Month: March 2016

College stages ‘Elements vs Seasons’ Charity Hair Show Spectacular

City College Hairdressing students and their models recently showcased some spectacular hairstyles with an ‘Elements vs Seasons’-themed HairCity College Hair Show combo web Show at the College’s Pelham Street Main Hall. The theme provided the students with the opportunity to let their imaginations run riot with glamorous stylings taking inspiration from both the changing seasons and the elements of fire, earth, air and water. The event, a charity fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support which raised over £1,500 on the night, featured around 110 students. The grand total raised by the College for Macmillan since 2009 is £9,000.

The event’s VIP judges this year included Gogglebox’s Stephen Webb and Chris Steed as well as top industry professionals from Toni & Guy and TIGI International. Also among the judges was local salon owner and former student Simon Webster, who was the ‘Best in Show’ winner of the event exactly 30 years ago and now runs a successful salon in North Laine. Commenting on this year’s Best in Show winner Simon Nix, Simon said: “The execution was absolutely spot-on with lots of braids and intricate work and every single aspect was using natural hair. It’s also absolutely lovely to come back to where I first learnt my trade. The College is a fantastic training ground for local stylists and its showing some great flair and creativity.” 

Gogglebox star and proprietor of Hurstpierpoint salon Lustig & Webb Stephen Webb added: “Some of the work the 2nd and 3rd years were doing, I couldn’t do myself – it was amazing. I’m keen to support this event because the next Trevor Sorbie or Toni & Guy could be amongst that group of students. The hairdressing team here feels like a family. Everyone’s really friendly , they all seem to get on really well and the students clearly get huge support.”

For further information on hairdressing 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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How City College provided a turning point for Murray Media’s influential MD

As MD of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations agency Murray Media Bill Murray 2Ltd, Bill Murray is an influential figure in Brighton & Hove. As well as being the man behind Brighton’s Big Screen, the hugely popular open air  beachfront cinema which showcases blockbuster movies, classic films and top live sporting events, brighton wheelBill is the spokesperson for one of the best-known local landmarks of recent years, the Brighton Wheel and
successfully managed to represent the Starr Trust and Crest Nicholson as chosen developers for the King Alfred project. He has also worked on many high profile projects such as the Laughs in the Park comedy festival, Music Park and the Walk of Fame.

But Bill’s journey to success wasn’t a straightforward one. After being a Business Studies student at Brighton Polytechnic, a period in his life that he describes as “a chaotic time,” Bill came to City College in 1992 to study Media Techniques. “The College was a turning point for me,” he says.”I originally wanted to make it in the London advertising world but I soon realised that I wasn’t the greatest ‘suit’! I needed to feel creative but I’m not a ‘creative’ in the usual sense. Luckily my tutor, who was a great bloke, convinced me to write better copy and concentrate on stuff I enjoyed. City College gave me focus. It helped me find what I love to do and I was lucky to have tutors who saw through my arrogance and blasé attitude.”

After leaving City College, Bill went on to become a sponsorship and marketing manager for a local publishing company before embarking on a career as a PR and freelance journalist. This led to the launch of Murray Media in 1999 and since then, the company has been behind a range of multi-million pound leisure and retail project launches both in the UK and Europe.

One of the highlights of Bill’s career came earlier this year when his clients, local youth charity the Starr Trust and developers Crest Nicholson, were selected by King Alfred redevelopmentBrighton & Hove City Council to take forward a £200 million redevelopment of the King Alfred site on Hove seafront. The scheme will include a modern public sports centre costing around £40 million, a development of 560 flats – 20% of which will be affordable homes – as well as community facilities and commercial space. More generally, he’s found much satisfaction in Murray Media being an environment where talented, ambitious individuals can flourish. “It’s rewarding to see someone we’ve hired develop their craft and then feeling slightly smug that we’ve helped them on their way!” he says.

Aside from family life and his career with Murray Media, Bill biggest passion is Bill Murraycinema and he loves working with BBC Sussex & Surrey Radio to bring listeners weekly movie reviews. “I’m obsessed,” he says. “I’m happy to sit in a screening room or cinema all day long. Luckily we have a Jack Russell puppy so I get to take long walks punctuated with longer lunches. It keeps me away from movies!”

