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HE BULLETIN Summer 2011 CONTENTS Graduation 2011


HE Sports Internships


You said, we did


Summer examinations


Programme news


A – Z of HE


SECRETARY OF STATE OPENS SUPERB NEW TEACHING FACILITY A state-of-the-art facility for teaching sustainable energy techniques and alternative energy innovations has been formally opened by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP. The Energy Skills Centre at Bridgwater College is the first of its kind in the South West and forms a key part of plans to deliver

For full story see page 2, inside

the region's economic and skills development objectives. It represents an £8 million investment by funders EDF Energy, the National Skills Academy (Nuclear), the South West Regional Development Agency and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, with further industry support from EnergySolutions, Sedgemoor District Council and the Kier Group.


The brand new Energy Skills Centre, officially opened in January, reinforces the position of Bridgwater College as one of the leading training providers for the nuclear and sustainable energy sectors. The 2800m² facility has been designed to meet the growing demand for training in science and engineering from local employers and incorporates a 550m², two storey high Realistic Work Environment (RWE), complete with 3.2 tonne full traverse overhead gantry crane, which will be used to provide a range of specialist training. There are also engineering and welding workshops, science, nuclear and instrumentation laboratories, a nuclear analytical workshop, a CAD suite and a Computer Numerical Control room, as well as a 40-seat conference room with video conferencing facilities, and a café.

During his speech, Chris Huhne said, “It is great to see the South West flagship delivery centre of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear coming to fruition with the strong support of leading players in the industry. The future of skills development is in the strong relationships between industry, academia and skills bodies. We are already seeing progress here and I look forward to watching this grow further…….This new centre is a great place to inspire the young and deliver the skills necessary for a career in the industry on their doorstep.”

The Centre was designed to Bridgwater College's precise specifications, with significant input and advice from industry. Construction of the building was completed in just 15 months and is fully in line with the BREEAM standards of excellence for sustainable design and environmental performance. Features include roof mounted photovoltaic cells and solar hot water heating, a 6kW wind turbine, rainwater harvesting and an area of sedum roof which provides insulation. Sunpipes allow additional natural light to the first floor corridors (thus saving on electricity), underground rainwater holding tanks provide water to flush the toilets and there is an electric car charging point and cycle park.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with local, national and international partners to establish such impressive facilities to support the needs of the low carbon energy industries in the region and we are very grateful for their sponsorship and funding support. We anticipate that the Centre will make a huge contribution to the training of local people and provide excellent resources for local businesses involved in the EDF Nuclear New Build project, decommissioning activities and other low carbon energy projects.”

The Secretary of State was joined by special guest speakers from key supporters of the project, including Vincent de Rivaz, the Chief Executive for EDF Energy. Fiona McMillan, College Principal said,

GRADUATION 2011 We are now able to confirm that this year’s Graduation Ceremony will take place on Monday 12 September 2011 at 7pm at St Mary’s Church in Bridgwater. The date has been set a week earlier than last year to avoid any possible clash with university Freshers Weeks for progressing students, but it does mean that students who are obliged to undergo referred exam or resit boards may not be able to attend the ceremony this year. Please note that there will be a deadline of 31 August 2011, and any student who has not received official notification of a pass by 31 August 2011, will not be able to attend a Graduation ceremony until 2012. This deadline has to be imposed to allow us sufficient time to administer gown orders, organise the seating plan, publish the official programme and so on. All eligible students will receive their invitation towards the end of July 2011 and - due to limited capacity within the Church - each graduand will be able to invite up to two guests. In exceptional circumstances we may be able to accommodate an extra guest, but

we’ll only be in a position to offer additional places at the end of August, once all invitees have responded. Further details will appear in your official invitation, but there will be a cream tea prior to the ceremony at Bar 27 in St Mary’s Street, Bridgwater, to which all graduates and their guests will be invited. If you have any queries at this stage, please contact Sue Felstead on 01278 441215.

NEW! HE SPORTS INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR 2011/12 • Do you enjoy sport? • Would you like to work within the Sports Academy or Sports Enrichment programme?

• Would you like to mentor and lead young people? • Is gaining coaching qualifications something that interests you?

