Month: November 2015

DIY tips from City College’s Pallet Project!

Repurposing and recycling are big parts of the do-it-yourself lifestyle. Doing things on your own usually means doing the best with what you have, whether it’s your budget, or the materials at your disposal.

One of the most popular and cheapest materials to use to create a multitude of DIY projects is the wooden pallet. Usually confined to its original purpose of storage and shipping, the wooden pallet has become very popular among DIY-ers. Here at City College, Pathways Construction students have been involved in a project making their own bespoke furniture from recycled pallets donated by staff and the College’s estates team. Using professional skills and equipment, students are producing items such as coffee tables, coat racks and spice racks.

Tutor Steve Wilkins, who teaches carpentry skills to the students, has also been sharing his expertise on YouTube – if you’re interested in learning what can be made out of old wooden pallets, check out Steve’s instructional videos…



For information on buying furniture from the Pallet Project or just to see some of the items that have been made, check out:


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Access students Cambridge-bound!

There has been an excellent progression success story for the College Access Cambridge students 15.jpgrecently with two Access to Psychology students Emily Woodgate-Jones and Jack Charles securing places at Cambridge University – no small thanks to input of their tutors Ruth Bowles and Christine Gozzett.

‘I never had any intention of applying to Cambridge and before the course began I felt like I had lost my chance to gain a degree,’ said Emily. ‘However, my tutor gave me the encouragement and support that I needed to give it a go. Receiving an offer was an incredible and wonderful surprise. I could never have predicted the success of this year and my consequent achievements!’

‘The Access course has given me a great base of knowledge to build on as well as growing my passion for studying the brain,’ said Jack. ‘I’m still in shock at the thought that I’ll be studying neuroscience at Cambridge but I’m grateful to Ruth and Christine for all their hard work in helping me to realise my dream of becoming a scientist.’

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Double awards success for Renzzo

2015 has been a memorable year for Renzzo De Souza who has won two Renzzoregional awards in recognition of his high achievement at City College. Originally from Brazil, Renzzo first came to the College in 2011 as a shy 16-year-old with limited English but with much support and encouragement from staff, he went from strength to strength.

As well as winning the City & Guilds Sussex Learner of the Year award at the FE Sussex Spring Awards in March, Renzzo was named Pupil of the Year at the Argus Youth in Action Awards in June. While achieving at distinction level at College and already getting work as a self-employed carpenter, Renzzo has also shown consistent willingness to get involved in a variety of local projects. These include the ‘Hangover Square’ project which involved making a virtual movie set for the Brighton Festival, the multi-award-winning Waste House project at the University of Brighton involving building a house entirely out of recycled materials and helping building a straw bale house in Uckfield which featured on Channel 4’s Building the Dream.

Renzzo has now progressed from Carpentry Level 3 to an Access to Business & Enterprise course at the College.

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From College to Catwalk for talented Catering students

Thriving local business Catwalk Cakes on Bond Street in Brighton, which Catwalk cakes Nov 15 webrecently won an award for its outstanding baking from BBC TV’s Best in Town, has proved to be a hotbed of employment opportunities for former City College Catering students. Proprietor Jan Hansen has taken on a succession of City College alumni and her staff currently includes five former students and two current students. Amongst the team helping Jan create her bespoke wedding and special occasion cakes is Lois Budd who won the national Bupa Bake Off competition in 2013 as well as being named the College’s Catering ‘City Achiever’ in the same year.

“What’s impressed me most about Lois and the other ex-City College students is that they’re all very organised, can work as part of a team but can also work independently,” says Jan. “The skills they’ve gained at College mean that as well as being adaptable and open-minded, they know how to prepare properly, follow recipes accurately and maintain high standards of cleanliness and tidiness. Their courses were clearly very comprehensive so they’ve got a broad knowledge of different aspects of catering which means they’re in a strong position to find employment opportunities in most areas of the industry.”

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

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Alumni success of Persistent Peril

Sam Bourner and Ginny Jones met while studying multimedia and graphicPersistent Peril 14 design at City College from 1999 to 2001. They’ve since gone on to launch the successful Brighton-based animation and illustration studio Persistent Peril. The company, which is based just round the corner from City College in New England House, numbers The Barbican, Proctor & Gamble and Shakespeare’s Globe amongst its clients. ‘We started the company in 2011 and it took a while to get our name out there and for the pitches to start coming our way,’ says Sam. ‘In our first year, I still needed to work part-time, and Ginny and her husband Garth, who is the third co-director, would freelance to keep the work coming in and help build relationships with other local animation studios. Collaboration is uniquely strong in Brighton which is a real bonus for small studios like ours.’

