Working with Employers May Edition 2021

Welcome to the NKC Working with Employers Newsletter

This newsletter is brought to you by the Employer Engagement team at the College who reach out into the local communities and speak with employers and business owners. We aim to provide support, guidance and information regarding education and your industry whilst gaining insight into local employers and businesses. In the monthly newsletter we will be sharing how we are working with local employers and businesses, informing about government related strategies in relation to education, sharing stories about NKC students and employers working together and overall insight into the North Kent College group.

Welcome to the May Edition of NKC Working with Employers. The focus across all our campuses for the past month has been completion and progression. For our students they are back into the swing of College and are working away to complete their qualifications. For all our students the nearing end to the academic year means taking the time to look at their next steps; whether it is continued further education, higher education or employment. We have all been in their shoes at some point in our own personal and professional development and know this time can be stressful, scary but also exciting. NKC are always grateful to the employers who offer support and opportunity to our students at this time.

May Headlines

In this months edition we shine another spotlight on one of our supportive local businesses, events for the calendar and learning more about an apprentice bouncing back.

  • Employer Spotlight - Opal Fabrication supports NKC Engineering students
  • Date for the Calendar - Hadlow College Country Fair 2021
  • Star Apprentice Mollie bounces back from redundancy!
  • The Hall Training Centre
  • Ropes & Gray discuss the letter of the law with legal secretarial students
  • Broadview Gardens & Garden Centre

Employer Spotlight

Opal Fabrication Ltd supporting NKC Engineering students

Opal Fabrication Ltd was started by Stefan and David Dodd in 2004. It is a family-run business employing 12 people from the Gravesend area, specialising in the fabrication and welding of all metals also flat sheet, box and tube laser cutting. In 2014 the company moved to new larger premises and invested in a laser cutter. Over the years Opal have continued to expand their workforce through apprenticeship programmes and College placement schemes. Both directors left school and went into an apprenticeship programme at the age of 16. It was a great base to start their careers in engineering and due to this, they recognise the importance in investing and training the future generation of engineers.

Pictured above: Ryan Hood (left) and Charlie Powling (right).

Opal initially approached the College in 2018/19 with the interest in taking on some students to support their growing demand. Since then, Opal have taken on two separate apprentices (Josh and Arron) plus 3 industry placement students (Kieran, Finley and Thomas) 2019/2020 – which unfortunately came to an abrupt end, as a result of covid-19 lockdown measures. Going forward this year, the team at Opal Fabrications have taken on three new industry placement students (Ryan Hood, Charlie Powling and Harry Lee-Evans) all from our Level 3 BTEC engineering course. Each student has been completing one day per week, alongside their College studies.

I work in a team with kind and funny people, who genuinely enjoy teaching me new skills. I would definitely recommend a placement with Opal. (Student, Ryan Hood)

All three placement students (Ryan, Charlie and Harry) have given such positive comments about their time at Opal. Both Harry and Charlie have expressed that they are ‘thoroughly enjoying’ working there alongside College, with Charlie starting his Engineering Operative apprenticeship programme with Opal in September 2021.

Stefan Dodd (Director)

Stefan Dodd (Director) stated,

"We have worked closely with NKC to bring young people into the engineering /manufacture industry. From a large pool of applicants Poppy (Employer Relationship Officer) whittled it down to six potential students. Poppy then went on to arrange for us to interview and then offer one day a week long term work experience for the selected candidates. This has worked really well for us as it’s given us an opportunity to see the how they performed in the factory not just in the interview room. The young people were extremely positive and got stuck in straight away. It was interesting to see how particular individuals were more inquisitive and keen to get involved with projects on site. For example, some of the students have been involved in the manufacturing of steel flowers, to support a North Kent Charity. Overall It has been a very positive experience for us and I like to think that they can take something away from the experience. We have chosen two students that we hope will be joining us in September, to complete their Engineering Operative apprenticeship programme with us. We couldn’t encourage you more to give Poppy and team a call even if it’s just to offer work experience. You never know you might come across your next indispensable employee!"

Poppy Drury (ERO) commented,

‘It has been a pleasure working with Stefan and the team at Opal Fabrications over the past few years. Stefan has always been very supportive of the placement scheme and recognising its benefits. They have offered long term, invaluable, hands on experience to so many NKC students, which in turn has led to some fantastic opportunities, such as securing an apprenticeship or full-time roles. Outcomes such as these, make our job so worthwhile and rewarding to be a part of, I hope that we can continue working together, to support the up-and-coming generation of local engineers"

Charity Project

Opal Fabrications Ltd, Norfolk Rd, Gravesend, DA12 2PS

01474 568100 quote@opalfabrication.com

Date for the Calendar!

Come and support our Country Fair, we will bring together a variety of land based linked activities and displays as well as showcasing the College and what we do. The main event field will consist of a central arena where demonstrations will take place throughout the day, this will include dog agility, falconry, equine demonstrations and tractor displays - visitors will also have the chance to explore our beautiful campus and speak with our dedicated tutors around courses we offer. Just a snippet of what to expect on the day:

  • Food vendors
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Opportunities to speak with our Advice & Guidance Team and Curriculum Areas
  • Riding Demonstrations
  • Floristry Demonstrations
  • Opportunity to visit the Broadview Centre & Gardens
  • Talks and Demonstrations by the National Centre for Reptile Welfare
  • Chance to meet some of our animals
  • Fisheries Hatchery will be open for tours
  • Agricultural Engineering Show

Star Apprentice - Mollie bounces back from redundancy!

Mollie Hobbs is currently completing her Hairdressing Level 2 apprenticeship with Salon 167. Unfortunately, Mollie was made redundant by her previous employer due to Covid-19. However, working closely with her assessor Hayley Clements, Mollie was fortunate to carry on her qualification with Salon 167.

Hayley Clement, described the impact of Covid-19 on her apprentice Mollie,

"Unfortunately, due to the financial impact businesses faced during the pandemic, Mollie was made redundant. This was a real shame as Mollie is a brilliant learner and has a real passion for hairdressing. Speaking with some of the employers we work alongside with, Mollie was able to carry out a facetime interview with Hannah who is the employer at Salon 167, and she was successful in gaining employment in a new salon to continue her apprenticeship. Mollie started when the salons were able to reopen in April and is really enjoying it."

Due to great relationships the hairdressing department have with Salon 167. Mollie was able to carry on her apprenticeship qualification with Salon 167, this meant her learning and progress was not disrupted.

Inside Salon 167 in Crayford

Hannah Harrison, Director tells us what made her choose Mollie Hobbs,

“Mollie took part in an Instagram live for North Kent college. I was informed by her tutor that Mollie had previously worked in a salon and had great passion for hairdressing. By watching Mollie's reactions to the live questions, I could tell she would be an amazing candidate for Salon167. Her enthusiastic approach for hairdressing and learning was captured watching her 5-minute clip. “

Hannah Harrison, Director tells us the benefits of apprenticeships,

“Personally, I will always encourage students to carry out an apprenticeship especially if they have a passion for hair. My reasons are simple, you will earn while you learn. You will experience hands on training by talented hairdressers with years of experience and broad imaginations. Salon environment opens you up to what real salon life will be like. Also, you will gain clients through in-salon training and these will be key to you starting out as a hairdresser, these clients will support you and help you learn in many ways. 20 years ago, I started out as an apprentice with North Kent College and I am proud to say I still have many of my supporting clients in my column today.”

Mollie has made a great impression with Salon 167 and her assessor Hayley. We know she will be a successful individual during her apprenticeship and future career within the hair industry.

Salon 167, 167 Crayford Rd, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4HA 01322 310525

Specialists in refrigeration, air-conditioning, F-Gas and assessments

With over 30 years' experience, the Hall Training Centre at North Kent College is one of only a handful of City & Guilds approved F-Gas specialist refrigeration training centres in the UK. Our range of training courses have been structured to meet the increasing demands on industry to meet safety, environmental and legal requirements regarding installation, commissioning, service, and maintenance of refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems.

