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Student Awarded Building Services Prize


Student Awarded Building Services Prize

Ian Byrne, an Electrical Project Engineer at Briggs & Forrester Living and student at The City of Liverpool College, has been awarded this year’s Alfred Leung award for excellence in the field of Engineering.

Each year the Alfred Leung Award is awarded to the best building services student at the college and is named in honour of Dr Leung, who worked at the college for many years.

Before his untimely passing, Alfred, or ‘Alf’, was a close friend of the college, a committee member and regional chair for CIBSE Merseyside. He was dedicated to facilitating high achievement of students both past and present. The award ensures that his name will forever be synonymous with the high achievement of students of the future.

Dr Lynn Borthwick, Deputy Head of School Engineering and Logistics at The City of Liverpool College said, “It’s a great honour to have the award gifted to the college for one of our students to be recognised, it means a lot to my team, the whole department and the college.”



The recipient of this year’s award, Ian Byrne, studied on our HNC level 4 course in Building Services Engineering based at our Vauxhall Road campus. He became aware of the course early on in his career during his apprenticeship and decided to join the college many years later as an adult learner to complete his HNC.

When asked about the course, Ian said:

“My background is in electrical, and the building services pathway is more mechanical biased, so I wanted to develop my mechanical knowledge to enhance my career opportunities. To my surprise I really enjoyed the ‘dark side’ of mechanical design units and the construction management unit. The level of teaching was superb, my tutor was extremely supportive and had building services industry experience, which helped to answer numerous queries from a very inquisitive class.”

Congratulations to Ian and best of luck with your future career from everyone at The City of Liverpool College. Thank you also to the Leung family for dedicating such a meaningful award in Alfred’s name.

To find out more about our courses in construction, engineering and building services, click here.

College Tutor Honoured in FETN Outstanding Personal Tutor Awards 2020

Carmel Hackett, a Progress Leader at The City of Liverpool College has been honoured at a national awards event which recognises tutors who are providing an extraordinary service to their students and learning community.

Carmel placed second in the Further Education Tutorial Network (FETN) Outstanding Personal Tutor Awards for the work she does with students at our Vauxhall Road campus and as part of the college’s extensive student support team.



The FETN awards are an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of staff whose primary responsibility is to support individual learners to develop and progress, and recognise innovative tutoring techniques, the quality of practice, the impact an individual tutor makes and the standards to which they work.

For many years the role of the Personal Tutor has been essential to our learners’ progress, development and well-being. In normal circumstances it is a complex and demanding role, but in recent months has been particularly challenging due to the effects of Covid-19 with many tutors required to work remotely.

We spoke to Carmel about her achievement, who told us:

“I am absolutely thrilled to come second at the FETN awards. It is a huge honour to get nominated but to be placed is just unreal!

“It has been a very challenging year for all staff and students with learning having to adapt in many ways to help students achieve and progress. The college has helped by providing IT access and a range of online platforms to help make communication with staff much easier.

“I feel the staff at Vauxhall Road work extremely closely to support learners, not just on their course and their academic journey but for getting them ready to enter the world of work.”

Congratulations to Carmel, and a huge thank you from everyone at The City of Liverpool College for the amazing work you and your colleagues do to support our students.

To find out more about the FETN Outstanding Personal Tutor Awards, click here, or to learn more about the support available at the college, click here.

Former college student wins top national chef award

Edwin Kuk, who studied his trade at The City of Liverpool College, has won the Young National Chef of The Year 2020 following a tense cook-off at Le Corden Bleu in London.

Competing against some of the UK’s top young culinary talent, Edwin becomes the first chef from a Liverpool restaurant to take the top award.

Edwin graduated from the college several years ago, where he studied a Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery with Ian Jaundoo. The 22-year-old now works as Junior Sous Chef at Paul Askew’s The Art School Restaurant.



Born in Hong Kong, but very much a son of the city, Edwin spent much of his early life travelling through Asia with his family, where he discovered a love for the culinary arts.

Influenced by chefs such as Nathan Outlaw, Gordon Ramsay, Uncle Roger, The Roux Brothers and, of course mentor and Chef Patron of The Art School, Paul Askew, Edwin has a bright future in the industry and follows in the footsteps of previous winners from establishments including the Savoy in London, Gordon Ramsey and Le Manoir.

He modestly describes his cooking style as simple, although the techniques and skills have been acquired through hard work and an openness to learn from some of the industry’s best.


It’s been a honour to represent Liverpool and to be the first scouse/hongkong winner is such a achievement @ArtSchoolLpool @COLCollege @Craft_Guild

— Edwin Kuk (@KukEdwin) September 30, 2020


Even while The Art School was closed during lockdown, Edwin took the chance to see the positives of COVID-19, saying it gave him time to focus on himself and refine his knowledge of different chefs and techniques.

Edwin was entered into the national competition following his victory in the North West Young Chef of The Year back in 2019, which saw him cook his own menu. Written in line with the brief, Edwin brought his menu to life at Le Corden Bleu in London, alongside his fellow finalists.

Edwin served up a starter of velouté of Wirral watercress and spinach with ravioli of organic Colston Basset cheese, walnut, Granny Smith apple and pickled celery. His main course was steamed loin of Norwegian cod wrapped in prawn mousse and served with beluga lentils, edamame beans, lotus root and Asian broth. A dessert of cinnamon Pain Perdu, lemon verbena yoghurt ice cream with caramelised damsons, white chocolate and pistachio completed his winning menu.

Paul Askew, Chef Patron of The Art School in Liverpool, said:

“I am delighted for Ed. The process of refining and shaping his menu to bring out his own food culture with that of The Art School was fantastic. Mentoring and supporting his journey has been an absolute joy and it’s another first for our great city.”

Ian Jaundoo, Executive Chef Manager at The City of Liverpool College, said:

“Edwin did very well at college and was a member of the Academy Culinary Team which won numerous competitions around the country during his time here. It was a pleasure to have mentored and encouraged him and it’s great to see that Paul Askew has continued to mentor him further, resulting in this fantastic achievement! We are very proud.”

At a challenging time for the hospitality industry, Edwin wants to encourage young chefs to “stay outside of your comfort zone, keep trying, and you will always learn something”. He is immensely proud to be crowned with such a prestigious national award in the industry, and especially to be the first young chef to do it for Liverpool.

To find out more about our courses in catering, bakery, culinary skills and chefing, please click here.

LEX Hosts Covid-19 Testing for Staff And Students

A new Covid-19 testing site for staff and students opens today at the college’s main campus building, The Learning Exchange (LEX), on Roscoe Street.

The college has been working closely with British Army personnel to open the testing site, which is exclusively for staff and students, to support the efforts to drive the transmission rate of the virus down in the city.

The testing site gives staff and students the opportunity to take a test whilst at college to help control the spread of coronavirus. Since the launch of the mass testing pilot across Liverpool more than 23,000 people have taken part, with 14,000 home testing kits sent out to local residents.

Working closely with Liverpool City Council and local public health officials, the College was identified as well placed to host a test site as part of the latest pilot, moving quickly with local leaders and army personnel to set up the testing site in a matter of hours.



The site has the ability to conduct 84 tests per hour and will be running for 12 hours each day, open to students and staff of the College.

Elaine Bowker, principal and chief executive at The City of Liverpool College, said:

“As Liverpool’s largest college, we’re clear on our responsibility to contribute to the safety of our community. Throughout the pandemic, we have worked closely with the city council and local public health officials to keep our college community safe. The wellbeing of our students and staff is our absolute priority, and we welcome the opportunity to take part in this mass testing pilot as a means of controlling the spread of coronavirus.

“We’re fortunate to have great facilities across the College and to be able to use our space and help protect our college community in this way, and contribute to limiting the spread of the virus across the city.”

The testing site, which will initially run from 10th-16th November, will exclusively test staff and students of The City of Liverpool College, preventing any additional risks through increased numbers attending the College for testing.

For more information regarding the college’s latest coronavirus safety measures and advice, please click here.

If you’re not a member of staff or a student at the college but would like to take a test as part of the Liverpool mass testing scheme, then please visit:

Meet the fashion graduate working with the stars

We love hearing about what our former students are getting up to after college and recently caught up with a graduate who is making a name for himself in the fashion industry.

Ben Mak, from Walton, graduated from our BTEC course in Fashion and is now working as a designer for some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Vivienne, The Spice Girls and British Vogue. He now has some very impressive credits to his name and has had work appear in TV shows such as Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the X Factor, the National Television Awards and more. Here’s what Ben had to say about his time at The City of Liverpool College:

What did you enjoy about college?

I had amazing tutors. Pauline especially really helped me discover how far to take design by not holding me back creatively – making ‘horned trousers’ for instance. Pauline didn’t think twice in helping me get my idea to reality, which then debuted on the World’s biggest catwalk.



Did you feel supported by tutors, college staff and other students?

Yes, I received the right amount of tough needed to prepare me for the less sensitive approach you get at university. This is important to grasp, it’s not like college and can be a shock.

What did you enjoy about the course?

I had my own vision so my relationship with tutors was most important, and I felt you could be yourself around them. The nurturing environment is crucial to your development as a designer/artist.



How do you think college prepared you for a career in fashion?

My tutor always enveloped my visions with respect and encouragement, she came to my first show ‘Cutthroat Couture’ which was a double sell out. That was a special moment for me, and your tutor being there really helps you to believe in yourself.

Could you tell us a bit about what you’re doing now?

I’m currently working with Saddlers Wells and the BBC on an exciting design project. I have two TV shows that I’ll be appearing on, I’ve started an exciting enterprise ‘Intern Intervention’ which brings lots of benefits to students and institutes across the UK, and today I’ve landed a shoot with my amazing creative partner of five years The Vivienne, for photographer Rankin.



What have your career highlights been so far?

I’ve really enjoyed taking on design interns and teaching them “I Matter Mind Set” with emotional and mindset tools I learned training with top therapists and speakers. It’s the biggest gift being able to empower and deliver lifelong tools to the new wave of creatives that will help to develop their mental, and emotional strength.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about starting college?

It’s all about mindset:

  1. Make gratitude lists daily!
  2. Train your inner voice to praise all your efforts.
  3. Know your top 5 qualities at lightning speed.
  4. Adopt a can-do attitude.
  5. Collaborate, spot potential, work at it.



We’d like to say a huge thank you to Ben for taking the time to talk about his experiences and wish him all the best with his future career in fashion.

To browse our fashion, art and design courses, please click here.

Business and Education: it’s time to join forces

Never before has it been so important for businesses and educational providers to come together to boost employment prospects and bridge the skills gap, as we face the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to latest research by the Association of Colleges (AoC), the majority (68%) of SMEs say that if their business is going to “survive and thrive” then skills must be a top priority for the Government.

Despite recent high-profile skills speeches and announcements, almost 40 per cent of SME decision-makers say that it is more difficult now than it was five years ago to find employees with the right skills, and 53 per cent still don’t think that enough is being done to help them skill and reskill their workforce as we get closer to the end of the Brexit transition period.

The national survey of SME leaders also shows that the impact of Brexit is no longer the biggest worry for businesses, with more than half (53%) saying that COVID-19 is now their key concern. More than two in five (44%) say that the skills gap in their sector is likely to increase because of threats such as COVID-19, and 54 per cent believe that they are going to need to train their workforce to adapt to the opportunities and threats thrown up by the virus.

The study, released to mark Colleges Week, shows that 71 per cent believe colleges are important to business for training and retraining staff. As a business, 39% say they would look to train, retrain or upskill their employees through colleges, compared to 21% who would turn to a university or 13% online courses. A further 44% believe colleges are best placed to skill their future workforce, compared to universities (22%) and schools (21%).



Economic recovery must be skills-led, and it’s clear that our nation’s colleges are well placed to lead the way in helping to bridge the gap between education and employment.

 Last month, to help combat recent unemployment figures, the Government launched the Kickstart Scheme, aimed at helping people who have lost their jobs, retrain and upskill to re-enter the workforce. With Kickstart, the Government will pay new employees’ wages for up to six months, as well as a £1,500 incentive payment for each Kickstart employee taken on.

These jobs will give young people – who are more likely to have been furloughed, with many working in sectors disproportionately hit by the pandemic – the opportunity to build their skills in the workplace and to gain experience to improve their chances of finding long-term work.

Early support from businesses for Kickstart has been good. Thousands have signed up directly, or through gateway organisations, to offer subsidised jobs. There is much to celebrate about the scheme, and rapid implementation is needed to avoid the scarring effect of long-term youth unemployment.

“Celebrating our colleges has never been more important. The City of Liverpool College is at the heart of Liverpool’s economic commitment to building back better, inspiring young people and supporting businesses.”

“Now more than ever, we need to celebrate the work that FE colleges do to drive lasting positive change for young people and adults across the City Region.”

– Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.

At The City of Liverpool College, we are calling on businesses to help us support the North West’s unemployed and the economy, via the Kickstart scheme.

We are working with employers to develop a pre-employment training plan to ensure employees joining them on the Kickstart scheme are equipped with the skills required by the business. Following completion of the Kickstart programme, employees will be perfectly placed to progress onto an Apprenticeship or full-time employment.

Kickstart has the potential to launch the careers of hundreds of thousands of young people. While the future youth labour market will undoubtedly be very different to what we are used to, if Kickstart can give young people the opportunities and skills to adapt and thrive, business and the economy will benefit from the unique talent, energy and creativity that young people bring.

It is only through training and retraining that we will be able to make sure that people have the skills they need to keep their jobs and to apply for new ones, and that businesses have the employees they need to recover and thrive in this ever-changing world.


Elaine Bowker

Principal and Chief Executive at The City of Liverpool College

My college journey – Yagoub Juma Mohamed

Former college plastering student, Yagoub Juma Mohamed, was named the UK’s young plasterer of the year in 2017 after taking Gold at the UK Skillbuild finals – the largest multi-trade competition in the country for construction trainees and apprentices. For #BlackHistoryMonth, Yagoub shares his incredible story:

“I was born one of twelve siblings in a small African village in Darfur, Sudan. There are 583 tribes in Sudan with twelve different languages. In my village we had very little and were without a hospital or school. My only education was to learn as best I could from those around me. Sudanese people are very honest, calm and love to socialise.

“In 2003, and at the age of 15, I had to flee my village due to the conflicts and ethnic cleansing that was being carried out by the government. Half a million people were killed, and 2.7 million people have been displaced. Before I fled, my mother told me to be very careful, to always be respectful to others, never do anything wrong and to be a good person. She assured me that if I followed these simple rules then I would always be taken care of.



“I have seen and suffered many terrible things over many years. Fortunately for me I arrived in the UK by a small boat in 2013 and was allowed to stay. I thank God that I arrived here in Liverpool where people have befriended me and supported me.

“I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have been given. I am proud of my achievements, I can now speak English, have passed my maths GCSE, learned a craft in plastering and became both the British champion and student of the year in 2017.

“I am now employed as plasterer and have a great future. For me education is the most important thing that you can do. What I would like to say to any young person who is studying at the College is that you should not miss the opportunity that you have now. Do not let this opportunity pass you by.”

We’re honoured to have been a part of Yagoub’s humbling and inspirational journey. We have no doubt that he will continue to achieve wonderful things.

To find out more about Black History Month 2020, click here.

Meet the college students levelling up their games design skills

We recently caught up with several of our games design graduates to see what they’ve been doing since finishing at the college and taking up their first roles in the growing digital industry. At the college we offer many courses which enable learners to develop their digital skills, knowledge and expertise with state-of-the-art facilities, to turn what for many people is a hobby into a real, legitimate and prosperous career. In fields such as animation, special effects, games design and concept art, we are extremely proud of what our students are achieving…

Alan Horton – Technical Designer at Lucid Games Ltd

Alan studied with us between 2016 and 2018, on our HNC and HND Games Development Programmes, leaving us to complete his Top Up Degree in Manchester. He recently worked with a small team including another of our graduates, Lee Stockton, on a game design for a ‘Game Jam’ called Jamfuser. Their game, The Last Spark, won the competition and they were given a place in an international game jam tournament. This fantastic achievement gained interest from Liverpool-based developers, Lucid Games, who hired Alan on a permanent basis. You can watch some of The Last Spark below:



Liam Heron – Freelance Games Developer

Liam has just graduated from our BA (Hons) in Game Design and Concept Art. He recently created an asset pack that fellow game designers can use to increase efficiency in their workflows whilst designing levels in Unreal Engine.



Damien Coulson – Teacher at the college

Damien completed his HNC and HND between 2016-18 and discovered during this time that he was interested in teaching. Luckily for us, the college was able to offer Damien the opportunity to cover some lessons at The Arts Centre’s Digital Academy on a part-time basis. Damien took this opportunity brilliantly and the students seemed to really enjoy his lessons. He is now a fully-fledged member of the teaching team, teaching both level 2 and level 3 games design.

Stefan Collins – Freelance Games Developer and volunteer at Draw&Code

Steafan is a graduate of the class of 2020. He came to the college to study his HNC & HND in Games Development in 2017 and then topped up to degree level with a BA in Games Design and Concept Art. Despite completing his final project remotely from home during the coronavirus pandemic, Stefan graduated this year with the highest mark we have on record! He achieved a first-class honours degree and is now establishing himself as a freelancer as well as collaborating with Liverpool-based creative tech studio and software developers, Draw&Code.



You can find out more about Stefan here >

Jack McFarland – 3D Environment Artist at Simbin Studios UK Ltd

Jack previously studied with us at HNC and HND level before we offered the Top Up Degree in Games. He secured employment at newly-formed Simbin Studios in Liverpool, which specialises in creating realistic racing experiences, with his impressive portfolio.

Lewis McDonough – 3D Artist at Skyhook Games

Lewis is another student who studied at the college on our HNC and HND level courses. He now works as a 3D artist at Liverpool-based Skyhook Games, which provides high quality 2D and 3D artwork for the video games industry.

Lee Stockton – Freelance Games Developer and Teacher

Lee graduated from The City of Liverpool College with a very impressive triple distinction performance for our HNC and HND games development programmes and, in his final year, a first-class honours degree in games design. Along with fellow student Alan Horton, Lee was part of the team responsible for creating The Last Spark, which won the Jamfuser games jam competition.

Last year, Lee enrolled onto our one-year PGCE programme to make his journey towards becoming a teacher and started some part-time lecturing with our first-year degree and level 2 games design students. He passed his PGCE and is now developing his portfolio with a view to working freelance and will be returning to the college to continue to teach this September.



We’d like to say a huge well done to all of our games design students and wish them all the best with their future careers in the sector.

If you’re interested in a career in Digital, ICT or Games Development, or would like to find out more about our courses, click here.

Black History Month 2020

Black History Month takes place every year throughout the month of October in the UK. Also known as African-American History Month, it is a way of recognising and celebrating the outstanding contributions people of African and Caribbean descent have had on the world. It’s also a time to celebrate the here and now, and future possibilities.

At The City of Liverpool College, we are incredibly proud of our diverse population and are committed to providing and improving opportunities in any way we can for our students and staff regardless of their background, race, gender, sexuality or ability.

To mark Black History Month, we’ll be working with our partner charity, the Anthony Walker Foundation, to play our part in educating people about black history. We’ll be sharing the thoughts of our staff, students and alumni on what the event means to them, and why it is important to focus on our shared history and the presence of black people in business, the arts and education, not just during October, but all year round.



Education is a powerful remedy to discrimination and poverty, and as a college we have a responsibility to be part of the solution. Many of our departments will be showcasing the work of black creatives in their classes throughout October and beyond.

Read our Black Lives Matter statement >

Make-up lecturer, Fatou Jagne, will be talking to her students about artists who have enriched the media and make-up industries. Fatou takes particular influence from Pat McGrath MBE, a black British make-up artist and possibly the most influential make-up artist in the world according to Vogue magazine and other commentators. Fatou completed her Certificate in Education at the college and since then has been a lecturer at the college, inspiring her students with her own achievements. We asked Fatou for her thoughts on Black History Month:

“When it comes to history, if you have the opportunity to educate yourself, do so obsessively. Liverpool is a great starting point for educating yourself on black history.”

In addition, our Access History course curriculum examines Britain’s role in the slave trade and is representative of black people’s struggles and accomplishments during the era of slavery, colonialism and the US civil rights movement. The aim of the course is to respond to the lack of representation of black people within history curriculums, exploring British history in a way that is not done in schools.

Considering we are located in a city which was once one of the major slave trading ports, it is so important for all those who live here to learn about our city’s history. The course helps students to understand how Britain developed a capitalist economic structure and to understand where racism originates from.



Some of our own students are also planning to hold a series of musical performances pertaining to black history and culture throughout October, which will take place safely outside of the Arts Centre from 19thOctober. We’re also looking forward to food from different cultures being served in the College canteens.


Date  Event 
Monday 19th Oct 

Time: 12-1pm 

Location: Virtual (TBC)

Cultural music event 

Join us to experience live music from our Level 3 Music Performance students, celebrating black history and culture in musical form! 


Thursday 22nd Oct 

Time: 12-1pm 

Location: LEX and The Arts Centre.                                          

Cultural food events 

Come and taste the flavours of Caribbean, African and American cuisine, as we celebrate the amazing dishes of these cultures. The food is being prepared by our own catering students! 

You can look forward to: 

  • Caribbean 

Curry Goat/Mutton 

Rice and Peas 

  • African 

Chicken Stew  

Fried Plantain 

  • American Deep South  

Gumbo and Jambalaya 

  Spotify Playlist 

Our students are working together to create our very own Spotify playlist with music celebrating black culture in all its forms. We’ll be playing this at our food events and sharing on social media for you to enjoy. 

Friday 23rd October 

Location: Virtual 

Guest Speaker Event 


Students and staff will be invited to attend a live speaker event from one of our partner agencies. Keep your eyes peeled for further details! 


The hair and beauty department are currently registering interest for a brand-new course focused on ‘The Essentials of Black Hair’. This short course, accredited by VTCT, looks at treatments, styles and maintenance for black and afro hair types. To find out more, please contact our Head of School for Hair, Barbering, Beauty, Nails and Comp Therapies, Helen Farrow, via email at:

As we continue to embed equality and diversity across the College, we will be working with student representatives, staff and external agencies to plan what more we can do going forward to bring about lasting change.

As always, we are here to support our college community, and if you would like to speak to a member of our student support team you can call them on: 0151 252 3733 or email at:

The City of Liverpool College announced as one of the first WorldSkills UK Centres of Excellence

The City of Liverpool College has been announced as one of the first colleges to be part of the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence, in partnership with NCFE, to mainstream world-class standards in skills development in the UK.

Utilising NCFE’s expertise in curriculum development and drawing on WorldSkills UK’s unique insights into global skills systems through its membership of WorldSkills, the global hub for skills excellence, staff at The City of Liverpool College will be coached and mentored to embed world-class practices and techniques in their teaching, learning and assessment practices.

The work will be led by WorldSkills UK High-Performance Skills Coaches, who are all experienced WorldSkills UK Training Managers. They will capture learnings from international competitions and use these to coach and mentor educators at The City of Liverpool College, who will pass this knowledge on to their students, ensuring they perform to international high standards of excellence in their skills.



In addition to its work with FE colleges throughout the UK, the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence will also play an important role in supporting the development of higher technical standards across qualifications and assessment development.

Elaine Bowker, principal at The City of Liverpool College, said: “We are committed to delivering excellence in our training and teaching programmes at The City of Liverpool College, which is why we are working with WorldSkills UK and NCFE.  The WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence will enhance our teaching and curriculum innovation and provide our students with a world-class skill set and mindset so they and their employers will succeed.”

Parisa Shirazi, Head of skills development and international competition at WorldSkills UK, said: “This is a milestone moment – a unique opportunity for The City of Liverpool College to work with other colleges across the UK and join the dawn of a skills revolution.

“Working with the staff at  The City of Liverpool College we will champion a skills-led recovery, which is driven by international benchmarking and rightly values high-quality apprenticeships and technical education to enable all young people to develop the employability skills that will provide them with a rewarding future.”