Eastleigh College have hosted the final heat of the 2024 Major International Culinary Challenge, with eighteen medals received across the students competing.

It was a strong performance from all students, who were tasked with creating a uniquely inspired dish within a limited time frame, before presenting their dish to a trio of judges. Level 3 Hospitality and Catering Student Oscar won ‘best in class’ for his Pan-fried chicken breast, served with Hassleback potatoes, braised leeks and carrot puree. He will go on to compete in the grand final of the competition at the Excel Centre in London.

Oscar said: “It was a tough competition with a lot of skilled chefs. I’m chuffed to have been awarded best in class and it’s an amazing opportunity for me to get out there in London and network with chefs and employers across the industry.”

The Hospitality and Catering team at Eastleigh College commented: “We are very proud of all our students’ efforts today at the final heat of the Major Chef Culinary Challenge. Eighteen medals is an outstanding achievement and we wish Oscar the best of luck as he goes on to compete in the final later this Spring.”

Andy Mackenzie is an Executive Chef for the Exclusive Chef Academy and was one of the judges for the heat. He commented: “It was a fantastic and impressive display from our competitors today, there was such great imagination across the menus and it really shows that the future is very bright.”

Sky was the recipient of a gold medal in the heat. She said: “I’m very happy to have been awarded a gold medal, it shows that hard work pays off and has given me a real feeling of accomplishment.”

Major International’s annual Major Series is one of the longest-running young chef competitions in the UK and gives learners of varying skill levels the chance to learn new skills, gain valuable tips from industry professionals and experience the competition arena for the first time. Outstanding performers in each heat will progress to compete at the Excel International Convention Centre in London in front of a live audience. With many senior chefs in attendance, the event provides a prime opportunity for networking with industry professionals, with the competition historically often proving a gateway into more exclusive competitions and opportunities.

For any further queries please contact the College at business@shcg.ac.uk.

South Hampshire College Group has welcomed the news that the Solent region has been allocated a £2.5 million skills fund boost.

Other colleges and training providers benefiting from the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) include Brockenhurst College, HSDC, City of Portsmouth College, Isle of Wight College, Itchen Sixth Form College, Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, PETA, HTP Apprenticeship College, UTC Portsmouth, and Lighthouse Learning Trust.

The investment is strategically aimed at supporting colleges, universities, and independent training providers in offering more training opportunities in key industries. Importantly, it addresses the specific skills needs identified by local businesses and employers in their Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs). Hampshire Chamber of Commerce was tasked as the employer representative body to conduct the skills gap research for the region, to help identify where further investment would be needed.

To date, the initiative has seen £80 million worth of funding distributed nationwide between 2023 to 2024 (£40 million revenue and £40 million capital), with £85 million capital planned for 2024 to 2025. It forms part of a larger £200 million package of skills funding from the Department for Education (DfE).

Andrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group, said:

“The LSIF award is a recognition of the excellent joint efforts in our region, especially in supporting the development of the Solent LSIP.

“We are proud to have led the consortium that put together a strong funding bid, in response to the skills gap research undertaken by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. This targeted investment provides our region with the skilled workforce needed for growth and development and state-of-the-art industry facilities and equipment, ensuring education meets the changing needs of our local economy. We are eager to see the beneficial impact this will have on our students, local businesses and the wider community.”

The Solent region has pinpointed several key developmental sectors, including a focus on the creative industry. Efforts will be directed towards enhancing skills in production arts, set design and construction, stage management, and light and sound technician roles.

The initiative will also address the Maritime and Freeport sectors, concentrating on filling skill gaps in logistics, supply chain management, digital innovation, and the adoption of alternative fuels.

Additionally, the initiative involves considerable investment in research and development. It aims to improve higher-level progression pathways, expand outreach programmes, and implement activities that elevate employability and engagement.

