Alexander Eves proudly holding his award in Stratford-upon-College’s television studio.

Budding Film Director Wins Festival Accolade

A young Stratford-based film director has received an award at a national film festival celebrating his cinematic prowess.

Alexander Eves, aged 19, received the Best Director – Drama prize at the Royal Television Society’s Young People’s Media Festival held in Sunderland. Alexander, who studies Creative Media at Stratford-upon-Avon College, was stunned to hear his three-minute short film Bloom received such a prestigious award at the ceremony. “I was so surprised to hear I’d won. The standard of competition from the other nominees was incredibly high.”

Bloom chronicles the life of a man who finds himself living as the last human on Earth. Despite the many difficulties he faces, the character realises that he actually leads a happier existence now that he is detached from the trappings of modern culture and technology.

Discussing the genesis of the film, Alexander said, “I was initially inspired by a video I watched on social media which discussed the detrimental effect that mobile phones have on people. I had already created a film trailer for the story as part of a previous project, and I decided that I wanted to expand on the idea and apply the skills I’ve developed on my College course to a new interpretation of the project.

“My Creative Media course has given me lots of practical experience and support throughout the development of the film. The lecturers really helped me to get a sense of how to produce a film professionally with effective camera and sound techniques.”

The film was produced as part of his College course, for which he was assigned the open-ended objective of creating a three-minute short film with a narrative.

Alexander, who is currently compiling a portfolio of his work with the aim of working in the film industry as an editor, can’t wait to move on to his next production. “I’ve learnt so much throughout the process of making Bloom. I’m excited about getting started on my next project and seeing if it gets noticed at any future festivals.”

Alexandrina Podosu receiving her award from Stratford-upon-Avon College Principal and CEO Andrew Cropley

International Student’s Dedication Rewarded at Awards Ceremony

The exceptional progress of an international student studying at Stratford-upon-Avon College has been recognised at an annual awards ceremony, and the resulting boost to her confidence has seen her inspired to fulfil her ambitions.

Alexandrina Podosu, who lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, is originally from Romania and came to the UK with her three sons in July 2016 to join her husband who had been here since January. She was presented with the International and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Student of the Year award during the College Student Awards Ceremony which took place on Thursday 4 May, and the resulting boost to her confidence has seen her inspired to fulfil her ambitions.

Alexandrina had a strong grasp of written English before moving to the UK, using it as part of her job running an Accountancy firm. However, after relocating, she was initially frustrated at the problems she had communicating verbally. She commented “I used to communicate with my clients by email and letter in English so when I came to the UK I thought speaking to everyone would be no problem. But when I actually tried to speak English with someone it was so difficult and I got really frustrated with myself.”

Initially enrolling on the ESOL Entry Level 2 class last September, in a very short time Alexandrina progressed to the Entry 3 qualification and is currently preparing to sit her final writing exam.

She has a clear career path planned, with an aim to set up a new business as an accountant in the UK. Whilst studying on the ESOL course, Alexandrina also took an online qualification in accountancy computer programmes, passing the course with distinction.  Not content to stop here, she has now even enrolled on a Book Keeping course at the College.

Alexandrina’s ESOL teacher at the College, Anne Ward, is delighted that one of her hard-working students has been recognised at the Awards Ceremony. Anne explained “She has shown total commitment to her coursework, always does extra homework, and spends a lot of time on independent study. She has also inspired her children to study hard to fulfil their own ambitions, passing on to them the strategies and skills she’s learnt and encouraging them to read books and write reviews.

“I firmly believe that the foundation of Alexandrina’s success has been her extremely positive attitude to all aspects of life in the UK.”

Thanks to the success of her studies and her recent award, Alexandrina’s confidence has grown immensely. “It’s something huge for me – to come here to the UK, start a new course and now to receive this. When I received the letter telling me I was nominated I was so excited. And then when I was named as the winner I couldn’t believe it – I was thrilled!

“The support and teaching at the College is fantastic. Anne gave me confidence in myself and so much encouragement. She told me to try to have a conversation with someone in English every day. So I made sure I spoke to the other mums when waiting to pick my sons up from school. Now I have some English friends and I speak with them all the time.”

