This week in Student Services...

Student Services - Reading College

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

So Friday is upon us again and it's time once more to look back on what's been going on this week, and what next week has in store...

Weather the storm...

As we all know, the weather has been appalling recently, with flooding so bad that we haven't seen anything like it in over 50 years!

We'd like to wish everyone affected all the best - especially poor Gill, who's house is on a flood plane.


Staff Success

Well done to Michael from our Student Crew team, who it seems just can't bear to leave us! :p

In Sue's absence Michael will be taking on the new challenge of HE, working in both Reading and Oxford. We wish him all the best in this new and exciting opportunity, and are very happy that he will be remaining a part of the team.

Michael - you'll be great! :)

Excuses, Excuses...

With the awful weather and horrendous flooding that's come upon us, we all know that travel into work has been a nightmare, with many of us not getting here until 9am some mornings!

As we've all been having to use the "traffic was a nightmare" line this week, we thought it would be funny to look at some other excuses for coming in late to work from Nir's excuse flip-chart... My favourite is the last one!

Application Stats and Targets

We've been getting more and more applications in, as ever, and now we're getting to the point in term where we're turning those applications and interviews into offers! Well done everyone!

Please see the below link to Googledocs, where Nir will regularly update application stats and targets:

Student Services Survey Results

As you know from last week's edition, the lovely Owen from Student Crew has been conducting a survey with Student Services customers, to gage their overall impressions and experiences of our department and its services.

Owen has been enthusiastically stood at the entrance, clipboard in hand, each day this week, and below are the questions & results of the survey.

Congratulations everyone - we scored all 'Good' & 'Outstanding'!

Change Champion Launch - Thursday 20th February

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success'

-Henry Ford

Next Thursday, 20th February, all of the hard work and effort that has been put into the new Change Champion initiative will finally be revealed in the Change Champion Action Plan Launch.

The Launch will run from 10am-12 noon, with the initial team-building session being opened by Lesley Donoghue.

Lesley will also be delivering a short, introductory speech outlining the action plan and her support for the initiative. Her speech will be focused on the "theme of the day" (which each change champion meeting will have) which will be 'Team and it's importance' this time around.

Once Lesley has delivered her speech and introduced the activities for the session, we'll be playing a fantastic, and very intriguing, team-building game.

Let's enjoy the session and look forward to seeing all of the hard work from all who have been involved come into being.


Safer Internet Day

This Tuesday, February 11th, was Safer Internet Day 2014, this year holding the theme 'Let's create a better internet together'.

The Student Support team are passionate about making the internet a safer place for our learners, and arranged for a presentation on issues surrounding safety on the internet, so that students could use the internet in a safer way with more awareness of these issues.

An internet safety questionnaire will also be being sent out in the near future to all staff and students, so we can see whether we are really being as safety-savvy as we think on the Internet.

These issues can be more directly applied to our use of the Internet in an Office environment, with small things such as making sure any computers with sensitive information on them (ie. Safeguarding information) are locked when left unattended.

Please see the below link for some top tips on keeping safe online:

'Go Green' Week

This week at the College has been 'Go Green' Week, and yesterday saw Craig Nimmo, Estates and Building Services Manager at Canterbury College, visit to speak about their achievements as a 'Green College', having received awards for being 'green'.

Craig gave a short talk to staff and students about how his College achieved their green status, emphasising the importance of starting with the small things, encouraging the adjustment to a greener culture with students and staff.

Some of the simple methods to being green that Craig mentioned included recycling more, new less-waste printing systems, buying in of recycled paper and stationary and encouraging paperless systems where applicable/able.

See the link below to find out how different departments are working towards the 'Go Green' ethos:

A big well done and thank you to the Student Support team and all their fantastic work setting everything up for this great event!

Personal Safety Awareness

As we all know, the Student Support team work extremely hard to preserve the safety of all of our learners.

Here are some ideas from David Shallow to make sure we stay safe:

  • stay alert, and keep personal stereos/MP3 players turned off, so you can hear what's going on around you

  • stick to busy, well-lit roads, and avoid short cuts through alleyways particularly if it is dark

  • if you think someone is following you, then you should cross the road or go to a place with lots of people around, like a bus stop or shop.

  • when travelling by bus, your should try to use bus stops on busy roads.

