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  • 11 May 2017Award for Aspiral Learning

    Aspiral Learning have been named Provider of the Month by the Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE)

    Aspiral Learning, the employer-focused national provider arm of Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT), received the award in recognition of the work they have been doing in running the NCFE Mental Health qualification.

    Aspiral Learning specialise in providing training services for business and have recently added the NCFE Level 2 in Mental Health Awareness qualification to their programme. This has enabled them to help and engage with a broader range of learners outside of the business sector.

    During Mental Health Awareness Week, NCFE wanted to recognise the great work of Aspiral Learning team by awarding them the accolade of Provider of the Month.

    Sally Claughton, Business Development Manager at Aspiral Learning, commented:

    “The main reason we chose to deliver Level 2 in Mental Health Awareness was due to the press surrounding mental illness.

    We believe it is vital for individuals to have more information and a better understanding of mental health which will hopefully remove the stigma that is often attached to it. The information included in the qualification is excellent; the different types of mental illness are explained in great detail to ensure a thorough understanding.”

    Aspiral Learning currently offer the qualification on a distance learning basis and have successfully delivered qualifications this way for almost two years.

    Sally added: “One of the best outcomes of delivering the qualification is that we work with learners who have children suffering from mental illnesses; this qualification has helped the parents understand how and why it can affect individuals, helping their personal situations.”

    Clarissa Harrington, Business Development Officer at NCFE, added: “We have really enjoyed working with Aspiral Learning and are impressed with how they constantly adapt the way they deliver qualifications to ensure employers’ requirements are met.”

    The Mental Health Foundation hosts Mental Health Awareness Week in the second week of May each year. NCFE develops a range of qualifications in mental health, which aim to raise learners’ awareness and understanding of mental health and mental well-being.

    To find out more about NCFE programmes available through Aspiral Learning, please email

    Follow the conversation to keep up to date with Mental Health Awareness Week on Twitter #MHAW17



  • 10 May 2017BCoT prepares students for a digital future

    In the age of digital technology, BCoT is leading the way in ensuring its students have the digital skills needed to give them a head start in the world of work.

    The College has created a unique digital team whose role it is to develop the digital and technical skills of all staff and students. They work with the latest online tools such as Google Classroom to combine digital media and traditional classrooms techniques to create a new method of teaching and learning. This means that all students, whether they are training to be mechanics or beauty therapists, are gaining the technical skills demanded by industry in the classroom.

    As part of the digital team, BCoT trains Digital Apprentices in line with a county-wide initiative. The Apprentices are at the forefront of designing digital solutions to enhance the students’ learning experience. Sky Caves, a Learning and Technology Apprentice, works with lecturers to ensure all students across BCoT have access to digital learning technologies.  

    Sky said “The most exciting part of working with technology is that it is constantly developing and evolving. Things move at such an incredible pace and my role is to ensure that teachers and students get the very best from the digital tools we have at our disposal.”

    Since starting her role Sky has run group and individual training sessions, taught the principles of Google Classroom to teachers, spoken at industry conferences and set up online communities to engage with other colleges and lecturers to support their digital journeys.   

    Scott Hayden heads up the Digital team at BCoT and says “The work they are doing is completely hands-on; after only eight months they doing things which I never dreamt they’d be tackling. Speaking at conferences and working with industry leaders to use technology and share best practice is astounding. We’ve literally just scraped the surface on what can be done here at BCoT, it really is very exciting.”

    Scott and his team also work directly with industry to identify which digital tools are being used in the workplace and bring these back to the classroom. This guarantees that students are working with the very latest technology demanded by industry and are workplace-ready at the end of their time at college.

    To find out more and discover how you can be part of Basingstoke's digital future, come along to our Open Evening on Monday 15th May 4.30-7.00pm. To find out more visit

  • 09 May 2017New Centre Manager starts at Bordon FSC

    Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) has appointed Steve Gilder as Centre Manger for the new Bordon Future Skills Centre (BFSC) which opens its doors in September.

    The flagship facility will offer high end construction training to meet the skills demands of employers as part of the regeneration programme in Bordon and Whitehill.  The centre will also host an extensive range of adult and community learning programmes for the wider community.

    Steve, who was formerly Head of Construction/Building Services at Fareham and Croydon Colleges, started his working life as an Apprentice. From grass-roots training, he then went on to work in industry and study at Portsmouth University where he gained his Civil Engineering degree. “Starting at entry level and then working my way up has given me the skills, knowledge and understanding of what’s needed to make the centre work,” said Steve. He continued:

    “With the significant investment in Whitehill and Bordon, it is critical that we have a skilled workforce to support the economic growth. The centre will play a vital part in the lives of young people and the wider community as they gain the technical construction skills needed to support the development of the area.”

