Tuesday, 4 December 2018

College Marketing Team Delighted with Double Award Win

The Marketing Team at Solihull College & University Centre were thrilled to pick up two awards at the FE First Awards 2018 in Warwick earlier this week.

The FE First Awards are part of the College Marketing Network’s annual conference, which brings together college marketing professionals from across the country to share best practice. The team scooped the ‘Gold’ Award in the hotly contested Event Management category – which focused on the promotion and execution of the College’s ‘Try it’ Open Event.

The event featured the College’s new ‘Fast Forward’ Careers Explorer which offers prospective students the chance to find their dream career and the course that could get them there. A virtual reality introduction to the careers explorer, developed with digital innovation company DevClever, was a big hit with guests. The event attracted record numbers of visitors across both college campuses. For the second time in three years, the team were also recognised for their higher education summer campaign, picking up a ‘Highly Commended’ award for the promotion of the college’s university level courses. Promotion included online retargeting, digital radio and streaming services, ITV Hub, newspapers, targeted social media, outdoor advertising and more.

The judging panels for the awards were made up of further and higher education professionals and marketing industry experts. Marketing Manager Sean Howitt commented ‘We’re really proud to receive this recognition from the sector. We work hard to ensure we are promoting the newly merged College using the most effective methods available to us. We’ll continue to look for new and innovative ways to reach our audience’. The team are now looking forward and focused on building on this success in 2019.

The Marketing Team & Graphic Design Team at Solihull College & University Centre

Sunday, 2 December 2018


Solihull Round Table visited Solihull College & University Centre this week to collect their newly resorted Santa house. The model house, which has been used for 40 years in festive celebrations, was in need of restoration. The house was painted, sanded, restored and had lights and electric added to restore it to its former Christmas glory.
Gerald Manton, Chairman of Solihull Round Table, comments ‘It’s spectacular. It looks almost brand new. Numerous parts have been replaced and refurbished. For the people of Solihull this marks the start of Christmas. There are bound to be many happy children around the area when they spot the house this year.’
Motor vehicle, carpentry & joinery and electrical installation students and staff have been involved in the restoration. Much of the external painting work was completed by painting & decorating technician Dave Scarsbrook and his students.
Santa House
Staff at the College and the Round Table with the Santa House.
Mick Nicholl, Head of School for Engineering, Motor Vehicle and Construction stated, ‘This has been a great activity to give something back to the community. It has been a wonderful team activity for the staff and students. Hopefully Solihull residents will enjoy the outcome over the festive period.’
With a chimney adorning the roof awaiting Santa himself, the house, kitted out with fairy lights and a sound system will be on the road next week. Heading out in 15 separate displays, it will be visiting a number of routes around Solihull town centre to entertain children in the community.
Phil Paddock, Construction Programme Manager at the College added, ‘This has been a tremendous opportunity for the College to be involved in the community alongside the Round Table. We are proud to be a part of bringing Christmas to the region this year’.
To check out construction courses at the College please visit www.solihull.ac.uk. To find out what other Christmas activities are going on with Solihull Round Table please visit https://solihull.roundtable.co.uk/

Saturday, 1 December 2018


Local artist Julie Robertson has something to celebrate this month. The Solihull College & University Centre graduate has been named a finalist in the second Global Art Awards recognising excellence and innovation in art and design. Julie will be going forward to the grand final of the prestigious awards taking place at the FIVE Jumeirah Palm Dubai on 21st November 2018.

Multi-disciplinary Artist Julie earned her Fine Art degree at the College from 2003-2006 after completing a foundation course in 1999 and heading back to study after her children went to school. She knew she wanted to be an artist from 5 years old after entering and winning a competition to produce a poster on road safety.

Julie’s love for art has resulted in her teaching workshops and community courses in Olton for others with a passion for the subject. ‘I like to pay it forward’ Julie adds, ‘the college really inspired me to grow in confidence and believe in myself so it’s important for me to help and support others. Much of my work is around the themes of humanity and equality’.

Julie’s submitted piece ‘Drowning Not Waving’ will be heading to Dubai this month in the hope of winning the award.  The installation features 36 porcelain hands reaching from the ground, containing quotes, some seen, others concealed. She hopes it raises questions about the universal concept of helping fellow humans and offering a hand.

Julie will have the chance to be named The Best Global Artist of 2018, which is awarded to one outstanding overall winner, who will also win an exhibition in Abu Dhabi as well as the life-long title.

Julie’s exhibition attempts are consistently self-funded and she was gifted a donation from her former College to help her in her submission. ‘I have no words to describe how that felt’ she admits.
Dubbed “The Oscars for the Visual Arts”, The Global Art Awards celebrate the exceptional achievements of artists from across the globe.  With 16 visual arts categories, ranging from photography, street art, illustration and painting to awards recognising individual artists. Julie is up against 6 other entries in her category.

“It’s a great honour to be named a finalist in the Global Art Awards and I am delighted to be able to join such a fantastic, roll-call of artistic talent heading for the awards in Dubai.  These awards really do single out the best, most exciting artists working today, to celebrate their achievements, and I am honoured to be among them.”

JoĆ«lle Dinnage, Founder and Director of the Global Art Awards said, “We created the awards a year ago to establish an inspirational international art competition on a global scale.  This year, standards have been exceptionally high and the competition has been fierce across all categories.  Congratulations to all the finalists.  We look forward to seeing them in Dubai.”

To see more of Julie’s work visit http;//www.jkrart.weebly.com or if you’d like to look at the art courses offered at Solihull College & University Centre, please visit www.solihull.ac.uk.

Friday, 30 November 2018


Solihull College & University Centre Public Services and Computing students found themselves transported to the trenches this week. They were visited by digital innovation company DevClever  who have created a stunning virtual reality experience for young people, to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Wearing a VR headset, the user becomes a “virtual soldier”, transported into the horror of the trenches while bullets fly, bombs drop and biplanes soar overhead. The experience offers a 360 degree view of a First World War barracks and trench before the “virtual soldier” goes “over the top” into no-man’s-land.

‘It was very weird to be in that environment’, Richard Pope, 2nd Year Computing Student commented: ‘it actually made me feel really tense. People can’t usually imagine or relate, especially my generation, with what it was like to be in the war. Here people have created something so real it is as if you were there. It’s a really great idea’.

DevClever CEO Chris Jeffries said: “We developed the VR experience, so that youngsters can see what soldiers, not much older than themselves, went through and sacrificed a century ago, to give them the choices they have today. “We’re making it available for free to schools and colleges as Armistice Day approaches.”

‘The students today may not know what happened in the war’: Mohammed Mayer, Head of Computing and Emerging Technologies at the College added. ‘This really helps them establish conditions and feel the emotions and awareness of the situation. It definitely does make you feel apprehensive and gives the students a virtual glimpse into a truly horrifying environment and an important part of our history’.

The experience can be viewed through standard VR equipment but also on a laptop and mobile device. From early November, the World War I VR experience will be available on Apple Store and Google Play. There will also be a link on the DevClever website to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. Simply click on the poppy to donate at http://www.devclever.co.uk.

The next collaboration between the College and DevClever will be the rolling out of VICTAR, the new virtual reality version of the college’s ‘Fast Forward’ Careers Explorer, which offers students a virtual journey to picking the right career path for them. This will be debuted at the Skills Show taking place at the NEC later this month.

If you are interested in studying virtul reality at Solihull College & University Centre, please visit www.solihull.ac.uk.

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.

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