Thursday, 8 November 2018


Graduates from Solihull College & University Centre celebrated their achievements at the College’s annual graduation ceremony on Monday 5th November at The National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull. Arriving at the ceremony with family and friends, students celebrated the end of their higher education journey.

Approximately 800 people were in attendance, including Stephen Goldstein, CBE DL Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands and Councillor Mrs Flo Nash, Mayor of Solihull. Guest speaker Nick Page, Chief Executive of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council delivered a motivational speech to the students, presented them with their certificates and congratulated them on their outstanding achievements as they walked across the stage.

After speeches from the College’s Chair of Governors, John Bolt and guest speaker Nick Page, student speaker Charlie Fogarty MBE received a standing ovation for his inspirational speech. Charlie defied all the odds to survive a devastating accident 6 years ago and had to relearn basic tasks.  Through unerring determination, Charlie graduated with a degree in Applied Sports Science. ‘Most people only get one chance at life, in my case, I got two’ said Charlie.
Students were presented with special awards sponsored by the College’s close employer partners. Attendees heard personal stories of adversity, improvement, commitment and academic excellence. The awards culminated with the two most prestigious of the evening, The Mayor’s Award presented to Nichola Tipton and the Lord-Lieutenant’s Award presented to Sophie Biddle.
College Principal John Callaghan brought the evening to a close discussing the upcoming digital revolution in the region and what it could mean for the graduates going forward.

For more information on the university level courses available at Solihull College & University Centre, including those offered in partnership with leading universities, visit the university level open event on Saturday 24th November, 10am-2pm at Blossomfield and Woodlands Campus.

Monday, 29 October 2018


Recently Engineering Apprentices at level 3 and level 4 celebrated their graduation at Royal Mail Head offices in London. Solihull College & University Centre’s Rosa Wells, Director of Employment and Skills attended and addressed the attendees on the skills gaps in engineering with particular impetus given to the gender and diversity imbalance. Rosa represented WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) as well as the College as part of a continued development of a partnership with Royal Mail in Birmingham.

Together they are now working on an event for October Half Term sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Engineering Development Trust. Royal Mail have been establishing and training mentors to work with Swanshurst Girls School in order to encourage more girls to pursue careers in STEM.

The October half term event will invite Year 9 girls from Swanshurst to spend a day at Solihull College & University Centre’s Woodlands Campus, a day at Birmingham City University and a day at the Royal Mail Sorting Office to find out more about the different Routes into STEM; vocational, apprenticeships, Degree apprenticeships, A-levels and Higher Education. At the event female students will meet apprentices, undergraduates and engineers and aim to inspire them to follow a pathway into a STEM career.

At Woodlands Campus, they will be able to try their skills as a pilot on the Flight Simulator, immerse themselves in Virtual Reality environments, look at pneumatics and learn how to create a Computer Aided Design. Students are at Woodlands Campus on Tuesday 30th October, at BCU on Wednesday 31st and Royal Mail on Thursday 1st November.

If you are interested in studying engineering courses at Solihull College then visit

Friday, 19 October 2018


Construction apprentice Jake Clarke will discover next week if he has been chosen as ‘Outstanding Apprentice’ after being shortlisted for the Solihull Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner and Awards 2018.

Jake has proved an exceptional apprentice.  He joined Solihull College & University Centre in 2016. ‘I knew I had to go through a course when I realised I wanted to work for my dad in Construction’ Jake offers, ‘Solihull College came and visited me and devised a plan of what course suited me best. I ended up committing to a Building Maintenance Course’. Jake’s course was 2 years, 1 day a week at College where he learnt skills such as plastering, paintwork and roofing and 4 days working for his father’s business.

Jake came to the programme with some informal experience, but through exemplary attendance and outstanding commitment to his coursework, he gained distinctions for the vast majority of his technical competency tests. Working with The Fentham Trust in Hampton-in-Arden, Jake worked at a local arboretum planting trees, carrying out groundworks and general maintenance. Jake was formally recognised by the Trust for his contribution.