Health and social care are also a priority, with a focus on addressing the shortage in health-related digital skills, immersive healthcare technology, assisted diagnostics, and specialist roles in anticipatory and critical care.

Ross McNally, CEO and Executive Chair of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, commented:

“We are delighted that the Solent region has been awarded this significant funding. It is of vital importance that we have a skills system in the region that meets the needs of both local employers and learners, which also supports the local economy with the closing of skills gaps.

“When it comes to skills, we have a lot to be proud of.  We have several leading educational and training providers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and sectors, such as our renowned maritime industry, that are thriving. However, that does not mean that there isn’t room for improvement, and this funding will mark a significant shift in how we approach and finance their needs.

“The collaboration between the Chambers of Commerce, educational institutions, and businesses is a great example of how working together can make a real difference and we would like to congratulate all involved for making this achievement possible.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

“This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately futureproofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.

“Our local skills projects will bring together regional organisations, businesses, and education providers to respond to the specific needs of employers, building an increasingly skilled workforce and growing local economies.

“Whether it is green skills, construction, engineering or digital, thousands more people can now gain the skills they need to secure good jobs closer to home. These are long-term plans that will ensure every area can have a brighter future.”

 

For more information on South Hampshire College Group, visit: www.shcg.ac.uk

To learn more about the Local Skills Improvement Plans in your region, visit: www.gov.uk 

 

We are pleased to have held our first Careers Fair of the 23/24 academic year.

Over 30 exhibitors joined us for this important juncture in the college calendar, representing a vast range of industries including engineering, childcare, maritime, logistics, higher education, aviation and many more! There was a high level of engagement throughout the day with over 600 students gathering in our Learner Hub to learn more about potential career pathways and the different roles available in different sectors.

Trudy McKenzie, Careers Lead at Eastleigh College, commented: “We are really grateful to those employers and universities who give up their time to come and showcase their industries and courses to our learners.  The aim of this event was to inform and inspire our learners about potential future options and careers within our locality. These events are always well-attended, confirming the great reputation our professional and technical qualifications hold.

“As a Careers Leader, I am passionate about allowing opportunities for learners to network and engage with organisations to help inform and build confidence in their knowledge.  This is just one event of many, where our learners will receive an array of labour market and careers information from professionals, to help them make informed choices for the future.”

Mita was one of our visiting employers, representing Richmond Motor Group. She commented: “It’s been great to chat to so many students and help them see what they can achieve in the motor industry. It’s a really good time to be part of the industry and there’s a lot of transferable skills that can help them both short-term and long into the future as well.”

Susan from Morgan Sindall was also at the Fair. She said: “Many students at first glance would associate certain companies with specific trades but this Careers Fair has given us the platform to help students understand the depth and breadth of career roles within our organisation.”

For more pictures of the day, please visit our social media pages.

For any further queries please contact the College at BeBetter@eastleigh.ac.uk.

First-year Event Management students at Eastleigh College have raised over £750 in a special coffee and cake fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Within a month of their course commencing, our students have hosted their first live event, featuring a raffle, courtyard games and a mix of homemade and store selected delicacies. All proceeds from the event have gone to Macmillan Cancer Support, with raffle prize donations from friends and families, and corporate donations from local retailers in the Hampshire community. Students were given two weeks to plan the event, a process that involved marketing, decorating, baking and assigning responsibilities to ensure the event ran to plan.  

Gemma Braybrook, Lecturer in Media, Marketing and Event Management, said: “The Macmillan Cancer Support coffee morning has become a regular fixture on the Events Management course and is an innovative first event for our students to take part in. This class all have brilliant people skills, which is important in this industry, and it is hard to believe they have only been on the course a few weeks. They have done an amazing job.”

Brooklyn was assigned the role of Head of Sales for the event. He commented: “There is so much behind the scenes work that has gone into this event and I think the skills involved are great practice for the real work environment. In this era of social media, it can be hard to communicate properly and the teamwork involved in events like this really helps to build strong communication skills which I believe is very important.”

