On Friday 15 June, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) and its construction partner, ISG, marked a significant milestone in the redevelopment of the Twickenham college site with a ground breaking ceremony.
The ceremony celebrated the beginning of construction of the phase 1 building, a major part of RuTC’s new £80 million world class state of the art campus.
Over 70 people attended the event which was hosted by Robin Ghurbhurun, Principal and CEO of RuTC, Richard White, Project Director for ISG. Will Whitmore, RuTC construction crafts apprentice, was given the responsibility to officially break ground and mark the start of the building project.
Robin Ghurbhurun, said, “I’m delighted that we have now started the first phase of the new college campus. We’re working with regional and national employers and partners on this project and the building will be approx. 15,000 square metres, 5 stories and 20 metres in height”. He added, “I would like to thank everyone who has been on this journey with us and for your commitment and expertise in helping create, what will truly become, a world class post-16 centre of excellence”.
ISG Project Director, Richard White, added, “ISG is excited to be involved in the project which will be an inspirational development for many years to come”.
Barbara Gilgallon, Chair of RuTC governing body, said, “The breaking ground ceremony is symbolic for us in a crucial way. It is the start of a journey that represents a physical manifestation of what we truly believe to be a truly groundbreaking exercise. The new building with provide a state of the art facility responsive to the demand of a new style of teaching and learning suited to the modern world”.
Sir Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Twickenham and strong supporter of further education thanked everybody who had “helped steer a very tricky project through to the breaking ground stage. He acknowledged that in many ways the start of the new building was a great triumph for adversity, with many real challenges to the FE sector, and that he was delighted that Robin Ghurbhurun has been able to steer this project to completion”.
Other guests included staff and governors from RuTC, ISG personnel representatives from key organisations and partners that are involved in this major project which will benefit the local and regional community for many years to come.
The phase 1 building is due for completion at the end of 2019 and will provide an exciting and innovative new learning environment within the ground of the current college site. Around 3,000 students, employers, along with public and local community will be able to take advantage of the wide range of fantastic facilities that will be housed within the new building, these include TV studio, theatre, 3D prototyping FabLab, art gallery, 60 cover silver service Chef’s Academy with views over Twickenham, business incubation spaces, spa and wellness centre, sports centre and digital golf studio.
Whilst construction of the new building takes place, the college continues as business as usual with minimum disruption to current students who continue to receive excellent teaching and training in the original college buildings.
Acting students from Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) produced and performed a powerful performance for their end of year show with Bohemia, an adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s award winning musical, Rent, which focuses on themes and topics that have influenced the LGBT community and inspired the students to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust.
This May, students studying the UAL Performing Arts (Acting) Extended Level 3 Diploma produced and performed the musical, raising over £60 in ticket sales for the Terrence Higgins Trust. This performance came before the start of Pride month, which the college’s LGBT group, SHOUT, will be supporting with both staff and students by attending the annual Pride parade in London on Saturday 7 July.
Mary Cassidy, Performing Arts lecturer said; “Well done to all the second year Performing Arts students for an excellent final show which is a celebration of all their hard work over the past two years. Most students are now heading off to either drama school or university to study drama. Best wishes and good luck to all of the students as they move on to the next stage of their careers."
Find out more about studying Performing Arts at RuTC.
At the end of May, catering students from Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) competed in the National Wessex Salon Culinaire competition at Brockenhurst College, New Forest.
Five students – three adult Patisserie NVQ Level 3 and two 16-18 NVQ Level 3 Professional Cookery students – attended the competition along with Catering Lecturer Neal Hook and Patisserie Lecturer Mitsie Butler, and were delighted to storm away with four gold medals and one silver medal. Patisserie Lecturer Mitsie commented, “I’m so proud of all the students who participated in the competition – they all did an amazing job.”
The Wessex Salon Culinaire is the largest live culinary competition in the UK and is organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs and offers participants the chance to show case their skills and expertise in front of a live audience of judges and food professionals.
