I hope that you are well and starting to look forward to the summer. The restrictions that we have all been living with in our lives, although recently eased, have not made it the easiest time at our college. The uncertainties of the past year have placed real pressure on students and staff alike. Nevertheless, I have come to understand that students and staff have tremendous resilience and capacity during these times. I would personally like to thank all College staff particularly, on behalf of the Board, for their dedication, professionalism and commitment to their students across the last year. Whilst you can never fully anticipate what might lie ahead, I do feel that the worst has now passed, and that we can look forward confidently to a new academic year in September. On behalf of the Governing body, I congratulate all of our students for their hard work and their achievements this year and I thank everyone involved with this amazing College for their support and commitment.
I would also like to take this opportunity to update you about some recent developments at the College, including our proposed merger with Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC), student achievements and the range of college events which are planned or have taken place.
Delay to completion of merger between HCUC (Harrow College & Uxbridge College) with Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC)
Last week, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) took the decision to delay the completion of the merger between HCUC (Harrow College & Uxbridge College) and RuTC.
As you may be aware from previous newsletters, the original merger date had been planned for 30 July 2021 and both colleges had been eagerly working together towards this date with excellent progress made to this point. However, late last month Local Authority planning issues arose that have an impact on the College and merger in a number of ways, including the second phase of our development project – the STEM Centre. They present an unresolved financial risk, at this time, to both HCUC and RuTC and both Colleges believe it unlikely that a resolution would be reached by the merger date.
We are committed to working closely with all parties involved to resolve the planning issues as quickly as possible. RuTC and HCUC remain committed to the merger and it is the intention that merger will go ahead with only a relatively brief delay until the issues are resolved. We believe that we remain ‘Better together- Stronger together’ – a partnership recognised for providing inclusive education and training of the highest quality for our students and local communities. Whilst I regret this recent delay, I am confident that we will be able to swiftly work through the issues towards a new merger date.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our students on some amazing achievements that they have made during this difficult year.
Jack Petchey Awards
The Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme recognises the positive contributions, efforts and endeavors of young people aged 11-25 across London and Essex. These achievements include being a great role model, volunteering, overcoming personal challenges and supporting others over and above expectations.
So well done to Aryan Dugar, Georgia Lewitt, Sadiqah Tarafdar and David Edmunds, who won Jack Petchey Awards. Aryan was recognised for his hard work and commitment on his Level 2 Networking and Cybersecurity course. Georgia for her contributions and commitment to her Dance course. In the Level 3 Childcare and Education group, Sadiqah won her award in recognition of her contributions to the course.
Finally, David was chosen as the winner for his contributions to the Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science class.
Former RuTC Student Wins BAFTA TV Award
We were delighted to hear that Malachi Kirby, a former Performing Arts student of RuTC, won a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Small Axe shown on BBC1 and Amazon Prime at the end of 2020. Malachi played the role of Darcus Howe in Mangrove, the first installment of films from the Small Axe series. Mangrove is based on the true story of the Mangrove Nine, a group of black activists who had clashed with police during a protest march in Notting Hill in 1970.
RuTC Student Achieves Distinction in Accounting Diploma
Congratulations to Carly Baker who recently received a distinction grade for the AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting Level 4 exam. The AAT Accounting Professional Diploma Level 4 is the advanced level of the AAT accounting qualifications and – nationally - only approximately 2% of students receive a distinction. What is even more impressive is that with the COVID restrictions most of Carly’s studying had to be done from home, along with balancing work and family life. To be awarded a distinction is an amazing accomplishment.
Catering Salon Culinaire Competition
At this year’s prestigious Salon Culinaire competition RuTC patisserie student, Laura Dicken, produced a chocolate treat in the Birthday Cake category and won a Silver Award. Well done Laura for such a wonderful internationally recognised achievement.
Salon Culinaire, renamed to Salon Virtual for this year, is an internationally renowned catering competition, with chefs, professionals, and students from all over the world.
Employability and Life Skills Week
A successful week-long Employability and Life Skills event took place in June, with several informative talks and workshops being held for students.
The purpose of the event was to give students an opportunity to explore the wider context of employability and to gain some insight or skills that will support them when they leave us and progress in their careers. Due to COVID-19 restrictions that were in place, the event was held remotely, and each session had from 90 to 170 students attending.
Throughout the week, students benefited from workshops to help them find employment, personal development, CV Writing and Interview preparation. There were also several events for personal wellbeing which included workshops on motivation, self-esteem, resilience, managing stress and pressure, and practising mindfulness.
ISG Host Work Experience Week
An informative Work Experience Week, hosted by ISG, was held in June for 50 Construction and the Built Environment and Electrical and Mechanical Engineering students The week involved talks, group discussions, activities, and Q&A sessions. ISG's Operations Director, Wayne Burfield, Education Engagement Manager, Karen Vigar, Senior Project Manager, Richard Slade, Senior Social Value Manager, Tania (TJ) Jacobs and Early Careers Talent Partner, Claire Davis, were in attendance to provide valuable information for the students. In addition, students were given the opportunity to use VR technology and see our STEM building plans.
Launch Night of Oxy[re]generation Art & Design Exhibition
Access to Higher Education Art and Design RuTC students launched their Oxy(re)generation exhibition and this will run until 25th July at The Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham.
The exhibition features the work of 13 artists from the course and invites audiences to learn more about the climate crisis, biodiversity and how we can fix our relationship with nature.
Art Exhibition and Prize Ceremony
On the 30th June, second year Level 3 year Art students will be hosting their end of year exhibition at The Richmond building exhibition area on the fourth floor.
A prize giving ceremony will take place for the first year Level 3 Art students who have competed in the following competitions:
- The Turner House Art competition – prizes to be presented by members of the Turner House.
- The Supported Learning Garden design competition
- The View Restaurant Logo design competition
Many of the art students are progressing to prestigious Art Schools, and this exhibition presents an excellent opportunity to celebrate their work and to see our artists of the future.
Virtual Open Events
As part of ensuring that prospective students are not disadvantaged and have the opportunity of asking questions or Curriculum staff, there have been seven successful virtual open events which have taken place from 5pm -7pm in the evening and from 11am -1pm on two Saturdays during 2020/21.
Curriculum teams presented virtually to prospective students and parents/carers and were available to answer any questions. Feedback from attendees has indicated that they enjoy the virtual events and were able to access relevant information about Richmond upon Thames College and the courses it offers and are looking forward to coming to the college in September 2021.
The last few months have been an extraordinary time for everyone. Although perhaps many people will not be having the summer break, they might have hoped for on account of continued restrictions I would nevertheless like to wish you all a happy and healthy summer and I look forward to the beginning of the new academic year in September.