Sumeya was the Project Manager for the event and said: “My job is to ensure all the stalls run smoothly and I am the first point of contact when somebody has any questions or concerns. I have only been active on this course for a short while but already I can see the impact that Event Management is having upon my growth as a person.”

For any further queries, please contact the College at BeBetter@eastleigh.ac.uk.

We are delighted to have held our annual Freshers’ Fayre, bringing together students from across college for an entertaining day of activities, competitions and free food.

Joining a new school or college can be a daunting experience, having to balance a brand new environment, new people and new information. Eastleigh College recognises this process can be a challenge and our Freshers’ Fayre has become an important staple of the academic year, bringing together new classmates over friendly team-building activities and light entertainment. Each year brings a new assortment of entertainment and this year was no exception, with a Football Ring, Silent Disco, Flight Simulator, Table Tennis and many more activities too! There was also lots of delicious food and drink available, with a candy floss machine, purpose-made Tiki bar and free pizzas courtesy of Papa Johns and Domino’s Pizza.

Gemma Fisher, Enrichment Coordinator at Eastleigh College, said: “The Freshers’ Fayre is a key event for welcoming our new student cohort and helping them to feel settled and relaxed in a new environment. We would like to give a huge thanks to all collaborators and employers who made the day such a success as well as all college staff who volunteered their time in helping the day run smoothly.”

Eastleigh College’s Freshers’ Fayre wouldn’t be possible without the range of external collaborators helping out, and we were delighted to have the support of Pink Frog Events, Daniella’s Ice Cream, FTY FLY, Solent Mind and No Limits. We also had live music provided by L & L Entertainment and beauty treatments provided by Hair Tinsel and Glitter tattoos. The final event of the day was our raffle, with students and staff winning a selection of excellent prizes.

Sian Spinney, Teacher and Learning Coach at Eastleigh College, said: “I was thrilled to win four tickets to Mighty Adventures Crazy Golf in Hedge End. I went when it first opened so am looking forward to visiting it again and spending a fun couple of hours with some of my family. I always buy tickets when the College holds a raffle because I know the money will be going towards a local charity.”

For more photos of Freshers’ Fayre, take a look at our social media coverage here.

For any further queries please contact the College at BeBetter@eastleigh.ac.uk.

The 2023-2024 academic year marks the launch of Eastleigh College’s first T Level course in Early Years.

T Levels were first launched nationwide in September 2020 and offer a dynamic new pathway of education post GCSEs, being equivalent in value to 3 A-levels. The structure of T Levels offers a greater emphasis on industry work placements, with a minimum of 315 hours work, while still maintaining the benefits of classroom learning to create a truly immersive learning experience.

The Eastleigh College Early Years T Level course provides a significant 750 hours of work experience over two years, with a vast window of opportunities through our partnerships with local nurseries, schools and Early Years providers. Upon successful completion of their T-Level, our Early Years learners will be equipped with the skills and confidence to embark on a wide range of career paths, from becoming nursery practitioners to pursuing further studies in education.

Natasha Curzi-Micallef, Head of Delivery for Early Years at Eastleigh College, commented: “The Early Years team is so proud to be pioneering this new mode of education at Eastleigh College and it’s wonderful to see how much the students are enjoying it. We encourage them all to embrace this unique opportunity, soak up the knowledge, and relish every moment of their educational journey, which will hopefully provide a transformative learning experience for all.”

Gracie is one of the students in our first Early Years cohort and gave her thoughts on the T Level structure: “I did a year at another college before coming here but struggled with how assignment-based it was. The course here is arranged in a simpler way that gives me much more opportunity to get work experience.”

Ruby is another student on our Early Years course and said: “I want to be a teacher in the future so plan to go to university after my studies at college. The T Level gives me so much more work experience, which will be really useful to have ahead of going to university.”

To learn more about T Levels please click here.

