Category: Alumni News (Page 1 of 4)

‘Isaac At’ appointment keeps it in the City College family

Isaac At, the highly-acclaimed new Brighton restaurant launched last year by City College Brighton and Hove alumni Isaac Bartlett-Copeland (Head Chef/Owner) and Alex Preston - Isaac At Nov 16 webGeorge Thomas (Sous Chef & Young Chef of the Year 2016 finalist), has given the key role of restaurant manager to another former City College Catering student, Alex Preston (21).

‘Alex has a really good attention to detail which he clearly picked up at the College which really helps with all the specific elements of setting up the restaurant for a service right through to choosing the wines,’ says Isaac. ‘It’s absolutely significant that we’ve got core members of the team who are all ex-City College. We can learn and grow as a team but it’s important that everyone has that fundamental knowledge and understands the kind of excellence we’re aiming for.’

Alex, who impressed his tutors with his front-of-house skills at City College’s training restaurant, The Gallery, says: ‘Taking on this kind of responsibility can be stressful but I always wanted to push for a challenge. I’ve found out how the team here work and love everything about it so it’s a great thing to be part of. The fact that Isaac and George are also ex-City College makes it feel like re-uniting with old colleagues to create something brilliant.’

Talking of his time at the College, Alex adds: ‘Without the support I had from the front-of-house tutors at City College, I wouldn’t be where I am. I was having a particularly hard time during my second year on the course which they picked up on and they really went the extra mile to get me through the qualification.’

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

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Ex-City College student provides stunning artwork for National Trust

William Hanekom, who recently completed three years at City College Brighton and Hove studying Foundation Learning, Digital Design, Media & Film-making, has William Hanekomshowcased his considerable creative talent in the new ‘Potter & Ponder: Sensory Experiences at Croome’ map for the National Trust. William produced 12 illustrations that encourage visitors to experience Croome Park’s grounds, which were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, using all of their senses. The National Trust worked with Sussex charity Outside In (which supports artists facing barriers to access the art world) to find the most appropriate artist and artwork for the map. Four local schools that support children with disabilities were chosen to collaborate on the project and the children were also asked to choose their favourite artist to design the map from a selection of proposals from Outside In artists, with William getting the winning vote.

“I was really proud that the schools chose my artwork,” says William. “I love to William Hanekom - Touchingdraw and I have done this from an early age as a way of escaping reality. I also enjoy experimenting with different techniques and styles.” Talking of his time at City College, William adds: “I liked the environment at City College, particularly the glass front foyer and café where I could sit in the dry on a rainy day and draw. The tutors and learning support staff were always enthusiastic and helpful and I felt that I had a lot of encouragement and learnt a lot of new techniques.”

“Outside In were thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with the National Trust on a new idea that we hope will be rolled out across the Trust,” says Outside William Hanekom - ListeningIn Manager, Jennifer Gilbert. “William took the brief in a great direction and produced a series of playful colourful drawings that we hope children and adults enjoy for years to come.”

‘Working with William was a really enjoyable experience,’ says Rachel Sharpe and Kiki Claxton from the National Trust. ‘He is a committed and talented professional artist, adaptable, innovative and fully understood the commissioning needs for the project. His practice appealed to all of our participants and he was selected because of his unique style and creative ideas.’

“What impressed me most about William as a student was his encyclopaedic knowledge of films – particularly animation – and his constant creativity,” says Lucy Grout, Senior Teaching Support Assistant at City College. “William thought in images and any spare moment he would always be found drawing, realising and refining his ideas. The Carousel charity in Brighton also deserve a lot of credit for making William aware of this fantastic opportunity and I’m delighted to see him achieve this success so soon after leaving the College.”

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

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From teacher to holistic therapist – how City College proved life-changing for Katie

Having spent 20 years as a teacher before re-training in Complementary Therapies at City College, Katie Stanton has wasted no time utilising the skills she gained onKatie Stanton pics (9) her Level 3 qualification. Katie only completed her course during summer 2016 and is already successfully running her own holistic therapies business, ReTreat, from a specially-constructed treatment room in her back garden in Hove.

‘I left teaching not knowing if a career in complementary therapies was for me but within weeks of being at the College I knew I was doing the right thing,’ says Katie. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed my training and learnt a lot during my one-year course. I had amazing tutors and the support and guidance I was given was exceptional.  My client case studies were always interesting and I found that many of them benefited physically, mentally and emotionally from their treatments. That really inspired me to continue after my training because I wanted other people to benefit from the different complementary therapies that I could offer.’