If you’re a former City College student and would like to share your story with us, email

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5 years of The Prince’s Trust Team programme at City College

This year, The Prince’s Trust is marking its 40th anniversary, but 2016 also marks 5 years of the Prince’s Trust Team programme being delivered by City College Brighton and Hove. During that time, the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of the College’s dedicated team has seen 758 young people across Sussex complete the programme. The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a 12-week personal development course for 16-25 year olds which helps unemployed young people gain the skills and confidence to find a job. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.

Here are 5 stories of personal transformation from 5 years of The Prince’s Trust at City College: 

Chloe Darby 

Chloe (21) from West Sussex, felt she had no real direction and no idea what she wanted to do with her life before joining the Team programme. She was diagnosed ChloeDarbyFeb2016with depression and anxiety when she was 15 and sometimes struggled to even leave the house. “I was emotional, didn’t want to see anyone and couldn’t deal with confrontation of any kind and just kept myself to myself,” she recalls.

The Team programme, however, was just the kind of life-changing challenge she
needed: “Being away from home on the residential part of the course with a group of people I’d only known a week was very hard, but once I got there, I pushed
myself to my limits and it was the best week of my life. I still stay in touch with the friends I made on the course and I know I can still count on them. Travelling from home to Brighton on my own for my work experience was also massive for me, and my family kept commenting on how my confidence had grown through the 12 weeks. I loved the entire course!”

After completing Team, Chloe volunteered for 8 months as an Assistant Team Leader and made such a positive impression that she was offered the full-time post of Deputy Team Leader for Hove and Brighton: “I really enjoy helping to run a course that made such a massive difference to my life as I can see how its still having an impact on everyone who joins it. I now enjoy making presentations, talking to new people and watching all the young people grow. I’m self-reliant and have brilliant friends and colleagues around me. I’m a different person and I can’t believe how far I’ve come.”

Having personally experienced how life-changing Team can be, Chloe now derives much pleasure and satisfaction from enabling other young people to get the most out of the experience: “I enjoy seeing how Team members who are so quiet on the first day of the programme change and often we can’t stop them talking by week 12! Team members come in with anxieties and such a high level of stress in their personal lives and often no-one has ever said to them that they’re proud of them. To be able to say that to them myself means the world to me.

“I enjoy changing people’s lives for the better in a relatively short space of time and helping them through difficult times .Its amazing to witness how suddenly there is a future and a sense of direction in these young people. I live and breathe my job, I’m at the happiest point in my life and it all started because I went on the Team programme.” 

George Spiller 

When George (21) from Steyning joined the Team programme he was at a low ebb. “I was in a bad way due to anxiety and depression and desperately needed someone to believe in me as my self esteem was low and I felt like a failure,” he recalls. “The Prince’s Trust gave me the confidence to spark up the fire inside me again and believe that I had potential and could reach it. It also made me less afraid of meeting new people as I got on well with everyone on the programme. I George Spiller 16started feeling comfortable with being myself and letting my genuine self shine through without worrying about it.”

A particular highlight for George was the sense of accomplishment he had when his team renovated a sensory garden for children with disabilities. Challenges such as that were pivotal to his growing confidence and George has since progressed onto Higher Education, studying politics and philosophy at the University of Southampton: “I love learning and becoming a more well-rounded and open person and I feel university is doing that for me,” he says. 

Leon Knight

Leon (20) from Brighton joined the Team programme after a two-year stay in hospital. “It was the hardest time of my life,” says Leon. “I have autism and was finding it really hard to communicate with people. I had to find ways to live on my own and I never thought I would get far in life.”

Once he enrolled on the Team programme, however, Leon noticed his confidence growing on the residential course in the New Forest and a period of work Leon Knight cropexperience as an assistant chef at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel helped pave the way towards his current job as a catering assistant at the Brighton Centre:”I have a passion for food and want to progress in my career. I always wanted to show people I can become a chef and make my family and support team proud.”

When asked how he’s changed since being on Team, Leon says: “Completing the programme has made me feel like a different person and made me more ambitious and motivated about achieving my life goals. Team gave me a great opportunity to prove to myself what I’m capable of.” 

