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shutterstock 96602635New ‘bite-size’ courses taught at undergraduate-level are being launched at West London Institute of Technology (WLIoT).

The ‘HN Flex’ courses are individual units drawn from the full BTEC HNC courses which are also taught at WLIoT in Construction, Digital Technology, and Engineering subjects.

The first HN Flex course is a seven week Level 4 course taught on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with some Saturdays, starting 4 May with Construction Practice and Management.

The aim of this Flex unit is to develop and provide students with a holistic understanding of construction practice and management processes. Candidates will normally be in more senior roles and have achieved a qualification at Level 3 (A level or equivalent or above).

HN Flex units can help improve staff work efficiencies as well as being used to meet employer training requirements.

HNCs often lead on to HND qualifications, which in turn can lead to a final year ‘top up’ degree which is popular with students at this level.

The courses are currently being taught remotely by Uxbridge College and Harrow College, part of the merged college group HCUC which is the lead partner in WLIoT.

For more information go to https://www.westlondoniot.ac.uk/courses/construction/continuing-professional-development-course/



Bloxx resize 071 all band membersPictured: Bloxx (L-R) Former Uxbridge College students Fee Booth and Taz Sidhu, with fellow band members Joe Kinton and Paul Raubišķis.

Indie band Bloxx - which features two former Uxbridge College music students - have filmed their latest video in their old stomping ground of the Hayes campus.

Seven current performing arts students also took up roles as extras in the video for the Chess Club Records release ‘Everything I Ever Learned’, which went out on 24 March.

Fee Booth and Taz Sidhu, who met whilst studying at college from 2014-16 on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music, spent the day filming with fellow band members Paul Raubišķis and Joe Kinton.

Vocalist and songwriter Fee, who still lives locally in Cowley, said: “The band wouldn’t be a band if it wasn’t for this college. So much happened here to make our careers. It’s brilliant to be back, and coming back here is to be feeling that gratitude. I loved it at college. Being here adds a bit of sentiment to the song, which is about tough lessons in life.”

The former pupil of Cardinal Wiseman School in Ealing added: “I failed my AS-Levels at school and then I begged my mum to let me come here. If I hadn’t come here I would never have done music. I learned everything about music and Logic at college. And I learned that I can sit in my bedroom and write songs.”

Video filming by Head & Wrecker production mainly took place in the traditional-style classrooms of the Townfield wing of the Hayes site, with hair and make-up in the Praxis studios - Praxis being the name given to Uxbridge College’s School of Performing Arts.

Northolt-based Taz, who studied at Dormers Wells, said that as well as technical skills he also: “...learned to play with a band here. As a musician you learn to play by yourself, but then you have to learn how to play with other people.”

He also talked about the importance of following your dream: “People give you all sorts of advice and you can listen to it. But if we had taken that advice we wouldn’t be here today - we are living the dream. None of us would be sitting here today if we didn’t have that feeling of wanting to do it.”

The pair from Bloxx, whose debut album Lie Out Loud was released in August 2020, also took a trip down memory lane recalling hangouts including the seats outside Uxbridge Tesco’s, Fassnidge Park skate park, the Crown & Treaty pub where they played their first show, and getting interviewed by Hayes FM radio. Fee and Paul also both worked in Uxbridge’s Wetherspoons pub The Good Yarn - which was where they met - and Fee was a retail assistant in Next in Hayes on the Lombardy Retail Park.

Speaking of her time at Uxbridge College, Fee also said: “It scares me for a minute sometimes - if I hadn’t have come here, I might still be working in Wetherspoons.”

Ray Griffin, Section Manager in Performing Arts, who taught the band members, said: “Fee and Taz have done us proud! They were both such hard workers at College and have shown how successful you can be with drive and commitment! The music industry is a difficult business to negotiate, but as well as their natural talent, they’ve worked with great people and made the best of their breaks. It is heartwarming and inspiring to know that they sprung from our little studios in Hayes and are moving on to greater things and we wish them all the best.”

WLB Awards main 071London’s top College provider of Apprenticeships celebrated a highly successful series of virtual activities for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.

The events organised by Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC) included virtual presentation sessions from a range of high profile apprentice employers, careers advice by video link and text, a virtual apprenticeship fair, and an open evening. There was also a virtual presentation delivered at Brunel University London.

The week was also complemented by two recent Highly Commended awards for HCUC Apprentices at the prestigious West London Business Awards, held separately the previous week by the regional business development organisation.

Employers and business organisations taking part in HCUC’s virtual apprenticeship week included:

* HS2
* Menzies Aviation
* Shaw Trust (a charity which helps disabled and disadvantaged people into employment and independent living)
* Willmott Dixon
* Higgins Partnerships
* Harrow Council: Victoria Isaacs - talking about how the council had benefitted from HCUC apprentices, and about apprentice funding and Levy pot sharing
* Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce: Sarah Irving - Brexit / Covid survival tips
* West London Business: Andrew Dakers - West London economy and, build and recovery plans

The event also explored how in the Covid era apprenticeships were a good option for school leavers as they are just as safe as staying at school.

HCUC Apprentices have also secured yet another round of successes in the annual West London Business Awards. For the seventh consecutive year, two Apprentices completing their training under HCUC Apprenticeships and Skills - the employer training arm of the college group - have scooped awards at the prestigious event.

Two Advanced Apprentices, Sally Sturgess, a Business Administration Apprentice at Anand Financial Architecture in Uxbridge, and Michael Westwood, a Mechatronics Maintenance Apprentice at Reach Printing Services in Watford, received Highly Commended Awards - both are based at Uxbridge College for their on-site and remote learning.

The awards, which this year were presented in a virtual ceremony in place of the customary black tie gala dinner, were announced in advance of National Apprenticeship week.

Sally Sturgess (20), stood out for delivering beyond expectations in a wide range of areas in the complicated area of financial services. She also embraced additional learning opportunities such as participating in webinars, made many creative improvements for the company, and revamped the company’s quarterly report into what her employers describe as now being a ‘world class document’. She aims to gain the Financial Services Professional Qualifications, R01-6, to progress further in her career.

Michael Westwood (37), is a father of four who did not progress far in his younger days at school but has excelled as an apprentice at the Reach Watford site - one of the largest and most mechanised print sites in the country, which prints newspapers, magazines and other materials including the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, major regional and trade publications, and marketing collateral for organisations including Tesco and Argos.

His work includes looking after the noisy, dirty storage and pump area which supplies ink to the presses, known as the ‘ink farm’. He is well known for his flexible attitude and willingness to go the extra mile at work, and at college, as an older student, he supports many of his fellow students.

Harpal Lehal, Head of Apprenticeships and Skills at HCUC, the Employer Services arm of the college, said: “National Apprenticeship Week at HCUC this year has been a real success despite how challenging it can be trying to make virtual events as engaging as real ones. But all our speakers did a fantastic job and we were extremely pleased with attendance levels by parents and students. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the employers who took part.

“I would like to congratulate Sally and Michael, and their employers Anand Financial Architecture and Reach Printing Services, and to thank West London Business for hosting these wonderful awards for the eighth year.

“As the largest college provider of Apprenticeships in London, with over 400 apprentices across 28 sectors, HCUC is proud to help shape so many students into star Apprentices, and our year-on-year wins in the WLB awards are testament to how successful our partnerships with employers across a broad range of sectors are. We are also pleased to have sponsored the ‘Resilient SME Innovator of the Year’ category of this year’s Awards.”

* For more information about Apprenticeships at HCUC go to https://apprenticeships.hcuc.ac.uk/


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