Sarah Hazelton web

A student from Sussex Coast College Hastings will be moving to China later this month to start her career as a teacher.

(2 minute read)

Sarah Hazelton recently completed the Cert TESOL teaching course at the college and has landed her first teaching job with International Language School, EF, in Shenyang.

“Teaching has always been an idea for me to pursue,” said Sarah. “I was looking at a lot of different options as I came to a bit of a dead end after I finished my degree. I did consider doing a PGCE course and going into primary teaching, but I couldn’t resist the lure of travel and thought the possibilities with the TESOL would be endless.”

Sarah started the 24-week Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages course back in January, and managed to fit it around her full-time job at the college.

“The course ran on Wednesday evenings and on Thursdays from 10:30 until 3:30, which worked out really nicely with my reception role at the college. There was quite a lot of work to get through, but my tutors were so supportive and were always available to help with checking over lesson plans before I taught them.”

Sarah applied for the teaching job shortly before finishing the course, and had a Skype interview in February with the recruitment manager, who is based in Shenyang. She was offered the job shortly after and will join the EF team in northern China later this month, before starting her 12 month teaching contract at a local school in September.

“My contract is for 12 months, but I have the option to extend it by another year in Shenyang if all goes well. This course has opened so many doors for me, and working with EF means that I have the flexibility to work all over the world teaching English!

“I am both nervous and excited right now. Starting a new job is scary enough, on top of that it’ll be the first time that I’ve travelled abroad by myself, thousands of miles around the world. However, I’m really excited to be starting a new job in something I’ve become really passionate about and have worked so hard to get.”

 Higher Apprenticeships web

Sussex Skills Solutions, the joint venture between Sussex Coast College Hastings and Sussex Downs College, is the premier provider of apprenticeships and skills training in Sussex.

As students across the county finish their college courses, and look ahead to results day, Sussex Skills Solutions is encouraging them to consider what a Higher Apprenticeship might be able to offer them.

Towards the end of August, many will find out their exam results and prepare for life at university. But what if there was a different route that could offer the same qualification without the student loan debt?

For some time, apprenticeships have found it hard to shake off the stigma of only being for 16 year-old school leavers. However, the apprenticeship reforms that happened earlier this year have increased opportunities for school and college leavers to develop their higher level skills via this route.

Students are starting to see the benefits of studying Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships as they realise the potential that this combined package of work and study can offer them.

It is now more possible than ever before, to study equivalent qualifications as a university student, but without the tuition fees of university courses. These Higher and Degree Apprenticeship options also have the added benefits of gaining years of professional skills and experience and earning a wage.

The benefits aren’t just for the apprentice either.

There are around 75 Higher and Degree apprenticeships in subjects ranging from Accounting to Software Development. Sussex Skills Solutions will work with your business to develop the right mix of apprenticeship and training programmes, bringing together the best in higher and vocational education.

“We understand the dynamics of our local employers and understand the commercial pressures they face,” says Stephen Burkes, Director of Sussex Skills Solutions.

“We have the in-house expertise to develop qualifications aligned to our employers’ needs as well as the significant resources and facilities of two colleges. Yet we operate with the approach and flexibility of a private training provider.”

This means your business will be able to benefit from having an enthusiastic new employee who will be learning the specific skills your business needs, rather than a generic syllabus.

By investing in high-level training you could also benefit from increasing the talent in your team, improving productivity, boosting employee morale and improving your staff retention.

Research has shown that, on average, apprentices help to improve productivity by £214 per week and after finishing their course, 77% of them stay with the same employer.

Another advantage to your business may be acquiring this higher level talent at a reduced cost in wages. The apprenticeship wage could be significantly lower than the cost of employing a university graduate.

All of these benefits seem really attractive too if you are a levy-paying employer. Higher Apprenticeships are a great way to attract higher level talent to your business and get a real return on investment from your levy payments.

Over the past three years, 56,200 people have started a higher or degree apprenticeship. The government has pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships across all levels by 2020. (Statistics from GOV.UK)

Sussex Skills Solutions can draw on its decades of experience and knowledge in the apprenticeships sector to find and match the right person for the role you are recruiting. Potential candidates are added to the Talent Bank, an extensive database used by both colleges, where applicants can be filtered by location, sector and qualifications.

Stephen continues: “As the number of higher level apprenticeship standards begins to build and the amount of long-term, personal debt from high tuition fees and maintenance loan repayments starts to be even more of a reality, then young people aged 19-24, and their parents or carers, will truly see an apprenticeship as an alternative where you can earn and learn. This can only be good news for employers.”

Sussex Skills Solutions can work with your business to develop training programmes and courses in the following sectors: Accounting, Business Management, Engineering, Healthcare Management, Hospitality Management, and IT and Computing.


