Bridgwater principal elected AoC president
Fiona McMillan, principal of Bridgwater College in Somerset, has been elected the Association of Colleges' new president.
Ms McMillan will take up the role on 1 August when the term of current president Chris Morecroft expires. After beginning her career in schools in London and Dorset, she switched to FE three years later, beginning a 25-year career in the sector. She has been principal at Bridgwater since 1994 and her college won an "outstanding" rating from Ofsted in 2004. She said: "I see the AoC's role as supporting and promoting a sector which is creative, responsive and very good value for money. It will be a great honour to represent colleges as AoC president."
pound;167k grant to boost engineering careers for women
West Nottinghamshire College has launched a project to encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering, after winning a pound;167,000 grant from the National Apprenticeship Service. Through the project, called "Women in Engineering", it hopes to invite 450 teenagers to engineering workshops and recruit 150 female engineering apprentices by March next year. Graham Howe, director of employer engagement at the college, said: "Although the image of engineering as a dirty, male-dominated industry is gradually changing, nationally there is still a culture of recruiting a young, male workforce. Consequently, many young women don't realise the career opportunities available to them."
BTEC students keep control of wedding crowds
Students from Fareham College in Hampshire studying a programme in crowd safety acted as stewards in Trafalgar Square during the royal wedding to help control a crowd of an estimated one million people. The students, taking a BTEC in understanding security at public events, are part of the Bridging the Gap programme, which aims to train stewards for the 2012 Olympics. As part of the course they have worked with local security firms at football matches and VIP visits. Robbie Naish, training and operational manager at the college, said: "They really worked hard on what was a very long day. Dealing with the public can be quite difficult but the students overcame any problems that faced them."
Hot new food academy to ease curry chef crisis
Bradford College has launched an International Food Academy aimed at training chefs to meet what the college says is a "crisis" shortage of skilled Indian cooks. More restrictive immigration laws are preventing restaurateurs from recruiting from the Indian subcontinent, the college said, creating a need for homegrown chefs. The academy will offer qualifications in Asian and international cooking, ranging from apprenticeships to degree-level programmes. Graham Fleming, head of the academy, said: "I think it's a superb opportunity for Bradford to shine. A number of restaurants that began in Bradford have now become national chains - we want to mirror that success with the academy, helping to create award-winning chefs of the future."
Creative skills centre eases shortages backstage
The National Skills Academy for creative and cultural skills is building a training centre with South Essex College for backstage skills in theatre and live music. Intended to provide training for 11,000 16 to 19-year- olds, the centre, on a pound;60 million site in Thurrock, will work alongside the Royal Opera House's new production workshop, which creates the elaborate backdrops and spectacular scenery for the Covent Garden theatre. The centre, which will offer a purpose-built practice theatre and a large- scale fly-tower to allow students to work with lighting, sound and rigging at a professional standard, is intended to address a shortage of 30,000 people needed to work in backstage industries over the next decade, according to the academy.