Business Support Apprentice Lauren Preece congratulated by College Principal and CEO Andrew Cropley.

Venture House Business Support Apprentice is Apprentice of the Year

Venture House, which is owned and managed by Stratford-upon-Avon District Council, was created to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and offer support to existing small enterprises. Business Support Apprentice Lauren Preece, whose apprenticeship training is delivered by Stratford-upon-Avon College, won the award at the College’s own Student Awards Ceremony on Thursday 4 May 2017.

The event recognised students of all abilities for their achievements throughout the academic year. The District Council was in attendance and was pleased to sponsor the ‘Rising Star’ Award category.

Lauren, 21 from Bidford-upon-Avon, is thrilled with her win. “Winning the Apprentice of the Year award was a massive shock! To be nominated was amazing, but to actually have that achievement under my belt is brilliant. Having this award will hopefully show any future employer my willingness not only to learn and progress, but also how important it is to me to do well in my career.

“Throughout my apprenticeship I have received wonderful support from the College Apprenticeship Team, and know that, should I struggle with any aspect of my apprenticeship, they are only an email or phone call away!I feel without the help and support of the College team, as well as the team at Venture House, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and so early on in my career.

“It has been a real privilege to be a student at Stratford-upon-Avon College, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me!”

Nancy Singleton, Business Enterprise & Tourism Manager, Stratford District Council said: “We are delighted that Lauren has been recognised for her achievement at such an early stage in her apprenticeship. This is testimony to the enthusiasm, approach and commitment she demonstrates in all aspects of her work at Venture House and the success of the centre.  We look forward to helping her to develop further into her role. She is a great ambassador for apprenticeships and, through her first-hand experience, she is able to encourage others to consider embarking on a similar route.”

Miv Wright, Business Development Manager at Stratford-upon-Avon College, presented Lauren with her award.“Lauren is a committed, enthusiastic individual who, since day one of her Apprenticeship, has demonstrated a mature and outstanding work ethic. Her willingness and ability to support others and complete tasks to a high standard has meant she is a great asset to her manager Nancy and the team at Venture House Business Centre.”

Jonathan Browning, Chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) said, “Not only is this a great accolade for Lauren, it demonstrates the Council’s commitment to supporting the apprenticeship and skills agenda, and its desire to help inspire a new generation of talent, not only for its staff but for the clients who frequent the great business facility that Venture House provides.”

Dave Saul and Melissa Summerfield

College Fundraising Gears Up for Cyclists Charity Dinner

A local cancer charity is working in partnership with Stratford-upon-Avon College to raise money to enable children and young people living with cancer to regain their physical fitness.

The collaboration between Cyclists Fighting Cancer (CFC) and the Warwickshire FE College has resulted in the upcoming dining event CFC Pre-Tour Charity Dinner, which will ensure all attendees start their Tour de France preparations in style with a themed six-course menu served in the College’s Academy Restaurant.

The event, due to take place on Thursday 15th June from 6:45pm, is masterminded by Dave Saul, Catering lecturer at the College, and his students.

Dave is a keen cyclist and he found himself inspired to organise the event after he signed up for CFC’s Million Mile Bike Ride, as means of generating further funds for their cause.

This year-long campaign encourages all bike enthusiasts to contribute their cycling miles and collectively ride 1,000,000 miles throughout 2017. They have a target of raising £250,000 which will support 21 Children’s oncology units throughout the UK.

The money will provide services specific to each unit’s requirements and individual children’s needs, such as bikes and specialist rehabilitation equipment, allowing them to help rebuild the strength and confidence of young people fighting cancer.

Dave is totally committed to the project: “I can’t think of a more worthwhile cause than helping children recover from cancer. I’m delighted to be involved not only with the Bike Ride but also with the dinner which will boost CFC funds even further – as well as providing us with what is certain to be a thoroughly enjoyable evening! I’m immensely proud of the students for getting behind the project with such enthusiasm and dedication.”

Sarah Lakey, Fundraising Manager from Cyclists Fighting Cancer, said, “When Dave first approached us with his plans for riding and fundraising this year we never expected it to develop into such a great opportunity to sample some amazing food from this year’s Tour de France route.

