Month: September 2015

Jennifer Milarski: Artist turned business owner

Artist, designer, performer… Jennifer Milarski has many creative strings to her bow Jennifer Milarskiand she’s about to add another, slightly different one: businesswoman.

“I am currently in the process of setting up my own design business, Muscles by Milarski,” Jennifer told us.

It’s a new challenge for this former City College student, who studied an Art and Design Foundation Diploma with us before enrolling on a BA in Art and Visual Culture at the University of the West of England (UWE).

“My time at City College directly impacted my choice to go to University, I had taken the foundation degree with the idea to go to university, but the course solidified that idea” Jennifer said.

“We went on a trip to Amsterdam as part of the course and visited a sculpture park. I remember thinking, ‘yep, this is what I want to do,’ and I’ve wanted to open my own sculpture park ever since then.”

She may not have realised that particular dream just yet, but Jennifer is used to rising to a challenge. After graduating from UWE she moved back to Brighton in 2010, where she began working at Brighton Museum while studying for a Master’s degree in Digital Media Arts at The University of Brighton.

She graduated in 2013 with a distinction (“One of my proudest personal achievements, I didn’t think I was capable of being above average until then!”) and has recently set herself a new challenge by leaving Brighton and moving to London.

“Since moving I have found it hard to find work and recently signed on, and from here I was enrolled on the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which has enabled me to start my own business. Challenges can be a blessing in disguise,” Jennifer said.

“As with any new experience it can be daunting, especially as I am setting out on my own for the first time. But it is also exhilarating to be working for myself and I enjoy being able to be as creative as I want to be.”

Starting a business is always a challenge but, as Jennifer knows all too well, challenges often lead to new and exciting experiences and opportunities. And we’re sure that Jennifer will realise her dream of running her own gallery space in no time – not to mention that sculpture park!

As she focuses on getting her business off the ground, as well as exploring her performance art (which you can see on her website) and undertaking curatorial projects, we asked Jennifer what her advice for fellow alumni would be.

Her response was simple: “Just take as much advantage of everything there is to offer as possible and have a really good time.”

You can’t argue with that!

Share Button

Rebecca Latimer  – Art and Design student beginning her fashion career

“After school I did not know what to do apart from what I liked doing, which was Rebecca Latimerart. I saw the course at City College and was interested straight away,” says former student Rebecca Latimer.

A passion for art saw Rebecca enrol on a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design at City College and, after input from her tutors, make important decisions about her future.

“My tutors helped me throughout the two years I was there to unearth what I really wanted to do, and it turned out to be both fashion and textiles,” she said.

After completing her course at City College, walking away with three Distinctions, Rebecca began the next stage of her journey to the world of fashion, enrolling on a Fashion and Textile Design course at the University of Portsmouth.

“The transition between college and university was very hard for me, especially being away from home and my family,” she said.

“You do get used to this and become a stronger, more independent person which I feel I wouldn’t have become if I stayed at home or went straight into work.”

Learning the ropes across all areas of fashion, Rebecca’s university course has cemented her desire for a career in the industry, in one area in particular.

She said: “In my second year I loved taking part in the Enterprise units, which involved starting a company from scratch with a team, manufacturing the products before advertising and marketing them. This was when I realised that I wanted to enter the marketing sector of the fashion industry.”

Now Rebecca is in her final year she’s busy completing her dissertation and ensuring that all her hard work over the past three years – and during her time at City College – has been worth it.

Yet she’s also thinking about the future and has begun filling her CV with internships and work experience placements, to give herself the best possible start to her career.

“I would like to enter the Fashion Marketing sector, and see myself working in London in an office for a fashion brand, helping to raise their profile online and in retail stores, using social media and advertising techniques,” she said.

“But first I want to graduate from university with a good degree, save up for a year and either travel or complete a Masters in Fashion Marketing. Then I’ll enter full-time employment doing the job I love, working my way up. The possibilities are endless!”

With her drive and determination, not to mention the impressive experience that she’s already gained in the industry which you can see on her personal website, we’re sure Rebecca will enjoy a long and successful fashion career.

It’s a career that started life right here at City College, so does she have any advice for others who are thinking of following a similar path?

“I always look back at my time at City College fondly and always said if they did a university course in fashion and textiles I would have stayed there for another three years. The support and guidance I received from my tutors has always been the fondest memory,” she said.

“My advice to others would be to never give up. Keep trying. Don’t let anyone talk down to you or tell you that you can’t do anything.”

For more information on Art & Design courses at City College, call 01273 667759, email or see

Share Button

City College’s Famous 5

Over the years, we’ve had quite a few celebs and VIPs who’ve come to visit the College – here are five of our favourites!

