Former international rugby star, Scott Quinnell visited Sussex Coast College earlier this week to inspire and motivate young people.
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The former Scarletts and Wales International spoke in front of hundreds of students at the Station Plaza and Ore campuses about his illustrious playing career, how he realised the importance of setting goals, and how he overcame his difficulties with dyslexia.
Scott had to wait until he was 32 to be diagnosed with dyslexia, and during his speech, explained his struggles with reading, writing and spelling in his younger years.
Scott found his passion in rugby and told students about his dream of playing for the British and Irish Lions during their tour of Australia in 2001, before he finished his career. He was very honest about his lowest moment of dyslexia and explained how he overcame his obstacles and decided to not let dyslexia hold him back any longer.
Scott Quinnell said: “When I was at school, I was told that I was thick, stupid and lazy. I didn’t know that I had dyslexia. It made me want to hide away at the back of the class, hoping that the teacher wouldn’t notice me. Rugby was the only thing that kept me going. It was the reason that I woke up in the morning with a smile on my face. Luckily enough, I was quite good and was able to make a career out of it.”
“Self-esteem is very important in anything you do, and trying your best is all anyone can ask of you. My dyslexia was confirmed when I was 32, and I’ve not let it hold me back since.”
Since finishing his playing career, Scott has written a quick read book, regularly commentates for Sky Sports, started a scented candle business and has taken up pottery.
After his talks, students had the opportunity to meet and talk to Scott as he visited a number of classrooms at Station Plaza and Ore, including the carpentry workshop, the gym, and the coast restaurant.
Students, Connor Brown and Charley-Louise Burlace were invited to join Scott for lunch in the college restaurant, where he asked them about their goals and ambitions, before presenting them with a signed rugby ball to celebrate their achievements at college.
Scott’s visit and motivational talk helped to demonstrate the commitment the college has to students with dyslexia. Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that is estimated to affect 1 in 10 people in the UK.
Last year, the college was awarded the Dyslexia quality mark for their excellent standards and support they offer to students with dyslexia, one of the only colleges in East Sussex to be awarded the accreditation.
The next Team programme of the Prince’s Trust at Sussex Coast College Hastings is recruiting for its April start, and is encouraging more young people to get involved.
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The ever-popular programme aims to give young people, aged 16-25, in Hastings, Rother and Bexhill a chance to take control of their lives and gain valuable skills in team building and employability.
Since the Prince’s Trust Team programme started at Sussex Coast College in September 2014, it has helped almost 100 young people get back into education, training, and find employment.
Aaron Neal, who joined Team last year, said that the Prince’s Trust was the best thing he has ever done.
“Before I started the Team programme I was doing nothing with my life and was getting really bored. When my friend Chris told me he was doing the Prince’s Trust course, I thought it sounded loads of fun so I decided to join the next one. It was the best thing I could have ever done.
My favourite part was spending a week in Ashdown Forest during the residential trip, where I completed an amazing abseil, spent a day canoeing, tried out archery and went on a night hike. It was good to try out new things, overcome my fears and make lots of new friends.
During the course I learnt how to set my own goals, take part in a work placement, and achieved so much in the 14 weeks. Now I am a much more confident person and I am not afraid to get my ideas across.
After Team I joined the Basic Construction Skills course at SCCH, and now I am doing the Bricklaying course, which I really enjoy.
Team has taught me to give everything and try not to let opportunities pass me by. I have big dreams for my future now; I really want to get a job in the building trade and move into my own flat.
I would tell anyone who is thinking of joining Team to just go for it. You’ll have an amazing time, make new friends and become a more confident person. The Team Leaders really get to know you and can help you to achieve great things. I had the best time on Team.”
The Team programme at Sussex Coast is generously supported by a number of local organisations who give their time to support and develop young people. Officers from the Hastings Police Force have been influential in providing peer support and encouragement by rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in with practical activities, as well as supporting Team members’ job search activities and sharing experiences of work to create a better understanding of the workplace.
Not only have officers from Hastings Police dedicated 20 days during each Team programme, they have also donated over £1000 to enable the Prince’s Trust Team to enjoy things like breakfast club, and have the opportunity to experience lots of engaging activities.
For every £1 that is invested in Team, £2.99 of social value, with a collective benefit to the community, is created. On average, each Team invests the equivalent of £2,745 into their community; and it is thought that 65% of community projects, like the recent regeneration of the Hastings Court Care Home gardens, wouldn’t happen without the involvement of Team.
Sussex Coast College Hastings is inviting students to come and get a taste of college life during an up and coming Open Evening.
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On Thursday 23rd March, between 5-7pm, the college will be welcoming students and parents to their station Plaza campus, to offer a good look around the college, chat to tutors and current students, and get stuck into a whole host of STEM themed activities.
The Open Evening is open to all secondary school students, but is specifically designed to help Year 10 students make informed choices about their next steps after school.
Throughout the evening, curriculum tutors from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths will come together to offer students the chance to learn about the workings of the human eye, explore a virtual world using the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and experiment with non-Newtonian fluids. The other curriculum areas will also be putting on a number of activities for students to get involved with.
