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Building firm foundations for the future

A multi-million pound project to create the new North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College (NSETC) in Weston-super-Mare is well under way.

Building work on the purpose-built premises at the Junction 21 Enterprise Area is on schedule to be complete in July 2016. The building will then open its doors to its first students in September 2016.

Last November, BAM Construct UK was awarded the £12 million contract to build the centre, which is part of the Weston College Group.

Over the next four weeks, the foundations will be laid for the main building and adjoining sports hall, and by the end of July work is set to start on the structure’s steel frame.

Dr Paul Phillips OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of NSETC sponsor Weston College said: “This plot of land is being transformed into a place for innovative, work-related, learning. “This project reinforces the relationship between the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, Weston College, and North Somerset Council. It recognises the massive work which has been done with the Department for Education to make this development happen.”

NSETC will house specialist facilities dedicated to the STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The ground floor will house engineering and design technology workshops, a large lecture theatre and cafeteria. The first floor will contain top-of-the-range IT suites, classrooms and seminar rooms, food technology, textiles and art workshops and an open-plan library.

The top floor will feature science laboratories and several ‘super labs’, which will run the length of the building. A terraced area will allow students to conduct outdoor experiments safely, and there will be communal areas on each floor to provide work spaces for the students and for business workshops.

NSETC Principal Karen Cornick said: “Engineering and design technology are a major part of the STEM vision at NSETC. “Specialist workshops and teaching spaces,

alongside high-spec computer rooms, will allow this to become a reality for students. “The fact that this is the only school in England to be built within an enterprise zone means that, from the start, we are part of a wider development in Weston which focuses on developing STEM training, expertise and employment within the region.”

Junction 21 Enterprise Marketing Group said; “We welcome the decision of NSETC to choose Junction 21 for its permanent home. When fully operational we see the presence of a campus equipping young people with skills valued by business as powerful catalyst for further long-term investment; particularly as the skills agenda is increasingly placed high on the agenda of decision makers thinking about expansion or relocation.”

Source: NSETC
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Learning outside the classroom

This year, NSETC students on a variety of courses have had the opportunity to visit a number of different companies and key establishments.

This is part of NSETC’s continuing ambition to strengthen the links between education and vocation, and to equip its students with qualifications and work-ready skills that will put

them ahead of the competition when applying for jobs or Higher Education. At the beginning of the year, NSETC’s Health and Social Care Level 3 students joined Weston College colleagues on a four-day adventure to Disneyland Paris as part of a learning/ study trip.

The visit enabled students to explore themes relating to their practice in health and social care, including equality, diversity and discrimination. They were able to gain an insight into how a range of policies apply in the work place, including in large hotels and leisure parks.

In March, students on the BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering were given the opportunity to visit Agusta Westland, a multi-national helicopter design and manufacturing company, which gave them the opportunity to see first-hand the

production and assembly of helicopters and aircraft parts.

Students witnessed how virtual reality trainers prepared pilots, looked at the design process for key components on the rota heads for the aircraft, climbed on top of a Merlin helicopter to see the maintenance procedures taking place and walked through the flight shed to view Super Lynx, Merlin and Apache helicopter at different stages of their construction.

The students also met with the apprentice trainers and were given an insight into the apprentice training programme an AgustaWestland apprentice would follow.

Andy Davidson, Deputy Head at NSETC, said; “This is always such an inspiring company to visit especially for a student that has a keen interest in engineering, you can never be anything but amazed when you see a flight shed with 20 helicopters all at different stages of their construction. All the students left the site with a real buzz about the opportunities that the industry can offer”.

A Level students visited the University of Cambridge. The trip was organised to provide students not only with the experience of Higher Education establishments, but also to encourage them to have the highest aspirations for themselves in terms of next steps.

The students gained experience in a number of subject areas through tours of the Sainsbury Lab and Gardens, and the Fitzwilliam Museum with a current post-graduate in the relevant subject areas. They also found out about the university application process, and specifically about the range of courses that run at the University of Cambridge.

A Level student Jacob Coles commented; “The Cambridge University trip was a real eye-opener. We had the opportunity to stay at Trinity Hall, one of the smaller and older colleges at Cambridge; we also visited Robinson College to get a feel of what other, more modern, colleges at Cambridge are like.

“We visited the Sainsbury’s laboratory, which was really inspiring to see what a state-of-the-art laboratory looks like, and to see how the botanic gardens were used with all the different species of plants being grown there. The trip has really inspired me to want to do really well in my exams to enable me to get into Cambridge, the courses they offer really suit me and you’re getting tuition that is the best in the world.”

 

Source: NSETC
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A taste of univeristy life

NSETC students have this term been attending the University of the West of England (UWE) for taster days to give them experience of independent, university life. The days support NSETC’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) specialism and include a lecture, a practical lesson in one of UWE’s laboratories, summative activities and free time on the university’s campus.

Dan Robinson NSETC’s Innovation and Learning Lead said: “We are extremely grateful to UWE for offering our students this fantastic opportunity to experience science subjects at university. It is so important that students understand that there is more to their course than what first appears, and this opportunity to explore these subjects is a unique and brilliant way for them to discover the wider areas of study available. We hope that this raises our students’ aspirations and engages them to see the relevance of science courses and careers to their chosen pathway.”

The taster days focus on three particular scientific areas: biomedical science with practical work on nerve conduction velocity, forensic science with practical work on analysis of bodily fluids and environmental science with practical work on adaptive response. They are aimed at students studying A Level Science, Health and Social Care, Sports and Exercise Science and Applied Science BTEC. They are a result of NSETC’s link with the University of West of England as a STEM school for the South West region.

Charlie Waugh, who attended a recent session, said: “I thought it was a brilliant afternoon, and really enjoyed experiencing life at UWE in their science labs.” “We shocked our arms to see the speed of nervous impulse, which was something we would not have been able to experience in our normal studies, and we were able to use some of the cool equipment that you only get to use at university level.” The lecture was fascinating and gave us a real insight into the subject and made the practical work more relevant. Overall, it was a useful look into what life is like at university and I can’t wait to go to the forensics session next week.

 

Source: NSETC
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