Fatboy Slim at City College

  1. Fatboy Slim

Back in 2012, Brighton’s legendary DJ and dance music pioneer Fatboy Slim (aka Norman Cook) hosted an exclusive ‘Ask Norman’ Q & A session at the College. Norman was really friendly and happily obliged with our students’ endless requests for selfies and autographs… legend!

  1. Deborah MeadenDeborah Meaden at City College

Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden is one of our most famous ex-students – she studied business here in the late 70s and came back to visit us in 2008. Deborah was very lovely and friendly (unlike her TV persona!) and had lots of positive things to say about her time at the College.

  1. Andy BurnhamAndy Burnham at City College

Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham visited us in 2011 and said “’City College is a brilliant place which is full of activity and you get a great feeling from being here.” We’re not going to argue with that! 🙂

  1. Nick MilesNick Miles with City College Acting students

A face that will be very familiar to Soap fans among you, Nick Miles (aka Emmerdale’s Jimmy King) gave a masterclass to our Acting students in 2009. They gave me some of the most intelligent questions I’ve had to answer in years!” said Nick.

  1. Caroline LucasCaroline Lucas visits City College East

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, who made history by becoming the Green Party’s first ever Member of Parliament, has been at the College many times but we love this photo from when she visited our City College East campus in 2011.

Share Button

Students experience a life-changing Tanzanian trip

Students on City College Brighton and Hove’s Trades4Aid project, which enables disadvantaged and disengaged young people from Brighton and Hove to travel to Africa to work on construction projects, have recently returned from a life-changing trip to Tanzania.

The students, the majority of whom are on the College’s Pathways courses aimed at improving their vocational and employability skills, spent a week in the remote village of Wasso renovating school rooms at Lumo English Medium School which were in an advanced state of disrepair. As well as contributing their practical skills, the students played with the local schoolchildren and led a variety of activities for them, forging strong bonds during their stay. During the visit, the students also experienced the excitement of going on safari, seeing the spectacular Ngorongoro Conservation Park and meeting Maasai warriors.

The Trades4Aid team and villagers in Wasso

The Trades4Aid team and villagers in Wasso

Deaf student Kieron Nugent had a particularly memorable experience on the trip, befriending a local deaf child, Rogati, and teaching him basic sign language. ‘I feel like Rogati and I connected so quickly, I taught him many things he’d never seen before and it was so touching how delighted he was to learn sign language and express himself,’ said Kieron. ‘I thought that Tanzania was an amazing place and the bonds we made with the local people made it a very emotional experience.’

Like Kieron, student Faustas Elenbergas also found the trip inspirational: ‘As well as feeling that we were making a positive difference at the school through all our hard work, seeing the incredible local landscape and wildlife and experiencing such kindness from the Tanzanian people made this a life-changing trip for me which I’ll never forget.’

For the trip, City College had joined forces with The Fonthill Foundation educational charity, led by Andrew Goodall (Brunswick Developments). The Foundation contributed to the funding of the College’s trip, with the students also raising money through various fund-raising projects.

‘The Fonthill Foundation is delighted that for the second year, a group of Pathways students were able to travel to Wasso to help in our latest building project and that again the visit has been an enormous success,’ said Andrew Goodall, the Foundation’s Chairman. ‘We’re particularly pleased that one of last year’s students accompanied this year’s volunteers as their mentor, learning valuable leadership skills in the process and providing a real sense of continuity in the relationship with the Tanzanian village community. We’ve had great feedback from Wasso that the students worked really hard and did a fantastic job. As important is the difference the Pathways students make culturally and socially – giving children in Wasso the chance to interact with people around their age from England and to practice their English, the language of the Lumo School day, in a region which primarily speaks Swahili and Masaii. Speaking to them I can hear that it has been the life-enhancing work experience that we as a Foundation had hoped for them. The Foundation was delighted to help fund the visit and wants to congratulate and thank every member of the team, including the hard-working and enthusiastic teachers who accompanied the students. We’re already making plans with City College for next year’s visit.’

Share Button

City College students celebrate GCSE success

GCSE English success for student India Rose Bennington-Flair

GCSE English success for student India Rose Bennington-Flair

City College Brighton and Hove students have been celebrating success in this year’s GCSE English and mathematics results with record numbers achieving the gold standard A*-C.

