February celebrates LGBTQ History Month in the UK and to mark the occasion, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) organised a number of activities.
Over the whole month, RuTC staff and students participated in tutorials, getting to know more about LGBTQ history. In addition, the College’s Equality and Diversity Committee asked staff and students to contribute towards a collaboration of LGBTQ heroes online, adding historical, influential and inspirational figures from the LGBTQ community. Students and staff added over 50 of their heroes including singers David Bowie and Queen Latifah, current and former Olympic athletes Tom Daley and Caitlyn Jenner, actors Sir Ian McKellen and Laverne Cox as well as many others.
RuTC student K'ja said, "I loved the tutorial, it was really informative and taught me a lot about the past. It also made me think of things I had never thought of before and how I can try to enforce change. It started an important conversation that I think a lot of people need to have and talk about, especially young people." Emma, another RuTC student, commented on how this was the first time she has been educated about the terminology of the LGBTQ community having not been familiar with the terms queer and non-binary before the session.
Gordon Chin-Martin, Creative Media lecturer at RuTC, said, "Learners were especially engaged in the difference between labels and self-identity. It was a topic everyone had a view about and they could relate to it on a personal level as well as class-wide."
All icons of the LGBTQ Heroes wall will be consolidated to make one amazing resource which will be kept alongside the College’s new LGBTQ toolkit. This will include an LGBTQ UK history timeline, tutorial activities and slides, a glossary of terms associated with LGBTQ and a transgender guide for staff and students. The toolkit for staff and student is part of a bigger project for RuTC’s Equality and Diversity Committee, reinvigorating and revitalising the College’s commitment to promoting Equality and Diversity within the community.
Cait Orton, Safeguarding Team Leader at RuTC, said "The toolkit has important and helpful information for both staff and students designed to inform and educate about LGBTQ history, equality and inclusivity. I would recommend that everyone has a look at the timeline tool and watches the videos included in the toolkit to understand why LGBTQ History Month is still so important."
Marc Dodi, Head of Creative Industries and Chair of Equality and Diversity Committee at RuTC, said, "Since the welcome abolition of Section 28 in 2003, the development of raising LGBTQ awareness in schools and colleges has increased the confidence of staff and students in being open to dialogue about sexuality and gender identity. Conversations and discussions about LGBTQ history help educate and celebrate the achievements made by less recognised queer figures in society. I look forward to welcoming a day where bullying someone for their sexuality or gender identity is a thing of the past. This toolkit is just the start of several strategies at RuTC for stamping out hate and celebrating the diversity of our communities within it."
Have a look at the amazing LGBTQ Heroes our students and staff added:
From 8 to 14 February, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) celebrated the annual National Apprenticeship Week to highlight the amazing work done by apprentices and employers across the country and how they have stepped up to the challenge during these unprecedented times. This year’s theme, Build the Future, focused on how apprenticeships help individuals to build the knowledge and skills for their future career.
RuTC’s Apprenticeship Team started the week off by introducing themselves via video on the College’s social media channels, showing everyone how they can support individuals and companies in the recruitment process as well as throughout their apprenticeship. Apprenticeship lecturer and assessor, Rosalind Jenkins, also spoke about the benefits of doing an apprenticeship and the career opportunities that it gives.
Throughout the pandemic, RuTC offered apprentices support in every way possible. The College created a peer support network for furloughed apprentices to maintain morale and help them get back on track, a group of Engineering Apprentices was made redundant so the College proactively helped them to find alternative employment or secure a place at university. All the support was recognised by Ofsted during their Interim Visit in November 2020.
About the benefits of hiring an apprentice, Lisa Harris, Company Secretary at Russell Finex, said, “Hiring apprentices is advantageous not only to the apprentice but also to the employer. Russell Finex have hired marketing, finance and now an IT apprentice, and the recruitment process with Richmond upon Thames College has always been extremely efficient. An apprentice adds value to your team and brings with them fresh ideas.”
