Making Waves - Spring 2024

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Apprentice Gets Highly Commended at West London Business Awards PAGE 9

2024 –The College’s Biggest careers event to date! COVER STORY PAGE 4
Cabinet Question Time at West Thames College PAGE 3

Dear reader,

The start of 2024 has been a very busy one, with lots of exciting news and achievements that we have celebrated here at West Thames.

One of our highlights so far this year has been hosting our biggest Aspire careers event to date. We had over 60 employers in attendance and our students were able to gain real insights into a range of careers, which was invaluable. We were delighted to have the support of Rosi Prescott, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, who was able to join us on the day. I would like to extend a big thank you to all of our employers, staff and students who made this event such a huge success. We’ve definitely set the bar high for next year!

We are honoured to have hosted The Cabinet Question Time event in February in collaboration with one of our key partners, the London Borough of Hounslow. The event took place at our Isleworth campus and the real highlight for me was the fact that our students were able to actively engage in this. The panel was made up of the Leader of the Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Katherine Dunne and eight other cabinet members. It was great to hear our students asking cabinet members about the issues that matter to them alongside those posed by our local residents.

This term, our students have continued to benefit from the excellent employer links that we have with our local businesses. We hosted a Logistics Skills Conference at our Skills + Logistics Centre, and we were thrilled to have Seema Malhotra, Shadow Minister for Skills and MP for Feltham and Heston, open the event. Hundreds of students were able to benefit from a range of career talks and masterclasses with logistics employers as well as hearing from industry experts such as Carl Lomas, Chair of the Logistics Skills Alliance. There was an array of exciting have-a-go activities which our students thoroughly enjoyed.




A number of our students have also been very busy signing up for Hounslow’s Promise Connected Futures Young Leaders Programme. This is a programme founded by Seema Malhotra, Shadow Minister for Skills and MP for Feltham and Heston and is a really exciting initiative which offers our students 1:1 mentoring, masterclasses and visits to local businesses, volunteering opportunities, as well as access to fitness and wellbeing classes. I am really looking forward to seeing our students develop their skills and experience to become the young leaders of the future.

As always, it’s a privilege to witness the inspirational journey that our students undertake in their time with us and no more so than one of our Business Apprentices, Gregory Dando, who recently received a highly commended award at the West London Business Awards Ceremony 2024. We are incredibly proud of what Gregory has achieved. We were also really pleased to have been a finalist in the ‘Education and Training Provider of the Year’ category. Another good term for us in terms of awards.

We ended our Spring Term with another memorable community event. Students, staff and the wider community joined us for an Iftar service in our historic Spring Grove House. The event’s host was Charanjit Ajitsingh (Hounslow Friends of Faith and a West Thames College Governor), who did a fantastic job in bringing together speakers and audience members in sharing their stories. The Mayor of Hounslow, Afzaal Kiani, gave a keynote speech alongside others including Rosi Prescott Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and Shamama Lateef, Director of Al Mustafa Welfare Trust International. This was a great opportunity to again celebrate the fantastic diversity we have at West Thames College and within our wider community.

Plenty as ever packed in to this edition of Making Waves and we really hope you enjoy reading it.

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We held our very own Cabinet Question Time event in our Endeavour Theatre. The event was chaired by our Principal, Tracy Aust and on the panel was the Leader of the Council Shantanu Rajawat, Deputy Leader of the Council Katherine Dunne and eight of their cabinet members.

Cabinet Question Time allowed members of the public, many of whom were local residents and our students the opportunity to question the local political leaders directly on topics and concerns relating to the Borough.

The night overall was a huge success. Our students were particularly impressive, displaying a real passion for their borough, with their brilliant and insightful questions touching on topics close to their hearts; pollution, outdoor sports venues, youth skills, work experience and volunteering.

Members of the public were also exceptional in voicing their concerns for issues in the community and it was evident that the Cabinet enjoyed interacting directly with their constituents. The audience touched on topics such as building developments, homelessness, travel issues and more.

The Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat was deeply passionate about the role West Thames College plays in the Hounslow community. He said: “It’s invaluable to have a further education venue within the Borough. It is so important – so I really value West Thames College.”

Councillor Salman Shaheen spoke on the importance of adult education. He said: “Adult education is so important in this day and age. The workforce of the future is going to be dominated by new and emerging skills and it is absolutely fundamental that we encourage people to reskill themselves to enter this new economy.”

We are incredibly proud to have hosted Cabinet Question Time here at West Thames, and we’re equally proud of our students who were able to present such impactful questions. Thank you to our students, to the members of the public who attended as well as those who could not make it on the night but submitted their questions in advance and of course, to our panel who answered every question posed to them and even stayed behind afterwards to continue the discussions.

