Dudley College of Technology celebrates academic milestone with annual graduation ceremony

Dudley College of Technology commemorated the achievements of Higher Education learners in an unforgettable ceremony held on Saturday 25th November, that marked the culmination of their academic journey.

As ever the graduation event was an inspiring celebration of knowledge, dedication, and perseverance. This year’s commencement saw the conferral of qualifications upon learners from across the subject disciplines including Teacher Training, Animal Science and Performance Studies.

The ceremony featured a vote of thanks on behalf of the student body from Management graduate Kirstie Harrington who by her own description is now a “compulsive adult learner”. Sharing her own life journey from supermarket assistant to lecturer, she urged her peers to continue their studies. Thanking both staff at the college and family and friends who supported their loved ones throughout the last academic year, to achieve their goals.

Leading the event alongside Neil Thomas Chief Executive of Dudley College of Technology, was Professor Paul Noone Pro Vie Chancellor of Coventry University, who is Chair of the College’s Corporation.  Wishing the graduates every success Professor Noone spoke about the transformative impact of their education at Dudley College of Technology for their futures.

On behalf of the Governing Body, he said “We are immensely proud of our graduates and their remarkable achievements. “This graduation marks a significant milestone in their lives and symbolizes the hard work and dedication they have put into their studies. It’s a moment of great pride for both the graduates and the entire Dudley College community.”

Continuing the overall theme of celebration Neil Thomas added: “Graduation is an end and a beginning, it is the celebration of the achievement of an ambition, but it’s also the start of a new chapter for graduates as they head into new careers and directions which may not have been possible before starting their studies.”

The event concluded with an informal drinks’ reception and a please for graduates to stay in touch and share their future career success back with the College. 

To see and download pictures from the event visit: Higher Awards Ceremony 2023 | Flickr.

Government boosts Levelling Up agenda with investment in Dudley College’s Brierley Hill campus

The Rt Hon Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities discusses plans for Dudley College’s new Transport Technologies Centre with Chief Executive and Principal Neil Thomas with representatives from Dudley MBC.

Today The Rt Hon Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities visited Dudley College of Technology’s Inspired Brierley Hill campus to announce the funding of £20million for the Brierley Hill development zone as part of the government’s levelling up agenda.

The funding will include £14million for the creation of a new Transport Technologies Centre to upskill local people in electric vehicles and modern transport systems. The new development will see Dudley College of Technologies’ Motor Vehicle Centre relocate to the site from it’s current Wolverhampton base.  The current facility of 1500m2 will be replaced by a 2900m2 modern facility with workshops not only servicing traditional motor and transport, but also modern electrical, and alternative fuel systems, together with engineering and automation laboratories servicing driverless technologies.

The proposed facility will serve 500 students when it opens, to train both young people progressing from school into the sector and adults looking to retrain as modern transport technologies.

The relocation of the education facility will help link the high street to Merry Hill and boost footfall into the town as it will be sited directly opposite the West Midlands Metro Brierley Hill terminus.

The ambitious new plans will begin work in Spring 2025 and will be expected to be completed by Summer 2026. 

The project is just one of 55 projects to be supported from the new £1billion levelling up fund that is designed to provide support for high streets and transform communities across the UK.

Exciting Opportunity to Join Dudley College of Technology’s Board of Governors

Dudley College of Technology is actively searching for dynamic individuals to become part of its esteemed Board of Governors. Recognised for its achievements in delivering a diverse range of education and training programs, the College annually enrols approximately 12,000 students across various sectors, leaving a significant impact at the local, regional, and national levels.

Having earned an ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted in 2017 and the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Education in 2020, Dudley College is now focused on bolstering its governance team to contribute to the strategic direction and continued success of the institution.

About the Corporation

The Corporation, also known as the governing body, holds a pivotal role in providing strategic leadership, defining the mission, and establishing policy frameworks for the college. It oversees, challenges, and supports the Chief Executive & Principal and the senior leadership team. Comprising individuals from diverse backgrounds, the Corporation brings a wealth of skills, experience, and community knowledge to the boardroom. Whilst experience in the education sector is not obligatory, a strong motivation and passion for technical learning and further education are essential.

Governors convene approximately eight times a year, including developmental events. Various committees within the Corporation focus on specific areas such as standards, audit, finance, and estates, providing comprehensive recommendations to the governing body. Although the role is voluntary, board members are encouraged to reclaim travel and similar expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

Future Plans

Dudley College is actively shaping its Strategic Plan for 2024 and beyond, seeking individuals to reinforce the Corporation in innovative and exciting areas. Key priorities include the launch of Health Innovation Dudley, expansion of the Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology, development of new provisions in industry priority areas, and continuous improvement of state-of-the-art technical facilities for students.

In alignment with the commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion, Dudley College invites applications from individuals of all backgrounds, with a particular emphasis on encouraging those from black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities, LGBTQ+, and disabled candidates.

Contact Us

For those interested in learning more about governance and the associated responsibilities, detailed information can be found on our Governance page. For an informal discussion or to express interest, prospective candidates are encouraged to contact Gill Darwood, Director of Corporate Governance.

Dudley College of Technology is eager to welcome new voices and perspectives to its Board of Governors, offering a unique opportunity to contribute to the success and transformation of one of the region’s most vibrant and successful educational institutions. If you are passionate about education, technical learning, and making a real difference in the community, we would love to hear from you.

World Skills success for Dudley College Apprentice

Hot off the heels of his successful bid at the World Skills UK national finals last year, a Dudley College of Technology apprentice has returned to the competition and found success a second time.

Tom Sadler (aged 19), a Level 3 Manufacturing and Engineering Apprentice has once again battled his way through to the national finals after competing in a recent West Midlands regional heat. During the competition, he presented one of his creations, which was produced from his own design template and celebrated as one of the top ten entries in the contest.

He is now busy preparing for a gruelling four-day project by producing a range of CAD designs and bringing them to life with the support of his tutor, Andy Whitehouse. Though understandably nervous about the competition, Tom has remained confident about his big challenge, saying:

“I’ve enjoyed taking part in the World Skills competition so far, but it’s been a lot of hard work. I’m nervous, but with the support of my employer, the college and Andy, I have never felt so much pride in my work.”

Andy Whitehouse, Tom’s tutor echoed Tom’s sentiments saying:

“I’m nervous for him, but I’m sure that whatever he’s asked to design, he’ll know what to do and how to do it. He’s a very good student and I think he has a great chance to do well in the competition”.

His employer, Collins Aerospace, based in Wolverhampton, has extended their support by giving him the time off work needed to practice fabricating his designs. His team are even planning to visit him in Manchester whilst he undertakes the competition. Tom began working with Collins Aerospace in September 2023 and hopes to continue his career by progressing into a Level 4 Manufacturing and Engineering Apprenticeship.

As a competitor in the World Skills UK national finals, Tom could be invited to join the WorldSkills UK International Development Programme for the WorldSkills Competition in 2026, which will be hosted in Denmark

Students and Staff Hike 1500 ft up Scafell Pike to Raise £1,500 for College’s Nominated Charities

On Monday 13th March, a combination of Level 1 to 3 Photography, Art, Graphic Design, Production Arts, Music and Tourism students along with members of staff took on the challenge of climbing Scafell Pike, despite challenging weather conditions. Accompanying the group on the day was former Dudley Mayor Steve Waltho, as an experienced climber, he helped the group of 30 reach 1,500 feet from the foot of the mountain. As the weather took a turn for the worst towards the end of last week which persisted through to their trip, achieving this height was even more impressive and a great reflection of the resolve and enthusiasm of our staff and students! 

This hike was in support of the College’s nominated charities, Ronnie & Friends and Black Country Mental Health, which students and staff have now raised approximately £1,500 for. This was through events such as bake sales, organised and hosted by students and Phil Brooks, along with other staff members from across the college. Individual students have also been fundraising for this cause, with Photography student Louis Simcox raising over £300 through his own efforts! 

Founder of Ronnie & Friends and staff member Aimee Garratt spoke about the fundraising, 

‘We are well on our way to reaching our goal, currently near £13k! This has been achieved by the fantastic community support and fundraising events, including the efforts of the wonderful Dudley College staff and students who recently climbed Scafell Pike, they are a true inspiration and I am so proud to work with them and have them supporting Ronnie and friends.’ 

Aimee set up Ronnie & Friends as a local charity dealing with baby bereavement, after having her own experience dealing with the loss of a baby. 

‘I founded Ronnie and friends after the loss of our beautiful little boy Ronnie, who was born sleeping on the 23rd of June 2022. The loss of a child is unexplainable, it is a pain that Ronnie’s Daddy and I will live with for the rest of our lives, along with our family. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss, that’s 1 in 4 Mommy’s, Daddy’s and extended families that feel how we feel.  

‘Currently Russell Halls Hospital has 1 bereavement suite, which allows families to spend time with their precious babies, in private away from the ‘normal’ delivery environment. The current room allowed us to spend time with Ronnie, however with currently only 1 room available, if two families face the devasting loss of losing their baby, one family would have to wait or deliver in a ‘normal delivery suite’. As a mom that has lost, I am unable to imagine the additional trauma that this would bring.’ 

The Scafell Pike hike and all fundraising that has already taken place has been a massive achievement for our staff and students and is greatly appreciated by these charities and the local community.  

Donations from all are still welcome, please contact Aimee.Garratt@dudleycol.ac.uk for more information. 

Dudley Sixth Awards 2022

Staff and students of Dudley Sixth along with their family and friends came together last week to celebrate individual students achievements in an awards evening in which stand out students in an outstanding year group were celebrated.

Stephen Dutton and students from our performing arts provision were on hand to entertain guests on arrival and  subject tutors presented their commendations for hard, work, resilience and academic ability in sincere vote of thanks to their learners.  

The team spirit of the staff at Dudley Sixth was very evident  and many tutors identified the enormous sense of job satisfaction they receive when they help learners achieve their maximum potential and secure top grades. This was also something parents and carers attending the event felt set the college aside from its competitors as they praised the “enthusiasm, commitment and availability of support from all  subject Tutors”.  It was also pleasing to note that whilst many of the earners were continuing their studies at universities across the four nations, many were also choosing to pursue higher education routes with us including higher apprenticeships and the college’s and Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology HNC/D programmes. 

Transport tech college plan for Brierley Hill

A new transport technologies education centre is being planned for Brierley Hill as part of a £20million bid.

Dudley Council is working with Dudley College of Technology on the bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

It also includes new cycling and pedestrian links into the town centre as well as expanding the college’s Skills Shop at the Merry Hill Centre.

As part of the bid there are also plans for a bridge to create a pedestrian and cycling link between Venture Way and High Street to Merry Hill.

If the bid is successful, the new 3,000 sqm college building will be built at the rear of the college’s Inspired building in Venture Way and will boost the town’s education quarter.

It is the latest bid to the Levelling Up Fund which includes schemes in Halesowen, Lye, and Dudley.

Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: This is such an exciting development and will be a major boost to education and skills for young people. As part of our Child Friendly Dudley commitment, we are ensuring young people have the very best start in life, have access to first class education facilities and get the best training facilities for long and successful careers. Along with the improved pedestrian and cycling facilities the future looks very bright for people living, working, visiting and studying in Brierley Hill.

Councillor Phipps added: I’m pleased we have been able to submit a bid for this round rather than waiting for a future opportunity and allows us to work with Dudley College which has built so much positive momentum in recent times with its expansion in Dudley. We need to seize this opportunity now and strike while the iron is hot.

The Brierley Hill bid is supported by Dudley South MP Mike Wood, which is an essential part of the submission to the government.

If the bid is successful the new college will create hundreds of places on courses on the future of sustainable transport, while the improved pedestrian and cycling links aim to bring more people into the town.

The expansion of the Skills Shop in Merry Hill Shopping Centre which supports adults seeking to upskill or reskill, will allow an additional 200 learners to access employer-led training which fills job vacancies in sectors such as Administration, Retail, and IT.

Neil Thomas Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Dudley College of Technology who are partnering the Council on the bid added: The proposed transport technologies centre will place Brierley Hill at the heart of new and emerging technologies which are beginning to impact on us all, including electrical/hybrid vehicles, hydrogen technologies, alternate fuels, and automated control. The centre is about planes, trains, and automobiles, as it will cater for skills development across a range of industries, all of which will provide new job opportunities and allow business in the region to be at the forefront of the changes we are going to see.

The Chamber of Commerce who are supporting the proposal believe there will be an additional 35,000 technicians needed to support the transport sector by 2030 as the pace of technological change speeds up.

The outcome of the bids will be announced in the autumn and the plans will be subject to the normal planning consents being granted.

Institutes of Technology ‘The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’

Sustainability skills gap must be plugged to meet the West Midland’s green home aspirations

  • 72% of people in the West Midlands would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructed
  • The majority of people in the West Midlands currently use electricity [69%] and gas [59%] in their homes, but if cost wasn’t a factor 42% would opt for renewable, sustainable or green sources of energy
  • Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology (IoT) is part of a new national network working to solve the big issues facing society today, highlighted in a report out today.

New research shows the extent of the West Midland’s demand for sustainable living, as the majority would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructed. A report released alongside the research highlights the technical skills that are needed if the West Midlands’ consumers’ green ambitions are to be met.

The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report, produced on behalfi of the Institutes of Technologyii, looks at a range of challenges that communities face today, including sustainable construction and energy. Research released alongside the report shows that 72% of people in the West Midlands would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructediii. It also shows that whilst the majority of people in the West Midlands currently use electricity [76%] and gas [59%] if cost wasn’t a factor 42% would opt for renewable sources of energy. Furthermore, people in the West Midlands would rather have good insulation [41%] in their next home than plentiful built-in storage [32%] or an entertaining space [27%].

However, despite this appetite for greener living, the ‘The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report outlines that a workforce with the right technical skills are needed to make it a reality. For instance, waste is a major issue in the construction industry, generating around three fifths (62%) of total UK waste in 2018iv. Modern methods of construction like 8D Building Information Modelling (BIM) can make the process more efficient as a lot of the planning and preparation work can be done digitally, but more workers with the skillset to use and read the equipment are needed. Additionally, employment in the wind industry is expected to grow by 170% by 2026v, so a pipeline of talent with the skills to work with offshore wind energy technology is needed to achieve the full potential of the resource.

Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology (IoT) is part of a new national network of regional partnerships between local colleges, universities and leading employers across England, created to ensure the technical skills and knowledge needed to overcome the biggest challenges communities face are accessible to all. IoTs provide training in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based occupations, many of which address sustainability demands facing the country, such as in energy, construction and agritech industries. Their work is increasing the accessibility of vital expertise for employers seeking to embrace innovation.

Michelle Donelan, Minister for Higher and Further Education, says:

“Institutes of Technology are not only playing a critical role in helping to close skills gaps in key sectors such as sustainable construction, but crucially, they are providing people with high quality technical training that leads to good jobs, helping to level up opportunity across our country.

“The need to support sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, construction and digital looks set to only grow and with their close ties to employers, Institutes of Technology will be the driving force behind ensuring the workforce is ready for future technological change and changing working practices.”

Georgina Barnard; Managing Director Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology said:

“We’re pleased to be part of a partnership that will support the delivery of sustainable practice. Many of our programmes in Construction and the Built Environment and in Advanced Engineering are addressing the green agenda, so we can make sure the region is not left behind in terms of building a skilled workforce to tackle the challenges we face in the future.

As well as covering Energy: Powering the nation in new ways and Construction: Building a sustainable future, The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report looks into other challenges communities are facing today, and how Institutes of Technology are helping to plug gaps. The topics include, Cyber: Tackling threats to national security, Electric Vehicles: Driving transport innovation and Agriculture: Cultivating technical skills.

Level 2 Technical Plastering students gain valuable work experience with Roseville Contracts Ltd

Our Level 2 Technical Plastering students have recently undertaken valuable work experience with local company, Roseville Contracts Ltd. 

Students have immersed themselves into the workplace and were able to take part in practical, hands-on activities. Not only have they been learning about the importance of safe working practices, they’ve also been able to develop their skills to industry standards.

Course tutor, Craig Bradley, said:

“Following the launch of our new dry lining course in October 2021, the good relationship built with Roseville Contracts Ltd has enabled students to enhance their learning. All students received a full induction from Roseville Contracts Ltd, who supplied full PPE and workwear, provided transport to the work sites and made them feel part of the team. We would like to thank them for their support and dedication in making the work experience a success.”

Mark Kelsey, Managing Director, said:

“I believe in helping young people wanting to enter the industry and give them the opportunity to further develop their skills in the plastering trade. The team at Roseville Contracts are pleased to have been involved in the dry lining and plastering course at the CAT Centre, and to be part of the students learning experience. We will continue to offer our continuous support and build on our good relationship with the plastering department.”

Here at Dudley College, we’re proud to offer work experience placements to many students as part of their study programme. This opportunity gives them an insight into their future career and helps them to gain industry knowledge from those already working in the sector. Students are able to develop their key skills in a hands-on way that can only be experienced outside of a classroom environment.

Harry Westwood, Level 2 Technical Plastering Student, said:

“I would like to thank Roseville Contracts Ltd, and my tutor Craig, for giving me the opportunity to work for three weeks. From the minute I was picked up by the plasterers, I was encouraged to use the skills I had learned on my course, try different plastering techniques and develop new ones. It has given me the confidence to know I can work as part of a team and have chosen a career I am going to enjoy. I understand now what employers are looking for and the importance of time keeping, positive attitude and working hard in college.”

Alfie Harris, Level 2 Technical Plastering Student, said:

“The work experience has really made me want to succeed in my qualifications and given me the confidence to know that I have chosen the right career as a plasterer and are ready to apply for plastering positions. I would like to thank Roseville Contracts Ltd for giving me the PPE, paying half the cost for the CSCS certificate and giving me the opportunity to work on a building site.”

All of Construction students have access to state-of-the-art facilities at our Construction Apprenticeship Training Centre (CAT), which is located on the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill. Our well-equipped, specialist workshops and classrooms provide the best environment for them to develop their skills, whilst being overseen by expert tutors.

If you’d like to find out more about courses at the CAT centre, please visit dudleycol.ac.uk/Courses/Full-Time.

Staff and students gather donations to support the people of Ukraine

Members of our college community have come together to raise donations and show their support for the people of Ukraine. 

The Independent Living Group at Aspire Works, led by staff member Allison Parkes, appealed for students and staff to donate essential items such as toiletries, medical supplies and clothing. They sorted through the items and filled over 50 bags, which are in the process of being donated to local organisations and charities. Some of the essentials were given to Dudley Community Church, who recently sent them to Ukrainian refugees in Poland. 

Allison Parkes, Educational Support Assistant, said:

“We were all deeply affected by the crisis in Ukraine and felt inspired to take action and do something to help. We have been inundated with donations, thanks to the generosity of our college community.”

In addition, our students at Aspire have been learning about the Ukraine and how people have had to leave their homes and belongings behind to get to safety. They decided that they would like to help, so they donated their cooking money and went to Dudley to buy some toiletries, batteries and first aid essentials. All of their donations are being taken to a local church who will make sure they get to the people who need help.  

Well done to all of our staff and students, we couldn’t be prouder of your thoughtfulness and generosity. As a college, our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the crisis in Ukraine. 

If you’re interested in showing your support, you can find out more about local and international appeals at the below link.