‘My lecturer Martin was amazing, he really helped me learn new skills and expand upon those. I finished my apprenticeship in July. I now work for my dad’s business covering a variety of construction jobs. With an apprenticeship you get to see both sides, you see hands on work but you have the freedom to make mistakes at College, to better prepare yourself to think about potential problems and combat them. It was definitely the right choice for me, I had such a lot of one on one time. It really was the best of both worlds.’

Jake will be bringing his dad Nick along to the awards. Nick stated ‘I’m really proud of Jake’s nomination. He’s really picked up the trade, he asks questions and I’ve always told him not to be afraid of that, nor of making mistakes. He has learned the reasons why he encounters any problems and can now apply ways to combat this on site due to what he learned in College’.
Martin Gregory, Jake’s tutor stated ‘I have worked with various labourers over the last twenty years and since Jake joined me he has taken responsibility for others and guided and instructed  them to a point now where I am more than confident to leave them on a site with Jake taking the supervisory role. He has been exceptional and I am certain his confidence will continue to grow’.

The Solihull Chamber Annual Dinner and Awards 2018 will take place on Thursday 18th October. The award winner will be announced in front of over 300 guests.

Thursday, 18 October 2018


Colleges Week takes place from Monday 15th October to Friday 19th October 2018 and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign. Solihull College & University Centre are supporting the initiative as well as a national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 17th October.
The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

Colleges and College staff transform lives. Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

An essential part of England’s education system Colleges educate and train 2.2 million people every year. Colleges Week is an opportunity to highlight the brilliant work that goes on. It is also an opportunity to call on the government for better investment in colleges, and fair pay for college staff. Over the last decade, colleges have had to deal with an average 30% funding cut, whilst costs have increased dramatically. This has resulted in a drastic drop in learning opportunities for adults, fewer hours of teaching and support for young people, and teacher pay at less than 80% of schools and support staff seeing no increase in pay for several years. This situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts upon students, businesses, communities and the wider economy. There is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on the government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years.

It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.

John Callaghan Principal at Solihull College & University Centre said: “Our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations. The hours of teaching and support, the choice they have and the enrichment they are offered have all reduced as funding cuts have taken their toll. We want to also ensure that our staff are given the recognition and reward for the brilliant work they do and this situation cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Solihull College & University Centre provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people.

Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”

Friday, 12 October 2018


Solihull College & University Centre has been awarded a College of Excellence by the UK’s leading spa, Ragdale Hall, in recognition of outstanding practice and standards in beauty training.
The College of Excellence award confirms that the college has high standards of training, a good or outstanding Ofsted report and consistently collaborates with Ragdale Hall Spa to offer students work experience and enhance employment opportunities.

Joy Pickett, Hair, Beauty and Make up Coordinator for Solihull College said: “Working alongside Ragdale Hall ensures our learners are given the best opportunities for future employment.  They also have the opportunity for meaningful residential work placement and employer engagement.  Students come back from their work placement with additional knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry.”

Based in Leicestershire, Ragdale Hall is an award-winning privately-owned destination spa, renowned for its outstanding facilities – including newly opened Rooftop Infinity Pool – and exceptional customer service. It has one of the most comprehensive selections of spa treatments available anywhere in the UK and employs around 140 Beauty Therapists. It was awarded ‘UK’s Best Destination Spa’ at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2017.

Ragdale Hall Spa works with a number of colleges to inspire students to excel in careers within the beauty industry. Colleges benefit from a career presentation, work experience and work placements for students, open evenings and treatment demonstrations at Ragdale Hall.
Gemma Jackson, Ragdale Hall Recruitment Supervisor, said: “We have a well-established relationship with Solihull College & University Centre’s beauty department, and some of the college’s beauty students will go on to work with us after they have qualified as Beauty Therapists.

“Each year we visit the students to carry out a career presentation and evaluate the skills of those who are interested in a week-long work placement with us – a valuable opportunity to experience one of the UK’s busiest and most highly regarded spa beauty environments.”
Importantly, only an approved College of Excellence can enter their carefully chosen students into the annual Ragdale Hall Student of Excellence competition, which offers an unprecedented package of employment and training with Ragdale Hall, plus other benefits, to the winner and selected runners up.

Colleges are reviewed annually and must continue to meet Ragdale Hall’s standards in order to maintain their College of Excellencestatus.

If you are interested in studying a beauty course at Solihull College then visit

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