“We are thrilled to be working with Stratford-upon-Avon College and it’s fantastic to hear the students are excited to be working on the project. As a charity we give bikes and trikes to children to help with their recovery from cancer, many of which go to children the same age as the students. It really is wonderful for them to give up their time to help children and teenagers living with and beyond cancer.”

In honour of the Tour de France, the dinner will follow a culinary journey that reflects that of the famous cycling contest in 2017, with courses influenced by dishes from Germany, Belgium and France itself.

Professional Catering student Melissa Summerfield, 17 from Stratford-upon-Avon, is delighted with the quality of the menu he and his fellow students have devised so far. “We’re using our culinary skills and imagination to create a unique menu that will represent the Tour de France route, and we’re working really hard to perfect all our dishes so that the dinner is worthy of cycling champions.”

For more details on Cyclists Fighting Cancer, please see If you are interested in taking part in the Million Mile Bike Ride, please visit

To book tickets for the CFC Pre-Tour Charity Dinner, please go to

Dress code: smart casual… or cycling gear!

Level 2 Professional Catering Apprentice Charlotte Bailey

Apprentice of the Month – April 2017

Congratulations to Level 2 Professional Catering apprentice Charlotte Bailey — April 2017’s Apprentice of the Month.

Charlotte’s manager at the White Hart Inn (Ufton, Leamington Spa), Carly Boskett, commented:

Charlotte is an absolute credit to our team, her positive can-do attitude and willingness to learn new skills is very refreshing. Her attitude has made a positive impact on my business and we would be lost without her.

Stratford-upon-Avon College Work Based Learning Team Leader Bryan Anderson commented:

Impact and success at work and through her technical certificate results. Outstanding scores on first attempt each time.

Are you aged 16+? Do you wish to combine working and earning while learning a professional skill? Would you like to gain nationally recognised qualifications?

Stratford-upon-Avon College

College Looks to Future Partnership

Stratford-upon-Avon College is forging ahead with its plans to secure a merger with a suitable partner.

A favourable collaboration will ensure that the College continues to provide the best possible Further Education opportunities for the local community, and the three-stage process to secure the ideal partnership is now formally under way.

Following valuable input from its staff, students and external stakeholders, the College has drawn up a vision document which will form a key part of the assessment criteria for the merger proposals. It stresses the College’s commitment to maintaining its current identity and its role within the community by continuing to provide a broad Further Education curriculum on the site.

As always, the College’s main priorities are the interests of the students, staff and the wider local community. To ensure these interests are met, potential partners are asked as part of the process to demonstrate how they will develop their understanding of Stratford’s unique character and to commit to supporting local businesses and communities.

Principal Andrew Cropley

Stratford-upon-Avon College Principal & Chief Executive Andrew Cropley

College Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Cropley is very optimistic about the future: “I am delighted that the College has been approached by a number of organisations keen to collaborate with us. Each potential partner would not only bring unique strengths to the merger, but has also already identified several benefits that a partnership would bring. We hope to be in a position to name our chosen partner before the end of May and I see a bright future ahead for a re-invigorated College.”

Meanwhile, the College’s message is that it’s business as usual; it is currently recruiting students and apprentices as normal, onto its full range of courses, ready to start a new academic year of teaching in September.

Motor Vehicle students

College to Rev Up Excitement at Motoring Show

Visitors to the Stratford Festival of Motoring will be able to get hands-on, thanks to a series of interactive demonstrations by Stratford-upon-Avon College’s Motor Vehicle department.

The 2017 Stratford Festival of Motoring, organised by Stratforward BID, takes place on Sunday, April 30th and Monday, May 1st and is sure to attract car enthusiasts from across the country.

Stratford-upon-Avon College has teamed up with festival sponsor Listers to run the demonstrations including changing a wheel and basic car maintenance techniques, giving people of all ages the chance to get their hands dirty and have a bit of fun, while learning about cars.

Sponsor Listers will be showcasing cars from five dealerships on Waterside and Bridge Street as well as providing the car for the Stratford-upon-Avon College demonstrations, which will be run by staff, students and apprentices.