Now that Katie is working for herself, she appreciates the flexibility of being able to Katie Stanton pics (1)work from home and organising her own working hours and also enjoys meeting and helping such a wide range of people: ‘I work with different clients with a variety of conditions which has included clients with chronic conditions and also the elderly. Seeing people’s conditions improve has been really rewarding.  I take great pleasure in helping clients to feel better and have seen complementary therapies dramatically improve so many people’s health and wellbeing.’

Katie was successful in gaining funding from the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which has helped set her business up financially, but with a high number of complementary therapists in the Brighton and Hove area, she is faced with the Katie Stanton pics (6)challenge of making her business stand out from the crowd. Aside from different marketing techniques including special offers, promotions and social media to keep ReTreat at the forefront of people’s minds, she feels the best way to grow her business is by offering an excellent service: ‘I set out to be the best I can be and make sure all my clients have a personalised treatment, hopefully resulting them in wanting to come back again.’

Alongside running her own business, Katie’s stress-busting complementary therapy skills are appreciated by teaching staff during weekly sessions at a local secondary school and she’s also been working at The Frances Taylor Foundation, a care home Katie Stanton pics (10)for the elderly and people with learning difficulties where she finds much satisfaction in seeing very vulnerable people benefit from massage and reflexology. In addition, she also regularly works as a supply teacher at a local primary school. Despite such a hectic schedule, she has no regrets about her career change: ‘I’ve never looked back and wouldn’t change my decision. I love being a self-employed complementary therapist and take a lot of pride in starting up and running a successful business at the age of 43! My work/life balance has improved and I’m certainly in a better place and feel that I’m a better person who has more time for family and friends.’

Looking back at her life-changing year at City College, Katie says: ‘I made some friends for life while I was at the College. I also loved learning new things and as a mature student I found it easier than when I was at school! There were some very challenging times during the year and at times, I couldn’t see the wood from the trees but with the help of my tutors and fellow students – not to mention a lot of laughter – I got through it.’

As an exemplar of the benefits of ‘lifelong learning,’ Katie’s advice to others considering re-training for a new career is heartfelt: ‘It may seem a cliché but don’t let anything, or anyone, stand in your way. Go out of your way to make opportunities happen. Don’t give up when things get hard and if you want it, you will achieve it.’

For more information on Complimentary Therapies courses at City College, contact course information on 01273 667759, email or see

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The ‘nomadic, international hotelier life’ of CCBH alumnus Darren Gearing

Having enjoyed an outstanding 30-year career in the luxury hotel industry, it’s unsurprising that Darren Gearing already had a strong sense of vocation when he Darren Gearingcame to City College in 1983 to study Hotel, Catering & Institutional Management. ‘I always knew I was suited for the hotel business and I think being from Brighton greatly influenced this,’ he says. ‘I would never have achieved my goals without the support and excellent influence of my tutors and lecturers at City College, many of whom I’m still in touch with today. I’ve got fond memories of my time at the College and can still remember my first very nervous service in the training restaurant with a smile. Also, our famed ‘winery visits’ to France were legendary!’

Feeling well-prepared to go straight into industry after successfully completing his studies and clearly making an excellent impression on would-be employers, within a year, Darren had secured a position in America, working in Boston for Marriott Island.Shangri-La Hong KongHotels. This led to an opportunity to open a new flagship Hotel in Hong Kong in late 1988 and then, in 1990, while still based in Hong Kong, he was head-hunted by the Shangri-La Hotel Group which led to a distinguished 25-year career with the company.  ‘My time with Shangri-La was quite prolific and opportune,’ recalls Darren. ‘I was lucky to come on-board as the company was going through enormous growth.’ By 1996, and aged just 31, Darren had been appointed General Manager and subsequently progressed on to Senior Director of Development and Vice President & General Manager roles with the company, which involved tenures in Beijing and Singapore. There were many career highlights for Darren during this period but he takes particular pride in being recognised by the Beijing Government in 2005 as one of just 5 exceptional ‘Foreign Experts’ and also achieving 3 Michelin Stars at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong.

After many successful years in East Asia, 2012 brought the lure of a return to the U.K. and a fresh challenge to lead on the opening of the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard in London. From his new London base, Darren, as Executiveshangri-la-hotel-at-the-shard-london-23 Vice President for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, oversaw 17 hotels and more than 8,000 colleagues, all encompassing many new hotel openings and renovations in London, Qatar, Mauritius, India and Sri Lanka. The level of responsibility that he has taken on throughout his career may sound daunting, but Darren seems to take it in his stride: ‘I‘ve always enjoyed working with people, be they clients or colleagues, and always wanted to travel the world. I therefore feel fortunate that I’ve chosen this career and the wealth of travel opportunities it’s given me so I don’t ponder on the challenges too much. That said, opening and managing hotels is definitely not for the faint hearted so I have to admit that being in China in the early 90s and opening hotels in Qatar, India and Sri Lanka within a six month period really did test my fortitude!’

In summer this year, Darren decided to take his career in a different direction and he now owns a small group of gastro pubs in Worthing and runs a Sussex-based plant hire business: ‘I think within my 30 years working for others there was always a burning curiosity to ‘do my own thing’ at some point and when I turned 50, I started putting serious plans in place to make this happen. In the immediate future, I aim to continue with my entrepreneurial endeavours.’

While enjoying being his own boss, Darren also finds time to actively consult and work with several London and Internationally-based hotel-owners and doesn’t rule out re-entering the corporate luxury hotel world at some stage – working in NYC’s corporate luxury hotel scene remains an ambition that he’d love to fulfil. As for his interests outside of work, Darren says: ‘I have a reasonable wine cellar that gives me great joy to share with friends and my other interests include swimming and travelling. My entire family love to travel and I suspect this has been a result of my somewhat nomadic, international hotelier life! I feel that the personal achievement I’m most proud of is marrying a lovely Japanese lady and having two great children who make us very proud and keep us young.’

When it comes to Darren’s words of advice to City College’s current Hospitality and Catering students, he says: ‘Once you are certain of your chosen field, remember your goals and go for it. If these goals change as you progress that’s great as one thing is for certain – you must embrace change and continual learning.’

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How City College set wheels in motion for Team GB Cycling’s Soigneur

Over the years, City College’s Beauty & Holistic Therapies team have passed on their industry experience to a lot of hard-working students eager to boost their skills, but not many have had such a prodigious hunger for learning as Davide Davide (9)Cappelletto. During 2005 and 2006, Davide trained in no less than six different therapies at the College – Body Massage, Remedial Massage, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Aromatherapy and Thermal Auricular Therapy. ‘Davide was an exceptionally dedicated student,’ recalls his tutor, Georgia Christoforou. ‘In each of the courses he studied, he totally immersed himself in the subject, gained as much knowledge as possible from his tutors and took every opportunity to refine his skills.’

Ten years on, the dedication that Davide demonstrated during his time at the College has well and truly paid off as he now enjoys a rewarding and exciting role as ‘Soigneur’ (the vital member of a cycling team who gives massage, nutrition and a range of other assistance to riders) with Team GB Cycling while also working as a self-employed Holistic Therapist.

“I started studying massage therapy with the idea to go back into sport as a holistic therapist and City College gave me the knowledge and skills which are now the base of my career,” says Davide.  ‘I loved the atmosphere at the College and the way the tutors were pushing us to achieve more and get the best out of our time. I felt very inspired by them.  I still remember my first day at the College. When I showed up, I was pretty relaxed, expecting to have an induction day. As it turned out, within five minutes of the tutor entering the room, she was already getting us engaged with muscle physiology and massage techniques and that continual focus on learning was something that really stuck with me.’

Originally from Treviso in Italy, Davide returned to his native country after completing his studies at City College and within a year, had established his own Holistic Therapies clinic. At the same time, he focussed on gaining experience as a sports masseuse, initially in football but then in a sport that he has a huge passion Davide (7)for – cycling.  Having lent his skills to various local cycling teams, Davide had a lucky break while working at an under 17s race where he introduced himself to the Australian National team and offered his services. A year later, the team contacted him which led to a successful working partnership that lasted seven years. This period brought many career highlights for Davide. In 2009, one of the athletes he was working with, Jack Bobridge, became the Under-23 World Time Trial Champion in Mendrisio, Switzerland and in 2015, the Australian women’s pursuit team Davide was working with became world champions, beating the previous 2013 world record.  At the Track World Championships in Paris a couple of months later the Australian men’s Under 23 team he was working with, featuring track world champion Alexander Edmonson, won the Tour of Flanders Espoirs, the biggest one day race in the cycling calendar.