Abdulai Sesay 

abdulaisesay2Abdulai (18) from Hove started on the Team programme when he was just 16. At the time, he had only been in the UK for 3 weeks having moved from Serra Leone after a family death. The Youth Employability Service referred him to The Prince’s Trust to improve his English and to help him make friends in Brighton. “Team really improved my confidence by allowing me to work with others,” says Abduali. “I could hardly speak any English when I started and now I’m able to speak fluently and also use a computer, which I’d never done before I came to the UK.” 

Since completing the Team programme, Abdulai has gone on to study full-time on a Level 2 Business course at City College while also working as a sales assistant for Sports Direct. Looking back at highlights of being on Team, Abdulai says his best memory was the final presentation where he spoke publically about his journey on the programme: “I felt able to express myself by doing a speech and was confident that I could tell my story. Compared to how I was when I started Team, I now feel like a totally different person. I’m in a new place in my life – I work, I’m at college and I have my own place. I’m very happy!” 

Charlotte Aldridge 

Charlotte (19) from Bognor Regis was going through an extremely difficult time before she started the Team Programme in January 2013 as her dad, who she was living with at the time, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She then had to go through the upheaval of moving to Bognor Regis to live with her mum, stepdad andCharlottePrincesTrust sister. “I didn’t know anyone in Bognor Regis, really needed some support and something to do during the day and The Prince’s Trust were there for me at the hardest time of my life.” she says. On Team, Charlotte realised how much she was enjoyed learning new skills, gaining new experiences and building up her confidence in dealing with a variety of different people.

“One of the most emotional, life-changing memories for me was when we were on our residential trip in Dartmoor,” Charlotte recalls. “We had the massive challenge of carrying our Deputy Team Leader up a massive hill in the snow and the wet and cold but we all worked together and got to the top. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced, working in coordination with a group of other people that I’d only known for two weeks and coming to a point where we achieved something great. My experiences on Team and the issues I had going on during that time have really changed me as a person. I became more compassionate and understanding of different people and it gave me the confidence to imagine a future for myself after everything I’d been through. The few weeks after Team, my dad got really ill but I managed to handle the hardest part of my life better than I’d done in the months before. This was down to the amazing staff that worked with me and the great team I had these experiences with.”

Charlotte is now on an Access to HE course in Humanities combined with Social Science at City College. Having applied to start a Politics & International Relations degree in September, she has already been given an offer from her first choice University. “I’m excited to start the next chapter in my life,” she concludes. “It’s been a hard few years but I’ve got through it with the help of The Prince’s Trust staff and my family and friends.” 

For more details on the Prince’s Trust Team programme at City College, email

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Maria Allen – City College’s crafty entrepreneur!

While she was studying Art Foundation at City College in 2008 and developing her skills in graphic design, Maria Allen began making and selling cards to local shops and galleries in her spare time. Encouraged by how well these were received, Mariamaria headshot b & w branched out into hand-made jewellery and started her business Maria Allen Boutique during her first year of studying Graphic Design at Brighton University. The business specialises in hand crafted products using reclaimed British and sustainably- sourced wood. Alongside jewellery, its range has been extended to include accessories, homeware and wedding décor. Many of the products are personalised and custom made, helping customers to make the most of special occasions and landmark moments in their lives.

“The business mainly stemmed from not being able to find jewellery that I really liked, so I taught myself to make it and then friends and family took interest in it
and wanted me to make some for them too,”
  Maria explains. Running the business part-time in between studying, Maria enjoyed the enterprise so much thatMaria Allen Boutique_Personalised mini love letter necklace_-ú49 (2) she concluded that she could grow the business when she graduated and run it full-time: “It started in my parent’s house and then soon enough, it took up most rooms in their house including the landings and loft! So we moved into a studio space and that’s where I started hiring staff and since then we have moved into a bigger studio as we outgrew it. Everything has turned out better than I’d ever imagined! I’m proud to have created my own job for myself after graduating from Uni. I love what I do so it doesn’t seem like work every day! I am also proud to have created jobs for other people and to have built a team around me, who are really inspiring to work with each day.” 

With her business now attracting customers from all over the world and excellent media coverage, Maria is grateful for mentoring support she had at City Maria Allen jewelleryCollege when she entered her fledgling greetings cards idea into an Enterprise competition. She was encouraged to try an exercise in which she imagined exactly where she wanted to be in 10 years time -right down to details such as what her perfect workspace would look like – and focusing on what do she needed to do in various time intervals to achieve her dream: “I looked back recently at what I’d written down 8 years ago and it’s amazing to see how much of it is now a reality. I’ve updated my goals since then, so that there are always new things to be working on! My aim is to continue to grow the business and to carry on developing new products and exploring new markets. We are also hoping to have bigger premises very soon which will be great for our team.”