  • if someone tries to take something from you don't fight as they may be carrying a weapon - you are more important than your possessions.

  • keep mobile phones and other valuables out of sight, and to turn your phone on silent to avoid attracting attention.

  • don't carry weapons because they are more likely to be used against you, and it's illegal.

  • speak up if you are being bullied or feel you might be in danger.

For any further advice please feel free to speak to David.


Upcoming Careers Days

This year the School Partnership team are recruiting new students earlier than ever, with several Careers days coming up spread over several months where we will be welcoming Year 3 Students from Manor Primary School. Yes ..Year 3!!

Mark Allsop's wife teaches at Manor Primary and thought us an ideal destination for a Careers Day.

The children will be visiting 10-2pm on the following Fridays; 28th March, 25th April, 2nd May, and will be coming in groups of up to 28 on each date.

Nir has kindly agreed to make them all honorary students for the day. They will begin with a tour of Student Services, collecting a ticket, having their photograph taken and receiving a student ID card and lanyard.

Other activities are still being finalised, however the children will also be enjoying a nice lunch in The Kitchen.

Though it might seem that we are recruiting a little too young with these groups, many of these students will have older siblings and the majority of Manor Primary students will go onto Prospect – our largest feeder school.

Our Health & Social/Childcare students will be involved in the day and Catering & Hospitality students have an unexpected challenge on their hands!

Science & Engineering Week

This year the School Partnership team will also be recruiting more younger students at our Science & Engineering Competition on 21st March.

50 Year 5 students from Bramley School are visiting on the day as "guest judges" - some of you may remember the postal trolleys filled with coats and lunchboxes last year. So expect a great event but maybe not for your post to arrive too promptly!


Welcome Gemma!

As Gemma Stevens, our lovely new careers adviser has been with us for a week now, I decided to have a chat and find out a little more about her.

Gemma has been a Careers Adviser for 10 years and, until now, has always worked for the National Careers Service. Her work with the NCA has brought her to the college many times in the past due to NCA links with Employability upstairs.

In the past, Gemma has always worked as an Adult Careers adviser with 19+ people, usually coming to her after having been to Connexions. She came to Reading College through wanting to work with a different group of people, moving into careers advising for younger adults.

Though Gemma is new to us in Student Services she has further links to us still, having managed Nafisa in her old job role, with Anita also having worked for her part-time. Small world!

Gemma said she has thoroughly enjoyed her first week here at Reading College. She has learnt a lot, having even done her first classroom workshop yesterday. Gemma told me the classroom setting was very different to what she's used to but she's thrilled to have made the move into working with younger adults and is looking forward to continuing here in her role of Careers Advisor.

Welcome from all of us Gemma :)

Employment & Careers Newsletter

Below is the second edition of Jordan's Employment Shop Newsletter. Be sure to have a read and remind students that they can sign up to receive the bi-monthly edition via email.

A big Well Done to Claire

Despite the flooding forcing the cancellation on the Wokingham Half Marathon, Claire completed her own solo 13.1 mile run on Sunday morning in 2 hours and 3 minutes, raising a fantastic amount of money for Breast Cancer Care.

Her boys even helped her improvise when she crossed the finish line, awarding her with their football trophy and medal!

A massive well done to Claire, who raised a total amount of £1,170. Claire would like to thank everyone for their generous donations, and is thrilled with the amount raised.

A fantastic fund-raising event for an incredibly worthy cause!


World Tennis Day

Tuesday, March 4th, 8:30am

Kings Rd

Reading, Berkshire

To celebrate World Tennis Day on 4th March, the Sports & Enrichment team will be setting up short Tennis matches in the college, along with other fun and related events. More details will be coming soon...

Badminton Reminder!

Sagheer is still looking for people to sign up for Badminton and Netball. The classes are open to both students and staff.

If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in signing up, Sagheer just needs to be emailed with a name and contact details at

Thanks guys! :)

MTV Dance Sessions prove to be a great success

The MTV Dance Taster sessions last week proved to be a massive hit with the students, so much so that regular classes with the company may be in the pipeline for the future!

So, if you missed out on these great events click on the link below to get a taste of what went on in the sessions, and email Sagheer to register interest in further sessions on

That's it for this week everyone - I'll see you next time! :)