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We’re celebrating Colleges Week!


We’re celebrating National Colleges Week, 26 Feb – 01 March 2024, to showcase the incredible work colleges do up and down the country.

The theme for Colleges Week this year is on influencing, engaging, and celebrating and we’re excited to be supporting this campaign throughout the week.

With a general election looming, 2024 is set to be a defining year for the country and for the further education sector. Whoever the next government is, we want to make sure they are focussed on ensuring colleges play an even bigger role in an inclusive, tolerant, welcoming, strong society and a growing and productive economy.

During the week, we caught up with members of our Students’ Union (SU) team to talk about their engagement with the student body, how the upcoming general election will have an impact on the work they do, and where their ongoing activities link in with this year’s Colleges Week theme.

Influencing – Sleiman Darwish – Students’ Union President and Student Governor

“My role as SU President and a Student Governor has given me the ability and opportunity to work with students to influence college life in a positive way through listening to students’ feedback and opinions and sharing this with others to make a positive change.

“I’m able to meet regularly with the Vice Principal, be a part of some board of governors meetings, and we also run the student rep conference to make sure students voices are heard and are able to influence change in the College.

“As part of the student parliament team, we gather feedback and ideas that I bring to senior management on behalf of students, which makes them aware of students’ opinions, challenges and how to help overcome them.

“We meet with other students each month at SU parliament meetings to gather feedback, plan celebratory events, and  make sure these are diverse and inclusive for all students from all backgrounds so that everyone feels represented throughout the College and in the classroom.

“With the general election coming up later this year, we are looking to offer advice and information to students on the importance of registering to vote, to ensure that their voices can be heard. Being a part of shaping these kinds of conversations is something that I’m really grateful for, and I’m glad that we can pass on students’ thoughts and ideas to help make a difference.”

Celebrating – Maria Stoica – Learning Exchange Vice President

We celebrate students in many ways, such as our celebratory cultural events. For example, I was involved in arranging Romanian national day, which we had never celebrated before in college. Events to involve all students are such a good idea to meet other students, make new friends, and learn about other people’s cultures. The events we arrange are always very successful and result in lots of engagement with students and staff, that creates a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

“The SU also takes produces a termly student bulletin that our student body can contribute to. We also focus on celebrating events, achievements and successes of all students. Sharing success stories between students, such as class projects, fundraisers, trips and achievements is just one of the ways we love to share and engage in celebrating each other in our college community.”

Engaging – Lanya Osman – Students’ Union Vice President

“As SU Vice President, I think we engage really well with the students. We have a big population in college across many campuses, and we find that students love engaging with us as we have a big presence in college and are there for support.

“The SU have a big presence at all college centres, making us a focal point for students to find information about events, clubs, societies, trips, or even speak to a member of the team to ask for help, or to be signposted to other internal services. 

“I’m really proud of the work that we do within the SU and that we are able to be there for all students to help enrich their journey at the College. With this year being such a key year for colleges to make their opinions heard, it’s now more important than ever for us to engage with students across college to gather opinions, feedback and to ensure that student voices are shared and listened to affect positive change within the sector.”


Photo L:R Maria; Sleiman; Lanya

We’re celebrating National Apprenticeship Week!
This week is National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 Feb 2024) which brings together businesses and apprentices from across the country to shine a light on the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

We’ve launched our National Apprenticeship Week celebrations with a catch-up with 17-year-old Dylan McArdle, one of our amazing apprentice chefs. Dylan started his journey at the College back in October, and has gone from strength to strength, working alongside top culinary experts in the Alba, a popular family-run restaurant on the outskirts of the city. Dylan takes us through a typical fast-paced working day in the kitchen and tells us why an apprenticeship was the right fit for him.


Dylan McArdle – Apprentice Commis Chef (Level 2)

What made you want to go into the culinary industry? Have you always wanted to be a chef? 

‘I’ve always been a very creative person however, being a chef was never really a career prospect of mine until I was introduced to the possibilities of the culinary industry when I started working at Alba. The passion of the other chefs towards the trade and the intricate work I observed going into it really spiked my interest, and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to pursue it.’ 

What is it like working in the Alba? 

‘Alba is a very relaxed working environment which was perfect for me just starting out, beginning my career in a family-run business created a strong support system which really assisted me and continues to do so as I progress. However, it also never fails to push and encourage me to take work to exceptional standards, which will be very beneficial as I continue my career.’ 

Why did you choose an apprenticeship? 

‘I chose an apprenticeship as it offers the combination of practical and theoretical learning, which is perfect, as it allows me to express my work in new and creative ways, as I learn the classic techniques of the culinary world. I’m also able to grow my talents and knowledge at a young age, whilst making a wage.’ 

What are the benefits of your apprenticeship? 

‘My apprenticeship is full of exciting new opportunities that I wouldn’t get otherwise, I’m able to work with exceptional chefs in different environments and have been given opportunities – such as competitions and working private dinners – that have opened my eyes to lots of different paths I could take in the future.’ 

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others? 

‘An apprenticeship opens you up to opportunities and experiences that normal education wouldn’t necessarily provide. An apprenticeship is perfect for those wanting to pursue their interests in the working world whilst still being in education, where they can gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of their field.’ 

Where do you see yourself in the next few years? 

‘After completing my apprenticeship, I only want to go up in the industry and hopefully landing a position in a high end kitchen with the title of sous chef or executive chef.’

Adam Franklin – Owner, Alba Restaurant

We also had the opportunity to chat with Adam Franklin, owner of the Alba Restaurant in Melling. We asked Adam why he feels apprenticeships are important to the success of the hospitality industry.

‘As a hospitality business, we are approached by lots of young people looking for a part-time job as they are interested in our industry. We believe formalising that on-the-job training and allowing the apprentice to take on the College experience is really helpful, and provides a great platform to progress in our industry. We benefit greatly from the experience our apprentices gain when they are at college. 

‘Our industry is a meritocracy. Success comes through hard work and dedication to the craft – an apprenticeship provides the gateway to our industry that gives structure to the training needs. 

‘I think lots of employers would benefit from the structure an apprenticeship scheme offers, to help develop and monitor the progress of young people.’♦


Credit: Alba Restaurant & Bar                                                                                   Adam Franklin credit: Knowsley Chamber

Loudspeaker visits The City of Liverpool College

Our 14-19 year-old students were in for a real treat in December when they attended a series of action-packed workshop run by Loudspeaker.

Loudspeaker is an incredible organisation dedicated to helping young people to develop their confidence and resilience in a fun and accessible way. The workshops were interactive, exciting and, most importantly, dealt with the real-world issues that our young people face every day.

Student feedback highlighted the amazing buzz they felt in the room which they didn’t want to end. Thank you to everyone involved and the spectacular Loudspeaker team!

For a glimpse of the sessions and to hear the impact they had on our students, watch the video below:

Five reasons students choose college over university for Higher Education

Deciding to go on to higher education is always a significant milestone in a student’s life, and choosing the right path can make all the difference. For many students, colleges have become the ideal place for studying beyond Level 3 or A-levels. Here are five compelling reasons why:

1. Career Pathways: Tailored to Your Needs

One of the main reasons students opt for higher education is the promise of an exciting career. It could be said that in trying to cater for everyone, universities can sometimes lose sight of that. At the College, we keep our focus on careers and opportunities in all the courses we offer. Whether you’re aiming for a promotion, looking to switch careers, or just starting out in the world of work, our HNCs, HNDs and Top-Up courses are designed to get you where you need to be.

2. Local and Flexible: Balancing Life’s Commitments

We recognise that life can feel like a juggling act at times. Unlike traditional higher education routes, the College aims to provide students with the flexibility they need to study alongside other commitments, such as work, family life, or other personal pursuits. The fact that our five campuses are in the heart of Liverpool city centre and are easily accessible means that students can seamlessly integrate higher education into their lives.

3. Better Value for Money

It’s no secret that many people are feeling financial pressure from many different directions now; we don’t think the cost of education should be one of them. Often, students choose college for HE because college programs offer better value for money compared to traditional university degrees. This means students can invest in their education without accumulating overwhelming student debt, making the path to success an easier one.

4. Industry Standard Facilities: Shaped by Employers

Here at the College, we’re not about courses, we’re about careers. That’s why our facilities are designed to give you the best possible transition into industry. From cutting-edge digital technologies to state-of-the-art laboratories and mock building sites, students who choose college benefit from an immersive learning environment that prepares them for the challenges and expectations of the real world. Employers actively contribute to shaping our facilities, ensuring graduates enter the workforce with skills that industry needs.

5. Dedicated Higher Education Support Systems

Beyond the classroom, we support each student during every step of their journey. We have a range of dedicated higher education support systems in place, offering counselling and mental health services, career guidance, childcare support and personal development coaches. As a college with strong ties to the local community and with an extensive alumni network, we recognise that success goes beyond academics. Our goal is not just to teach students, but to facilitate their personal and professional growth.

If you’re looking to take the next steps toward your dream career, and are interested in enrolling at our University Centre on one of the our HE courses, you can find out more, here:

The University Centre

The College supports people experiencing homelessness at its annual ‘Open House’ event

The City of Liverpool College supports more than 80 people experiencing homelessness at its annual ‘Open House’ event. The event, organised by students in partnership with Crisis and The Whitechapel Centre, is now in its 8th year.

Students from across the college got involved, including catering students and Air Cabin crew who cooked and served a free Christmas lunch for all guests. Hair and beauty and barbering students were also on hand to offer haircuts and treatments.


A photo of students handing out essential items.


All guests were provided with essential winter items, such as hats, scarves and gloves donated by the college’s staff, students and partners. Crisis, the national charity for those experiencing homelessness, were also available on the day to offer support and advice to visitors.

The event was attended by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, who praised the efforts of our students. In a statement, he said: “Now more than ever, our society needs to see more compassionate, human-led approaches to helping the most vulnerable in our communities.”

The Liverpool Echo spoke to some of the catering students ahead of the event as they worked to prepare the Christmas dinners, with meat and vegetarian options available.


Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, helps out in the College kitchen.


Student, Recce Gallagher said: “It’s a shame to see so many people on the street and it’s obviously quite bad.

“They don’t get as much help as they should from those in power, so other people have to step up. I’m in my second year now so I’ve got a fair bit of skills, and those skills can be put to use here.”

Tony Cobain, Chair of the City of Liverpool College Board of Governors, said:

“For the most vulnerable people in our community, Christmas can be a particularly challenging time of year.

“Our annual Open House is testament to the compassion and generosity of our students and the wider community. As one of the largest student communities in Liverpool, we are so proud to see young people coming together to support those less fortunate, especially during the festive season.”

Sharron McGuinness, Director at Crisis Skylight Merseyside, said:

“We are proud to be supporting this event, which not only offers immediate relief and assistance, but also raises awareness of the pressing issue of homelessness.

“By showcasing the dedication and efforts of students, we hope the event will inspire others to take action and contribute to ending homelessness in our community.”

Achieve your Accounting Qualifications with Online and On-Campus Courses

The City of Liverpool College is working in partnership with Mindful Education to deliver award-winning blended learning courses in accounting.

These courses are ideal for learners with busy lives who are looking to change careers or learn new skills for their current role.


Young adults gathered around looking at computer screen.


Significant funding is available to learners through the government’s Free Courses for Jobs scheme, meaning that courses at Level 3 are free of charge to eligible learners. Funding and loans are also available for Level 2 and Level 4 courses, please contact the college for more information.

The blended learning ‘Online and On Campus’ courses are accredited by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and offer a flexible option for study. Courses are a mixture of online study, giving learners access to high-quality video lessons with motion graphics that bring concepts to life, and regular face-to-face lessons with a college tutor and classmates who provide a valuable sounding board and help to keep learners on track.

Mindful Education, founded in 2015, works in partnership with further education colleges to deliver media-rich professional courses in accounting using a flexible, blended learning approach.

For more information out more about our partnership with Mindful Education and the funding available, click here.

College of Sanctuary

Liverpool is proud to be a city that celebrates the contribution of those who come here for safety. It has a rich cultural heritage and for generations, has offered a home to people fleeing persecution from around the world. In 2012, Liverpool started its City of Sanctuary movement and the City of Liverpool college is proud to be joining this movement by becoming a College of Sanctuary.

Sharing our Pledge


Our pledge 

The City of Liverpool College supports the ‘City of Sanctuary’ vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all, offering sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. We endorse the City of Sanctuary Charter and agree to act in accordance with City of Sanctuary values and apply the network principles within our work (as far as our specific context enables us to).

The City of Liverpool College has been welcoming and working with refugees and asylum seekers for many years and recognises the contribution of people seeking sanctuary. We are proud to share the values and commitment to social justice of the Colleges of Sanctuary and believe in providing equal opportunities for everyone. We understand that displacement due to war and conflict can be an extremely traumatic experience for individuals, families, and communities, we therefore engage with trauma informed practices and inclusive pedagogies, and our student services ensure that sanctuary seekers have the tools they need to thrive.

Sanctuary seekers are included and supported within our context. The college is always seeking ways that we can further break down barriers, raise awareness about the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers, increase understanding and build community cohesion. We expect our partners and stakeholders to support the college and local City of Sanctuary groups where they exist.

The College is committed to building and continuing this work both within the region and nationally, acting as an adviser and ambassador for organisations across the country. We are willing for our organisation’s name to be added to a list of supporters of City of Sanctuary, linked to our website. We are also willing to be contacted by City of Sanctuary with further ideas for how we can turn our support into practical action and to discuss ways we might work together to promote the vision further.

What this means for us

Over the years, the college has worked closely with sanctuary seekers and ensured that the college environment is safe, caring, and supportive for all. We want to build a community in which all members have a basic appreciation and understanding of the people with whom they share their lives. This includes developing understanding of the experiences of new arrivals, visitors, migrant workers and students as well as people whose families have lived here for generations, continuously identifying ways in which we might be able to support them and make them feel welcome.

We will further develop understandings of trauma informed approaches that can support many of our staff and students who identify as asylum seekers and refugees as they might have experienced multiple traumas, cultural and geographical dislocation. Staff will also develop greater expertise in understanding how they can support their learners in overcoming language barriers and wider social disadvantages.

We are looking forward to working together in extending our current provision, growing community partnerships and planning for ways in which we can meet the needs of all of our students.


Exciting News: The College leads the way to secure a £4.5 Million Boost for Skills Enhancement

We’re excited to share some wonderful news with you. Our college has been selected as one of forty institutions to benefit from the Government’s £165 million Local Skills Improvement Fund. Out of this, we’ve secured £4.5 million, which will be instrumental in shaping the future of the College.

Where the Money Goes

Of the total amount, £3.5 million will be directed towards capital projects. This includes essential improvements and securing advanced equipment to ensure our facilities are up to date and ready to meet the evolving needs of industry. Additionally, £1 million has been allocated for revenue projects, specifically targeting innovation in vocational training, aiding recruitment efforts, and fostering closer ties with employers.

Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP)

Our commitment extends beyond just our college walls. We’re proud to be at the forefront of implementing the priorities outlined in the City Region’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), launched in June 2023. As the lead institution, we’ve crafted six strategic projects, focusing on areas like digital and green technologies such as Electric/Hybrid Vehicles, Hydrogen Technologies, and Solar & Renewable energy.

What else to Expect

In addition to upgrading our facilities, we’re establishing a central talent bank to connect employers with local talent. A Freeport Academy is in the works, alongside new, flexible training programs for employers. And, save the date for March 2024 – we’ll be hosting a skills summit for the Liverpool City Region in collaboration with the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

A Shared Vision

This opportunity is a result of collaborative efforts across the FE sector. The Local Skills Improvement Fund project aligns seamlessly with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority skills strategy, focusing on enhancing access to training for the progression of the region’s workforce into technical and higher technical occupations, whilst also aiming to bolster the provision of digital skills, and enhancing the region’s competitiveness and productivity while striving to achieve its Net Zero targets.

This journey sees us joining hands with other forward-thinking institutions, all committed to shaping a brighter and more sustainable future through education and skills development. Together, we’re working toward creating thriving communities, resilient industries, and a workforce equipped for the challenges of tomorrow.

Students and top local chefs serve up incredible Black History Month tasting menu

Our Academy Restaurant played host to a wonderful celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth this month that also helped to mark the launch of its new tasting menu.

Level 3 cookery students, guided by the expertise of the brilliant chef Ian Jaundoo, embarked on a culinary journey that was as inspiring as it was delicious. In honour of Black History Month, they curated a 6-course tasting menu inspired by the vibrant flavours of African and Caribbean cuisine. This menu was the star of an invite-only private dining event, featuring guests from local media, influential figures, and foodie enthusiasts.


Students and tutors in Academy restaurant kitchen


The evening ended with powerful words from change-maker Afiya Amesu, whose mission is to drive equality and diversity in the workplace. Her emphasis on the importance of allyship set a poignant tone for the night.

Our Principal, Elaine Bowker, highlighted the significance of the event, saying, “The City of Liverpool College remains committed to fostering a spirit of togetherness and celebrating the rich cultural tapestry that Black History Month represents. This gathering is a testament to our dedication to culinary excellence and our commitment to celebrating and championing diversity and inclusivity.”


Academy restaurant tasting menu food


The event drew not only media and local diversity leaders but also local foodie content creators, including @tamtalizatv, who is a former COLC student with over 1 million fans across socials, and the talented duo, Bish and Liv from @craveandcapturee.

Black History Month, established in 1987 on the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation, raises awareness of significant names and events in the history of people of African and Caribbean descent. The celebration was marked by a specially crafted African and Caribbean inspired menu, expertly prepared by our student chefs under the guidance of Executive Chef Ian Jaundoo.


Attendees enjoying the tasting menu


Our Academy Restaurant’s new tasting menu offers a wide array of options, inspired by cuisines from around the world. We’ve carefully selected a panel of well-established and experienced chefs from the region to collaborate with our students, providing them with access to leading industry talent to develop their cookery and dining skills to an industry-standard level.

Every Thursday evening, our student chefs expertly prepare dishes using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, guided by one of the selected professional chefs. These tasting menus are available starting from £35 per person.

Our Academy Restaurant is nestled on Tradewind Square off Duke Street, providing a unique backdrop in the heart of Liverpool’s historic Ropewalks.

The City of Liverpool College wins prestigious HSJ Patient Safety Award

Readers may remember that a few months ago, the College was nominated for a prestigious Health Safety Journal ‘Patient Safety Award’ for a student-made virtual reality video that The City of Liverpool College made in collaboration with the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. We knew that it was ground-breaking work, and we were thrilled just to be nominated, but now we have some exciting news to share… We won!

The video project, for those who missed it, was developed as part of the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s commitment to enhancing patient experience and took the combined efforts of a team of Therapeutic Radiographers and 80 of our Digital Academy students. The project offers patients a virtual tour of the Radiotherapy Department, helping them feel better informed and prepared for their first appointment.

Patients often experience anxiety about their first appointment, and this VR experience aims to alleviate their concerns by introducing them to the hospital, the Radiotherapy Department, and one of the Radiographers, Tom Cummings, virtually.

Feedback from patients who have seen the video has been overwhelmingly positive, with many mentioning how it helped to put them at ease, and we couldn’t be happier that it’s now in the world doing the work it was designed to do.

But we don’t want to stop here! We hope to expand this initiative to other departments at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool and Trust-wide, with the goal of working with Clatterbridge to further improve the patient experience across multiple departments.

This project not only showcases the impact that passionate and committed students can make whilst they’re at college, but also the cutting-edge, industry-standard facilities the College provides. This project would simply not have been possible without facilities and technologies available to students at our £2.5 million Digital Academy located in the College’s Art Centre campus.

The College wants to extend its heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this project, especially our incredible students. Your dedication and hard work have made a real difference in the lives of cancer patients, and that’s something you can forever be proud of.