The latest exciting stage in Davide’s career came this year when Team GB opened a base to develop young talents in Montichiari in northern Italy and Davide was offered the opportunity to get involved. This month, he’ll be with the team in Belgium with a trip to Switzerland coming up in December. At the beginning of 2017, the new road season will commence and Davide will be working with a new Davide (6)group of up-and-coming young cyclists. ‘I love working in a sporting environment because you’re always having to overcome new challenges,’ he says. ‘Being a soigneur means taking care of the team at 360° – from well-being right through to the logistical side. As well as being involved with a sport that I’ve loved since I was a child, I’m now working on the development of the most talented young riders in the world and at times with the kind of elite athletes that I usually just follow on TV. There’s always something new to learn, professionally and personally, and it gives me lot of inspiration to put into my own clinic. There’s also a really interesting and satisfying contrast in my career because after working with top athletes, I love going back to my clinic and helping ‘ordinary’ people to find their balance and recover their health. I love the feeling of helping them and the personal fulfilment of seeing positive outcomes.’

Looking to the future, Davide’s greatest ambition is to be involved in the Olympics Davide (1)but he can still find much satisfaction in all that he’s achieved so far: ‘Working with the two nations that are leading the field in cycling for results, research and ethics and being in contact with top athletes is something that makes me feel really proud.’

So finally, what’s his advice to current Beauty & Holistic Therapies students who aspire to a successful career of their own?: ‘Don’t be scared of your own dreams.  Make them happen day by day, step by step. If you love your subject, let your own passion drive you – it will bring you there!’

For more information on Beauty & Holistic Therapies courses at City College, contact course information on 01273 667759, email or see




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#IAmWhole – Rizzle Kicks campaign to end mental health stigma

MontageMental health. It’s a thing we don’t really talk about. But it’s time we did.

We went along to the Brighton i360 for the launch of the NHS #IAmWhole campaign to find out why.

What is the #IAmWhole campaign? Well, It’s people calling out the deep-rooted stigma surrounding mental health difficulties.

It’s people standing up together, to offer support to the hundreds of thousands of children and young people facing the challenges mental health difficulties bring.

As it turns out, lots of people feel pretty strongly about helping to create the changes our society needs to see to an end to mental health stigma…

People like Jordan Stephens, James Corden, Adele Roberts, Jamal Edwards, Ed Sheeran, Dermot O’Leary, Dom Jolly, Miquita Oliver and James Arthur!

Jordan Stephens, one half of Rizzle Kicks has released a single to promote the campaign, check out the video for his new track ‘Whole’ to see what everyone’s been talking about!

So what’s happened to get all these people on board? As we learnt at the #IAmWhole launch, it all started with a lot of research by the NHS and YMCA into mental health stigma and how it’s affecting young people aged 11-24.

The head of research at the YMCA presented their report at the launch, when I heard the statistics I was stunned and it genuinely made me sad.….

70% of people said that stigma made them less likely to talk to others about their mental health and a staggering 54% said that this stigma originates from friends and relatives…Cuue0JsWYAAGmtL

I thought about people I know who have had mental health difficulties, and have made it through with help and support.

Isn’t it scary that so many young people feel they can’t ask for the help they need? Don’t you think it’s heart-breaking that it’s often because of the unintentional, but damaging stigma they experience from the people close to them?

I do.

When I watched the campaign video for #IAmWhole at the launch, it sent shivers down my spine and made me want to shout from the rooftops I AM WHOLE… and so are you.

Mental health difficulties do not make someone broken, so let’s be whole together and support the people we care for by combatting mental health stigma:

Challenge harmful language – so young people can ask for help and advice without fear of negative labels.

Encourage young people ask for support – from friends, parents, teachers, youth workers, or GP’s

Support people to find and get help – visit an online mental health service directory designed by young people for young people

Empower young people to tackle stigma!

If you or someone you know suffers from mental health difficulties, please join us in supporting the #IAmWhole campaign.CviWg6UXEAEEnXr

And if there is someone you know that needs a little extra love, reach out and help them get the help they need. Here are some great resources they can access: – Mental health service directory designed by and for young people.

Sussex Mental Healthline – Call 0300 5000 101 for support and information if you’re worried about your mental health. Lines are open overnight from 5.00pm to 9.00am, Monday to Friday, and 24hrs a day during weekends and Bank Holidays.

