From education to employment

Award-winning student programme expands as more employers sign up

Kseniia Chernyshova is one of the many students who have benefited from the employer skills academies at The Sheffield College.

Four new employers have signed up to sponsor an award-winning programme that supports students to develop the skills for successful careers.

The Sheffield College’s employer skills academies inspire students to get the sector knowledge, practical experience and qualifications to go further in their careers.

The college has partnered with local, regional and national organisations to create the programme, which launched four years-ago.

This academic year, the college has welcomed Kinetic Solutions Group, LivingCare, Reach Studios and GB Hair to the scheme.

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College, said:

“It is fantastic to see the programme grow.

“We are delighted to welcome more top employers. Their knowledge and industry expertise are enhancing students’ learning and skills and helping them to go further.”

The new employers were welcomed at a celebration event at City Campus, Granville Road, on 5th December 2023. Speakers included Eliza Hickey, Engagement Lead, Greene King, and Ryan Connolly, Client Services Director, Highlander.

Currently, there are 23 employer skills academies backed by 19 employers covering sectors ranging from animation and special effects, business and enterprise, catering and hospitality, and construction to digital, engineering, games, hairdressing and professional make-up, and healthcare.

Each academy has its own designated space within the college that is branded by the employer sponsor, creating a professional business environment for students.

Employers co-design the curriculum to simulate real-life work and provide masterclasses, projects, workplace or industry relevant visits and placements to enhance students’ employability skills.

During the last year 1,150 students have taken part in 145 employer-led masterclasses, projects, workshops, site visits and placements as part of the programme, which won an Educate North Award 2022 for employer engagement.

Other employers supporting the programme include Barclays, City Taxis (Veezu) Highlander, MSK, Greene King, Force Contracts, Work-Wise, Kier Construction, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, NextGen, Screen Yorkshire, Kryolan, and Hew Coaching and Development.

Rachel Topliss, Director of Student Employability Services, The Sheffield College, said:

“Working with employers, we have achieved some phenomenal student successes. Employers are able to find and mould the talent of the future to meet local skills needs and we look forward to growing the programme.”

One former student who has benefited from the scheme is Kseniia Chernyshova, who moved to the UK following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Prior to arriving in the UK, Kseniia worked as a self-employed make-up artist in Ukraine and Poland.

Keen to develop her professional skills, Kseniia joined the Kryolan Professional Makeup Employer Skills Academy in September 2022.  She completed and passed a Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical Special Effects, Hair and Media Make-up in 2023.

Kseniia said:

“When the war started, I was working in Poland. I returned home to see my family in Ukraine and collect my pets. I came to the UK with one piece of luggage and two cats after contacting a group via Facebook that were offering to host Ukrainians.

“It has been very difficult to see what has been happening in my home country; at times I feel numb. But I have received a lot of help in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to go to the college where I found incredible support.

“Our course and the Kryolan brand organised a special effects competition for us, which I won. I was very happy about this, because I have never won anything before!”

The diploma course covers a range of skills including fashion and photographic hair and make-up, prosthetics, casualty make-up effects, wig dressing and body painting.

Ria Webster, Media Make-up Lecturer, The Sheffield College, said:

“Kseniia has been a wonderful student. Her skillset is of a very professional standard. She understands the industry and its demands and I am so proud of her ability to adapt to a new learning environment and country.

“Kseniia won the Kryolan Academy Special Effects competition, volunteered at the Pride picnic applying gender-affirming makeup looks and assisted at our ‘Aspire to Life’ charity catwalk event.

“Kseniia also completed work experience at Sheffield Theatres and took part in a business enterprise course run by Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. Kseniia will make a success of anything that life has to offer and I am grateful to have been a small part in her journey.”

Visit Sheffield College here.

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