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The entire country being put on lockdown has not held back Strode’s College student Tara Alkattan in her bid to achieving the Duke of Edinburg (DofE) Gold Award. While staying safe at home Tara’s commitment and determination to continue the highly regarded programme has seen her successfully continue with all three skills elements of the Award. Impressively, she is still on schedule to complete the programme by the end of the academic year.

The five sections of the Gold DofE Award are volunteering, physical, skills, an expedition and a residential. With the aid of both her imagination and technology Tara has successfully continued the three skills element of the programme which are online Arabic lessons for children (volunteering), online personal training sessions (physical) and online piano lessons (skills).

Commenting on her achievement Lawrence Chitty, DofE Co-ordinator at the College said: “Right from the outset Tara has been singularly determined to successfully achieve the Gold Award. Despite the restrictions that lockdown has imposed, Tara has shown her initiative to convert her skills, volunteering and physical activities section so that she can continue with these at home. Achieving Gold is very demanding and she has shown enormous commitment and resolve to overcome the obstacles presented by the restrictions imposed to control covid19. To get to this stage she has demonstrated resilience, initiative and an imaginative application of her IT skills. These are all highly valued skills which will contribute to her employability which is exactly the purpose of undertaking the DofE.”

Strode’s College runs a successful DofE programme as part of its enrichment activities. Each year several groups of between five and eight students each sign up to complete the Silver or Gold Award. The Awards are highly regarded by both universities and employers. Skills and attributes such as resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive are all valued for their contribution to CVs, university and job applications.

Lawrence Chitty concludes: “At the best of times completing the DofE alongside the demands of sixth form study can be an enjoyable challenge. To continue the programme under the current circumstances shows a whole new level of ingenuity and commitment so Tara’s unwavering resolve is really very impressive indeed.”

Ends

Windsor College and first year A Level student Taha Hussain has reached the final stage of RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk and PwC’s NSEC (National Schools Employability Challenge) competition. Taha, who studies Physics, Chemistry and Biology, entered the competition which is designed prepare and up-skill students to be ready for the modern workplace.

The challenge, which consists of three stages, is part of a collaboration between RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk, an online careers resource and PwC, one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms. The initial stage is designed to get students thinking about the skills sets and attributes employers look for.  Progressing to stage two is an opportunity to gain new knowledge, experience and understanding of employability in the modern workplace. For the first two stages, Taha achieved a very impressive 37 out of 40.

Stage three is by invitation only. As a qualifying student, Taha has been selected for an exclusive employability skills virtual event with PwC where he be able to hone his skills and test his abilities further. This will consist of six sessions which he can join throughout the day alongside fellow students and PwC representatives.

Commenting on the value of the NSEC, Taha said: "It was a great experience and for the stage three virtual day at PwC I chose to explore the 'What are your options after university' event. This was particularly helpful as it provided me with a number of different areas that I can consider following university, plus work experience options which will be useful for both my personal statement and CV." 

Taha, who is hoping to progress to study Medicine, is not the first student from Windsor College to win a place at the prestigious NSEC finals.  Encouraging students to attempt the early stages and progress through the levels of the competition has become something of a modern tradition at the College, organised through Core Studies. These weekly sessions are just one of the many wider opportunities offered to students which are aimed at developing the whole student and making young people more confident and able to make their mark in the world as they prepare for adult life.

Our latest edition of College Voice is out now!

Our latest edition of College Voice is out now! Our termly newsletter is a timely reminder that prior to the switch to  remote learning, students and staff across our three colleges have enjoyed a busy and fulfilling term. 
 
It was also the term the Windsor Forest Colleges Group received a resounding ‘GOOD’ from Ofsted.  Read all about this and lots of other exciting news from Langley, Strode’s and Windsor Colleges.

Read the College Voice here.