If so, then talk to us! From September 2011 we’re looking to recruit several HE interns to support our football, rugby, racquet sports and enrichment sport provision. We also have opportunities to work within our Health and Fitness Suite and to help coordinate our College sports leadership, volunteering and officiating programmes. You don’t have to be studying a sports course at the College, but you do need to have a keen interest in sport and in helping young people. Your responsibilities could include assisting Sports Academy Directors, supervising activities, officiating, mentoring, coaching and leading students. This HE Internship will provide you with transferable skills and excellent work experience for your CV. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain professional coaching qualifications, work alongside experienced staff and have a valuable opportunity to work in a vibrant and fast paced Sports section. If you would like to discuss this further, please call Jason Gunningham, Section Leader for Sports and Services on 01278 441853 or email


You Said We Did! Your feedback is vital to help us improve how we work with you to provide the best experience possible.

Some of you suggested improvements to the structure and content of tutorials and would like to see more input from students regarding topics covered in these sessions. The College is looking to standardise the structure of HE tutorials across all programmes. Your feedback for this has been invaluable and the new structure will include CV writing, personal statements, referencing and more. If there is anything else that you would like to see specifically included in your tutorial sessions, please advise your Programme Manager.

Some students felt that some of the books in the LRC could be updated. Programme Managers have examined resources again this year and updated books where necessary. If you would like a specific publication to be added to the LRC stock you can ask LRC staff who will be happy to place an order when possible.

Students have been having difficulty accessing the College’s network remotely. The College IT department is aware that students and staff alike have been experiencing difficulties logging in or slowness with the College’s remote access. We can confirm that this has been successfully resolved and the College network can be accessed effectively at any time of day or night. If you do experience problems, please do not hesitate to contact the IT Helpdesk (ext 1276) between 8:30am and 9.00pm from Monday to Thursday and between 8:30am and 4:30pm on Friday.

Some of you were experiencing problems using the HE Study room. The HE study room is used by both staff and students alike, although staff have been made aware that students have priority of use and that it is bookable for private study groups.


Staff are also aware that this is no longer a silent study room and that users are free to discuss matters relating to their study. If you have any queries or would like to book out the HE study room please contact a member of the LRC staff.

University of Plymouth programmes Credit Reduction Some of you may be aware that the University of Plymouth has required the College to restructure its University of Plymouth Foundation Degree programmes. All Foundation Degree programmes have previously been taught under a 280 or 260 credit framework; however, they will now work under a new 240 credit model, where 120 credits will be studied at each level. The change has proved challenging and Programme Managers have worked hard to ensure that the quality and content of these extremely successful programmes is not compromised and that an excellent student experience is maintained. The following programmes will be taught under the new structure from September 2011: • FdA Early Years Sector Endorsed • FdSc Public Services with Outdoor Education • FdSc Agricultural Management (commences January 2012)

Summer Examinations! This time of year represents for many the culmination of several years’ work, and for some the end of year exams may cause an amount of anxiety. You may not have given much thought to what goes on at the end of the exam period, so here is a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the process involved in confirming your marks.

• In July results lists, letters and transcripts are produced and sent to each student confirming their result. • Any students that have been referred in their work will then be given additional coursework or asked to re-sit an examination. • In late August places are then confirmed for the graduation ceremony taking place midSeptember, at which graduating students are congratulated on their success and celebrate with family and friends. • The referred exam boards take place in September, at which point students’ referred work results are confirmed. • In September the final results lists, letters and transcripts are produced and sent to each referred student confirming their result from the re-sit board. The whole process is governed by the individual rules and regulations of the partner university which must comply with a Code of Practice set out by QAA.

• Once all students have sat their examinations, staff get to work on marking individual papers – a very busy time. Papers are marked by two independent markers to ensure accuracy, quality and consistency of marking.

As you can see it’s an extremely busy time of year for students, programme teams and administrative staff! If you have any queries at any point during this process please do not hesitate to contact your HE Administrator, Natalie Fursland at the College on 01278 441339.

• During June and July the marks are forwarded to the relevant HE Administrator who produces result sheets which are taken to an exam board for the marks to be confirmed. A separate exam board is held for each programme. • The confirmation of the marks is a two stage process; the first stage is where individual module/unit marks are confirmed and the second stage is where overall student marks and grades are agreed. The panel normally consists of the Programme Manager, teaching staff, external examiners, the university link tutor and HE administration staff.