• Shantanu Rajawat (Leader of the Council)

• Katherine Dunne (Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment & Transport)

• Tom Bruce (Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Development)

• Lily Bath (Cabinet Member for Education, Children, Skills & Employment)

• Shivraj Grewal (Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities & Culture)

• Samia Chaudhary (Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health & Transformation)

• Guy Lambert (Cabinet Member for Highways, Recycling & Health Integration)

• Ajmer Grewal (Cabinet Member for Safety & Regulatory Services)

• Salman Shaheen (Cabinet Member for Recreation, Public Spaces & Parking)

• Sue Sampson (Cabinet Member for Housing Management & Homelessness)


Early in the Spring, the College hosted its biggest ever Aspire Careers fair with over 60 employers attending. Regular classes were replaced with industry talks and masterclasses from the likes of NARS, the Metropolitan Police, Merlin Group, Canon UK, Kingfisher SEC and Kier to name but a few.

Masterclasses were then followed by a full careers fair, as more employers joined in the Atrium at the Isleworth campus, to speak to students about employment opportunities and give further advice on what employers are looking for in the workplace. There were also stands specifically about Higher

Education and Apprenticeship options as well as keynote speeches from the likes of SheWise - a female-founded charity offering employment support for women, and Credit Union.

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The College prides itself on its strong links with industry and local businesses to support students in developing employability skills as part of their study programmes. The Aspire event is just one of the ways we create invaluable opportunities for our students to engage with potential employers and gain insights into a range of career paths.

Dionne Bailey, West Thames’s Career Lead said: “The feedback we received from both employers and students has been overwhelmingly positive. In particular, I am delighted to share that some students expressed a desire for more career events

like Aspire in the future. This is a testament to the significance of such initiatives in fostering career development and enhancing opportunities for our students.”

There was also support from Rosi Prescott, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London who came to visit the event. She was given a tour by Principal Tracy Aust, and they both took the opportunity to speak to students and individual employers, with Rosi later posting that she thought the event was ‘impressive and exciting to feel the buzz’.

The College would like to thank all the staff, students and employers who made this event such a huge success.



A thriving Logistics Skills Conference was attended by students and employers at our Skills + Logistics Centre, Feltham Campus. It was a stimulating day with an action-packed timetable of student activities focusing on the exciting pathways in the Logistics sector.

We were pleased to see hundreds of students and some of our local logistics partners attend to shine a light on the Logistics sector, otherwise, a sector that is not often known about among young people. We are fortunate to be able to create such good opportunities for students to find out the pathways and skills they need for a successful Logistics career, most of which are a stone’s throw away from our Skills + Logistics Centre in Feltham.

The event was officially opened by Shadow Minister for Skills and MP for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra, who joined us virtually from Parliament, and highlighted the exciting opportunities in nearby Heathrow.

Seema Malhotra said: “It is important that we share today with our fellow learners, family, and friends so that we can continue to grow the local economy and opportunities for you all. The culture of West Thames College is a relationship for a lifetime. Wherever you end up, there will always be an environment of support for you.”

Students visited a range of engaging career presentations from industry professionals such as TVS Rico Logistics, Flannery Plant Logistics, DayBookPro and ProCom. Students also took part in a forklift truck and pallet challenge in our outdoor logistics workshop, which showed them the practical skills needed for loading and moving parcels.

Students also took part in a masterclass with industry experts Carl Lomas, Logistics Skills Alliance, Dr. Tracey Worth, University of West London, Rob Andrew, Department of Work and Pensions, and John Rock, Army Royal Logistics Corps, who shared their years of knowledge and explained the level of qualifications and skills required in the sector, as well as the managerial and higher-level jobs available.

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West Thames College was delighted to host an Iftar service in support of its local community.

The event was jointly organised by Hounslow Friends of Faith (a voluntary interfaith charity that aim to increase knowledge and understanding of different faiths and who support equality and diversity) and Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust International. The evening brought together members of the local community alongside our college staff and student representatives. The event was a celebration of the holy month of Ramadan with Iftar being the point at which people are able to break their fast.

The event’s host was Charanjit Ajitsingh (Hounslow Friends of Faith and a West Thames College Governor), who did a fantastic job in bringing together speakers and audience members to share their stories. The Mayor of Hounslow, Afzaal Kiani, gave a keynote speech, highlighting the importance of Ramadan and Iftar. Alongside the Mayor, other keynotes included Rosi Prescott, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and Shamama Lateef, Director of Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust International.

The event took place in the College’s historical Spring Grove House and welcomed attendees from diverse backgrounds to share a meal and engage in discussions about the significance of Ramadan and the importance of fostering unity and understanding among different cultures and faiths.

