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Pictured: Bloxx (L-R) Former Uxbridge College students Fee Booth and Taz Sidhu, with fellow band members Joe Kinton and Paul Raubišķis.
Indie band Bloxx - which features two former Uxbridge College music students - have filmed their latest video in their old stomping ground of the Hayes campus.
Seven current performing arts students also took up roles as extras in the video for the Chess Club Records release ‘Everything I Ever Learned’, which went out on 24 March.
Fee Booth and Taz Sidhu, who met whilst studying at college from 2014-16 on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music, spent the day filming with fellow band members Paul Raubišķis and Joe Kinton.
Vocalist and songwriter Fee, who still lives locally in Cowley, said: “The band wouldn’t be a band if it wasn’t for this college. So much happened here to make our careers. It’s brilliant to be back, and coming back here is to be feeling that gratitude. I loved it at college. Being here adds a bit of sentiment to the song, which is about tough lessons in life.”
The former pupil of Cardinal Wiseman School in Ealing added: “I failed my AS-Levels at school and then I begged my mum to let me come here. If I hadn’t come here I would never have done music. I learned everything about music and Logic at college. And I learned that I can sit in my bedroom and write songs.”
Video filming by Head & Wrecker production mainly took place in the traditional-style classrooms of the Townfield wing of the Hayes site, with hair and make-up in the Praxis studios - Praxis being the name given to Uxbridge College’s School of Performing Arts.
Northolt-based Taz, who studied at Dormers Wells, said that as well as technical skills he also: “...learned to play with a band here. As a musician you learn to play by yourself, but then you have to learn how to play with other people.”
He also talked about the importance of following your dream: “People give you all sorts of advice and you can listen to it. But if we had taken that advice we wouldn’t be here today - we are living the dream. None of us would be sitting here today if we didn’t have that feeling of wanting to do it.”
The pair from Bloxx, whose debut album Lie Out Loud was released in August 2020, also took a trip down memory lane recalling hangouts including the seats outside Uxbridge Tesco’s, Fassnidge Park skate park, the Crown & Treaty pub where they played their first show, and getting interviewed by Hayes FM radio. Fee and Paul also both worked in Uxbridge’s Wetherspoons pub The Good Yarn - which was where they met - and Fee was a retail assistant in Next in Hayes on the Lombardy Retail Park.
Speaking of her time at Uxbridge College, Fee also said: “It scares me for a minute sometimes - if I hadn’t have come here, I might still be working in Wetherspoons.”
Ray Griffin, Section Manager in Performing Arts, who taught the band members, said: “Fee and Taz have done us proud! They were both such hard workers at College and have shown how successful you can be with drive and commitment! The music industry is a difficult business to negotiate, but as well as their natural talent, they’ve worked with great people and made the best of their breaks. It is heartwarming and inspiring to know that they sprung from our little studios in Hayes and are moving on to greater things and we wish them all the best.”
London’s top College provider of Apprenticeships celebrated a highly successful series of virtual activities for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.
The events organised by Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC) included virtual presentation sessions from a range of high profile apprentice employers, careers advice by video link and text, a virtual apprenticeship fair, and an open evening. There was also a virtual presentation delivered at Brunel University London.
The week was also complemented by two recent Highly Commended awards for HCUC Apprentices at the prestigious West London Business Awards, held separately the previous week by the regional business development organisation.
Employers and business organisations taking part in HCUC’s virtual apprenticeship week included:
* Menzies Aviation
* Shaw Trust (a charity which helps disabled and disadvantaged people into employment and independent living)
* Willmott Dixon
* Higgins Partnerships
* Harrow Council: Victoria Isaacs - talking about how the council had benefitted from HCUC apprentices, and about apprentice funding and Levy pot sharing
* Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce: Sarah Irving - Brexit / Covid survival tips
* West London Business: Andrew Dakers - West London economy and, build and recovery plans
The event also explored how in the Covid era apprenticeships were a good option for school leavers as they are just as safe as staying at school.
HCUC Apprentices have also secured yet another round of successes in the annual West London Business Awards. For the seventh consecutive year, two Apprentices completing their training under HCUC Apprenticeships and Skills - the employer training arm of the college group - have scooped awards at the prestigious event.
Two Advanced Apprentices, Sally Sturgess, a Business Administration Apprentice at Anand Financial Architecture in Uxbridge, and Michael Westwood, a Mechatronics Maintenance Apprentice at Reach Printing Services in Watford, received Highly Commended Awards - both are based at Uxbridge College for their on-site and remote learning.
The awards, which this year were presented in a virtual ceremony in place of the customary black tie gala dinner, were announced in advance of National Apprenticeship week.
Sally Sturgess (20), stood out for delivering beyond expectations in a wide range of areas in the complicated area of financial services. She also embraced additional learning opportunities such as participating in webinars, made many creative improvements for the company, and revamped the company’s quarterly report into what her employers describe as now being a ‘world class document’. She aims to gain the Financial Services Professional Qualifications, R01-6, to progress further in her career.
Michael Westwood (37), is a father of four who did not progress far in his younger days at school but has excelled as an apprentice at the Reach Watford site - one of the largest and most mechanised print sites in the country, which prints newspapers, magazines and other materials including the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, major regional and trade publications, and marketing collateral for organisations including Tesco and Argos.