Samaritans – If you need support and someone to turn to: Call 08457 90 90 90 – lines are open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Or, you can visit the Samaritans Walk-in Service, Dubarry House, Newtown Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6AE – open from 10.00am to 10.00pm, 7 days a week.


Rheanna Davidge-Huxley

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Introducing South Lodge Hotel’s new Chef de Partie – City College alumnus, George Martin

Since 2014, 8 City College Catering students have been awarded coveted places in the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy, a two-year life-changing training programme from George Martin - Chefs AcademyExclusive Hotels and Venues. Each year, following a rigorous selection process, 12 places are awarded to the most impressive candidates from chef and catering colleges and universities across the UK. 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 Exclusive’s award-winning chefs.

City College’s George Martin was part of the Academy’s first intake and started his South Lodgejourney as a Commis Chef based at the 5-star South Lodge Hotel. In the first year, the programme involved him working his way around all the kitchen sections and he began making his mark as a very talented chef. One of the Academy’s youngest recruits, George immediately made the most of the learning opportunities offered through chef masterclasses and by visiting the sources of the great British ingredient – the producers.

By the end of his first year, he’d easily made the grade to become a Demi Chef de Partie and was placed in the second year of the programme at the Michelin-starredManor House Hotel kitchen at The Manor House, Castle Combe. George thrived in his new environment and impressed the Head Chef and the team with his hard work and attention to detail. He sailed through his second year at the Academy and would proudly take every opportunity to show off his skills to his peers.

Nearing the end of the two-year programme, as a final test for all Academy chefs to prove their worth, they have to apply for a Chef de Partie position, either in the kitchen they work in or in another Exclusive hotel kitchen. George chose to apply for a position back in the kitchen at South Lodge, where it had all begun.

“A lot of Head Chefs think it’s unrealistic to expect a young chef just out of college to be transformed into a Chef de Partie in just two years but I’d seen enough talent and ability in George to believe he could prove the doubters wrong,” says Andy Mackenzie, Executive Chef of the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy. “After George’s working interview, I asked Johnny Spires, the Head Chef that took him through his interview, to give me a call to let me know how he’d got on. When I got the call, I was delighted to hear Johnny say that he would have no hesitation in employing George as a Chef De Partie in his kitchen. Not only that, he told me that George had come back to South Lodge twice the chef from when he left a year ago. All this was music to my ears…”

George is relishing his new role at South Lodge and looks set to progress further up George Martin - Chef de Partie - Sept 16the ranks and make his mark on Sussex’s culinary scene. “I’m genuinely delighted and proud to achieve a Chef de Partie role at such a prestigious hotel as South Lodge,” says George. “Personally, I think I’ve matured a lot since I left home to join the Academy and professionally, my skills and knowledge have come on in leaps and bounds. It was thanks to Allan Paul, who tutored me throughout my time at City College, that I became aware of the Chefs’ Academy so I’ll always be indebted to Allan and the College’s Catering team for helping to steer my career in such a positive way.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Chefs’ Academy programme please email or apply online at

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

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How Art Foundation alumnus Ben designed his future

When he came to City College to study Art Foundation in 2003, born and bred Brightonian Ben Parrish was already harbouring ambitions to work in Ben Parrisharchitectural/interior design, but the skills he learnt on the course helped steer him in the direction of his subsequent design career. ‘All of us completed modules in many different fields in art and design such as print making, textiles, 3D, ceramics and fine art,’ recalls Ben. ’These have all been useful skills that I took with me to University and beyond and also helped to confirm that I was on the right path. I also met some fantastically talented and creative people at the College and seeing where many of my peers have gone in life and their careers is amazing!’

After City College, and gaining his Interior Architecture BA at the University of Brighton, Ben worked briefly in residential luxury design to get a feel for that sector before a game-changing career break working as a Design Assistant for acclaimed eco designer and media personality Oliver Heath. ‘That was a really exciting time,’ says Ben. ‘I learnt so much about the effects of design on the built environment and how to put an eco ethos at the heart of design in a beautiful way.’ From there, Ben’s career took another big leap forward when his flair and talent secured him a Lead Interior/Shop Designer role in luxury fashion retail with the world-renowned UK fashion house, Paul Smith: ‘I worked on some fantastic projects internationally, spending lots of time in Japan which was a real highlight of my career. I was able to explore different cultures from many perspectives, not just as a tourist.’