Student and employer case study: Sophie Cripps, Harri Nats Café

Sophie Cripps web

Sophie Cripps, 24, is the Manager of Harri Nats Café in Seaford, having completed her Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Hospitality Management.

The popular café in the heart of Seaford town centre is benefitting from their newly qualified higher-level apprentice. Owner Norah Allvey says: “Apprenticeship schemes increases staff confidence. Apprentices brush up on skills, are focused, hardworking and use their own initiative more. It’s fair to say that both the employer and employee benefit from an apprenticeship.”

Thanks to her apprenticeship, Sophie also had the opportunity to complete a First Aid course, Fire Marshal training and a Health & Safety in the workplace course.

“I encourage my staff to learn and develop,” says Norah. “I like to deal with apprentices through Sussex Skills Solutions drawing on the experience of the college, as it enhances my business and my staff have worked toward something. Apprenticeships enable them to lead. They learn about laws and procedures in the workplace and, as a result, they feel more included and confident in the work they do.”


Student and employer case study: Tom Ramsay, Technoturn

Tom Ramsay web

Tom Ramsay, 22, is a technician at Technoturn in St Leonards. He has been with the manufacturing company since 2013 where he started his Intermediate Apprenticeship in Engineering. Having successfully completed his Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship, he is now studying a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering.

“By taking on Higher Level Apprentices, it allows us to find the next supervisors and managers of the future,” said John Stretton, Director of Technoturn.

“They’re with us for a few years getting to know the organisation really well, giving them much more of an insight into how the business operates. Because they have the practical, hands on skills to go with it, they really flourish.”

To see how Sussex Skills Solutions can help your business, call 030 300 39777 – or visit


Each week, students from all over the world visit the college to study and explore Hastings and the South East.

So we thought we’d take a little time out to chat to some of the students.

Francesco is studying on our International A-Level programme, and is in Hastings for 10 months.

“Hi, I’m Francesco and I’m from Ferrara in Northern Italy. I’m 17 years old and I am on a 10 month exchange programme from my college studies in Italy.

I am studying A-Level Maths, Further Maths and Physics, and was really interested in coming to England, and particularly Hastings, to study in a British college so that I can get a taste for studying abroad, experience a new town and culture, and improve my English.

I was really excited to arrange my study year and chose Hastings because it has lots of history and it is a beautiful and traditional seaside town. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been able to explore the town, visiting the old town, the cliff railway and the smugglers caves.

I started at the college in September and I was really impressed with the college when I arrived. It is a lovely new, modern building, with great resources inside and really friendly people. I settled into college life really quickly and really enjoy the subjects I am studying. I chose maths, further maths and physics because these are the subjects I am studying back in Italy, and hopefully they will help me to pass my exam when I return home.

As part of my studies, I was required to undertake a week of work experience, and during one of my visits to London, I was able to secure a placement with the British Museum, where I volunteered in the department of Prints and Drawings. It was an amazing experience learning how to handle delicate original prints, then scan and upload them to the Museum’s website. I was also able to look at original drawings from Italian renaissance masters, which was incredible. The team were wonderful and always willing to help.

FrancescoWEx web

I think the work experience project is a very interesting and useful idea, as it helps young students understand the world of work and enter a richer and more complex life.

I'm thankful to the college for the amazing opportunity they've given me, and to the British Museum for accepting so kindly my request and to my team for all what they've taught me."


So the last bank holiday of the summer is fast approaching. What better way to spend it than hosting the ultimate BBQ.

We’re not just talking about slapping a few burgers on the grill and marinating a few strips of chicken – we’re talking wowing the flip-flops off your guests with some gorgeous grub.

We’ve found 5 delicious dishes, that are super easy to make, that will leave you with the unofficial title of “King of the BBQ”.

Piri Piri Halloumi Skewers


Waitrose has come up with (in our opinion) the best vegetarian skewers ever. Halloumi is simply the best cheese for grilling and I don’t know how we lived without piri piri before a well-known chicken restaurant introduced it to us. So together, this combination is genius. Grab some Mediterranean vegetables and stick them on the grill for 20 minutes.

Grab the full recipe here (picture credit: Waitrose)

BBQ Portobello Mushroom Sliders

loveandlemons bbqmushroom2

Jeanine and Jack, wife and husband, food bloggers from Austin, Texas, rave about these Portobello mushroom sliders. We gave them ago, and can see why they’re such a hit. They’re simple and easy to make and they are the perfect thing to snack on while other things are sizzling away.

Here’s the full recipe (picture credit: Love and Lemons)

Vegan Creamy Potato Salad


A fantastic and tasty variation on the traditional potato salad; this dish uses mustard, lemon juice and avocado instead of mayonnaise. Finish with chopped red onion and you’ve got the perfect side dish.

Check it out here (picture credit: Detoxinista)

Cheese-stuffed Burger Bombs


There isn’t much we can say about these, apart from WOW. Burgers with melted cheese in the middle. They are so easy to make and there is no reason why you can’t switch up your cheese section for the middle; Cheddar, Red Leicester, Mozzarella, Spicy, or Blue – whatever you fancy.

Watch how to make these magnificent creations here (picture credit: Tasty)

Honey Grilled Bananas


Now for something sweet. Lexi’s Clean Kitchen has come up with the perfect way to round off any BBQ; honey grilled bananas with a mocha chocolate sauce. Leave the bananas in their skin, halve them long ways, and stick on the BBQ. Drizzle with your mocha chocolate sauce you prepared earlier and enjoy.

Check out the full recipe here (picture credit: Lexi's Clean Kitchen)

5 amazing foods… but you’ll need something to wash it down with…

Strawberry Limeade Slushies

Strawberry Limeade Slushies 1 1

Inside BreCrew Life, a sweet treat blog, has come up with a delicious summer drink to enjoy in the sun – Strawberry Limeade Slushies. If you have a blender, you’re half way there to making these little beauties. Blend strawberries, lime juice and ice cubes to create a natural and healthy drink that everyone will love.

See the full recipe here (picture credit: Inside BreCrew Life)

Kirsten Harman and Justin Rollings web

A business student who raised £1,500 for St Michael’s Hospice has been selected as the latest Outstanding Young Person of the Month.

Kirsten Harman, 18, raised the money by holding a charity coffee morning and raffle in memory of her Nan, who spent time in the hospice before she passed away.

One of Kirsten’s modules for her Level 3 Business course at Sussex Coast College Hastings was to organise and manage a business event, so she decided to plan, arrange and host the coffee morning. She’d already been planning to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice and was pleased to be able to tie it in to her course.

Kirsten said: “I really wanted to give something back to the hospice after the care and support they gave to my Nan before she passed away, and this seemed like the perfect way.”

The event was held at Sacred Heart Primary School in Hastings and around 200 people attended.

The Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award is sponsored by Sussex Coast College Hastings and the Hastings Observer Series.

The award is presented to someone aged 18 and under who has excelled in some way. This could be in sport, their academic studies, or if they have performed an important role on a voluntary basis in their own home or the wider community.

Justin Rollings, Head of Marketing and Communications at Sussex Coast College Hastings, said: “We’re so impressed with Kirsten. She came up with the idea, found a venue for the coffee morning, persuaded people to donate raffle prizes and bake cakes and publicised the event all off her own back. She’s done so well and I’m sure the hospice will be delighted with her fundraising efforts.”

As part of her award, Kirsten will receive a complimentary meal for two and a further £100 donation will be made to St Michael’s Hospice.

To nominate someone for the Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with details of who you are nominating and the reasons why.

 Amy Birks web

A cabin crew student from Sussex Coast College has been offered the chance to start her career with Monarch Airlines.

(2 minute read)

Amy Birks, who has just completed her Level 2 Diploma in Air Cabin Crew at the college, recently travelled to Brighton for a recruitment day with the low-cost airline. The recruitment day took place at the Hilton Hotel and put the budding flight attendants through their paces with a number of physical and mental tests which included taking their height, a half an hour exam, and a 2on1 interview.

Amy was one of only a few people to pass the assessment with flying colours and to be offered a place on their 5 week training the same evening.

Amy said: “I was ecstatic to find out that I got a job with Monarch. It was all a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. I saw their recruitment day pop up on Facebook and a couple of days later I was travelling to Brighton.”

The former St Leonards Academy student, joined the college two years ago to study Sport, but an injury meant that it was time for a change of direction.

“My injury meant that I couldn’t carry on with my running, and I have always loved travelling, so I decided to ask Alexandra (Curriculum Area Manager) during the summer if I could join the cabin crew course, and she said yes.”

“From the moment I started, I absolutely loved it. The tutors are the nicest tutors you can ever meet. The work they put in to make sure their students do the best that they can is second to none. They always make sure that they are around to help if you need it.

“Everything I learned during the course, and the fact that we had to wear a cabin crew uniform and make sure that our make-up is immaculate, really paid off during my assessment. In fact, to help us even more, representatives from British Airways came into college a few months ago to put us through our paces during mock interviews.”

The assessment day lasted for 6 hours and required the group to undertake height tests, a short written exam with general knowledge questions, complete an application form and answer a series of scenario based questions during an interview.

“The course taught me lots about flight procedures, safety procedures, airport codes, currency, and what to do in an emergency. With all of that under my belt, it meant I could be confident and make a really good impression.”

“My training begins on 10th July and I’ll be moving to Three Bridges for 5 weeks so that I don’t have to commute from Hastings. It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait for the next chapter of my life to start with Monarch. I hope that this is the start of a long and successful flying career and one day, I’d love to come back to the college and pass on my knowledge to the cabin crews of the future.”

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