Programme news College Student is Dairy Student of the Year finalist

Pictured, from left to right, RABDF chief executive Nick Everingtom, William Bolton (finalist), Richard Young (winner), Anita Simmons (finalist) and Dairy Crest commercial manager Alan Wren. This year, for the first time, Bridgwater College put forward one of its top agricultural students for the prestigious Dairy Student Award presented by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and sponsored by Dairy Crest. Anita Simmons from Clevedon, a second year Foundation Degree student in Agricultural Management at the College, was selected as one of eight regional winners for the preliminary round of judging at Cheshire’s Reaseheath College of Agriculture in February. Their task was to examine the College’s dairy enterprise and suggest ways in which it could be made more efficient and effective, and from these submissions three were taken forward to the final stages, Anita among them. The finalists’ brief was then to study the operation of Dairy Crest’s Gloucestershire plant


and make a formal presentation to judges at The Farmers’ Club in London on 1 April about how the industry needs to structure itself in order to meet the demands of the workplace, and how they plan to develop their careers in dairying. Although Anita did not win the top £1000 award, she can justifiably be very proud of her achievement in reaching the final three. Jon Snook, Lecturer in Agriculture at Bridgwater College, praised Anita, saying “It is incredible that Anita has reached the final three of such a prestigious competition the very first time that the College has entered, and I cannot praise her commitment and hard work highly enough. Her efforts have prompted the judges to request more entries from us next year, which is a huge accolade for Anita and for the College.”

College Students Take Silver Medal at Ideal Home Show Foundation and Honours Degree students from Bridgwater College were thrilled to be given the opportunity to compete alongside five other colleges for the title ‘Young Gardeners of the Year 2011’ at the Ideal Home

of water sat well alongside the Art Deco lines of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, recalling the simpler and more relaxed lifestyle of years gone by. The gardens were judged by a distinguished panel of judges, including TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin, who commented “"The ‘Young Gardeners of the Year' competition is focused and single minded in its challenge. We want to find and celebrate the best new young talent in the country and give them a public platform to showcase their talent and earn recognition. This kind of platform can prove a great fuel injection in those young people's career paths and help them stand out from the floods of graduates out there." The final judging took place on the morning of Friday 11th March, the first day of the Exhibition, although the results were not announced until Thursday 17th March, to coincide with a visit to the Exhibition from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles visited each of the college gardens in turn and spent time talking to students and staff. The Bridgwater College garden came second overall and won the Silver Award, which was a fantastic achievement in such a short timescale.

Show in London’s Earls Court this month. Approached by TV gardener David Domoney just four weeks before the event, the students decided to re-create ‘The Pad’, their goldmedal-winning and Best in Show garden from the 2010 Taunton Flower Show. The lily pad theme of this sculptured garden, with its shaped decks, raised beds and large expanse

Landscape Design Programme Manager for the College, Iain Truman, praised the efforts of his team, saying “The students have all worked extremely hard in a pressured environment, and the resulting garden is a credit to their efforts. We are delighted to have a silver medal to add to the list of accolades that this group of students have acquired during their time at the College, and I wish them well in their future careers.”


Survey Equipment Demonstration for Landscape Students Representatives from Phoenix Surveying Equipment Limited in Bristol recently treated staff and students at Bridgwater College’s Cannington Centre to a hands-on demonstration of ultramodern Topcon survey stations. Phoenix is one of the leading providers of surveying and construction equipment solutions in southern England, with 50 staff operating out of five modern depots. The company’s principal activities revolve around the hire, sale and repair of surveying equipment to customers throughout the UK and, thanks to its collaboration with leading manufacturer Topcon, it has access to some of the most innovative products on the market today.

The visit to Bridgwater College coincided with the College’s Open Day, enabling prospective students as well as those currently enrolled on the Landscape Design and Horticulture programmes, to familiarise themselves with a range of state-of-the-art equipment that included a GPS multi-purpose surveying station using laser technology and a rotating laser level. The easy-to-navigate Windowsbased software meant that those involved were able to quickly learn how to survey and set out points with the equipment stations, and as Iain Truman, programme manager for Landscape design explained: “‘Although it was very cold, the day was a great success, and those present got a great deal of learning from the experience. We look forward to continuing our working relationship with Phoenix Surveying Equipment in the future.”