    Steve is keen to reiterate that the centre is very much a facility for everyone and will be led by the demands of local people, business and employers. “Our vision is to make this a centre of excellence for construction skills training and a credible route into employment. As well as providing much needed homes for Whitehill and Bordon, it is important that we also support the local community by providing the opportunity for jobs and training.”

    Anthony Bravo, Principal of Basingstoke College of Technology said: “We have already received a good number of applications for courses starting in September at BFSC, but applications are still open. From our work with local schools and employers we know that the Future Skills Centre will be a great success.” 

    To find out more about Bordon Future Skills Centre, including courses and apprenticeships starting in September, come along to our Open Evening on Monday 19June 4-7.30pm at BCoT. Alternatively, visit or follow @BordonFSC on Twitter.

  • 11 Apr 2017Hyundai Coupe Cup race report

    What a brilliant weekend our Motorsport students had at Silverstone recently, taking part in the Hyundai Coupe Cup. Race driver, Rob Brown's post-race report is below:



    I arrived early on Friday to test the car for the first time and as I pulled into the paddock I could see that Dave and the students had already arrived and unloaded the car. The car looked absolutely fantastic and very well prepared. Before the first session Dave got the team to work, checking things over and just making sure we were ready for our first time on track. Jon Winter, the series organiser came over to give us some encouragement, he was very complimentary about the work the team had done in preparing the car.

    We headed out for the first test session and this was a real eye opener. I had never been on track in a front wheel drive car before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, the car was the most compliant, very simple to drive, totally adjustable and predictable with huge levels of grip. It also ran without an issue and was very easy to set consistent laps in. On return to the paddock, the team immediately set to work checking the car over and asking me for feedback on how it had performed. I had a chat with another Hyundai Coupe driver who was also new for the season and we both said what great cars they were.

    There were two more sessions for the day and they went pretty much as before. Dave ensured that the team all got involved and had plenty to occupy them and they worked on the car with immense enthusiasm.


    Race day

    Once again I got to the track early and the team were already working, they certainly didn’t look like they’d only got two hours sleep because of the arctic night time temperatures at Silverstone! The first task of the day was to get the car down to scrutineering and ensure we were ready for the track. Dave spoke with our scrutineer who agreed to give a run through of what he was doing so the students would gain a full understanding of what kind of thing is checked at this stage. The first thing checked was the brake lights - this is when disaster struck as the brake lights weren’t working! We knew they had been working on Friday, as the students had been comparing braking points into Copse. Fortunately everything else was fine and again the scrutineer was very positive (by their standards) about the presentation of the car, we just needed to get the brakes sorted and we’d be out.

    The team set to checking for loose connections, but it seemed like none of the usual things were the cause. Time was now ticking by before the qualifying session and the team were to get their first taste of working under real pressure to get the car ready in time. Fortunately, Dave and the guys were able to work their magic and get the car ready with minutes to spare - stressful, for the team but undoubtedly a huge learning experience and a great success in overcoming adversity.

    Qualifying went smoothly and the car performed without fault; however, it soon became apparent that the car was struggling in a straight line relative to the other cars. In the end we qualified last, just a little off the pace. We had weighed the car the day before and knew we were overweight (the minimum weight is 1125kg with driver, we were coming in at 1199kg) so there was room for improvement here and we were also told that the standard exhaust would be costing us a few bhp. With the cars so evenly matched every little bit would help, the cars from 2 to 11 were separated by only 1 second.

    Race 1 went without a hitch and we made one place up due to a retirement. Before race 2, Dave set the team to work, trying to strip some more weight from the car, we knew there were marginal gains to be made here but everyone rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in. The car undoubtedly felt a little quicker in race 2, although remained just off the pace of the pack in front. Knowing we were off the pace, I was able to play with the car a little and learn just how to drive it. Once again the car performed fantastically and showed just what a solid platform it is.



    We qualified last and finished last in both races; yet it was as far from a bad weekend as it was possible to be. The car is a very solid dependable car and a great platform for the season ahead. We know what to do to improve it for the next race and the team learnt a lot from this experience. The students showed they are capable, enthusiastic and willing, and the rest of the paddock were full of praise for all we achieved. Overall it was a fantastic weekend, enjoyed by all involved and above all, the car came home in one piece. Roll on Snetterton in 6 weeks’ time.


    Find out more about our automotive courses starting September.


    Image credit: Phil Mundy


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