The Newsletter for Staff at Mid-Kent College Friday 6 September EDITION NO 10
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Medway Vision Update - It’s Official! Mid-Kent College now owns the land where the new College Campus will be built. During the summer, the College purchased the land from the MoD, gaining its final planning permission. Work has now started - several weeks before the target date of 2nd October - at the Lower Lines to construct the £76 million campus, which will be based on Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham, next to the Universities of Medway. This puts us in an excellent position for completing the build in Spring 2009 and allows us a decent amount of time to manage our relocation before the new College Campus opens in September 2009. We have also bought the land to create a public park adjacent to the site which the College will be developing and protecting through means of a Trust. The purchase of the land is great news for staff, students and the people of Medway, who will have a brand new campus with state-of-the-art training facilities when it opens its doors in September 2009. It will be able to accommodate almost 30% more students than its current locations in Chatham and Rochester. We will also be looking at how we can improve the College’s Maidstone campus. Within the next few months there will be initial ideas and discussions to consider how we can develop the Oakwood Park site. The new Medway campus will replace the existing buildings at Horsted and City Way. We have now selected purchasers for these two sites and the College is expected to exchange contracts this month, but obviously the buyers
will not get possession of Horsted and City Way until September 2009. The offer prices on the two sites were sufficiently good enough to enable extra investment in the new campus, particularly in the areas of sustainability and energy conservation as well as ICT provision. As part of the process of preparing for the big move in two years’ time, the College has been restructuring office space at Horsted to create more open plan environments. Departments that have already moved include Finance, Personal Tutors, Business Development, Estates, Contract Compliance and Student Services - as well as various Personnel moves. The College will also be testing different types of furniture and office equipment. Working groups are to be set up very shortly so that staff and managers can have their say on how we can make the transition to the new Campus as smooth as possible. Insight will be giving you regular updates on the progress of the new build. Over the next couple of months our Medway Vision Communications Officer, Melanie Sibley, will be putting together a range of different communication events associated with the project, including consultations on specific items and competitions. See page 6 for details of upcoming site visits.
Welcome back to College I would like to welcome you all back to College after the summer break. I hope you had a relaxing time and are looking forward to the new term. This is my 31st new academic year since working in education and I still haven’t lost the sense of excitement and slight trepidation that you get at this time of the year. We have 18 new members of staff and next week we will be welcoming over 3,000 new students to the College. I visited all three sites during enrolment and was very impressed with how smoothly it ran. We introduced additional processes this year, such as the students registering their IT accounts and moodle profiles, and yet the average waiting time was less then ever. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved; it was very well organised and a real team effort. Several new staff who were at enrolment commented on how friendly and welcoming the sessions were. They also said that compared to their former colleges they were surprised at how efficiently the whole process was run. Not a bad way to start the new year. Many thanks Stephen Grix Principal & Chief Executive
The Newsletter for Staff at Mid-Kent College Friday 2 November EDITION NO 17
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Exceptional nineteenth century find unearthed at new campus
Site visit turns into history tour! You would imagine a visit to a building site would be no more than a quick look at construction traffic digging into mounds of earth whilst you’re speedily led round the perimeter area, but nothing could be further from the truth when you visit the site for the new College campus at the Lower Lines! Visitors are personally escorted around the site by the very polite and professional Kier Build personnel who have a wealth of knowledge of the building works at their finger tips, including the history of the area. On a recent visit, whilst College staff kitted up in their PPE (personal protective equipment) for the tour they were not expecting the journey through time that was about to unfold.
A unique nineteenth century Napoleonic listening post has been discovered at the Lower Lines site in Gillingham. The extraordinary brick built igloo-style structure was used as a monitoring station for soldiers to listen out for enemy sapping activity (tunnel digging), and has been confirmed by English Heritage to be the only known exposed listening post in the country.
£76m College campus which construction group Kier Build began in August this year. Due to its historical importance, it is hoped the listening post and the network of tunnels connected to it will be carefully preserved where it has been found and archaeologists are currently on site continuing to uncover the station. In the near future Canterbury Archaeological Trust, which is based on site, will be meeting history students from the College to demonstrate the techniques they use to unearth relics from the past. Jane Jones, Project Director, said: ‘For an education institution, having a unique historical structure on our site is very exciting and we are keen to ensure that the history of this and the rest of the important heritage of the site is a focal point for students and other visitors to the campus.
The fascinating discovery was unearthed during construction works for the new
‘Fortunately for us, this find is in a position where it will not have a major impact on our build programme so we will still be opening in September 2009.’
Avril Hockley, Business Class Training sales consultant, said: ‘I thought it was just going to be looking at a couple of drawings and walking around the site area, but it was far more than that.’ Staff saw archaeologists busily uncovering the remains of the early Napoleonic listening post whilst receiving an account from Kier employees of the enemy sapping activity that took place there in the early nineteenth century. Avril said: ‘Hearing about the military station and the tunnels that go under the site was really interesting. It was fascinating to learn about the military war rooms that will be left intact underneath the new car park – a great story to tell the grandchildren!’ Staff were shown the first stages of the foundation work for the new campus and learnt about the various stages of the construction process. Such was the enthusiasm for the tour that they would like a second trip round.
