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News & Press

DSC 0645053Good Deeds Day 2020 proved another annual success thanks to a great range of free activities run by volunteers from Brunel University London and Uxbridge College, and the support of organisations from across Hillingdon.

The annual day of mass volunteering, which has been a local fixture since 2013 in and around Uxbridge centre, included bag packing, free henna painting and manicures, craft workshops, performances and yoga classes. Students ran stalls in The Pavilions, and other activities took place in Uxbridge Library, intu Uxbridge and at other borough venues.

The event was opened by the Mayor of Hillingdon Councillor David Yarrow and Mayoress Mary O'Connor MBE, and raised a total of £227.50 for the Mayor’s charities - Hillingdon Autistic Care and Support, and Hillingdon Brain Tumour and Injury Support Charity. Professor William Leahy, Vice-Provost (Students, Staff and Civic Engagement) at Brunel University London also came along to support the event, and William Byrd School Choir gave an opening performance.

Professor Leahy commented: “Good Deeds Day 2020 was the seventh successful year of Brunel’s continuing community outreach. Working in collaboration with Uxbridge College students, Brunel students volunteered for a variety of activities that brought smiles to the shoppers in Uxbridge Pavilions. We’re really pleased to be working in partnership with the Pavilions, Uxbridge BID, intu, Uxbridge Library as well as retailers, and so many local charities in community engagement that also raises funds for the Mayor of Hillingdon’s Charitable Trust.

Nancy Rawlings, Brunel Volunteers and PDC Job Shop Manager said: “Good Deeds Day is an extremely important event in the Brunel Volunteers calendar. It was inspiring and uplifting to see so many students taking part and donating their time. Staff and students at Brunel volunteer on a regular basis within the local community giving thousands of hours to help support others. Good Deeds Day is a visual example of the positive impact that volunteering can have.

Sharon McCann, Senior Student Support Officer at Uxbridge College, said: “This year’s Good Deeds Day was another fantastic event and a great opportunity for Uxbridge College students to both give and receive in their local community. It’s always extremely worthwhile to be able to work in partnership with Brunel University London, and we’re really pleased to have been involved in this successful day of mass volunteering yet again.”

As well as the opening performance by William Byrd students, K-pop (Korean pop) dancers and singers from Brunel, and Uxbridge College dancers provided entertainment. Also taking part in the event were: St Margaret’s Church, offering lunches; Christchurch; Hillingdon Foodbank; Wilko, M&S and Tesco, who provided opportunities for bag packing; Brunel Gym with the Row Britannia Challenge; Uxbridge Library for digital drop-in - help with phones, computers and other technology, and Tovertafel - an activity for people with dementia; Thames Valley Hospice charity shop; Shopmobility; West Drayton & Yiewsley Community Centre, and DASH (Disablement Association Hillingdon); St John’s Ambulance; Uxbridge FM; Halo; Hillingdon Women’s Centre; H4All.

The Uxbridge College students who took part were from Beauty Therapy, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Foundation Studies, Performing Arts, Creative Studies, and Travel & Tourism courses.

Annual Good Deeds Day in the borough helps promote and encourage student volunteering in Hillingdon, raise awareness of the positive impact that students have in the local community, and develop community relationships. The event was organised by Brunel Volunteers at Brunel University London, Uxbridge College, The Pavilions Uxbridge, Uxbridge BID and intu Uxbridge.

For more pictures go to

WLB Awards 2020 awards 072Celebrity presenter Gaby Roslin (left) was the guest of honour presenting prestigious awards to West Met Skills Apprentices at the recent West London Business 2020 black tie gala night.

The annual awards, which celebrate business excellence in the region, honoured winners from across the area including four of our Apprentices, who scooped one Winner and three Highly Commended awards.

West Met Skills - which provides Apprenticeships and Employer Services through the merged college group HCUC (Harrow College Uxbridge College) - was also a Category Sponsor, with Jo Withers, Executive Director Employer Services & Partnerships, presenting Food and Drink Business of the Year award at the ceremony and dinner at Twickenham Stadium.

Winner of the Apprenticeship in the Sustainable and Responsible Business category was Matthew Jeffrey (pictured right), a Level 3 Team Leading & Management Apprentice, based at Perivale Primary School and Uxbridge College.

Originally Assistant Caretaker at Perivale Primary, he joined the Apprentice Programme in Leadership and Management in June 2018 and was promoted to Site Manager in January 2019. Self-motivated with a very positive attitude to his work, he carries out his responsibilities to a very high standard, and shows lots of initiative.

Matthew is also a fantastic communicator and team player who knows how to motivate both colleagues and those he supervises. He has played a key part in enabling the school to achieve 100% health and safety compliance - and goes above and beyond the call of duty including helping with fundraising events or dressing up as the school mascot Perivale Pete!