Professional Cookery NVQ Level 3 student, Yun bi, walked away with a gold medal for Knife Skills after having 15 minutes to produce the French knife cuts Brunoise-Julienne-Paysanne and fine dice. Matthieu Haskins, another NVQ Level 3 student at RuTC, participated in the Live Hot competition, where chefs prepare a lamb main course in 30 minutes and won a silver for his dish.
RuTC adult students Renelle Ly-Pearce and Manza Sarpong, studying NVQ Level 3s in Patisserie, were the only two competitors to take home gold medals for preparing and decorating 12 cupcakes each. Their decorating and piping skills combined with their flavour combinations was described as “outstanding and faultless” by a team of judges considered the best in their industry - including head judge Corporal Ian Mark, who won the Bake off Crème de la Crème in 2017.
Part-time adult Patisserie student, Sherie Lam, was awarded the final gold medal for her prepared pastries which demonstrated a wide variety of techniques and skills, making her the only chef to win gold in her category.
CEO and Principal of RuTC, Robin Ghurbhurun, said, “The Catering Department at Richmond upon Thames College put in a lot of work with our students, and the success achieved at this prestigious competition is evidence of the outstanding teaching and learning that takes place on our catering courses”.
On Thursday 17th May 2018, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) Carpentry and Bench Joinery student Will Whitmore received the Committee of South London Principals Best Learner Award at the House of Lords.
Will started on the Bench Joinery Level 2 diploma in September 2016 and has since become a true ambassador for the college and student body, participating in both the Students’ Union and serving as a student governor on the college’s board of governors. After obtaining a Merit grade on his Level 2 course, Will has progressed on to Level 3 and has now started his Level 3 Bench Joinery apprenticeship with a leading UK joinery employer.
Outside of college, Will found part-time employment with a joinery company, which helped him to gain valuable work experience. In 2017, Will also entered the Carpenters Craft Competition, run by the Guild of Master Craftsmen, where he came 2nd place in the regional finals.
Will’s parents accompanied Will at the awards, along with his teacher Alan Rowley and Deputy Principal, Curriculum and Student Services at RuTC, John O’Shea.
John said, "It is an absolute pleasure to be able to give this award to Will, a student who has given so much to the college and its students - thoroughly deserved. We look forward to seeing what Will achieves in the future.”
Will commented, “I wasn’t expecting to win the Best Learner Award, so it was a nice surprise. I took my parents with me to the House of Lords and was also joined by my teacher Alan Rowley and Deputy Principal John O’Shea. They were all very proud of my achievements.”
After completing his apprenticeship, Will plans to stay on with his current employer before moving on to specialise in making bespoke staircases.
As part of the National Union of Students' Fair Vote campaign supporting a change to the voting age in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to 16 (as it is in Scotland), Richmond upon Thames College organised an event which took place on Friday 27 April 2017. To a room full of students, vice president of the college's students’ union, Rufus Irvine, spoke first about voting, democracy and what the vote would mean for young people.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats and serving MP for Twickenham, Sir Vince Cable, then came and delivered a highly engaging talk about the current state of UK politics and government. Topics included ‘Brexit’, housing prices, tuition fees, centralist government and the affect which lobbying and media ownership have on democracy in the UK.
The audience listened very intently as Sir Vince also spoke about his career and the history of UK politics. Students were able to ask a variety of questions. At the end of the session, Sir Vince, along with four RuTC students, spoke to our camera to give their views on voting age reform. You can view these videos on our YouTube channel below.
On 11 May 2018, the second reading of the Young People’s Enfranchisement Bill 2017-19 will be presented to Parliament. Click for more information on the Fair.Vote website.
Rosie McKeown, a former student of Richmond upon Thames College, was one of the champions from St John’s College, Cambridge, on this weeks’ University Challenge 2018 final aired on BBC2 23 April. Rosie, who lives in Kingston upon Thames, studied A Levels at Richmond upon Thames College in Twickenham before studying at St Johns College, Cambridge where she reads French and German. She has been widely praised for an outstanding performance throughout the competition.