The weekend will also include organised ‘runs’ out into the Warwickshire and Gloucestershire countryside on the Sunday and Monday morning, followed by the spectacular sight of 300 cars parked in the town centre streets, showcasing some of the world’s finest motor heritage.

Ian Watson, Motor Vehicle lecturer at the College, said: “Joining forces with Listers at the Festival is a wonderful opportunity for our Motor Vehicle department and for the College as a whole. The students and apprentices will have the chance to share their skills with members of the public and demonstrate the successful practical training that epitomises the College’s vocational courses.”

Stratford-upon-Avon College will have a stand at the festival in the family area in Rother Market. As well as interactive demonstrations, staff and students will be on hand to discuss course options and College life with visitors. The College offers apprenticeships, full-time diplomas and part-time leisure learning, all provided by a highly experienced, knowledgeable team in an industry-standard workshop.

Young Chef Club

College Gets Behind Healthy Eating With Young Chef Club

Calling all future Masterchef and Bake-off champions!

Thanks to a £35,000 grant from the Forte and Savoy hotel chains, Stratford-upon-Avon College is to run a series of courses promoting cooking skills and healthy eating to Warwickshire’s young people.

In keeping with its commitment to teaching essential life skills, the College is introducing a Young Chef Club aimed at students aged 13 to 17 who are keen to learn about cookery and develop their culinary talent.

The first Club, to run for 6 weeks on Saturday mornings, will launch on 6 May, with following terms, as well as a Young Bakers Club, planned for the remainder of 2017. The generous sponsorship enables the College to offer the full 6-week course for only £60, which will include the cost of all equipment and ingredients, so the students have nothing further to pay.

Each week will see the budding chefs produce a different dish, with firm favourites including burgers, pasta and sticky toffee pudding on the menu. The emphasis is on healthy eating and cost efficiency, with everything prepared from scratch, using fresh ingredients.

The final class will be followed by a Graduation Ceremony, co-hosted by Mark Lee, Senior Operations Manager at Lovely Pubs Group, who is eager to meet the next generation of chefs. Parents and guardians will be invited to attend too, and will get to sample canapés produced by the students themselves.

Shelley McGonigle, Assistant Head of Catering at the College, is delighted to add “Young Chef Club teacher” to her job description. “I feel passionately that all teenagers should be taught vital life skills such as cooking healthy, nutritious food on a budget. Our aim is to show our young chefs that cooking fresh meals doesn’t just promote healthy eating – it can be great fun as well!”

So whether you are thinking of progressing to one of the College’s full-time Catering programmes or taking up one of the many fantastic Professional Cookery Apprenticeship placements available – or simply want to learn how to cook tasty, healthy meals without spending a fortune – come and join our Young Chef Club!

Young Chef Club

  • Start date: 06/05/2017
  • End date: 09/06/2017
  • Time: 10am-1pm
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Audience: 14-18 year olds
  • Cost: £60 per person

Please contact us on 01789 417 414 or email for more information.


Level 2 Engineering Apprentices Sam Cox-Brann, Oliver Stratford and Oliver Parry

Apprentice of the Month – March 2017

Congratulations to Level 2 Engineering apprentices Sam Cox-Brann, Oliver Stratford and Oliver Parry — March 2017’s Apprentices of the Month.

The apprentice’s manager at Freeman & Pardoe, Les Haywood, commented:

Excellent progress made within their qualifications both at College and in the workplace. They have been trained up on a new laser machine that the rest of the staff have not so this shows how much faith the company is putting in them. They have also recommended work improvements and presented it to the management and it was accepted and implemented improving output by 50%.

Are you aged 16+? Do you wish to combine working and earning while learning a professional skill? Would you like to gain nationally recognised qualifications?

Ellipsis by Liz Hughes

Media Students’ Short Films 2016/2017

Second year media students were recently challenged to showcase their talent by independently producing a short film. Students were given free rein to choose whatever theme, story and genre they felt appropriate with the only guidance stipulating that the films should be representative of them as filmmakers and the skills they have developed during their course.

Three of the films (Ellipsis, Bloom and Incubus) were subsequently accepted as entrants into the Royal Television Society Young People’s Media Festival 2017.