Following on from the success of last year’s ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) dedicated 18 – 22 October to Colleges Week 2021 and highlighted the amazing work colleges do and why long-term investment is crucial if the government is to ‘level up’ all areas of the country.
This year’s Colleges Week was a chance to celebrate and shout about all the brilliant things that RuTC does. Building communities, boosting businesses, and supporting individuals. The focus of colleges week 2021 was ‘Get in, Go further.’ Showcasing all the great things that the college does, the courses it offers and the successes of its students.
The College showcased its new facilities, focussing on the new training restaurant, The View, which offers an amazing panorama across the London skyline, creating a unique learning environment for Catering and Hospitality students. The new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Centre, which is due to be completed in 2022 and will provide a state of the art environment for training in engineering and construction, science, forensic sciences, computing and robotics – to help train for the jobs of the future.
Events took place all week and Thursday we saw students and staff calling for dedicated support for colleges to act on climate change. With the government’s comprehensive spending review taking place imminently, Colleges Week is also a reminder to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak that funding colleges, training and skills is the catalyst for a stronger, fairer, and more resilient society.
Bringing the whole further education community together, the Week celebrated the impact of colleges on people, employers, and the economy. RuTC is a member of the AoC which wants to see colleges and funding for them prioritised nationally and locally to aid the recovery from the pandemic that will be vital to the future success of the country.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Colleges Week showcases exactly why further education holds the answers to some of the biggest issues facing all of us. Now more than ever we need highly skilled and well-educated workforces to deliver the economic recovery this government aspires to.
“Colleges Week this year is about celebrating the amazing work colleges do, educating 2.2 million people every year, including more than 600,000 16 to 18-year-olds. They hold the key to reducing skills gaps, combatting inequality, and providing better opportunities to disadvantaged communities. This week is about making our voices heard and campaigning with partners to make sure colleges continue to be a serious political, economic and social priority.”
In September, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) launched the ‘Veg to Fork Project’, which will transform the space at the front of the College’s new building into a working garden. The garden will be used by Supported Learning students who will learn to grow their own produce, which will be used in the department’s Apple Tree Café, serving lunch to staff and students.
Art and Design students were given the task of designing the garden space as part of a project to gain real life experience. The winning design was from Art and Design Level 3 student, Bruno Lo Giudice. Work to turn Bruno’s design into reality has already begun and is due to be completed by Summer 2022.
Not only will the garden provide a unique learning experience for students, but it will also attract an abundance of local wildlife and will provide a sanctuary for staff and students who will be able to enjoy the space.
Here you can see the winning design by Bruno Lo Giudice that will be implemented over the coming months:
Richmond upon Thames College confirms that on Tuesday 12 October 2021 there was a serious incident at Craneford Way Playing Fields in Twickenham which unfortunately resulted in the death of a young male who was a student at the College. The student has been named as 18 year old Hazrat Wali from Notting Hill.
Dr Jason Jones, Principal of Richmond upon Thames College said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family and friends at this difficult time. This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our students, parents, staff and local community.
Hazrat had a bright future ahead of him. His friends and staff at the College will remember him fondly as a bright and polite young man, well liked by staff and his close-knit group of friends. The College community is hurting but we will continue to do everything that we can to support our students, staff and families during this traumatic time.
We have implemented our College's Emergency Response Plan. This will provide assistance to our students as necessary and has evolved from Local Authorities’ experience with death in the past and the advice of mental health professionals from the community. We have deployed additional resources to the Student Services team who are providing support and counselling to students and staff on site.
Safety remains our number one priority and we will continue to do all we can to keep our students safe at college. To that end, we have enhanced security and surveillance at our entrances following yesterday’s incident and are continuing to work in full co-operation with the Metropolitan police, who are handling the matter”.
Chief Superintendent Elisabeth Chapple, commander for policing in south-west London, said, “Our thoughts are with the young victim and his family at this awful time. No young person should lose their life in London and we will do all we can to support our colleagues with their investigation. Local residents can expect to see an increased police presence in the area. If anyone has any concerns, or information that could help, I encourage them to contact those officers and tell us what they know.”
Inspector Jon McLoughlin, responsible for Neighbourhood policing in Richmond borough said, “I am very much aware of the community concern following this tragic incident. Officers have been out conducting high visibility foot patrols in the vicinity of Richmond upon Thames College. These patrols will continue for the rest of the week to provide reassurance to students and local community.
We are also working closely with the College, their security team and the council to ensure that students and the local community can feel safe at all times. Safer Schools Officers will further be providing support within the College for all students and staff who may have been affected by this incident.”
To celebrate and raise awareness for World Mental Health Day which fell on Sunday 10 October, our Supported Learning students put on a bake sale on Friday 8 October, raising an impressive £225 for mental health charity, Young Minds.
Students set up their stall in the college’s atrium for the day, selling a range of cakes and treats to sell to staff and students. The money raised will be sent to Young Minds.
Click here to find out more about our Supported Learning courses.
Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) is the proud winner of the ‘Best Training and Development Award’, which the College received at the 2020 Richmond Business Awards, held on Friday 24 September 2021 at Twickenham Stadium and hosted annually for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
RuTC won the award, which was sponsored by St Mary’s University, for their quick response to teaching and learning during the pandemic, by swiftly moving to a fully remote system at short notice. This required accelerated development of enhanced digital skills to use a range of solutions, including Microsoft Teams, to deliver lessons remotely with limited notice from the start of the first lockdown.
Subsequent and ongoing training was provided to ensure that teachers were able to meet the developing demands of the situation and maintain the continuity of the learning experience. This continuation of service enabled not only remote delivery of live lessons, but also enhanced delivery of blended learning, both synchronously and asynchronously.
Jason Jones, Principal of Richmond upon Thames College said: “We’re incredibly proud to win this award and it is testament to the hard work and commitment from our colleagues, who really did pull out all the stops to ensure that we were able to maintain a high-quality remote learning experience for all our students during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Our collective response to the challenges of the pandemic built on the ‘Classroom of the Future’ training programme that our Learning Technologies team were already leading in preparation for our move to our new state-of-the-art college building. Staff across the College responded brilliantly to the accelerated training and development programme that the COVID-19 situation necessitated. I’m extremely grateful to my colleagues for the ingenuity, skill and resilience they applied to redesigning curriculum delivery to ensure that the impact of the pandemic on our students’ learning experience was minimised. I’d like to thank Richmond Chamber of Commerce and all of our business and enterprise partners for their continuing support for the College and the diverse communities that we serve.”
Richmond upon Thames College was one of the main sponsors at the Business Awards and will be sponsoring the Awards again in 2022 - you can find out more here.
In September 2021, seven of Richmond upon Thames College’s Supported Learning students spent a day volunteering at the Dig Day organised by Age UK Richmond which took place at the charity’s allotments in Shacklegate Lane, Teddington.
Whilst on their course, students have the opportunity to volunteer with Age Concern as part of the weekly work experience element of their course. On this occasion, the students helped with preparing vegetable plots for mulching over the winter. Throughout their time within the Supported Learning department, students volunteer individually or as a group to carry out the work experience in community based organisations and the students will return to the allotments in spring to help with the planting.
Find out more about our Supported Learning courses by clicking here.
Take a look at some of the photos from the day: