Colleges mark launch of collaboration project Bristol Talent banner

Colleges mark launch of collaboration project Bristol Talent

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A collaborative project between two of Bristol’s biggest colleges which hopes to bridge the skills gap and future-proof the workforce celebrated its official launch last week.

City of Bristol College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) came together to mark end of National Apprenticeship Week with the launch of their joint project, Bristol Talent.

The event was the last in a string of celebrations City of Bristol College hosted during the national week, with apprentices sharing their backgrounds and experiences on social media.

Bristol Talent is a unique partnership between the two further education providers to support employers with a next-generation workforce. Employers who join the project will be able to work with both colleges to engage with more than 7,000 vocational learners and 12,000 adult learners, which in-turn will create a more experienced and employable workforce.

The launch event on Friday was well attended, with employer partners from both colleges in attendance as well as members of the press. Guests to the event heard talks from the Project Manager, Donna Kenny, and both college’s principals, Richard Harris and Sara-Jane Watkins.

The event then ended with a talk from employer partner, Jane Cordier from Bell Group, who shared her successful experiences of working with the college, saying it was ‘really interesting’ to watch young people grow and prepare for the real working world.

Jane, who works in partnerships with SGS, also spoke about the work they have been doing in the Painting & Decorating Academy, which stemmed from their student engagement. Bell has been able to work with the programme learners and develop their skills ready for that next step onto an apprentice.

Donna Kenny said: Bristol Talent is the key to providing greater connectivity between our major employers and the college’s vocational students. This will be achieved through activities such as work experience, master classes/guest lecturers, career talks and much more. Providing our students with a greater awareness of progression pathways within the region and ensuring that our students are apprenticeship/employer ready in order to make that positive next step. Critically, the employers engaged in Bristol Talent will be involved in curriculum planning, ensuring that the college programmes are tailored to their future workforce development.”

Guests enjoyed tours of City of Bristol’s Motor Vehicle Technology Centre and SGS’ new Brunel building.
The project launch came at the perfect time, in-line with both National Apprenticeship Week which celebrates and promotes apprenticeships as a viable career path as well as the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.

Bristol Talent is the foundation to a ‘bounce-back Bristol’ with an aim to advance social cohesion and sustainable employment while promoting inclusivity and widening student participation within apprenticeships.

City of Bristol College employer partner Magnox has a number of students working as apprentices with them, including Thomas Jones and Chas Creed who spoke about their apprenticeships on BBC Radio Bristol earlier in the day on Friday.

Thomas said: “I prefer the hands-on work and I don’t like sitting exams so when I applied for the Magnox position and got in, it was so much better. It was more fun that what I would imagine university to be like. It is not all paperwork and theory, you get hands-on, practical skills which I can use in everyday life.

To find out more about Bristol Talent and how you can get involved, visit the City of Bristol College or SGS College website. Or if you are intrigued as to how Bristol Talent can support you and want to find out more, contact Donna at