For any further queries please contact the College at BeBetter@eastleigh.ac.uk.

It’s International Literacy Day and Eastleigh College has launched a new initiative to promote reading and literary discussion.

Both students and staff are invited to join Eastleigh College’s new ‘I am reading …’ scheme, with a dedicated Google Classroom page having been established. This new forum will give everyone the opportunity to share the book they are currently reading, what the book is about and who would enjoy reading it. This discussion is open to any type of book, whether fiction or non-fiction, on any subject matter.

Students are also encouraged to utilise our library service in the Learner Hub, with over 5000 books to choose from, and new books added on a regular basis.

Charlotte Drury, English Team Coordinator at Eastleigh College, commented: “As English teachers at Eastleigh College we have noticed a decline in our students reading for fun. The skill of reading is essential in life as it helps with the basics of spelling, punctuation and grammar and can also inspire new ideas and ways of thinking. As a team we hope that this initiative will encourage students to realise that there isn’t one type of reader or a right or wrong book to read.”

First launched in 1967, International Literacy Day has become a global celebration of the power of language and the written word. It also serves as a reminder that literacy is fundamentally important to growth and development, while being an intrinsic aspect of basic human rights. This remains particularly significant in 2023, post-COVID-19, with literary engagement, opportunities and funding budgets across the world facing new disruptions and challenges.

According to data from UNESCO, at least one in seven people worldwide above the age of 15 still lacked basic literary skills in 2020 – a figure totalling well over 700 million. 244 million children between 6-18 weren’t enrolled in a school in 2021 while gender learning gaps remain ever present, with women representing over 60% of illiterate individuals worldwide since 2000 – a figure unchanged in 2020.

A code to join the new Eastleigh College Google Classroom can be found signposted in the Learner Hub, or by emailing us here.

For any further queries, please contact us at BeBetter@eastleigh.ac.uk.


Learners across Eastleigh College have been discovering their GCSE results this year, with many success stories realised as results day has unfolded.

GCSE results day is one of the marquee events on the education calendar, the culmination of years of hard work, revision and learning. GCSE qualifications are the foundation for many careers, and a gateway to many further education and higher education opportunities. They also equip individuals with a range of essential life skills that stretch beyond the realms of education. Upon receiving their results today, a number of learners have shared their reactions with us.

Lydia Ncube has been out of education for many years, having originally studied in Zimbabwe, and has successfully passed both her English and maths GCSEs upon her first attempt! She commented: “I’ve realised how important education is to life choices and quality of life. I was so happy to have passed and especially with the grade boundaries more challenging this year! My dream is to have a career in nursing and thanks to these grades I can now study an Access to Nursing course. Thank you to all at Eastleigh College for making this dream possible!”

Some of our learners’ results today have been many years in the making. James Laithwaite successfully passed his maths GCSE after four attempts, and faced multiple comments over the years saying he wouldn’t pass in light of learning difficulties. Such comments have been a driving factor in his perseverance, and he said: “I’m very happy that I’ve passed my maths GCSE, which I have desired for such a long time and now it’s finally come true! I’m so glad that Eastleigh College gave me the opportunity to try again”.

Asmaa Kasem Ali is Syrian and has moved around frequently, having arrived in the UK last year after five years in Germany. Learning and retaining all these different languages has proved an additional challenge on top of managing her GCSEs. In spite of this, she has successfully obtained a Grade 4 in her maths GCSE, an achievement that opens up many doors for her next steps. Asmaa commented: “I enjoyed maths and am relieved to have passed. I don’t have much experience with English which made some of the questions difficult, but I studied hard and particularly enjoyed Geometry. I would like to teach in the future and plan to take an ESOL course next at Eastleigh College.”

For anyone who didn’t get the grades they were expecting, there are a variety of options available that can align with your career plans. For support and guidance, please contact our friendly team at Welcome@eastleigh.ac.uk.

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