I hope that you had a wonderful Easter break and I want to take the opportunity to welcome our whole College community back to some semblance of "normality". Our students and staff have gone above and beyond with numerous lockdowns, remote education and many of our students they are on their final journey with the college, looking to progress into Higher Education, Apprenticeships or employment.
I would like to update you about some recent developments at the College, including the proposed merger with Harrow and Uxbridge College (HCUC), the onsite lateral flow testing which we have implemented, our curriculum and extracurricular activities and more.
Public consultation went live on Thursday 25 March 2021 and will be closing for comments on Monday 3 May 2021. This is an exciting time for Richmond upon Thames College as the merger with HCUC is ambitious and unique. We know that we will be "better together, stronger together". The merger allows us to maximise opportunities, resources and talent to help build futures and achieve ambitions for our students and local communities.
In this post-Covid world, we will see further education colleges playing an even greater role in supporting economic regeneration and workforce reskilling. We will continue to work with all employers and College stakeholders during these changing times to ensure that we meet the career aspirations of all our learners. The merged College will be an organisation that has the resilience, resources, and expertise to more than play its part in meeting the challenge of rebuilding the London economy.
Lateral Flow Testing
In January, the College received a delivery of lateral flow device test kits and equipment. We have set up a testing area onsite to help identify asymptomatic cases which otherwise might not be detected. Staff, students and contractors have been tested in line with guidance. Over 5300 staff and students had their first lateral flow test in College and between 1 March and 25 March, almost 2000 home test kits have been issued. We are pleased to say that, to date, we have recorded no positive tests.
There has been a number of exciting opportunities for our students during lockdown.
Our Catering team hosted several virtual sessions for their students in February, these included an RuTC alumna who worked in several Michelin Star restaurants and started her own chocolate business in the past year. She spoke to our learners giving them advice and guidance on next steps and how to be resilient during this time. The Head Chef at BAFTA, Anton Manganaro, gave an insight into his career and business during the lockdown, in addition to some great advice and tips on how to get work experience opportunities.
Our Law A Level students had two weeks virtual work experience - a unique opportunity that included barrister Q&As and a Supreme Court virtual tour.
ISG hosted a virtual event giving current and prospective learners information on how our new STEM Centre will be constructed. Time was spent highlighting jobs and career pathways within the construction industry which included the biblical trades, project management and IT developments.
We are also proud to have announced the College's partnership with the University of Roehampton. This partnership will develop new routes to higher education for RuTC students, with an initial focus on performing and creative arts.
Throughout the academic year the College partnered with Circl, who matched fifteen RuTC students with fifteen managers of local dog food company Tails.com. In January, the students graduated, gaining a Professional Leadership Qualification, mentoring and coaching experience. The virtual graduation was a celebration of what was achieved through the partnership.
For LGBTQ History Month in February, College staff and students participated in tutorials and the College’s Equality and Diversity Committee asked everyone to contribute towards a collaboration of LGBTQ heroes online. All information will be added to a toolkit which is just the beginning of several strategies at RuTC to celebrate our diverse community.
We also celebrated International Women's Day on 8 March, where students could hear from RuTC alumni about how women have become successful in what are often perceived to be male dominated industries.
On World Book Day, 4 March, the College announced its newly launched Book Club, which many students have already signed up for. The first book is "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer, to coincide with Autism Awareness Month in April.
On Wednesday 3 and Saturday 20 March, the College hosted Virtual Open Events with almost a thousand registered prospective students and their parents "attending" over the two events. Attendees' feedback was positive, stating that the information was helpful for them to decide about their next steps.
We have two more Virtual Open Events coming up before the summer:
- Tuesday 20 April 2021, 5pm-7pm
- Tuesday 22 June 2021, 5pm-7pm
I wish you and your families well as the restrictions have begun to ease. I hope you have managed to spend some time together and I know we all look forward to brighter days ahead. If the opportunity arises maybe I will be able to welcome you onto the College campus soon.
Successful Civil Service training course students start roles as Work Coaches with Department for Work and PensionsThursday 1 April 2021
Gabriella De Angelis, together with her new manager
At the end of 2020, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) launched a brand new Pre-Employment programme together with the Job Centre Plus (JCP).
The ten day course gives students an insight into working for the Government, carefully preparing and directing them through the Civil Service’s specific application process. The programme is nationally accredited and 100% free with one to one expert support throughout. After completion, students achieve a Level 1 Personal Development/Customer Service qualification.
Many students who completed the course have already gained interview opportunities and employment, both in the Civil Service as well as other employers. One of the students who completed the course and started her job with the Civil Service is Gabriella De Angelis. In March, she started her role in Kingston as Work Coach for the Department of Work and Pensions.
Before completing the course at RuTC, Gabriella studied Modern Chinese and Management Studies at university and worked in various management roles across a variety of industries. The course was offered to her through Universal Credit. Gabriella said, “I saw the ten day programme as a perfect opportunity to learn about and hopefully gain new skills in a very new industry, the Civil Service. Especially facing lockdown, I was excited to be in college, have training and broaden my contact network. At the time of training it was not my immediate intention to apply for the Civil Service, as until then I had no idea what this really involved, but I was curious and open-minded. I was quite astounded by how many different sectors and roles there are in the Civil Service.”
About the content of the programme, Gabriella said, “It was intensive and invaluable for the preparation and understanding of the Civil Service application process. In small groups, we worked through different topics and practised tests, no day was ever the same. In addition to very competent internal trainers from RuTC, we also had the pleasure to have external trainers, including a Work Coach Manager from the Department for Work and Pensions, who came to the College for a lively discussion. We were taught the very methodical process of how to apply for a Civil Service position, we learned how to read the job descriptions correctly and brushed up our English and Maths. I would definitely recommend the course to anyone at any age who wants to learn about and potentially gain entry into the Civil Service.”