At a Glance

Lecturer wins world blacksmithery title

A lecturer at Warwickshire College has won the world championship for blacksmithery. Michelle Parker defeated rivals from all over the globe to claim the title at the European Biennial of the Blacksmiths in Tuscany, Italy. Ms Parker, who runs her own blacksmith business and is forge manager at the college, had just three hours to craft her winning entry: a prehistoric creature clasping a book in its claw. She is also the first woman to become a fellow of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths for more than 600 years.

Surrey calls on firms to recruit 200 apprentices

Surrey council is spearheading a push to help recruit 200 apprentices in the county in 100 days. The authority is looking to reduce unemployment among young people as it bids to ensure all 16 to 19-year-olds in Surrey are in education, training or employment by 2015. It is encouraging all local firms to offer one or more apprenticeships. Council leader Andrew Povey said: "I'm calling for Surrey employers to throw their weight behind this drive and help to guide apprentices into the world of work at the same time as building up the skills they will need in the future."

Torched manor to reopen as training restaurant

A historic building in Corby, Northamptonshire, is to reopen as a training restaurant and conference facility. The Manor House will house Tresham College's catering and hospitality students, as well as a fully licensed restaurant for up to 50 diners. The building has been out of use since it was gutted after it was torched by arsonists in 2009. Elspeth Sully, the college's director of IT and resources, said: "The students will learn how fast they need to work, and also learn skills such as sculpting food and producing high-class cuisine from other cultures."

College offers pilates for horses

Derby College has started offering pilates workshops - for horses rather than humans. The form of exercise is popular with humans across the globe, but veterinary physiotherapist Hannah Haskew said this was the first time it has been offered for horses. "By strengthening the core muscles you can get better performance in your horse, better flexibility and better competition results. It can also help with rehabilitation of back problems and help to reduce the incidence of back problems in horses," she said.

Trainee chefs move into pound;300,000 kitchen

The first cohort of trainee chefs have donned their whites in Cornwall College's spectacular new pound;300,000 training kitchen. The facility at the college's Saltash campus will be used by full- time post-16 learners and young people from local schools. The college has appointed Jan Langley, who has more than 30 years' experience in the industry, as chef lecturer. "These fantastic new facilities will allow budding chefs to hone their skills in industry standard surroundings without having to travel too far from home," she said.

Capital funding grants worth pound;100m on offer

New details of a pound;100 million capital funding injection for FE colleges have been announced. Renewal grants worth pound;25 million - equating to pound;100,000 for each eligible institution - are on offer, providing that the college funds at least two-thirds of the project costs itself. Further matched grants worth up to pound;2 million are also up for grabs. The Skills Funding Agency will give priority to colleges whose schemes promote economic growth and skills, as well as improvements to facilities for learners with disabilities.

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