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News & Press

IMG 5144Uxbridge College may have the doors to its buildings closed, but it is undoubtedly open for business as usual with a host of innovative adaptations, like schools, colleges, businesses and other organisations around the country and globally.

Students are attending virtual classes whilst completing real assignments and looking to their real futures, as staff continue to run classes remotely, keep the IT systems standing and provide advice and guidance on options going forward.

Students and staff have also joined efforts around the country to support others during the crisis, including Uxbridge College Hairdressing student, Harvinder, who doubles up as a neighbourhood champion. As well as keeping up to date with her classes and studies from home, she has been out to purchase essentials, collect medication and drop them off to elderly and vulnerable neighbours.

Uxbridge College has capitalised on its excellent relationships between staff and students, high standards, and already-outstanding online learning systems, to make the transfer from college buildings to home as fast and smooth as possible in these unprecedented times.

Dr Darrell DeSouza Group Principal and CEO of the merged college group HCUC said: “Uxbridge College and Harrow College may have gone almost entirely online but we are still absolutely open for business. There are so many heart-warming and successful stories and there has been a fantastic effort on the part of both staff and students - it is a tribute to the fundamental quality of our staff, our relationships with students, and our systems that we have managed this transfer to home working in this way. I have no doubt that this would not have been possible so quickly, or worked so well, without the highly effective systems which now operate on behalf of both Uxbridge College and Harrow College through HCUC.

“At the same time we are also continuing to plan for the future with applications for next year’s courses ongoing, both for current students, and for school students who will be finishing Year 11 and planning to come to College to study one of our courses.

“Whilst there is naturally tremendous anxiety for many about what their future in education holds, our message is clear: we can help! Anyone who wants more information about future courses should just get in touch.”

Lecturers are running a 10am online registration so they are ready and waiting to meet their students and start their virtual classes. Learning Resource Centres have increased their emphasis on Ebooks, remote study skills and online resources, and lecturers across the college are coming up with all sorts of innovative ways to teach and support their students. Examples include:

* Plumbing lecturer Dan Richards made and posted a video on the moodle online learning platform showing how to bend a crossover copper pipe

* Beauty Therapy students have been given a daily online positivity tracker to help them stay upbeat despite current events, and working on face painting skills at home

* Foundation Learning students were given an online tutorial on how to make pizza - then posted pictures of their cookery successes

* Engineering students learned skills through their lecture sharing drawings and diagrams.

Staff are using email, moodle and google, and increasingly Zoom video calling, and phone, chat and video calls on Microsoft Teams. The first live Zoom all-staff meeting for HCUC involved nearly 500 staff by videolink with 100 on chat. Those who couldn’t attend were mainly in (online) training or other online meetings. The meeting was led jointly by: Dr DeSouza; Pat Carvalho, Principal of Harrow College and Deputy CEO of HCUC; and Dylan McTaggart, Deputy Principal Curriculum & Quality for HCUC.

The standard 9am-5.15pm day is also in full operation to ensure both a high level of communication and to ensure staff down tools at the end of the day to ensure commitment to physical and mental health.

Uxbridge College’s Uxbridge Campus is still open for key workers’ children whilst Hayes is currently closed.

Uxbridge College and Harrow College continue to serve employers and students in their local communities as well as benefiting from being part of HCUC college group.

DSC 0645053Good Deeds Day 2020 proved another annual success thanks to a great range of free activities run by volunteers from Brunel University London and Uxbridge College, and the support of organisations from across Hillingdon.

The annual day of mass volunteering, which has been a local fixture since 2013 in and around Uxbridge centre, included bag packing, free henna painting and manicures, craft workshops, performances and yoga classes. Students ran stalls in The Pavilions, and other activities took place in Uxbridge Library, intu Uxbridge and at other borough venues.

The event was opened by the Mayor of Hillingdon Councillor David Yarrow and Mayoress Mary O'Connor MBE, and raised a total of £227.50 for the Mayor’s charities - Hillingdon Autistic Care and Support, and Hillingdon Brain Tumour and Injury Support Charity. Professor William Leahy, Vice-Provost (Students, Staff and Civic Engagement) at Brunel University London also came along to support the event, and William Byrd School Choir gave an opening performance.

Professor Leahy commented: “Good Deeds Day 2020 was the seventh successful year of Brunel’s continuing community outreach. Working in collaboration with Uxbridge College students, Brunel students volunteered for a variety of activities that brought smiles to the shoppers in Uxbridge Pavilions. We’re really pleased to be working in partnership with the Pavilions, Uxbridge BID, intu, Uxbridge Library as well as retailers, and so many local charities in community engagement that also raises funds for the Mayor of Hillingdon’s Charitable Trust.

Nancy Rawlings, Brunel Volunteers and PDC Job Shop Manager said: “Good Deeds Day is an extremely important event in the Brunel Volunteers calendar. It was inspiring and uplifting to see so many students taking part and donating their time. Staff and students at Brunel volunteer on a regular basis within the local community giving thousands of hours to help support others. Good Deeds Day is a visual example of the positive impact that volunteering can have.

Sharon McCann, Senior Student Support Officer at Uxbridge College, said: “This year’s Good Deeds Day was another fantastic event and a great opportunity for Uxbridge College students to both give and receive in their local community. It’s always extremely worthwhile to be able to work in partnership with Brunel University London, and we’re really pleased to have been involved in this successful day of mass volunteering yet again.”

