Month: August 2016

City College student scoops top award at London exhibition

At the UAL award body’s recent ‘Origins’ Exhibition at the Menier Gallery in Origins Menier Gallery
London, 105 artists from 48 different colleges around the country exhibited their work and amongst six prizes awarded for outstanding work, the Level 3 Art & Design winner was City College Brighton and Hove student, Emily Higgs. “I was surprised and happy even to be featured in the exhibition so having my work selected for an award felt really special,” says Emily.

Talking of her time studying on the Extended Emily Higgs artwork cropDiploma Art & Design course at City College, Emily says: “When I think about the standard of work I did at school, the course has helped me so much and I’ve made a massive step forward. The tutors helped me gain a lot more confidence in myself, particularly when it came to experimenting and trying out new art-forms such as clay-modelling. 

“I also think the mix of age groups on the course helps you to mature and develop your interpersonal skills.  My ambition is to be a professional artist selling my Emily Higgs 2own work and the course has made me feel like I can diversify and expand in different directions.” 

City College is still recruiting for courses starting in September. For more information, contact course information on 01273 667759, email or see

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


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Guest blog from our Italian work experience hero, Ciro!

Ever wondered what happens on Work Experience?

Work experience student, Ciro Figlini.This summer, City College Brighton and Hove hosted some Italian Erasmus+ students, for work experience at our Central Campus. In this guest blog, we hear from one of these students Ciro Figlini, who came to work with us in the City College Marketing team!

I, Ciro Figlini, am working for the Marketing and Communications Team at City College. I’ve helped them in organising two important events dedicated to the next academic year’s students: the Welcome Day and the Taster Day.

I prepared the materials for the students coming to these two events: bags with gadgets inside of them and I’ve taken part in the meet & greet of the students, making them feel welcome in the College.

I’ve also helped the team with my suggestions about the City College Website and Prospectus. I also helped with the management of some data related to new admissions in the various courses which are offered by the College.

I feel very glad to have had this opportunity, I think this experience is very useful to improve my English and my social skills too: you can learn how to put your shyness away to have a conversation with people you hadn’t known before.

Being a part of a work team is an experience which every student should try because you feel valued and important and can reach determined objectives, that every member of the team is interested in.

I’ve really liked working at City College because the work environment is very welcoming and the staff are very friendly with everybody, I’ve had a great time!

It was great to have Ciro work with us, if you’d like to see a little bit more of his time in sunny Brighton, you can check out his video!

Rheanna Davidge-Huxley, City College Brighton and Hove

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Danielle’s ‘long and winding road’ to success – the Ellie Ellie story

Over a dozen years have passed since businesswoman Danielle Plowman completed her Art Foundation course at City College and she describes her subsequent career as “…a very long and winding road, full of knockbacks and failures, all of which Danielle Plowmanled me to what I’m doing now. I was rejected over and over again which was hard to take emotionally but it just made me even stronger and more stubborn to succeed.” As Managing Director of lifestyle brand Ellie Ellie Ltd, Danielle is the creative force behind a thriving company offering unique and personalised gifts, jewellery and homeware items. Many of these are handmade in the company’s Hove workshop using vintage, upcycled, recycled or sustainable materials. Since its launch in 2012, Ellie Ellie has been taking the online market by storm and its products have featured in Vogue, been worn by celebs such as Pixie Lott, Jessie J and Jimmy Carr and won praise from famed entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.

So how much of an influence was City College on this impressive local success story? “Studying Art Foundation at the College was one of the best years of my life, “says Danielle. “It was challenging, fast-paced but very rewarding. When I was doing the course, I wanted to be a fashion designer, having always made my own clothes and had a love of design. After trying out all the disciplines, I found that fashion and textiles was my strength so I specialised in that area before doing a fashion degree at Kingston University. I’d never have guessed back then that I would have ended up running my own business!”

After graduating from Kingston, Danielle had an eclectic career path during which she worked as a shop assistant, ran her own childrenswear shop for two years, perfected her menswear tailoring skills thanks to a friendship with a veteran local tailor (she later became the recommended tailor for her local Marks and Spencer!) and worked in Chichester Festival Theatre’s wardrobe department. Then, in 2009, Danielle decided to travel the world. When she reached Australia, she managed to secure an exciting role as Sales & Marketing Manager of a new childrenswear company in Melbourne who were so impressed with Danielle that they offered to sponsor her to stay and get residency. Unfortunately, Australia’s skilled migration criteria changed and she ended up returning to the UK with no funds or immediate job prospects.