Amelia White, Digital Marketer Apprentice at The Marketing Society, said, “From start to finish, the apprenticeship recruitment process with Richmond upon Thames College ran so smoothly. The support that staff gave me during the process made me feel at ease and helped me with the confidence I needed to secure the role.”
For current Apprentices, the College’s Apprenticeship Team along with the Student Services Team, offered support and mental health and wellbeing sessions. In addition, Apprentices were offered the opportunity to use RuTC’s online CPD material, which included courses for communication skills, time management, wellbeing, mindfulness, stress awareness and many more. For external stakeholders who were interested in apprenticeships, the Apprenticeships Team hosted an information session giving information on the apprenticeships on offer at RuTC and tips on how to start one successfully, followed by an open Q&A session. The team will also be talking to prospective Apprentices at RuTC’s upcoming Virtual Open Events on 3 March, 20 March, 20 April and 22 June.
Anna Dobbin, Interim Apprenticeship Manager at RuTC, said, “The last year has been a challenging time for everyone and we have had to adapt to a different way of working and communicating with each other. Our Apprentices, trying to balance work life and college life will not have escaped this situation. It was important to us to maintain a strong professional relationship with our Apprentices and employers, ensuring they feel supported throughout this difficult time. Covid-19 did not stop us from celebrating and promoting Apprenticeships, so my thanks go to everyone who has made this year’s unique National Apprenticeship Week such a success! We look forward to continuing to work with our Apprentices and employers and welcome anyone exploring the option to get in touch with us.”
RuTC Alumna gives students insight into her career after college and work in Michelin Star RestaurantsMonday 15 February 2021
In the beginning of February, RuTC catering alumna Sherwin Mauro met virtually with the College’s current college catering students and staff to talk about her time at college and her career afterwards, including her experience of working in Michelin Star Restaurants.
Sherwin began studying Catering Level 1 at RuTC in 2014 and progressed to Level 2 and 3, before starting her career in 2016 and going straight into the industry. During her college years, she had the chance to work at a top French restaurant, Le Vacherin, in Chiswick which led to her being given the opportunity to also work at the BAFTAs.
Other employment included working at The Grill at the Dorchester, under French Michelin Star chef Alain Ducasse, and also Michelin star restaurant, The Glasshouse, in Kew, where Sherwin worked as chef de partie in charge of the pastries. At former Michelin Star fine dining restaurant Galvin at Windows, located on the top floor at Hilton Park Lane, Sherwin started work as commis, working her way up to kitchen manager.
In summer 2020, Sherwin started her own chocolate business RKSM Collection together with close friend and ex colleague Reece Kallah, who had worked in many of the best restaurants across London and America.
When talking to the Catering students, Sherwin answered students questions about job applications and interviews. She recommended to talk to the chef in any restaurant where they liked the food and would love to work. She said, "Tell them what your goals are, show them your skills and what experience you have. Even if you don’t have many employment yet, volunteer in kitchens and show them your passion."
Sherwin also outlined the most important aspects when working in the catering industry. The work involves many long hours and it can be intimidating in the beginning of your career, especially when entering a male dominated industry at the top level. However, Sherwin’s passion for cooking and the confidence she gained from her time and skills she learned at RuTC brought her to where she is today.
Looking back at her time at RuTC, Sherwin said, "One of my favourite moments at RuTC was when I was in my second year and our lecturers entered us for a competition in London. It was frightening but amazing to meet other chefs. We also went to another competition the following year, where I competed alongside my classmates and our lecturers."
She added, "I cannot express how grateful I am to Richmond upon Thames College and the support of all lecturers."
Former RuTC Student, Sherwin Mauro, and Head of Business & Service Industries, James Unwin
At the end of 2020, RuTC’s Level 3 UAL Dance students produced a collection of dance videos to replace their usual live performances. The College is proud of the end results, which have been published on YouTube in January.
The three dance productions showcase a variety of dance styles offered at the College, ranging from ballet, to contemporary, jazz and tap.