Friday 7 December EDITION NO 22
Life on the Lower Lines A reminiscence theatre will capture life as it was on the Lower Lines. The theatre, where students will be able to turn the memories of people living in the Gillingham area into theatrical performances, is one of the ideas put forward for the new College campus by the Head of School for Creative and Visual Arts.
Stephen Batchelor is keen to have the Lower Lines’ vibrant history recorded and enacted by Performing Arts students when the new theatre is built in 2009. Stephen will be working alongside local visual artist and designer, Tina Lawlor Mottram, to capture people’s recollections of the local area. Stephen would like the new College theatre to be a cultural centre for everyone’s benefit: ‘It will be a professional performance space for staff, students and the whole community to enjoy.’ The new College campus will also have an exhibition space where local artists and community groups will be able to display their crafts. There will also be plenty of opportunities for Art & Design and Media students to get involved in projects working with local residents, reflecting their experiences of the history and culture of the area.
Seen here performing Lysistrata, these students hope to help local people tell their own stories
College Christmas Card Competition A First Year Art and Design student has beaten 100 others to win this year’s ‘Design the College Christmas Card’ competition. Charlotte Pay was presented with her certificate by Stephen Grix for her contemporary ‘swirly’ card design of a Christmas tree.
Charlotte, who wants to become an Interior Designer, was thrilled to have won: ‘I love being able to create things and this was a great opportunity to do something worthwhile. Winning was the icing on the cake.’ Six groups from City Way and Oakwood Park took part in this year’s competition. Course tutor, Sarah Reeve said: ‘We are all very proud of Charlotte and wish her every success in her studies.’ From left; Sarah Reeve, Charlotte Pay and Stephen Grix show off the winning design.
Thursday 20 December EDITION NO 24
Captured in Time Art students from the College are working on a project to make a Time Capsule to be buried early next year at the new campus being built in Gillingham. The project will celebrate the history of the town and the students will be working alongside local schools and community groups to create the box of memories, going into the ground to commemorate the construction of the College’s new Medway campus at the Lower Lines. The City Way students are making crests based on the style of the old Gillingham Town Crest. Community artist Tina Lawlor-Mottram, a.k.a. Serpentina, recently joined them at the Rochester centre and was impressed by their enthusiasm for the project: ‘All of the students had their own unique ideas for the crests and it was great to see how much talent and creativity they all had.’ Once the crests have been produced they will be photographed for a book, which will be placed in the Time Capsule. Local schools, including Skinner Street Primary School and New Brompton College, will also take part in the project. Some of the crests will then be kept on permanent
Local artist Serpentina (far right) with students involved in making the Time Capsule display in the new campus together with a record of the Time Capsule project.
has been lovingly hand painted by Council staff in the past'.
'We've asked the students to base their design on the original Town Crest, but substituting the symbols for ones that mean something to them personally,' said Serpentina, who has been snapping photos of the crests all over the town centre for many years. 'It's a last reminder of Gillingham as a town and each crest
Programme Area Leader for Art & Design, Sarah Reeve said the students have some great ideas for the Time Capsule: ‘They were all very inspired by Serpentina’s visit and are now very keen to make their own crests as well as helping the school children to make theirs. Even the staff want to make their own shields now!’
Hark the herald angels sang…
The Cantium Singers of Rochester performed in the City Way foyer today, singing carols in front of a very special guest. Alecia Yarlett visited the College, accompanied by her mother and sister, to listen to the choir and also accept a cheque for £290 raised by students and staff for the Ataxia-Telangiectasia Society (A-T Society). The nine year old suffers from A-T, a rare, neurodegenerative, inherited disease which affects many parts of the body and causes severe disability. It affects 3 individuals per million. Alecia’s mother Lian said: ‘It’s so nice of the choir to bother and get involved
with such a small charity. Raising awareness of the condition is just so important. ‘Alecia has really loved the singing and we’ve all had a great time here today. The students gave her a lovely big Christmas card and everyone has been very thoughtful.’ About a dozen members of the 60strong Cantium Singers kindly gave up their afternoon to visit City Way and lead the staff in their carol singing, which included favourites such as Silent Night and Ding Dong Merrily on High. The carols, mince pies and mulled wine were then followed by the traditional Chinese Christmas meal!
Thursday 20 December EDITION NO 24
Craning for a view Some interesting and historical features have been discovered at the site of the new College campus in Gillingham, not least the Napoleonic Listening Post! However, a more modern piece of engineering equipment has arrived recently in the form of a 51.4 metre-high crane. The structure dominates the landscape and did not fail to impress visitors from Barclays Bank, who were invited to the Lower Lines recently by Ian Rule, Director of Finance. Barclays is helping the College to finance the building work with a £35m loan facility.
Ian said: ‘I was amazed at how much progress had been made since I first visited the site a few months ago. It was great to see the crane at work on the east wing, where concrete will be poured for the foundations.’ The tower crane can work in wind speeds of up to 45mph and was erected over a three day period using a 300 tonne crane to lift the sections into place. The College is hoping to capture video images of the crane in operation which will be accessible via the intranet. The concrete frame element of the East wing of the new College campus is expected to be completed by the end of
The crane stands tall April next year, with the Central and West wings following closely behind. Once the concrete operations are complete, the crane will have a significant role in unloading and installing the steel sections of the buildings as they arrive on site. Eventually the crane will be used to install the roof panels, which will be assembled on the ground before being lifted into position. The tower crane on site currently is capable of reaching the East and Central wings. A second will be erected in the New Year to service the Central and West wings.
Left to right: Jessica White, Rachel Mather and Richard Robinson from Barclays, with Denis Madden and Ian Rule.
Ian said: ‘It was a fascinating morning and we were all impressed by the scale of the project and the helpfulness of the Kier team. We are all looking forward to a return visit in the near future to see how the project is progressing.’
Personnel News Arrivals Simon Foot joined us on 17 December 2007 as Head of School for Motor Vehicle and Electrical Installation. Simon reports to Peter Webb. Joanne Kelly joined us on 3 December 2007 as a Technician within Hair Design & Holistic Therapies at Oakwood Park. Joanne reports to Jill Edwards. Rob McClellan joined us on 28 November 2007 as a Lecturer in Media at Horsted. Rob reports to Stephen Batchelor. Mandy Pegg joined us on 13th December 2007 as maternity cover for Corine Burkin (PA to Alan Ashfield)
Changes Michelle Brien is now the Learner Finance Co-ordinator within Learner Services at Horsted. Michelle reports to David Staley.
Departures Anne Chatter Reviewing Officer within Construction Crafts at Oakwood Park, left us on 7 December 2007. Kate Thomas Administrative Assistant within Supported Learning Programmes at Horsted, will not be returning from her maternity leave. Sharon Waghorn Personnel Advisor, will not be returning from her maternity leave. Chris West Finance Assistant at Horsted, will be retiring on 3 January 2008.
Monday 4 February EDITION NO 28
Create-a-crest Art and Design students teamed up with young learners from New Brompton College recently, to help them make their own crests and impressions of Gillingham. The artwork is being produced for a time capsule to be buried on the site of the new Mid-Kent campus currently being constructed at the Lower Lines. The students were asked to make their own crests and to substitute the usual images with a selection illustrating what they like about Gillingham. Local artist Serpentina, commissioned by Mid-Kent College to work with the students, said: ‘They were fantastic. They worked so hard and the variety was amazing. ‘They used a variety of recycled materials to make their crests and from this they created some stunning representations of Gillingham, from the market and ice skating to the parks in different seasons.’ Mid-Kent College Art & Design Course tutor, Sarah Reeve said: ‘It was lovely to see students working together and learning from each other.
Students from New Brompton College There was a real mix of ideas and talent and it was clear everyone gained from this experience.’ Photographs of the crests will be printed in a book to be placed in the time capsule, to be buried in the next few months. It is also hoped the crests themselves will be displayed for the public at an exhibition later this year in Gillingham. And now… you are being invited to create your own crest too!
Any staff member with an interest in the project or maybe an association or memories of Gillingham is welcome to design a crest themselves for inclusion in the book. If you fancy creating your own little piece of history to put in the time capsule please contact Melanie in the Medway Vision Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mid-Kent College Staff Awards Sponsored by Congratulations to the Awards winners! The 2008 Mid-Kent College Staff Awards have been hugely popular with 145 people having been nominated for individual and team awards. Well done to all those who were nominated and a very big thank you to all of you who took the time to nominate colleagues and provide supporting evidence. With so many high quality Linda Willbourne, PA to Chrissie nominations the judging Wells, guards the nominations! panel, made up from a cross section of staff plus an independent ‘Friend of MKC’, spent hours reading through the nominations. The Unsung Heroes Award was the most popular category with 15 teams being hailed as offering “superb customer service “, so much so we decided this year we would have two winning teams in this category. The 2008 winners will all be invited to the Awards Ceremony being held at Oakwood Park on Friday 28th March 2008. The winners of the individual awards will receive £100 worth of Bluewater Vouchers and be able to invite two guests to the Awards
Ceremony, and the winners of the team awards will be able to celebrate their achievement with dinner at a local restaurant.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…!!!!!.... Outstanding Lecturer of the Year Award Beverley Noble Equality and Diversity Award Viv Bennett ICT Teaching and Learning Champion Award Lisa Roper Frontline Staff Award Rebecca High Best Newcomer Award - Support Staff Laurie Simpson Best Newcomer Award - Academic Staff Kathleen Weber Leadership Management Award Chris Harrison Innovations Award Julie Coleman Jill Cheeseman Lifetime Achievement Award Rita Ralph Support Staff Award Trevor Fox The Most Improved Teaching Team Construction Crafts - Teaching & Technicians Team Unsung Heroes Award All Caretakers; All Sites Marketing Team