Student profile GARY ALLEYNE After leaving the Royal Air Force 20 years ago, Gary Alleyne struggled to find permanent employment. A ten-year stint selling alarm equipment door-to-door, followed by five years as a bus driver, proved tedious and unfulfilling, so he decided to volunteer with BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers), the largest practical conservation charity in the UK. The charity runs a diverse range of activities across the UK, many of which are focused around practical conservation work, although BTCV also provides extensive training, work experience and education opportunities. Gary’s role brought him into daily contact with young people who, for various reasons, were unemployed or who had turned to a life of crime, and he found immense satisfaction in helping them to turn their lives around. It was Gary’s boss who suggested that he study formal qualifications in order to convert his volunteering role into a full-time career, and Gary therefore enrolled on Bridgwater College’s NVQ programmes in Countryside Management. After successfully completing levels 2 and 3 he decided to take his studies further, and two years later graduated with a Foundation Degree – something that he never would have dreamt possible. “I cannot pretend that the work wasn’t hard – there were definitely times when I struggled with the academic side of things. But the support of the tutors was immense, and I learned so much. The combination of academic learning, practical experience and my Forces training has meant that I am ideally placed to focus young people’s attention on the discipline and motivation that they need in order to re-enter the world of work, as well as the knowledge and skills involved in conservation and environmental projects. I love my work and am so glad that I decided to seek further qualifications in order to make this career change.” Gary’s role with BTCV is set to continue, although funding constraints mean that it may take a new direction in 2011. What is not in doubt, however, is the benefit that numerous young people have gained as a result of his input.

Cert HE/ Foundation Degree in Agricultural Management Recruitment to the HE Agricultural Management programmes has reached record levels at Bridgwater College, with forty-eight students currently studying at either Certificate of Higher Education or Foundation Degree level. Last year enrolment to Agricultural Management programmes represented over 20% of the total HE enrolments across the College as a whole!

This course is special because it covers in great depth and detail the management of today's modern agriculture industry, but yet enables students to continue in full-time employment whilst studying. Over the past five years students from this course have won a host of national awards. The best way to ascertain why the course has become so popular is to read some of the comments from the students themselves:

This all augers well for the future and student numbers are expected to rise as tuition fees for full-time courses at Britain’s universities increase.

Cert HE Food Technology No sooner have we said farewell to one group of French students than the next group arrives! Unlike most HE programmes, with the lengthy summer separating the new from the old, the CHE student groups are turned around over the Christmas break. Ten very brave new French food technologists started on 4th January and settled in to their first term quickly. Their ambition is to achieve the CHE in Food Technology, become more fluent in the English language and gain a greater understanding of English customs while studying Food Chemistry and Microbiology at our Cannington Centre. They’ll be spending 11 weeks of their forthcoming summer break on work experience in the food industry in various regions of the UK. Whilst in the UK the students live in residential accommodation at the College's Cannington Centre and have already made new friends, sampled most of the activities on offer and even acclimatised to English food! Thanks to everyone in the College for making them feel so welcome.

‘I chose to study the course as all the units appealed to me and studying at Bridgwater College means that I can continue to work and live at home on the farm.’ ‘I was on a Level 3 course at another college but it wasn’t in depth enough. I found out about the course at Bridgwater College and it sounded like it would be more challenging. It fitted in with work.’ As well as the English students, the Agricultural Management qualification holds an international reputation and attracts French students from the St Lo College in Normandy. Here is one comment from one of the completing 2010 students: ‘My experience at Bridgwater College was unforgettable. I have had fun and learnt to research topics in my own time.’


Foundation Degree in Motorsport Engineering – Oxford Brookes University "The Foundation Degree motorsport students were thrilled to have the opportunity to attend an Instrumentation, Analysis and Testing Conference at Silverstone racing circuit in March.

The presentations were mainly provided by data acquisition and sensor companies showcasing new technology as well as providing further technical information which all of the students enjoyed.

The day involved technical presentations, trade stands and a technical debate involving specialist representatives from Formula One teams and large vehicle manufacturers.

An impressive array of cars was also on track during the day for a Formula 3 and GT testing session." Olly Bartlett, Programme Manager

Foundation Degree in Early Years – Sector Endorsed "This term has seen our University of Plymouth FdA Early Years (Sector Endorsed) students visit a number of current practitioners within a range of childcare settings in order to develop a better understanding of the varying roles of professionals working with young children. They have encountered experts from Montessori, Forest School, sight impaired charities, Barnardos and the Children’s Centre, as well as a health visitor and a primary school headteacher. This experience has supported students in creating links between their reading/research and the workplace.


Previous students have also come in to talk about their degree and early years research experiences, and both the FdA and Early Years Professional Status students have benefited from mutual peer-coaching sessions.