Despite the government’s closure of schools and colleges, Langley College has unlocked the doors to its teaching kitchens, to allow the One Slough Community Response team to store and make food for the vulnerable and those self-isolating in Slough.

College staff turned out to support the effort which saw volunteers preparing breakfast, lunches and hot meals for over 200 people in the community which were then distributed by Slough Outreach.

Leading the effort on behalf of the College, Head of College Lettings, Gurpreet Nizzar was on the frontline helping to prepare the meals alongside his colleagues. He said: “We feel privileged to be able to use the College’s professional catering and hospitality facilities to support the community during this challenging time. Instead of standing empty we are able to use the space to bring food to the vulnerable in Slough.”

Alongside providing access to their kitchen facilities, Langley College has also been designated the One Slough Community Response Hub. The College will be used to sort, store and dispatch food throughout the community and will also be the base for a Virtual Call Centre.

The One Slough Group leader, Shin Dhother said: “It’s been really good to have so many people coming together, stepping up, putting differences aside and working together. I love to be of service and it’s so important at a time like this to come together with so many others, it’s great to see. We’re so grateful to Windsor College Forest Group who have not only given us their kitchen space at Langley College, but are providing a fantastic skilled team of four chefs to cook meals for us to feed vulnerable people in Slough.”

CEO of Slough CVS, Ramesh Kukar, expressed his gratitude while at the same time calling for further support from the community. He said: “We are fortunate in Slough to have organisations that have come forward and offered their resources, many adapting to benefit the community. We are working with Slough Borough Council, the local voluntary sector and businesses to provide a coordinated approach to ensure that we provide essential services to people who need it.”

 The team of volunteers are collecting food donations from many organisations including McDonalds, Bidfood and Rite Price who have been forthcoming with meals and ingredients. The food is stored in the College kitchens and meals are prepared from the ingredients provided. Gurpreet who has been supported by college restaurant manager Beryl Chitty added: “Today we made pasta carbonara for 100 people who will now get a hot meal thanks to the donations made. All of this while ensuring we follow social distancing rules in the kitchen and of course the strict hygiene regulations.”

The initiative is delivered as a partnership between Slough Borough Council, Slough CVS and voluntary sector groups throughout Slough. If you are able to offer support or wish to self-refer to the scheme then please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Windsor Forest Colleges Group remains one of only four British Display Society (BDS) Centres of Excellence in the UK. The College was recently re-awarded the status following a visit from the BDS, which encourages and promotes the highest standards of Visual Merchandising across the industry.

A team from the BDS including their Chairman Iain Kimmins spent the day at Windsor, which is home to the College’s Visual Merchandising (VM) department. They were impressed by the standard of work produced by Level 3 students which included scale models, plans and elevations and prop constructions. This flagship course is very much part of the fabric at Windsor College, with the building featuring working windows for students to showcase their visual merchandising designs right into the heart of Windsor’s high street.

During their time at the College the BDS team delivered a very well received talk and presentation to students. Commenting on their visit Iain Kimmins said: “It was a pleasure to listen and talk to the students as to what inspires and motivates them. It was great to view their work which ranged from initial sketches, designs to model making, prop building to dressing the mock-up windows. Given the level of passion and enthusiasm, it proves that there is certainly a generation of inspiring and up-and-coming Visual Merchandisers in the making.

“It is so vital that anyone wishing to move into the VM industry must undertake VM training and learn all the principles.”

Tutor Sue Leadbeater leads the Visual Merchandising department at Windsor College. Her students’ progress to highly regarded art colleges such as the London College of Fashion and The Retail Academy. Her alumni include a Visual Merchandising Director at M&S, the Visual Merchandiser for Harrod’s windows and a number of gold medal winners in the highly celebrated WorldSkills competitions.

Windsor College offers visual merchandising and design courses including a, Level 3 BTEC (equivalent to three A Levels) in Window Display and Interior Design and an HNC at Level 4.

To find out more go to www.windsor-forest.ac.uk.

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