Although over a decade has passed since they studied at City College, the skills Sam and Ginny learnt have stayed with them.We learnt a huge amount at the College that we still use in our day-to-day work,’ says Ginny. ‘This ranges from small things like the structuring of files, to the more general approach to projects, deadlines and schedules. We work with a lot of freelancers, and our basic project management skills and love of collaborating stems from our time at the College. While at City College, we’d often make films in teams ranging from two to seven people, and collaborate on live broadcasts which we streamed in the College. On individual assignments and projects, the course also really encouraged self-motivation. If you wanted to make the most of the classes you really loved, it was up to you how much extra time you put in. I remember making a hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation for my final project, which was a huge task!’

For Sam, his college peers often proved to be as influential as his tutors. ‘With the range of ages and backgrounds of other students, the creative input and feedback from them was incredibly useful. Working with so many creative enthusiastic people was a real thrill, and something we‘ll never forget. After school, being treated as equals by our tutors was also something really refreshing. In particular, our main tutor Chris Piper was a big influence and we really appreciate everything he did for us.’

Looking to the future, Sam is very upbeat about Persistent Peril. ‘Seeing our work go live is still a thrill. We’ve loved making our music promos and without them, I doubt the company would have progressed as much as we have. Watching the hit count go up on our Leisure Society video Fight for Everything was a big highlight for us. Working with my oldest friend is a privilege not many have, and working with people you know and love is an incredibly rewarding experience.’

Persistent Peril’s ‘top tips’ for current students

  • Make the most of college and keep in touch when you go your separate ways
  • Enjoy it, especially when studying hands-on creative courses – the chances that you’ll have the same sort of freedom to work so openly and freely in the future are pretty small!
  • Make sure your creative work is online for people to see
  • The likelihood is you’ll end up working for nothing at some point. So, if possible, try to do internships or work on personal projects – the more projects and experience you can build up the better
  • Make the most of any opportunity that may come your way – it could lead to something unexpected
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Prince’s Trust Team make a difference at Weald Allotments

A group of local youngsters on City College’s Prince’s Trust ‘Team’ programme, the Prince's Trust B & H Organic Gardening Group Nov 15 web12-week personal development course which helps unemployed young people gain the skills and confidence to move into work or training, have recently been involved in helping the the local Organic Gardeners’ Group at the Weald Allotments in Hove. The Team were tasked with transforming a children’s area at the allotments which required landscaping, pruning, tidying and generally being made safe and child-friendly. The Team also fund-raised so they could buy new benches for the area.

Team Leader Donna Martin says: “It was quite a daunting task for the Team, especially since none of them had much experience of gardening, but they really rose to the challenge and got a great deal of satisfaction out of seeing the difference their work made.”

Alan Phillips, Chairperson of BHOGG adds: “Many children and community groups visit our community allotments. Thanks to the Prince’s Trust, we are delighted that there is a safe area around our pond for families to relax and play.”

Team Programmes are starting in early 2016 and are recruiting now. Contact or call 07552 446724 for more details.

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

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Outstanding success for former City College students in Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards

Brighton & Hove Food Awards City College winners webThere has been outstanding success recently for former City College Catering students in the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards. Renowned chef/restaurateur Ben McKellar scooped the Best Food Pub award for his Hove pub The Ginger Pig for the third year running while rising young Head Chefs Ben Hutton and Madelynne Crombie won accolades for the quality of their food in The Basketmakers (Best Pub winner and Best Food Pub runner-up) and The Earth & Stars (Best Sunday Lunch winner) respectively.

“City College is a critical part of the Brighton food economy, providing essential skills and training for young people eager to enter our industry,” says Nick Mosley, festival director. “To see former students win awards is very pleasing to all the team at the awards and wider Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival.”

“City College has a great Catering & Hospitality department with excellent staff and resources,” says Ben Hutton, talking of the contribution the College made to his progress. “As a student, you get a really broad knowledge from staff who’ve worked in different parts of the industry and have the experience to continually teach you something new. While I was at the College, I learnt the fundamentals of cooking which I still use day in day out as well as important life skills. Understanding what its like working full-time in a busy working kitchen is really something you have to experience first hand but the College’s training restaurant, The Gallery, gives you an ideal preparation for running a restaurant, working as a team and being responsible for cooking everything and serving everything.”

“When I came to City College, I’d been working in kitchens for a few years and it gave me an opportunity to really focus on individual parts of cooking and hone my skills”, says Madelynne Crombie. “It also gave me a great opportunity to ask questions and learn from tutors with in-depth industry experience.”

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

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