Former Langley College Access to Higher Education student Joe Davies has won first prize in the national Laser Learning Awards, Commitment to Study category. Joe is joined by fellow Access student Kelly Harman who also impressed the judges, coming runner up in the Academic Excellent award.

Joe and Kelly were nominated by their Langley College course tutor Lesley Classick. Joe, with a fierce determination to better himself and improve the quality of life of others, enrolled on the Access to Social Work course in 2015. With no prior qualifications and some very challenging personal circumstances it took Joe three years and an incredible amount of hard work and determination to successfully complete the course. Joe was also awarded Langley College’s Student of the Year 2018.

Commenting on why he chose the Access course to turn his life around Joe said: “I wanted to improve my life and improve the quality of life for others, as I know what it feels like to grow up in the care system. My dream is to become a social worker and thanks to the course I now have a place to study this at university. I overcame all my challenges by dedicating myself to my studies and working hard to achieve my goals, but without the high level of support from all of my tutors I don’t think I would have been able to complete the course.” Joe is now in his first year at Bucks New University studying a BA in social work.

Kelly joined Langley’s Access to Social Sciences and Social Work having previously attempted and dropped out of both A Levels and BTEC courses. Lesley explained why Kelly warranted the nomination: “It quickly became apparent that Kelly was an unusually able student regularly impressing her tutors with her ability to comprehend and analyse complex ideas. As she developed into an extremely motivated and independent learner, she widely extended her knowledge through extensive research and with a genuine enthusiasm and fascination for the subject, became instrumental in helping others.”

Having applied to study Psychology, English and Creative Writing and receiving offers for all three, Kelly opted to study English at Bournemouth University.

Access to HE courses are aimed at those want to go to university but don’t have the relevant qualification, they provide the foundation learning needed for degree level study in just one year. Langley College offers six specific Access pathways; Business, Computing, Construction and Engineering, Nursing and Healthcare Professions, Social Work and Mental Health Professions and finally Social Sciences and Education.

Lesley Classick is one of the Access tutors and a member of a close-knit team which Laser acknowledge is part of the success of these courses. Explaining why she finds Access particularly special she said: “As a tutor in further education I know how education can make a difference to people’s lives. Since we started offering Access courses in 2013, over 250 students like Kelly and Joe, have been enabled to go on to study in higher education both here at Langley and at university. Some of these students have progressed through from other courses and many of these students are now in jobs that a few years ago they could only dream about. Access courses, along with our other course provision, are instrumental in opening up a wealth of opportunities, to those who may not have previously considered they have the skills, know-how or the self-confidence to go university. As Joe and Kelly have demonstrated, Access is genuinely a life changing opportunity!”

For further information on the full range of Access courses offered at Langley College, go to

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Friday, 01 February 2019 10:07

How to win at Interviews

How to win at Interviews

Langley College’s Higher Education HND Business and Foundation Degree Tourism and Hospitality students recently welcomed Jade Humphrey from JWH Hospitality Solutions to the College for a seminar focussing on employability skills – ‘How to win at interviews’.

Introducing Jade...

Jade has over 30 years’ experience of working within sales in the hospitality industry and now works as a specialist consultant. On top of this, he has a passion for supporting individuals to positively develop their careers and employment prospects.

His fantastic seminar was too good not to share! His advice and feedback has relevance to all industries and highlights comments that are typically made by employers following job interviews.

Here are his top tips for success!

Interpersonal and communication skills

People buy people. In the same way that we choose our friends, based on good, strong relationships, business relationships are often developed on the same basis.

We all like to be treated kindly and with mutual respect - good manners are essential, will be noticed and go a long way to securing success within the workplace.

If you are communicating with an employer ahead of an interview by email, remember to structure your emails politely and professionally. Begin your email by addressing the interviewer by name e.g. ‘Dear Matthew’ or ‘Dear Mr Smith’, or even Hi Matthew. Be sure to check your spelling and remember to take your time in responding to ensure that your response is polite, appropriate and has the right tone. We have all misread the meaning in a text or message, don’t let a rushed response ruin your potential success.

Be a quality candidate

Employers will often talk about those candidates that really stand out from the rest. Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for, focussing on why you’re the ideal candidate and arrive on time for your interview, dressed appropriately, ready to impress. Your CV must be factual and 100% accurate.

Try to remember the name of your interviewer (through the nerves!), have a firm handshake and make good eye contact.  All of these things will be noticed and demonstrate confidence.

Be prepared. Take the time to research the company, have some questions ready to ask at the end - these could be about something you have seen on their website, about the role itself or about why the company are so great to work for. LinkedIn and Google are invaluable tools.

Be sincere and show that you are keen to work for the organisation. Remember, never chew gum during an interview, avoid smoking right before as the smell will follow you into the room and linger on your breath and make sure that your phone is turned off or on silent. Ideally, keep your phone out of sight!

Practise makes perfect

Interviews are scary and nerves can get the better of all of us. Prepare some standard answers ahead of time. Interview questions will often be related to the person specification on the job description, so check these beforehand and think about examples that will help you to show that you have the relevant experience that the interviewer is looking for.

Ask if you can bring a notebook in with you. This will enable you to jot down any questions you may have during the interview, or that you would like to ask about at the end.

Don’t be disheartened if sometimes things don’t go well. Interviewing is a skill - reflect on the things you could have improved on for next time and don’t be scared to ask the company for feedback on where you could improve.

Take as many opportunities as you can to attend interviews, the more you experience, the more confident you will become.

Most importantly, interviews are a two-way process. They are checking you out; you are checking them out. Both of you are potentially making a huge investment of time and resource in each; it has to be right and feel right.

Remember that hotels offer diverse career opportunities from business functions, maintenance, through to health and fitness. You never know where an expression of interest in working for a company may lead you, so don’t be afraid to enquire about job opportunities even if they are not promoted.

If you are in Level 3 and thinking about your next step, gaining a Higher Education qualification is a great way to develop your employability so make your application now.

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