"The course was presented in an excellent format which encouraged me to fully participate in all tasks and practical exercises. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and it was definitely time well spent." - Mike Rees, Unilever

Training courses are designed for a variety of commercial, industrial, and marine applications and have been designed to minimise engineer's time away from the workplace, whilst meeting all the legal and health and safety obligations of the industry. With a largely practical content, they range in duration to meet the needs of the sector and are delivered from our extensive workshops in Gravesend.

"Course was far better delivered and organised compared to others I have attended. College facilities were above what I expected, and the lecturing team went well beyond what I expected to ensure I was successful in attaining my F Gas certificate." - Henry McCann, Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Ropes & Gray discuss the letter of the law with legal secretarial students

In the last year or so, Ropes & Gray and North Kent College via Ramneek Hundal have worked together to build a working relationship regarding Industry Placement. Ropes & Gray worked with both Level 2 and Level 3 Legal Secretarial students, 60 in total and took them on as placements students in their London office. However, due to the COVID-19 it meant that the placements had to come to a standstill. We are hoping Ropes & Gray can take on more students in the near future, as we come out of lockdown. Ramneek Hundal worked with Hayley Green, Curriculum Manager and Nicky Bathgate, Office Manager at Ropes & Gray to organise a virtual presentation for the Legal Secretarial students.

Nicky Bathgate, Office Manager said,

“Last year we were disappointed to cut short Industry Placements with two NKC students due to COVID so Ropes & Gray were pleased to be given the opportunity to present remotely to students studying to become Legal Secretaries. Seven of us, in various roles and practice groups, talked with the students about highlighting transferable skills to secure employment after college, developing their careers, sharing opportunities to develop in areas outside of the traditional Legal Secretarial role and discussing the roles we have at Ropes & Gray. Thank you to the students for asking such interesting and engaging questions, we look forward to working with you again.
Thank you to (left to right): Amy Guinness, Senior Legal Secretary; Anne-Marie Rock, Executive PA; Ellie Robinson, Legal Secretary, Jodi Clarke-Rivers, Legal Secretary; Kerry Smorthit, Training & Development Specialist; Nicky Trimble, Senior Legal Secretary & London Charities Coordinator and Nicky Bathgate, Office Manager.

Ramneek Hundal, ERO commented,

Working with Nicky in the past year or so has been a fabulous experience and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting their London office. I know the two students who had the experience in working at Ropes & Gray had such an amazing experience, it was a shame that it came to an end due to Covid-19. However, due to the relationship myself and Nicky have, I know we will continue to work further with each other to give our students a kick start in their Legal career

Broadview Gardens & Garden Centre

Based at our main Hadlow College site, Broadview Gardens consists of 10 acres of gardens featuring contemporary and traditional gardens designed and built by students. Alongside the gardens, Broadview Garden Centre possesses everything you need to successfully design or landscape your garden. Throughout the year different seasonal products are available as well as a limited range of accessories, books and giftware.

Japanese Garden at Broadview Gardens Hadlow. The Garden Centre is currently open at the following times: Monday: 09:30 – 17:00 Tuesday: 09:30 – 17:00 Wednesday: 09:30 – 17:00 Thursday: 09:30 – 17:00 Friday: 09:30 – 17:00 Saturday: 09:30 – 17:00 Sunday: 10:00 – 16:00 Bank Holidays 10:00 – 16:00

Our students are actively involved in every aspect of our work at Broadview, gaining valuable work experience. From helping to maintain Broadview Gardens to assisting in our Garden Centre, commercial nursery and florist bringing our commercial arms together with our academic teaching so that our students leave the College ready for their future career.

Hadlow College is a great place to study horticulture surrounded by beautiful gardens which are maintained by students. We have horticultural courses on offer from just a few hours as a taster including our popular introduction to Garden Design on the 17th June, popular RHS courses starting at the end of September, Full time FE qualifications & HE qualifications in Commercial Horticulture where students will study many aspects of production horticulture including fresh produce and ornamentals.

Contact Us

If you are interested in working with the college please get in contact. We can assist with any enquiry from commercial courses, apprenticeships, placements and much more.

Email: Business@northkent.ac.uk or call: 01322 629758

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