Haematology specialist and University lecturer, Dr Claire Marriott, will be giving an insight into working in STEM, along with Engineering and Tech specialists, General Dynamics, the East Sussex Astrology Society, Leap Environmental and Electrical specialists, Marshall Tufflex, will all be on hand to offer students a further look into the future and talk about potential careers in STEM industries.
Principal, Clive Cooke, said: “STEM subjects are very important in today’s world, which is why we would like to invite you to our Open Evening. I think there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about STEM, and our Open Evening is a chance to see how much fun these subjects can be.”
“The college is very passionate about helping students study the subjects that they are interested in, and we support student’s development through STEM events like this one and the Women in Maths event held each year at Station Plaza.”
Studying STEM subjects at school and college can open many doors to thousands of jobs opportunities. Along with the traditional careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, you could find yourself manufacturing and developing an exciting new variety of chocolate bar or changing the future of eco-friendly cars.
It is thought that almost three quarters of businesses in the UK rely on people with STEM skills to help their business function, from IT technicians to accountants. However, it is also thought that 40,000 job roles within STEM industries go unfilled each year. When coupled with the fact that less than a fifth of the STEM workforce in the UK is women, there is huge potential for young people, particularly females, to get into STEM.
Each week, students from all over the world visit the college to study and explore Hastings and the South East.
We recently had a chat with Silke, a student from Belgium, who studied at SCCH for one term during our English Plus course.
“Hi, I’m Silke and I’m from Beerzel, which is just south of Antwerp in Belgium.
I am 17 years old and have joined SCCH for one term on the English Plus programme, studying the A-Level option. In a typical week I study English for 16 hours along with Media Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies and French.
When I was planning my study trip, I had a few other colleges to choose from, but Sussex Coast College was by far the most interesting. The building is unbelievably modern and I love the natural light. The facilities are excellent too; Dine servers really tasty food, there is a Subway if you are in a rush, and the coffee shop servers great coffee. It's something I could only dream about in my school in Belgium.
The lessons are fun, and I am getting a great feel for what it is like to study in England. My tutors are very friendly and always happy to help me when I don't understand something.
My host family lives quite close to the college, which is really handy. My host mother is a great cook and makes me feel very welcome. There is also a Turkish student who lives in the same house and we get along very well.
When I go back to Belgium, I will finish my current year and then next year I am hoping to study applied linguistics. My dream is to become a translator one day. I already speak Flemish, and I guess my English isn’t too bad, but I would like to speak and write English, French, German and Spanish fluently.”
As another National Apprenticeship Week comes to an end, Sussex Coast College Hastings is hailing the 10th anniversary as a success for Apprenticeships.
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National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) has this year focused on getting more people into apprenticeships, by providing them with a ladder of opportunity.
Since NAW started in 2007, the college has been a passionate supporter of apprenticeships. The college was instrumental in helping 1,066 people get back into education and training in 2014, and last summer, challenged the so-called negative image problem, with a number of positive student stories.
Samantha McIver, who has almost finished her advanced apprenticeship at Sussex Coast College, has a very positive view about apprenticeships and says that they are perfect for helping you to start your career and get that all important foot in the door.
Samantha said: “I think apprenticeships are brilliant. They give you much more opportunity to find a career that you want to do. Some people go to university and study for 3 years, and when they graduate they find it so difficult to get the job they want.”
Samantha was 1 of almost 3,000 people who started an apprenticeship with the college and its partner organisations last year. Samantha now helps to make up 5% of the college’s full-time workforce.
Samantha continued: “I think that apprenticeships will continue to grow in popularity, especially when the changes are introduced later this year. It will give people even more reason to start an apprenticeship.
Changes to apprenticeships will see funding being made more available to businesses and individuals, and the range and level of qualifications that an apprentice can study, increasing too, taking away past limitations.
“I feel that the government are really starting to see the worth in apprenticeships by opening up the range and level of qualifications you can study. I think this is a great starting point and hopefully we’ll start to see lots of new opportunities opening up in businesses and sectors that you may not expect.”
The college, through Sussex Skills Solutions, its partnership with Sussex Downs College, currently offers apprenticeships in over 30 different frameworks, and is able to offer businesses information, advice and guidance on employing an apprentice and develop qualifications aligned to their needs.
College students from Sussex and Kent will be embarking on the work experience opportunity of a life-time in Spain later this month, thanks to a new project funded by the European Union.
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Sussex Coast College Hastings, West Kent College, and Mid Kent College, have teamed up to secure funding from the European Union Erasmus Plus programme to enable their students to undertake a four week work placement abroad.
30 students, who study Hospitality and Catering, Travel and Tourism and Business, will be part of the first of 8 groups to travel to Seville, in Spain over the next two years.
Over 200 students will benefit from the funding that has been secured by the colleges, allowing them to gain valuable work experience in hotels, bars, restaurants and in some of Seville’s top tourism attractions.
The students got to know each other during a tapas evening held at Sussex Coast College Hastings earlier this week before they fly out to Spain on Monday 13th March.
Clive Cooke, Principal of Sussex Coast College Hastings said: “We are delighted that we were able to secure this European Union funding to offer such a unique opportunity to the students. It will be a wonderful chance for them to gain valuable work experience, boosting their employability, all while getting a taste of the Spanish culture in such a beautiful city.”