The 700 students getting their results at the College range from 16-18 year-olds taking re-sits to adult learners aiming to achieve vital qualifications to boost their prospects. 81% of students achieved A*-C grade in English and 55% of students achieved an A*-C grade in mathematics. Vice Principal Rebecca Conroy says:

‘We are absolutely delighted for the huge number of City College students who have successfully achieved their English and mathematics A*-C grade today! It is a testament to their determined efforts and the support of their dedicated teachers and support staff. As a college, we are dedicated to ensuring that as many students as possible achieve GCSE mathematics and English as we know that this can be life changing and open up so many opportunities.’

City College is still recruiting for courses starting in September, including Adult English and mathematics GSCEs. For more information, come and chat to our Course Advice team at the Student Centre on Pelham Street or call 01273 667759.

Share Button

Apprentice success creates opportunity at Barrie Alderton

The success of two of its apprentices has encouraged Barrie Alderton Estate Agents & Lettings to open up another apprenticeship opportunity at their office on London Road. Lettings Administrators Tayla Sturmey (21) and Connor Smyth (20), who were recruited via City College’s Apprenticeships Team, impressed their employers so much during their Business Administration apprenticeships that they’ve now both been made full-time employees at the company.

Lettings Manager Peter Alderton says: ‘Having apprentices has worked brilliantly for us because our apprentices have grown professionally through learning the necessary processes and skills in a hands-on way. They’ve also brought a youthful enthusiasm to their roles which has been a real asset to the company. Because it’s gone so well with Connor and Tayla, we’ve decided to proceed along those lines again and offer an apprenticeship opportunity to a junior administrator. We’re obviously hoping to find someone who is motivated and enthusiastic with good computer skills. It’s also important that they’re a good team-player with excellent interpersonal skills because it’s a people-facing role.’

Barrie Alderton apprentices

Barrie Alderton apprentices

Connor Smyth says: ‘Being able to learn about a company and its sector from the ground up is great as you’re able to see all aspects of the company. This gave me a great ambition as I could see where I could progress within the company and it gave me goals to aim for.’

Tayla Sturmey says: ‘An apprenticeship worked really well for me because I was ambitious to create a career for myself and it gave me the opportunity to develop and learn.’

If you’d like to apply for Barrie Alderton’s apprenticeship vacancy or are an employer interested in taking on an apprentice, call City College’s Apprenticeships team on 01273 667700 or email

For City College media enquiries, please call Brian Bell, Marketing Communications Officer, on 01273 667788 Ext. 488 or email website

Share Button
Arion, Hannah, Fraser and Elizabeth

Arion, Hannah, Fraser and Elizabeth

Four talented young chefs from City College Brighton and Hove – Arion Christophers, Hannah Leighton, Fraser Hawkins and Elizabeth Bastable – have been awarded coveted places in the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy, a two-year life-changing training programme from Exclusive Hotels and Venues. A total of 51 applications were received for the ten places on the programme and following a rigorous selection process, the places were awarded to seven candidates from chef and catering colleges and universities across the UK. The remaining three places were won by chefs already working within the Exclusive Hotels and Venues kitchens.

Designed to tackle the challenges of chef recruitment and retention head on, the Academy takes the chefs on an intensive two-year journey under the mentor and leadership of one of Exclusive’s award-winning chefs, including Olly Rouse, Head Chef at The Avenue, Lainston House (3 AA Rosettes), Richard Davies, Executive Chef at The Bybrook, The Manor House, (1 Michelin Star and 3 AA Rosettes), Matt Gillan Head Chef at Matt Gillan at The Pass, South Lodge (1 Michelin Star and 4 AA Rosettes) and Head Chef Michael Wignall at Michael Wignall at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park (2 Michelin Stars and 5 AA Rosettes).

Under their expertise and leadership, each chef will experience full-time paid on-the-job training, off-site supplier visits, supervisory skills workshops, team challenges and master-classes designed to develop their skills, reward their talent with full time employment and further their career in some of the best restaurants in the South of England.

Hannah Leighton said: ‘I’m really excited to have secured my place in the Academy and have the opportunity to visit great suppliers, enjoy masterclasses and develop my skills, knowledge and palette whilst learning from Michelin starred chefs and industry experts. It’s a life-changing opportunity and given the amount of interest in the Academy after just one year, I feel privileged to be here.’

Andy Mackenzie, Executive Chef of the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy commented on the new cohort: ‘I am overwhelmed with the response to the Academy’s second year programme and believe we have found some incredible new talent to harness and develop for the taste buds of our discerning Exclusive guests. After the successful launch of the academy last year, we have fine-tuned the programme further to deliver the chefs an even better programme of full plot-to-pot-to-plate training.’