Students have also participated in additional activities such as a trip to Withy Woods to learn first-hand about the Forest School research being conducted by childcare practitioners, and a trip to Bristol Magistrates Court to acquire an understanding of the legal system and its relevance to child care professionals." Janet Harvell, Programme Manager

'Bon Voyage’ as Bridgwater College students set off for France A group of 10 students on Bridgwater College’s Foundation Degree course in Public Services with Outdoor Education underwent a life-changing experience recently when they set sail from Chatham, in Kent, aboard the Morning Star of Revelation, a 20-metre, square-rigged sailing ship. Travelling 22 nautical miles in just five days, the group anchored overnight off Stangate before crossing the busiest shipping lane in the world

Photo courtesy of Beken – the English Channel – en route to Dunkirk, where they spent two days before navigating their way back via the Isle of Sheppey. The Foundation Degree course at the College provided the students with their basic dinghy sailing skills, but mastering the controls of the Morning Star of Revelation – a ship that regularly features in the Tall Ships Race and travels around the UK and Western Europe – provided a daunting challenge. “I am very proud of these students” said Luc Lefebvre, course tutor. “They had to work as a tight-knit team to analyse the weather, steer the ship, put up sails, navigate with charts and cook in the very confined space of a

galley kitchen, and learned so much that by the time they arrived back home the ship was practically sailing itself! This, despite winds in excess of 35mph that tested their mental and physical stamina to the limit and forced an unscheduled stop in Harty Ferry, on the Isle of Sheppey.” The group’s performance so impressed Ted North, General Manager of The Morning Star Trust, that he offered them an opportunity

to extend their experience on the even more demanding Weymouth/Waterford/Glasgow leg of the 2011 Tall Ships race. In the meantime they have all achieved their RYA Competent Crew certification, and have a memory that will last a lifetime.


A - Z of HE: this term p – t P – Personal Development Planning

• IT suite

You may hear the words Personal Development Planning (PDP) used frequently in Higher Education, but what exactly do they mean? PDP helps learners reflect on their own learning and achievement and to identify strengths and weaknesses so that they can plan their personal, educational and career development. Studies have shown that students who actively partake in PDP are more likely to meet personal targets and achievements. Personal Development Plans often comprise a portfolio of evidence highlighting skills gained over a specified timeframe and can also include a CV, personal statement or any other evidence that has contributed to Personal Development.

• Blackboard

Q – Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) The QAA was first established in 1997, and safeguards quality standards in Higher Education within the UK. The QAA tracks the progress of institutions delivering Higher Education and assesses how well they meet their responsibilities as well as highlighting good practice and making recommendations for improvement. The QAA produces a ‘Code of Practice’ which offers guidelines for universities and colleges on good practice in the management of academic standards and quality. The Code of Practice comprises 10 sections, each indicating key issues for consideration when delivering HE programmes. These include: • Work based learning • External examining • Assessment of students Along with the Code of Practice the QAA has also developed the Academic Infrastructure. The Academic Infrastructure is a set of nationally agreed reference points which provide institutions with a shared starting point for assuring the quality and standards of their Higher Education programmes. The Academic Infrastructure has four elements and all are inter-related.

R – Resources

• Course-specific resources e.g. Rodway Farm, science laboratories, the Energy Skills Centre, the Walled Gardens • E-books. The extensive use of specialist, dedicated resources can benefit your studies and subject knowledge tremendously. If there is anything else you feel could enhance your learning you should advise your Programme Manager who will always seek to help where possible.

S – Student Union Within each university, as well as within Bridgwater College, you will find a Student Union. The Student Union is generally student-led and its focus is to represent students both within the institution and externally, with regard to both local and national issues. It will also support students as necessary by providing a variety of support and advice services. Students can get involved in the management of the Student Union via a variety of committees, councils and meetings, or become an elected officer. If you want to join your Student Union you should seek further information on your student portals.

T – Tutorial A tutorial is a class that provides special and often individual instruction in particular areas. Most students in education will become part of the tutorial system, although at HE level this experience is usually much more intense. Preparations for your future are embedded into HE tutorials including: UCAS applications, personal statements and CV writing. You can also request the inclusion of topics that you feel would be beneficial to you and your peers. Tutorials also provide students with the opportunity to discuss any queries or concerns they have about their course. Tutors within the College will also arrange for a one to one tutorial to take place if you have anything of a confidential nature you wish to discuss.

There are a number of resources available to students both at Bridgwater College and the relevant partner university campus; as a fullyenrolled student you will have access to facilities at both locations. Resources specific to the College include the following: • Learning Resources Centre (LRC) • HE study room


The next edition of the HE Bulletin will be published in October 2011.

Bridgewater College Update - Summer 2011  

The latest updates on Graduation 2011, HE sports internships, You said We did, summer examinations and programme news.

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