WLB judges said: “Matthew’s progression and initiative throughout his Apprenticeship is really clear. He has shown he is able to work with a wide range of people, funders, contractors, governors and the senior leadership team, taking on the role of project leader when developing an underutilised area of the school playground.”

Highly Commended Apprentices in the Sustainable and Responsible Business category from West Met Skills were:

Rebecca Mills (second right) - Level 3 Creative Media Apprentice - based at Surindera Studios and Harrow College.

Rebecca was a motivated self-starter at the Asian wedding photography and videography business from the beginning. Keen to learn, and already passionate about photography, she was soon ready to take things off her employer’s hands, setting up new systems to manage social media and learning all the necessary technical and creative skills. Her genuine interest and personal commitment to photography has now helped her to progress into university and she started her Degree in September 2019.

Jaycee Sibley (third left) - Level 3 Engineering Technician Machinist Apprentice - Constellium UK Ltd (University Tech Centre) and Uxbridge College.

Jaycee joined Constellium as an Apprentice after previously completing a Bachelor of Science degree and taking a change of direction to expand her opportunities. With a passion for cars, she entered the area of engineering, and right from the start showed complete commitment. She achieved competence in one of her technical areas - press driving - in much less time than usually expected, making a core contribution to the continued running of this area of the business. Her success has led to corporate approval being given for three more apprentices at Constellium UTC.

Sophie Claesen (fourth left) - Level 3 Mechanical Engineering - Technical Support Apprentice, based at Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Limited and Uxbridge College.

Sophie, who is completing a four-year Level 3 Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship, has to manage anxiety issues on a day to day basis, but her work ethic and passion for engineering has ensured her ongoing success. Her depth of knowledge and understanding about her employer’s systems and equipment is exemplary, and she has even formulated a set of instructions which are now being used across the department, even by the more experienced and skilled engineers in the department.

Jo Withers, Executive Director Employer Services & Partnerships at West Met Skills said: “This is a fantastic result for all our Apprentices and, of course, their wonderful employers who provide so much support to their learning and growth and make it possible for them to complete their qualifications. Congratulations to everyone involved and of course to West London Business for making these awards such a success too.”

Just six Apprentices were shortlisted for the WLB Business awards this year, four of which were those chosen for awards from West Met Skills.

West Met Skills was also recently honoured with a Key Apprenticeship Provider award from Ealing Council. Council Leader Julian Bell presented the award to Business Development Consultant Harry Dosanjh at Ealing Apprenticeship Network Team’s Apprenticeship Employer Event.

Apprenticeship training at HCUC was also in the spotlight when Uxbridge College’s MP Boris Johnson visited during Apprenticeship Week.

Also pictured is Highly Commended Apprentice Sologbia Tulu from Location Cars and The JGA Group.

DSC 0471129Boris Johnson MP joined staff, students and employers during Apprenticeship Week events at Uxbridge College.

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip and British Prime Minister toured the college’s Uxbridge campus, meeting students, staff and employer partners. The tour included classes and workshops with Apprentices in Accountancy, Electrical Installation, Electrical Engineering & Electronics, and Motor Vehicle Maintenance.

Mr Johnson chatted to the Apprentices about their experiences at college and with their employers, emphasising the importance of all their skills areas to the UK economy. He also got a chance to meet students from some of the college’s wide range of vocational and academic courses.

Mr Johnson said: “I was delighted to be able to visit Uxbridge College again to meet with staff and some of the students studying for apprenticeships in a range of areas including Electrical Installation, Electrical Engineering & Electronics and Motor Vehicle Maintenance. It was great to hear of their exciting plans for the future, in particular the work around the newly launched West London Institute of Technology – one of only 12 in the UK. These new Institutes of Technology will be the pinnacle of technical training – new collaborations between universities, colleges and businesses to make sure young people have the skills they need to start a productive and rewarding career. Uxbridge College has a key role to play in training up the workforce of the future as we look to drive forward a nationwide infrastructure revolution.”

Dr Darrell DeSouza, Group Principal of Uxbridge College and HCUC, said: “Uxbridge College is very pleased to have received this visit from Boris Johnson during Apprenticeship Week with the chance to introduce him to some of our fantastic Apprentices and share some of our most recent developments with him. It was a very enjoyable visit and a valuable opportunity to share both our successes and to discuss some of the challenges being faced by further education with him.”

Staff also briefed the MP on key projects at the college, including the West London Institute of Technology, as well as discussing some of the major issues in national education and skills policy. West London Institute of Technology, which is part of the merged college group HCUC and based at the Uxbridge campus, is one of just 12 licenced nationally to provide higher level education and training in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects and which will include Apprentices and Higher level Apprentices. The Institute opened in September 2019, and the £8.6m redevelopment programme of new facilities is due to be completed by the autumn. HCUC is also the only college group in London to be offering the new T Levels - ‘Technical Levels’, which are equivalent to A Levels and include an extended industry placement - from September 2020.

For photos of the visit go to


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