As well as the opening performance by William Byrd students, K-pop (Korean pop) dancers and singers from Brunel, and Uxbridge College dancers provided entertainment. Also taking part in the event were: St Margaret’s Church, offering lunches; Christchurch; Hillingdon Foodbank; Wilko, M&S and Tesco, who provided opportunities for bag packing; Brunel Gym with the Row Britannia Challenge; Uxbridge Library for digital drop-in - help with phones, computers and other technology, and Tovertafel - an activity for people with dementia; Thames Valley Hospice charity shop; Shopmobility; West Drayton & Yiewsley Community Centre, and DASH (Disablement Association Hillingdon); St John’s Ambulance; Uxbridge FM; Halo; Hillingdon Women’s Centre; H4All.

The Uxbridge College students who took part were from Beauty Therapy, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Foundation Studies, Performing Arts, Creative Studies, and Travel & Tourism courses.

Annual Good Deeds Day in the borough helps promote and encourage student volunteering in Hillingdon, raise awareness of the positive impact that students have in the local community, and develop community relationships. The event was organised by Brunel Volunteers at Brunel University London, Uxbridge College, The Pavilions Uxbridge, Uxbridge BID and intu Uxbridge.

For more pictures go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/uxbridgecollege/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10157491022465283

WLB Awards 2020 awards 072Celebrity presenter Gaby Roslin (left) was the guest of honour presenting prestigious awards to West Met Skills Apprentices at the recent West London Business 2020 black tie gala night.

The annual awards, which celebrate business excellence in the region, honoured winners from across the area including four of our Apprentices, who scooped one Winner and three Highly Commended awards.

West Met Skills - which provides Apprenticeships and Employer Services through the merged college group HCUC (Harrow College Uxbridge College) - was also a Category Sponsor, with Jo Withers, Executive Director Employer Services & Partnerships, presenting Food and Drink Business of the Year award at the ceremony and dinner at Twickenham Stadium.

Winner of the Apprenticeship in the Sustainable and Responsible Business category was Matthew Jeffrey (pictured right), a Level 3 Team Leading & Management Apprentice, based at Perivale Primary School and Uxbridge College.

Originally Assistant Caretaker at Perivale Primary, he joined the Apprentice Programme in Leadership and Management in June 2018 and was promoted to Site Manager in January 2019. Self-motivated with a very positive attitude to his work, he carries out his responsibilities to a very high standard, and shows lots of initiative.

Matthew is also a fantastic communicator and team player who knows how to motivate both colleagues and those he supervises. He has played a key part in enabling the school to achieve 100% health and safety compliance - and goes above and beyond the call of duty including helping with fundraising events or dressing up as the school mascot Perivale Pete!

WLB judges said: “Matthew’s progression and initiative throughout his Apprenticeship is really clear. He has shown he is able to work with a wide range of people, funders, contractors, governors and the senior leadership team, taking on the role of project leader when developing an underutilised area of the school playground.”

Highly Commended Apprentices in the Sustainable and Responsible Business category from West Met Skills were:

Rebecca Mills (second right) - Level 3 Creative Media Apprentice - based at Surindera Studios and Harrow College.

Rebecca was a motivated self-starter at the Asian wedding photography and videography business from the beginning. Keen to learn, and already passionate about photography, she was soon ready to take things off her employer’s hands, setting up new systems to manage social media and learning all the necessary technical and creative skills. Her genuine interest and personal commitment to photography has now helped her to progress into university and she started her Degree in September 2019.

Jaycee Sibley (third left) - Level 3 Engineering Technician Machinist Apprentice - Constellium UK Ltd (University Tech Centre) and Uxbridge College.

Jaycee joined Constellium as an Apprentice after previously completing a Bachelor of Science degree and taking a change of direction to expand her opportunities. With a passion for cars, she entered the area of engineering, and right from the start showed complete commitment. She achieved competence in one of her technical areas - press driving - in much less time than usually expected, making a core contribution to the continued running of this area of the business. Her success has led to corporate approval being given for three more apprentices at Constellium UTC.

Sophie Claesen (fourth left) - Level 3 Mechanical Engineering - Technical Support Apprentice, based at Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Limited and Uxbridge College.

Sophie, who is completing a four-year Level 3 Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship, has to manage anxiety issues on a day to day basis, but her work ethic and passion for engineering has ensured her ongoing success. Her depth of knowledge and understanding about her employer’s systems and equipment is exemplary, and she has even formulated a set of instructions which are now being used across the department, even by the more experienced and skilled engineers in the department.

Jo Withers, Executive Director Employer Services & Partnerships at West Met Skills said: “This is a fantastic result for all our Apprentices and, of course, their wonderful employers who provide so much support to their learning and growth and make it possible for them to complete their qualifications. Congratulations to everyone involved and of course to West London Business for making these awards such a success too.”

Just six Apprentices were shortlisted for the WLB Business awards this year, four of which were those chosen for awards from West Met Skills.

West Met Skills was also recently honoured with a Key Apprenticeship Provider award from Ealing Council. Council Leader Julian Bell presented the award to Business Development Consultant Harry Dosanjh at Ealing Apprenticeship Network Team’s Apprenticeship Employer Event.

Apprenticeship training at HCUC was also in the spotlight when Uxbridge College’s MP Boris Johnson visited during Apprenticeship Week.

Also pictured is Highly Commended Apprentice Sologbia Tulu from Location Cars and The JGA Group.

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