Having achieved such an enviable role with considerable perks (‘Being able to stay Ben Parrish example (4)in beautiful hotels around the world was a nice touch!’, he says) it would have been understandable if Ben had become complacent, but that’s not in his nature: ‘I think its important to continually test your strengths and weaknesses with new challenges to keep the excitement of a career alive and to develop in any field. Being in an innovative environment is important to me because it keeps me constantly thinking, improving and learning. I particularly enjoy the delivery of projects and ensuring that clients get the ‘wow’ factor they expect.’

The latest addition to Ben’s CV is an exciting new role as Senior Project Manager for Ben Parrish example (3)leading visual communications agency Elemental Design (whose incredible client list includes Harrods, Maserati, Zegna, L’Oreal, Louis Vuitton and Veuve Clicquot), building on the project delivery expertise he’s gained throughout his working life. Of his latest career move, Ben says: ‘I’m looking forward to hopefully becoming a key player within the team and progressing the business and my own career within Elemental Design.’

Looking back, Ben takes pride in how he progressed from a junior position to a senior role within a short space of time and he’s relished the opportunity to interact Ben Parrish example (2)with so many different cultures in the course of his career but he still yearns to work in his home town. ‘I’m a proud Brightonian and have no desire to move away,’ he says. ‘Commuting for many years takes its toll after a while but it’s worth it to be able to spend weekends in such a fantastic city. Maybe a few years down the line, I’ll fulfil my dream of running a nice café/bistro or small hotel – all with design flair of course!’

Many of City College’s current Art Foundation students will no doubt look at Ben’s career in design and aspire to emulate it. So what’s his career advice for these budding designers? ‘Work comes from work,’ he says. ‘If you get stuck or have a block, just do something, anything! Even if you know instantly its wrong, it may spark the idea you were looking for. And never give up. It can be tough starting out in the design world and there is lots of competition so make sure you present yourself and your personality as well as your work. People invest in people as well as their ideas.’

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How City College provided a springboard for digital marketing entrepreneur Ben

From starting his own car-washing business as an 8-year-old because he desired more cash than pocket money provided, Ben Lambert has shown business Ben Lambertacumen from an early age. He also demonstrated precocious culinary gifts, being offered an apprenticeship with the legendary Roux brothers when he was just 14 and later working for a year at Le Gavroche in Mayfair under the mentorship of Michel Roux Junior. Ben has retained his love of the culinary arts and cites cooking for A-list celebs such as Tom Jones, Cher and Bob Geldof as a career highlight but while still in his teens, he came to the conclusion that the chef’s life wasn’t for him.

When it comes to his current career as a digital marketing entrepreneur, City College provided a springboard for Ben when he enrolled on a Business course in 1999. Ben thrived at College and achieved a distinction. “As well as being the place where I met my first proper girlfriend (!), my time at the College gave me a high-level broad understanding of business,” he says. “Even today, I still use what I learnt on the course when I’m writing a business plan.” His success on the course led to him being offered a place on a fast-track management programme at American Express where he later held marketing and project management positions and implemented a counter fraud system that saved the company $1.8m a day.

After five years at American Express, and still aged just 23, Ben took the plunge to start his own business and along with co-founding director Duncan Lindsay, he launched Networks Centre with just a laptop and a mobile. The company grew to become major cabling and security product distributors, with over 50 staff, 70,000 square foot of warehouse capacity, over 1000 active accounts throughout the UK and Europe and a turnover of over £12million.  Then, in 2013, Ben made the Neptkik collagedecision to sell his stake in the business, consolidate his skills in marketing and fulfil the ambition of starting his own digital agency in Brighton. Neptik was born and the company now provides creative digital services which enable a range of hospitality, lifestyle and business-2-business clients to maximise their business. Current clients include Michelin star chefs Galvin Brothers’ new restaurant in Dubai, Journeys by Design, HSBC insurance, Infinity Foods and Jessella – the UK’s biggest cladding company.

These are exciting times for Ben as he aims to expand Neptik and support
Brighton’s booming digital sector. “It’s not necessarily about us becoming theNeptik team Oct 16 (2)
biggest agency, but I want us to be the best,” 
he says. “I love the challenge of growing the business, training new staff and building the team and it’s so rewarding to be working on creative projects that we can really get our teeth into. Aside from work, I’m also very much focussed on being a dad. My 6 year old daughter lives with me half the week and it’s a huge part of my life.”

As for his advice for City College’s current Business students and budding entrepreneurs, Ben’s message is all about persistence: “When you think things aren’t progressing as you wish, just keep going and going and going…”

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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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