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Lewisham Southwark College was delighted to welcome a delegation of education agents from Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran on a UK familiarisation tour on 22 March specially arranged by the British Council.

A great opportunity to reach out to international students wanting to come to a leading London college for English language or other courses, the visit was a resounding success, with the agents enthusiastic about everything the College has to offer.

During the day, the four international agents listened to presentations on our range of international courses, our approach to teaching, and how we support students’ progression. They were given a full tour of the College and got the chance to sit in on an English language class and chat to some of our international students. We also worked with Britannia Student Services to enable the agents to visit local student accommodation.

Janet Lunam, Head of International, organised and hosted the day along with International Manager Shazi Giner and Vice Principal: Curriculum, Teaching & Learning Gordon Gillespie.

Janet says: “The familiarisation tour was a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate what a great place the College is for international students. The agents were very impressed with the excellent facilities our Southwark campus offers, our central location, and the high level of support we offer students from all over the world.”


Students on the College’s ESOL programme have won the top prize in the prestigious Euroscola competition - a trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Part funded by the European Parliament, the annual competition is open to Lewisham young people aged 16 to 18.

Using their English and foreign language skills, the six students had to develop a presentation on a European theme – such as BREXIT and the future of Europe – which was filmed and sent to the judges. The students, together with their Progress Coach Nina Mirzaei, prepared their presentation entitled “Global Warming in Europe”, which made a great impression with its content, style and delivery.

Feedback from the Civic Suite was glowing for the students: “Wow! The students really know about climate change! They were clear, concise, and informative. The innovative approach they took in drawing together and presenting methods for reducing climate change was particularly outstanding.”

On 29th March, the students will travel to Strasbourg where they will get to be MEPs (Members of European Parliament) for a day, along with 300 other young people from across Europe. The students will get a real taste of how the Parliament operates by getting the chance to work in multilingual groups and discuss some highly topical issues such as security and human rights, migration and integration, and the environment.

Annette Duncan, Head of ESOL Young People, comments: “The students have done incredibly well to put together a very professional, interesting and thought-provoking presentation. With BREXIT a hot topic, this will be a fascinating time for them to visit the European Parliament and exchange views with people from a diverse range of cultures and countries. I’m really proud of their success.”


The chance to visit another country and learn about its cuisine from professionals – one of the highlights for contestants on TV series Masterchef – is a dream for any aspiring chef. So when 11 catering students from Lewisham Southwark College were invited to spend two weeks in Italy on a work placement, they grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The students arrived in Italy on 10 February, and are now immersing themselves in every aspect of Italian cookery. After visiting a trade fair featuring local food, they spent a day in Venice where they sampled Venetian delicacies and enjoyed a tour of the city provided by teachers at the host school.

It was then ‘down to work’ as the students joined Italian students in traditional working kitchens where they have learnt how to use unfamiliar ingredients and prepare classic dishes such as Sacha Torte, biscotti, plaice Millanaise, monkfish wrapped in San Danielle ham, and risotto with a medley of seafood.

The work placement has been funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme.

David Harrild, Head of Service Industries at Lewisham Southwark College, said: “Coming to Italy, the home of some of Europe’s most famous dishes, and working in authentic Italian kitchens using traditional methods of cooking has been a wonderful opportunity for our catering students, and one they will never forget.

“The students have risen to the challenge and learnt a huge amount despite the language barrier. Stepping out of their comfort zone to work in a very different environment to the one they’re used to will stand them in great stead when they begin their professional careers.”


Our florists regularly have the chance to get involved in exciting enrichment activities, and the beginning of 2017 has been no exception.

Students were invited to create flower displays for the glitzy annual cover party for Radio Times – the best-selling TV magazine – at London’s famous Claridge’s Hotel on 31 January. The brief was challenging to say the least: using a bronze, navy blue and ivory colour scheme, students had to develop both large displays and a huge 14ft floral arch which was positioned in the hotel’s ballroom as a show-stopping centrepiece.

The florists rose to the challenge, and their beautiful displays were much-appreciated. Following the event, the client wrote: “I just wanted to thank your amazing team and students for the gorgeous flowers last week. I hope they enjoyed doing the flowers as much as we loved looking at them!”

Our floristry students are also looking forward to the return of an inspiring guest speaker, Sacha Ansell of Cherry Blossom UK, who will visit the College on 6 March. A floristry employer, entrepreneur and inventor of new floristry products stocked in retailers such as Hobby Craft, Sacha is also in the process of creating her own TV programme and is keen to share her experiences with our students.

Tutor Louise Roffey says: “We’re delighted to be able to offer our floristry learners such a diverse range of experiences. The chance to work at high profile events, and to hear speakers like Sacha who have such valuable industry experience, really complements what they learn in the classroom.” 

Lewisham Southwark College’s Technical Theatre students are reaching out to schools and highlighting an exciting backstage job opportunity – costume design. The students recently took their ‘Costume Challenge’ workshop to Deptford Green Secondary School where they challenged school students to create costumes for famous characters using just brown paper and parcel tape.

Run as an after-school activity, the workshop not only gave school students the chance to try their hand at a practical task, but also encouraged them to use essential employability skills such as collaboration, creative problem solving, leadership and working to a tight deadline.

Our Technical Theatre students, who facilitated the workshop, demonstrated strong leadership skills in managing and delivering the workshops to industry-level expectations.

Tutor Ian Shillito says: “Our students’ enthusiasm for Technical Theatre was infectious, and the children were inspired to produce some really creative designs. This was a great opportunity both to showcase our course and to get school students thinking about a career in the industry.”

There are now plans to roll the workshop out across other local schools this term.

The College’s Technical Theatre courses cover the many different disciplines that come together to support a performance – set design, sound and lighting, stage management, costumes and make-up – preparing students for successful careers with major production companies and on national and international tours.





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