Lastly, looking back at her formative days as a City College student and Maria Allen March 08 - crop
budding entrepreneur, Maria says: “Some of my best memories come from those
times and the friends I met on the course were great – it was a really fun year. The course was fantastic and gave us a lot of freedom to see which area of design we liked working in the most. I loved my time at City College.”

Maria’s ‘top tips’ for current students:

  • aim high with your goals and don’t be afraid – believe in yourself!
  • remember that most things take longer than planned so just give it all time you need and be patient
  • if something doesn’t go as planned, it doesn’t mean it’s all failed – it’s just a change of path and often there are even better things round the corner!
  • find your strengths and work with them – and then find people who are great at other aspects of your business
  • step back and regularly acknowledge and celebrate all of your achievements! 

Twitter: maria_allen

Instagram: maria_allen_boutique



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

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Lucy’s foundation for creative problem-solving – from CCBH to NYC and beyond…

Since completing her Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at City College Brighton and Hove in Lucy Wood B & W2003, Cultural Producer Lucy Wood has enjoyed an exciting and diverse career in the creative industries – from working as a Promotions Coordinator for hip indie record label Warp Records in New York to promoting hundreds of live shows – including the hugely popular Field Day Festival – for renowned London live music promoter, Eat Your Own Ears. Although music rather than art has been the dominant factor in her working life, Lucy feels that her time at the College definitely influenced her career path. “Art Foundation is great for creative problem-solving,” she says. ”It helped to foster a love of the visual arts which has been particularly useful in my recent contracts. In my twenties, I think I had vague ideas about what I wanted to do, like maybe getting into film or advertising or media, but wasn’t sure what aspect.”

After leaving City College, with a winning mixture of creative imagination, tenacity, luck and grabbing whatever work experience opportunities came her way, Lucy began carving out a niche doing something she loved. Following her stint in NYC, she returned to the UK and secured a job with 19 Management’s touring department. This was Lucy’s first job in live music and involved working on large-scale gigs featuring 19’s roster of stars including Will Young, Gareth Gates, Rachel Stevens and Emma Bunton. “Not my kind of music but a great experience!” she says.

The next stage of Lucy’s career, with Eat Your Own Ears, lasted seven years. During this time, she played a key role in helping the company expand and promote 200 live shows a year and alongside this, she worked as a mentor/facilitator on various youth projects. By 2014, however, she felt it was time to diversify and broaden her experience. “I got really comfortable at Eat Your Own Ears, and leaving was really hard but I didn’t exactly make life easy for myself up by starting a Sociology of Culture MSc and a new freelance contract at the same time!”

The most recent phase in Lucy’s career has seen her producing food-related events, working on an intergenerational piece of devised theatre as well as programming and producing for a well-known speaker brand that has its own cultural venue. When asked which aspects of her job she finds most rewarding, she says: “I love being given something challenging to produce and using creative problem-solving to make it happen.” For Lucy, this has involved unusual challenges such as figuring out how to safely produce a series of gigs in the pitch dark to helping enable a group of boys from a deprived area of East London to throw their own party at the Savoy Hotel. It is, she feels, the happiest phase of her career to date: “It’s great seeing a project through to fruition and it’s brilliant to work with a variety of different cultural forms and different kinds of people on a daily basis.”

Lucy has clearly come a long way since her student days but looking back nostalgically at her time at City College she says: “I loved my group of friends and there were lots of standout moments, but probably the high point was the end of year show. The build up towards that, helping each other out and seeing everyone’s work come to fruition was really special. I also remember all the tutors very fondly – they were great.”

As for her words of advice for current students, Lucy says the main thing is not to panic if you’re unsure what direction to take after College: “When I was in my late teens and twenties I only had the dimmest idea of what I wanted to do or how I was supposed to get to that point. Gradually, you find lots of things fall into place. I never intended to work in music as I always thought it would be too competitive but step by step, I’ve worked my way up and have found a really satisfying career through it.”

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

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