The production of “A Very Modern Ballet” sees first year Dance recreating “The Entrance of the Swans” from the ballet “Swan Lake”, and the second years performing in a more neoclassical style, making their very own RuTC TikTok dances. These pieces put together show the transition of ballet from a very niche art form, into a more accessible and current movement.
For the second production, students have created contemporary solos, duets and trios, exploring the themes of borders, refugees and immigration, inspired by the beautifully haunting ballet “Flight Pattern” by Crystal Pite. These short dance pieces have been choreographed to be site specific and in response to the interior structure of our new Richmond building. Students have sourced music that supports the themes they have explored.
The final production, a dance for camera piece titled “A Night at the Movies”, features famous musical songs such as “Singin’ in the Rain”, “Jump n’ Move” from the movie Happy Feet as well as “Another Day of Sun” from the Oscar winning movie La La Land. These pieces, performed using Jazz and Tap styles, are edited together to showcase the beauty of the musical silver screen past and present.
Head of Creative Industries, Marc Dodi states: “Performing Arts students have shown great flexibility, physically as well as mentally, and resilience during this tempestuous time. Creating, appreciating and performing dance performance through the eye of a camera lens is becoming an ever-growing skill that our learners have embraced with an open mind. Watching these performances during lockdown 3.0 have put a smile on my face and hope in my heart.”
Construction Specialist ISG inspires students showcasing STEM Centre development and careers within the industryTuesday 9 February 2021
On Thursday 4 February, construction specialist ISG presented the second phase of Richmond upon Thames College’s (RuTC) redevelopment to 50 of its students and highlighted the various careers available in the construction industry.
In March 2020, the majority of RuTC students moved into the iconic Richmond building on the existing Twickenham site which was phase one of the project. For this, ISG Project Director Richard White took home Silver in the Higher Education category in the Construction Manager of the Year Awards as recognition of successfully mastering “the Herculean challenge of this five-storey campus block”.
Phase two will see the construction of a brand new STEM Centre for Science, IT, Engineering and Construction students and is due for completion in Summer 2022. In order to give the STEM students details about their new learning environment, ISG hosted an informative virtual event which focussed on the construction of the STEM Centre and its final look. For this, videos and further AI methods were shown to the students, which are also used by the company to keep clients updated on the build. ISG highlighted how construction work has continued during the pandemic, showing the importance of virtual tours, technology and ISG’s very own health and safety app.
The presentation also showcased the partnership that exists between ISG and RuTC, highlighting the work placements opportunities offered previously. In addition, Catering students provided lunch to ISG staff and Supported Learning and Construction students have collaborated to install planters around the site. Karen Vigar, Education Engagement Manager at ISG, discussed the further opportunities available for current and future students, for example apprenticeships and work experience. Tania Jacobs, Senior Social Value Manager and a former RuTC student, highlighted how ISG’s social value is about legacy and long-term outcomes, such as training, employment and work experience with the strategy to engage the local community and she is looking forward to coming back and revisiting the site.
Richard White, Project Director at ISG, said, “Our partnership with Richmond upon Thames College extends far beyond the delivery of an outstanding new state-of-the-art campus, to encompass direct apprenticeships, job creation and learning opportunities for the students. Maximising social value benefits for the local community and Richmond Borough residents, ISG and RuTC are delivering something truly transformational, not just for the college, but the surrounding area.”
Sheila Fraser Whyte, Executive Director for Business Development and Innovation at RuTC, said, “This event with ISG was the first of many. Students and key stakeholders were given a great opportunity to have a look behind the scenes of their new STEM Centre, seeing every step from the start of the construction project to the finished building. I want to thank ISG for giving our students a virtual tour of their new learning environment and the opportunities and careers within the industry. There has never been a more important time to showcase a positive future for young people and the journey that we are on to create a building for their dreams and aspirations.”
Have a look below to explore the construction of our new STEM Centre.