Tracy Aust, CEO & Principal said: “This is the third time we have hosted the event and I was privileged to attend it for the first time. It was inspiring to hear the experiences of the community as well as those of our students. Being able to support events such as these are really important to us. Our community partners are an integral part of who we are and what we do and opportunities such as these enable us all to celebrate the fantastic diversity we have in the College and in our wider community.”



It was great to be part of a networking event organised by Women into Construction to celebrate International Women’s Day.

It was refreshing to see an all-female panel discussion and to be in a room predominantly full of women ready to support and uplift each other.

Beverley McGuire, Director of Skills + Logistics Centre, said: “It was an inspirational event, and it was good to see so many women succeeding and expressing an interest in entering what is still a male-dominated sector.”

Nearly 100 women gathered at the prestigious venue, The Drum, next to Wembley Stadium, all seeking careers in construction. Joined by some of the UK’s leading construction employers and trainers, the occasion aimed to launch the careers of the aspirational attendees.

Also present was the West London Green Skills Hub, established to provide and showcase green skills training and employment opportunities in West London.

Sustainability in building design and skills shortages are two of the most pressing issues the construction sector faces. Currently, Women into Construction estimates only 11 per cent of the UK’s workforce in construction are women.

The sector is reaching out to women, breaking down professional stereotypes, and women are responding to their call. From site managers to project managers, from carpenters to architects and surveyors, women are becoming more familiar faces on building sites across the UK in this growing, creative and dynamic field. That’s why events such as these are so important.

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We are so proud of Gregory Dando who was ‘Highly Commended’ in the category of ‘Apprentice of The Year’ at the West London Business Awards at Twickenham Stadium.

The West London Business Awards recognises the outstanding achievements of organisations and individuals and also celebrates talent, entrepreneurship and excellence.

Mark Cooper, Executive Director Finance HR & Development, Neena Gharu, Head of Apprenticeships, and James Byrne from the Apprenticeships Team were in attendance to celebrate the College’s nominations.

Gregory recently completed a Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship which he successfully achieved, gaining a Distinction grade. The apprenticeship was based at the London Borough of Hounslow with West Thames College as the training provider. Before he completed the apprenticeship,

he was promoted to a Data Analyst role. After his success, he will continue to work for the London Borough of Hounslow and will progress to a Level 4 apprenticeship at the College.

Neena Gharu said: “It was an absolute pleasure to attend the West London Business Awards and witness one of our apprentices receive a highly commended award. It fills me with immense pride to see our apprentices being recognized for their hard work and dedication. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to celebrate their success and highlight the importance of investing in the next generation of talent.”

As well as Gregory being highly commended, West Thames College also received a finalist certificate on the night for the ‘Education and Training Provider of The Year’ award.




We are so excited to announce that our College football team will be moving to a brand-new football ground for our home matches.

The new ground, Grasshoppers RFC in Isleworth is a state-of-the-art sports ground equipped with the latest facilities, which marks a significant upgrade from our previous ground.

The move to the new ground will benefit our students at West Thames. Not only will they have access to this new ground for training and matches, but they will also have the opportunity

to compete against other colleges on a more professional and competitive level.

The transition has been met with overwhelmingly positive feedback from our students. Here is what they have said:

“This is worth the change!”

“So much better now; I want to come to training.”

“I am so happy with the pitch.”

“Can’t wait for our next home match.”

We are optimistic that this move to the new football ground will not only benefit the current players, but also attract more students to join the team and get involved in sport. With its modern facilities and professional setting, the new ground is expected to raise the profile of the College’s football team and provide a platform for students to further develop their skills and passion for the game.

I can’t wait for our next home match
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We are so proud of our students who have volunteered and signed up for Hounslow’s Promise Young Leaders Programme.

Students attended their second session with Shadow Minister for Skills and MP for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra, who founded the charity, and Tracy Aust, Principal & CEO of West Thames College.

The Connected Futures: Young Leaders Programme was developed to support young people aged 18-24 who are living, studying or working in the London Borough of Hounslow. The charity is supported by local businesses and education providers, as well as support from Hounslow Council and West London Chamber of Commerce.

During the next six months, our students will be paired with mentors from the community. The programme hopes that the mentors will inspire and motivate students, as well as boost their confidence and self-belief. We can’t wait to see the progress they make.


Access to masterclasses led by industry professionals

Visits to local businesses and workplaces

The opportunity to volunteer for a local organisation

The opportunity to train as a mentor to support school-aged young people in Hounslow

Access to fitness and well-being sessions



Isleworth Campus

Wednesday 19th June 5pm - 6.30pm

Feltham Skills+Logistics Centre

Tuesday 25th June 5pm - 6.30pm

Book your place now,

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