His work includes looking after the noisy, dirty storage and pump area which supplies ink to the presses, known as the ‘ink farm’. He is well known for his flexible attitude and willingness to go the extra mile at work, and at college, as an older student, he supports many of his fellow students.
Harpal Lehal, Head of Apprenticeships and Skills at HCUC, the Employer Services arm of the college, said: “National Apprenticeship Week at HCUC this year has been a real success despite how challenging it can be trying to make virtual events as engaging as real ones. But all our speakers did a fantastic job and we were extremely pleased with attendance levels by parents and students. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the employers who took part.
“I would like to congratulate Sally and Michael, and their employers Anand Financial Architecture and Reach Printing Services, and to thank West London Business for hosting these wonderful awards for the eighth year.
“As the largest college provider of Apprenticeships in London, with over 400 apprentices across 28 sectors, HCUC is proud to help shape so many students into star Apprentices, and our year-on-year wins in the WLB awards are testament to how successful our partnerships with employers across a broad range of sectors are. We are also pleased to have sponsored the ‘Resilient SME Innovator of the Year’ category of this year’s Awards.”
* For more information about Apprenticeships at HCUC go to https://apprenticeships.hcuc.ac.uk/
West London Institute of Technology (WLIoT) marked its first Anniversary with a Virtual Celebration event.
This event showcased and celebrated what WLIoT has achieved in its first year and beyond, including sharing plans for the future.
WLIoT is one of just 12 Institutes of Technology licenced by the UK Government to provide employer-led higher technical education and training at Levels 4 and 5 (equivalent to up to the first two years of an undergraduate degree). The IoT, which was supported with £8.6m Government funding, offers courses in Digital, Engineering and Construction subjects.
Highlights of the event included:
* Presentations from:
Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip and Prime Minister.
Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills.
Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, GLA.
Steve Cochran, Vice Chair for HCUC.
Dr Darrell DeSouza, Group Principal and CEO for HCUC; and Pat Carvalho, Deputy CEO of HCUC and the development lead on WLIoT.
* A Virtual Tour of the remodelled workshops, learning and breakout spaces.
* First Year Highlights: Led by WLIoT Anchor Partners Brunel University London, Fujitsu, Heathrow and West London Business.
* Student Awards: Announcing winners for employer-set mini-projects 2020 - Heathrow, MTC (Material Technology Centre) Ltd and Palo Alto Networks. Brunel University London PhD students were also involved in the supervision of mini projects.
Around 100 guests including employers, students and staff, and other stakeholders and supporters, attended the event.
Boris Johnson said: “Higher technical qualifications are more important than ever, with the impact of Covid 19 affecting individual jobs and businesses. I know West London IoT will continue to inspire individuals from all ages, genders and backgrounds to consider the opportunities and benefits of taking their studies higher."
Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, said: “Congratulations to West London Institute of Technology for all that it has achieved in its first year. I know this will be the first of many years of success, helping students and employers get access to the high level skills they need to succeed.
“Institutes of Technology are the pinnacle of higher technical STEM education and training in many key sectors including digital, construction and engineering. By bringing together FE colleges and universities with employers, IoTs are uniquely placed to unlock home-grown talent, ensure learners are equipped with the skills of tomorrow, and play a key role in helping to rebuild the economy after the pandemic.”
Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said: “The role of technical education is more important now than ever. IoTs delivering this will be key platforms to take the agenda forward, by enabling employers and higher education partners to be truly at the heart of shaping what FE can do for our local communities.”
Julia Buckingham CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President Brunel University London said: "I am delighted that Brunel is a partner in the West London Institute of Technology, working with HCUC and others to support our local community and the neighbouring areas. Our joint goal of enabling both young people, and those with experience of the workplace, develop engineering and technology skills will play a critical part in enabling economic and social recovery locally and nationally as we emerge from the pandemic."
Dr Darrell DeSouza, Group Principal and CEO of HCUC, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating a solid start to this exciting new facility at HCUC in the shape of West London Institute of Technology, and to have the support of our local MP Boris Johnson for this event as well as Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, and Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills at the GLA. Our first anniversary celebration is another great opportunity to find out more about the higher level opportunities in technical training on offer to students across west London and to have a look at our wonderful new learning areas, albeit virtually.”
The celebration event came just days after publication of the Further Education Skills for Jobs White Paper, which outlines Government proposals to support people to develop the skills they need to get good jobs. The White Paper includes a range of measures already underpinned by the Institute of Technology agenda and WLIoT, with programme design being employer led to ensure the development of the right blend of work-ready and higher level technical skills, supported by outstanding teaching.
WLIoT, which was launched in September 2019, is led by the merged college group HCUC (Harrow College Uxbridge College) and run in collaboration with its anchor partners. Subject to Covid restrictions, on-site delivery is focussed in its remodelled workshops and learning space on Uxbridge College’s Park Road site in Uxbridge, with courses also being delivered in established professional skills workshops and classrooms on the campus. Courses are also run at Uxbridge College’s Hayes campus and at Harrow College, and will also be taught at Brunel University London campus from next year.
IoTs are aimed at tackling the skill gaps within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) sector, and boosting opportunities for students, trainees and Apprentices to achieve the higher technical qualifications and industry skills demanded by employers.
For more information and to view post-event footage, please click here.
For more about the FE White Paper, please visit: Skills for jobs: lifelong learning for opportunity and growth - GOV.UK