Jon File, City College’s Programme Area Manager for Catering & Hospitality, says:

‘We were delighted when two of our students were accepted onto such a prestigious programme last year so for that number to have doubled in this year’s cohort is something that the College is very proud of. Elizabeth, Arion, Fraser and Hannah all demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and passion for catering during their time at the College and we look forward to hearing of their successes in the industry in the future.’

For media queries on the Chefs’ Academy, contact Julia Gosling on 01892 617912 or email

For more information on catering courses at City College, call 01273 667759, email or see

For City College media enquiries, please call Brian Bell, Marketing Communications Officer, on 01273 667788 Ext. 488 or email website

Share Button

Lesley Taylor – Photographer and entrepreneur

Lesley Taylor has always had a passion for photography, something she acquired Lesley Taylorfrom her photographer father.

Yet it wasn’t until she attended an evening class in photography at City College Brighton and Hove in 2011 that she turned that passion into something more.

After finishing her course Lesley took over her father’s long-established photography business, Infinity Photographic, with the aim of bringing it into the 21st Century.

Of her time at City College, she said: “I made contacts and it gave me the confidence not only to push and experiment with my photographic skills, but to believe in myself.”

That belief has paid dividends so far as Lesley has taken Infinity Photographic from strength to strength, targeting local businesses and schools to add another dimension to the company.

Of course weddings are amongst the most fulfilling and fun aspects of the job, but for Lesley the real joy comes from being, as she says, “the sole maker of my own destiny!”

She said: “I enjoy the challenge of running a business single handed, from dealing with customers through to marketing, web, social media, banking and accounts. I adore receiving enquiries from my customers as I photograph everything so no job is the same.”

After taking over Infinity Photographic and building on the established success of the business, Lesley had well and truly caught the entrepreneurial bug. It wasn’t long before she spotted a gap in the market and set about launching her next business venture.

Using her years of marketing and event management experience, Lesley launched Quaint Queer Weird in 2013. A wedding fair with a difference, Quaint Queer Weird is for those couples who are looking for something a bit different for their wedding.

With exhibitors in every alternative genre you can think of, from burlesque to sci-fi, Quaint Queer Weird (QQW) is fast becoming the go-to brand for unconventional nuptials. But of course, Lesley’s not stopping there.

She said: “I have massive plans for QQW which involve making it a weekend event and inviting the biggest and best burlesque superstars from across the pond to perform. I’m very excited about this!

“It’s always good to think big and it would be great to reap some reward from all my hard work and treat my wonderful family to a proper holiday.”

The hard work is certainly paying off for Lesley, who recently launched yet another business in the form of Jaunty Twig – a hi-tech replacement for disposable cameras at weddings, letting guests upload photos directly to a live slideshow.

Its early days for the business, but with Lesley’s track record we’re sure Jaunty Twig will be a huge hit. But does she have any advice for alumni wanting to start their own business?

“Think, plan, rethink, re-plan… then go! If you have a dream, then follow it.”

Share Button

Shaz Choudhury – Photography student turned entrepreneur

Shaz Choudhury has always had an entrepreneurial streak, so when she left City College she knew it was the right time branch out on her own.Shaz Choudhury

“I left college and became a market trader to test the water in businesses and the marketplace. I found going into the marketplace a serious challenge, especially alone. But I kept smiling,” she told us.

Shaz studied Photojournalism with us in 2014, as a way of indulging her passion for photography and expanding her knowledge and skillset – something she believes everyone should do throughout their lives.

She’d already been working as a part-time event photographer for some five years before enrolling with us, but it was City College that gave her the drive and determination to take her dreams further.

“My time at college gave me more inspiration. I found college to be an inspiring place to be and it helped me to build upon my own ideas as well as on others’ ideas when helping other students,” Shaz said.

“My fondest memories of college are having fun whilst learning and opening up new corridors in my approach to everyday situations.”

Shaz took the inspiration from City College into the launch of her own camera hire business, which she established earlier this year after spotting a gap in the market.

While still working as a part-time photographer, Shaz’s new business keeps her busy as she researches and sources items before ensuring they’re in good working condition for hire.

“Seeing people happy with their purchase gives me a sense of achievement. Seeing a customer satisfied is what I find most rewarding about the job, customer satisfaction is important to me,” she said.

Though the business is still in the early stages, Shaz has big plans for the future – while still finding time to focus on his passions for art and photography – so does she have any advice for others hoping to follow his career path?

She says: “When you have an idea, research it thoroughly before acting upon it and if you choose to work for an employer study the company inside out and I’m sure you’ll be successful. Listen to your peers and research what they are saying – facts are important.”

For more information on part-time Photography courses at the College, call 01273 667759, email or see

Share Button

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén