Talented Fashion Level 3 student Natalie Brotherton has been named as a finalist in the Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) Fashion Futures competition – and her stunning designs are now heading for the London Fashion Week catwalk.

Judged by industry experts including May Martin of BBC’s ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ and Asos Womenswear Design Director Vanessa Spence, the competition challenged students from across London to create garments inspired by Indian streetwear. Natalie took part in a 10-week course of Saturday workshops – which included classes on technical drawing, garment construction and industry visits – before presenting her finished toile (test design) and sketchbook to the judging panel.

Vanessa Spence says, “The level of work and dedication was incredible. The students demonstrated a great amount of creativity and the beginnings of a real understanding of the fashion industry that FAD have nurtured brilliantly.

May Martin adds, “It was fascinating to see each student’s unique interpretations of the brief this year, from sketchbook to toile. I am really looking forward to seeing the final evolution of the designs.”

The select group of finalists will now create their finished designs during an intensive week at the University of East London in July. They will then showcase their work in front of 300 guests, including key industry figures and press, at Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week on 19th September.

FAD is an award-winning charity with a mission to help talented young people to progress in creative careers, regardless of their personal circumstances, financial situation or ethnic background. Fashion Futures is an annual programme sponsored this year by NatWest and George at Asda.

The College has just signed a new partnership agreement with Goldsmiths, University of London which promises a range of exciting opportunities for students who may not have considered Higher Education before.

Goldsmiths has pledged to make guaranteed offers to applicants from Lewisham Southwark College who meet its entry requirements, giving learners a fantastic opportunity to progress to one of the UK’s leading universities. The University will also prioritise our students for its ‘Goldclass’ master classes and Summer Schools, and organise student visits to the Goldsmiths campus.

In addition, Goldsmiths’ staff have committed to help our students apply for a degree by providing guidance on how to write a personal statement and prepare a portfolio, as well as advising on presentation skills and student finance.

The agreement covers learners studying a wide range of subjects at Lewisham Southwark College and will involve seven Goldsmiths departments: Art; Computing; Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship; Institute of Management Studies; Music, Theatre and Performance; and Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies.

Principal Carole Kitching says, “I’m delighted that the important relationship between Goldsmiths and Lewisham Southwark College is further developing through the signing of this progression agreement.

“This is a significant step in opening up opportunities to our students who may never have considered going to university before and we are proud to be working with Goldsmiths who share our ambition for our students.”

Students who take up these opportunities will be following in the footsteps of former College student Muna Aboukar who has just graduated from Goldsmiths’ BA Education, Culture and Society degree. Arriving in the UK with no English in 2001, she joined the College seven years later to study Childcare and Education, and has just received a First in her final-year dissertation at Goldsmiths.

Construction Leader and Governor Paul Archenoul was invited to attend the House of Lords on 14th June to celebrate achievements of Women into Construction and their first year as a Community Interest Company.

The event was organised by Women into Construction (WIC), a charity set up to promote opportunities for women in the construction industry. Aiming to create a permanent change in the traditionally male culture of the industry, WIC provides guidance on training and job opportunities for women wanting to work in construction, and helps contractors to recruit highly motivated, trained women.

Paul attended this event along with high profile delegates from government and industry including MP Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe, Sir Terry Morgan CBE, Chairman of Crossrail, and Judy Lowe, former Deputy Chairman of the government’s Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Paul says, “I was delighted and privileged to attend such a prestigious event. Women are very under-represented in construction. I am very interested in addressing gender diversity, and I am looking forward to help and support Women into Construction, offering training and employment opportunities at the College. For example Judy Lowe expressed less than one per cent of roofers are female – so it is great to see WIC promoting the great career opportunities for women in the sector.”


Former student and semi-professional footballer Fabio Saraiva – who still coaches the College’s Academy football team – will be playing in the National League next season having just won a one-year contract with Woking Football Club.

Midfielder Fabio previously played in the Ryman Premier League Division for Merstham Football Club and has leapt up two divisions with this new signing. Now aged 22, he studied for BTEC Sport qualifications at Lewisham Southwark College for three years before being talent-spotted when playing for our Academy team.

He says, “Playing Academy football at the College was a great thing for me because as a 16 to 19 year old, it was the closest thing you could get to a professional set-up. The coaching was brilliant and I really improved a lot as a player while I was there.”

Having achieved amazing things in one of the most competitive sports in the world himself, Fabio has this advice for keen young players: “You have to believe in yourself, work hard and be prepared to make sacrifices. You have to train when you don’t feel like training. You’ve got to have the right mentality.”

He adds, “You also have to be realistic because obviously not everyone is going to can make it in football at professional level. The great thing about the sport qualification I studied at College was that it was a stepping stone to other careers such as coaching. You learn lots of things you don’t even realise at the time!”

Floristry students rubbed shoulders with world-famous garden designers when they helped build one of the stunning features at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Attended this year by patron the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as well as a host of celebrities, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most prestigious horticultural shows in the world, attracting over 150,000 visitors. Lewisham Southwark College students were invited to help construct the HM royal arch, a magnificent floral arch designed by Royal Warrant of Appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales florist Shane Connelly to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The team of students, who were from all levels of floristry as well as from day and evening groups, spent two days at the Royal Hospital Chelsea grounds, working around the clock to ensure that the arch was perfect for the first visitors as the show opened its gates. Before the final two-day stint installing and decorating the arch, the students also took part in a making and preparation session run by Shane Connelly and spent time at New Covent Garden flower market conditioning a wide range of British grown flowers which were donated by various flower suppliers.

Lecturer Louise Roffey says, “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience the pressures and excitement of working at one of the most iconic flower shows in the world. They showed real artistry, attention to detail and great commitment throughout the preparations – even during the gruelling overnight shift – and I’m very proud of what they achieved.”

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