It was during this demoralising period in 2010, however, that Danielle came across Ellie Ellie teaman old note book where she’d scribbled down a reference to the website which had been recommended to her by a customer a few years previously. She promptly went onto the website, applied to be a partner to sell her jewellery and had her first order within 3 hours – Ellie Ellie was officially underway! By 2012, the business had become a limited company and Danielle had employed her first member of staff. Fast forward 4 years and they are now a team of 13 creative, young and ambitious staff, working in the heart of Hove with a turnover of £1.2 million.

So what have been the most exciting or rewarding moments of Danielle’s career so far? “There have been loads!” she says. “When I first realised that people would buy my products and designs, that was an amazing and very powerful moment. Ellie Ellie product 1Since then, winning Sussex Online Business of the Year in 2014 and Entrepreneur of the Year at the awards felt like really special achievements after all my hard work. As a designer you‘re constantly wondering whether anyone else is going to love your new designs as much as you do, so when you see that first sale it is so rewarding! I also love building my company and constantly learning new things. Every day is a challenge and I love being able to create my own path and future. “

Danielle’s ambitions for Ellie Ellie know no bounds and as well as developing the Ellie Ellie product bagswholesale side of the company to get its products into large department stores, she also has plans for Elllie Ellie to have its own flagship store in Brighton within the next few years. So what ‘top tips’ for success would Danielle offer City College’s current generation of budding young artists, designers and entrepreneurs? “Building a career is really about finding opportunities and you don’t know what they’ll be until you’re out there actively looking,” she says. “I’m now on the other side of the interview table and I’m always looking for positive and hardworking attitudes alongside skills and qualifications. I am also looking for people who’ve got themselves out there gaining work experience while studying. That really shows dedication and ambition.”

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GCSE results 2016 – what if I don’t get my GCSEs?

Worried about your GCSE results?

Year 11 is a stressful time, it can feel like your entire life is taken up by GCSEs. There’s predicted grades, mock exams, revision, the endless post-its, and more revision, revision, revision!

The whole time you have teachers and parents telling you how important it is that you live up to expectations. That these grades will be the key to your future success.

Then there’s actually taking the exams, and that hit-or-miss feeling after, like; I owned this, or, what if I’ve failed?

Not to mention that nail-biting two months, waiting to hear if you’ve got the grades you were aiming for.

If you’re worried about your results and not sure what your options are, I thought you might appreciate a little help and advice…

Firstly, although a good level of education is important for yourself and your future. In time, you’ll find out that not everything is pinned on those golden GCSE results you’re hoping for.

If you want to go to go on to uni and you don’t get the GCSE results you expected, it’s not the end of the world.

It’s the grades you get at College that really matter, check out this little quote from the University of Cambridge:

“Our research shows that post-16 examination performance is a much better predictor of degree success at Cambridge…. Strong performance in Years 12 and 13 can make up for a less stellar performance at GCSE.”

So, there you have it from the best of the best – don’t stress!

So, the big day itself comes, GCSE results day – 25th August 2016, you’re surrounded by friends, you open the envelope… and things aren’t what you were hoping for.

Most likely you’ll be worried about one of two things:

Help! I haven’t passed Maths/English!

  • Obviously you’ll be disappointed, but at City College we’ve made a commitment to make sure every student is supported to achieve their GCSE English and maths.
  • You can do these at the same time as your course, and we’ll support you all the way.
  • City College has the best GCSE English and maths results of any FE College in the country so you know you’re in good hands!

Help! I don’t have the grades I need for my college course!

Lots of colleges will be able to either offer you an alternative course or if they think you can handle it they might let you onto the course you want with a review plan and support in place.

The main thing is to chat to them. They’re there to help and you’ll be surprised at the advice and support you can get if you ask.

Lots of colleges are busy around this time so if you can’t get through on the phone try to email them or get in touch via social media, you’ll probably get a much quicker response.

What really matters is that you focus on what you want for your future and work towards that. Simples.

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