Whilst at Richmond upon Thames College, Rosie achieved an A grade in English Literature A Level and an A*s in both Spanish and French A Level. She was also the winner of the College’s Creative Writing 2016 competition for her poem, ‘On a Fallen Soldier’ and won a prestigious student award for languages at the college’s annual awards ceremony in 2016.
Rosie attracted much of the attention on the show and was hailed as the star performer throughout the competition where the St John’s College, Cambridge team beat Merton College, Oxford by 145-100.
Rosie said, “I’ve been watching University Challenge religiously since I was 11 and it was always my goal to get on a team when I got to university – although I wasn’t expecting it to be in my first year.”
Former Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) students Bianca Williams and Claire Allan have both brought home medals from the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Bianca Williams, who studied a BTEC Level 3 in Sport at RuTC, ran the third leg of the 4x100 metre relay at the Games on Australia’s Gold Coast. With a national record of 42.46 seconds, Bianca and her teammates won the Gold medal for England.
Claire Allan, who studied A Levels at RuTC and currently plays for the English Women’s Rugby Team, helped the team win a Bronze medal for England in the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens tournament.
Find out more about studying Sport at RuTC.
On Friday 13 April 2018, Staff at Richmond upon Thames College attended the annual Health and Wellbeing Fair as part of the college’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) day.
Staff were able to attend a range of workshops, including stress management and mindfulness, as well as professional training sessions relating to teaching, education technology and safeguarding.
As part of the Fair, staff were also able to take part in light sporting activities like table tennis, badminton and wheelchair basketball. Exhibitors from the local area included Cycle Solutions, Mind for Richmond Borough, Nuffield Health and The Halsa Group, who offered free spinal checks to staff.
Alison de Lord, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, said “This is the third year that we have organised a Wellbeing Fair as part of our staff development programme. This year was well attended by teaching and support staff who all enjoyed healthy snacks while finding out more about how to improve their physical and mental health and overall wellbeing from various local organisations.”
Michael Fuller, who is currently studying for a Performing Arts Level 3 diploma at Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC), recently featured in an extensive article on the BBC website, BBC London News and the I national newspaper. Michael, who has high functioning autism, is an incredibly talented musician who is able to create symphonies in his head. Michael says that by making music with his mind it helps him express himself and makes him calm. During his time at RuTC and through the help of his teachers and a strong support system, Michael has grown in confidence and is on track to achieve his ambitions of a successful career in the highly competitive performing arts industry – he has been offered a place to study music at Goldsmiths College, West London University and Royal Holloway and is soon to meet voice tutor Stephen Taylor at Oxford University for a vocal consultation.
Paul Smyth, Disability Officer at the college, says, “I’ve been working closely with Michael over the last 18 months and have seen him develop both personally and in his studies. He is a charming, polite and hugely talented young man who I am sure will achieve his dream of becoming a professional musician, and who knows, maybe one day he will perform his own compositions in the Royal Albert Hall in London - which I know is one of his many musical ambitions!’
Find opportunities to study music at Richmond upon Thames College >>
After a really positive response from the Principal, the UAL Level 2 Art and Design group was given the go-ahead to paint a mural on the walls of the link corridor from the Art department towards the refectory.
The students went on a research trip to London to visit the White Cube and Victoria Miro galleries as well as Tate Modern. We looked at the London skyline and used drawing to distort it into abstract and colourful patterns. The live mural brief fitted perfectly into Unit 5 in which students have to solve a creative problem. The circular theme echoed the work of one the artists we looked at in London (Minjung Kim) and gave each student a unique section to work on.
Find opportunities to study art and design at Richmond upon Thames College >>
The mural has brightened up the corridor massively. When these buildings are knocked down to make way for the new college, sections of the mural will be kept as a record of the old building; just like the Berlin wall!