?

“I didn’t want to go to University in that full-time sense, and felt that no one understood me and no one could help guide me. I just wanted to get into work and start earning money.”

Anna Morrison CBE, founder of Amazing Apprenticeships

The journey to discovering one’s career path is deeply personal and often fraught with uncertainty. Episode 2, featuring Anna Morrison CBE, Founder of Amazing Apprenticeships, addresses the common dilemmas faced by those at crossroads. Anna’s story resonates with many who feel alienated by the prospect of traditional education and are keen to start working. Her insights offer guidance and reassurance to listeners contemplating whether an apprenticeship aligns with their career aspirations and personal goals.

Episode 3: Preparing for Your Apprenticeship

“Work experience is the biggest thing you can do to help you with your career. Reach out to companies or teams you’re interested in.”

Meg Ginsberg, Apprentice Project Manager at South West Water

Embarking on an apprenticeship requires preparation and initiative. Episode 3 introduces Meg Ginsberg, Apprentice Project Manager at South West Water, who emphasises the importance of work experience. Meg advises to proactively reach out to companies and teams that peak your interest. This episode is packed with tips on how to stand out to employers.

Episode 4: Making a Success of Your Apprenticeship

“No matter what challenges you think you have at the moment, they can be beaten. You can go round them or you can go through them, and there are people to help you do this, you are never alone.”

Darran Marks, Managing Director of Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology

Success is not without its challenges, but with the right mindset and support, obstacles become stepping stones. Darran Marks, Managing Director of Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology, encourages listeners to persevere through difficulties. Darran’s message is clear: you are not alone. With determination and the support of mentors and peers, success is within reach. This episode is a powerful reminder of the resilience and resourcefulness that apprentices can cultivate on their journey.

“The Mindful Apprentice” podcast is more than just a series; it’s a community for those eager to explore alternative pathways to success. Each episode is a treasure trove of advice, experiences, and encouragement, designed to empower listeners to pursue their passions with confidence. Whether you’re considering an apprenticeship, already on your journey, or simply curious about the possibilities, these first four episodes are your gateway to understanding the profound impact apprenticeships can have on individuals and society.

Stream all episodes here and join the conversation.

Finance-Related Sessions To Prepare Students For The Future

Level 2 and 3 Finance students participated in workshops by Debbie Harvey from My Bnk for two days in January. The workshops were very interactive and focussed on the key things young people need to know, not only for their careers but for day-to-day life. Time was spent exploring budgeting, income, borrowing, and the risks of making certain financial decisions. Compounding interest was also part of some of the discussions and how certain borrowing products, if not managed well, could negatively impact an individual’s credit score.

Debbie who delivered the workshops said: “It has been such a pleasure working with the learners at New College Swindon. I was impressed with their attitudes towards money and their awareness of the current financial climate. It’s great to see such value placed on financial education – an essential life skill.”

My Bnk works with young people aged 5-25 to build their money knowledge, skills, mindsets and habits. In one of their recent evaluations, My Bnk found that “money lessons” aren’t compulsory in UK primary schools, with only 52% of 7–16-year-olds recalling learning about money and pensions.

Lancia Marques, Level 3 Finance Student, said: “I found the session very useful, especially when I learned about credit scores, way to budget and the importance of budgeting.”

New College Swindon offers a variety of Finance courses, from Level 1 to 3. These courses teach students about decision-making, business and general life skills.

Ritangle Competition Success for A Level Maths Students

In December, a team of A Level Maths students from New College Swindon successfully completed the final stage of the national Ritangle Mathematics competition, led by Mathematics Education Innovation (MEI). The team spent 10 hard weeks answering questions and problem-solving. When registration for the Ritangle competition opened in October 2023, five teams of A Level Maths students from New College Swindon entered, going up against 1,200 other teams, with one team making it all the way to the final.

The New College Swindon team, captained by Tom Kowalik, submitted correct answers to all the questions in the competition, leading them to their success in the final. Their solution to the challenging final question, on Jamboree Pairings, earned them a Commendable Team title and a mention on the competition website.

A Level Maths Programme Lead, Cristina Pontet said: “This was a great opportunity for our A Level Maths students to showcase their passion for the subject, demonstrate excellent problem-solving skills as well as an ability to communicate effectively and to maintain focus under pressure.  We are thrilled with the news and very proud of their achievement!”

Link to Ritangle champions page:

Apply for A Level Maths

Launching! The Mindful Apprentice Podcast 

The Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology (SAWIOT) in partnership with Nationwide have launched a series of podcasts aimed at supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students. 

The Mindful Apprentice Podcast was adopted by Darran Marks, Managing Director of SAWIOT, after securing funding from Nationwide’s Early Technical Careers team. It was decided that a series of short, informative, and supportive podcasts would be made accessible to all students. 

Darran Marks says, “The staff across the Institute of Technology are already a trusted source of support for our students. We wanted to ensure that there is that continued support in many forms.  A student that may not feel confident enough to speak up can turn to these podcasts as a source of support and guidance.” 

Stream episodes now

Currently available via Sound Cloud, the full series will be making its debut on Spotify, Audible, and Apple Music over the coming weeks after its launch at New College Swindon’s Apprenticeship Fair, Appren-T-fest on the 6th of February 2024. 

Darran continues, “We all see the increasing impact mental health is having on students and we want to demonstrate the support that is on offer whether that be us at SAWIOT, the fantastic support provided by mental health charities such as  MIND, or simply the kind, listening ear of a friend or colleague.  The Podcast series is designed to support this in an interesting and engaging way.” 

The podcast series will be shared with all partner Institute of Technology’s across the county to encourage awareness of the support available across the network. 

The Sound Doctor

Producer of the 20-episode series, Rosie Runciman from The Sound Doctor, highlights that the idea was developed after the success of the mental health in farming podcast, Keeping on Track by Adam Henson. The focus is on topics such as Preparing for your Apprenticeship, Managing the Workload, and Spotting the Signs of Poor Mental Health.  It also includes several case studies focussing on students talking about their own experiences.  

Rosie found it great to work with Darran and the team to create the podcast series.  She says “During the production we met many amazing people, who do amazing things. The apprentices themselves were inspirational. What a fantastic bunch of people!” 

“At SAWIOT the team are obviously deeply committed to getting the best possible results for their students, as were the organisations we spoke to for the series.”

– Rosie, The Sound Doctor

A variety of guest speakers, including key individuals from New College Swindon and SAWIOT were involved ensuring the episodes were engaging and informative. The series was designed with Apprenticeship students in mind, but it really is a valuable tool for all students and employers alike.  The theme is the same; supporting each other’s mental health and wellbeing is vital for us all. 

Stream all episodes on Sound Cloud here

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