From education to employment



A fashion and textiles student from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has won a competition to design new kit for Hinckley Cycle Racing Club (HCRC). Gracie Birch, who is just competing her first year on the course, picked up a prize of £100 after her design for the club’s new shirts was selected by its members.

HCRC’s Harry Chapman and chair of the club’s committee, Dr Eleanor Mather, briefed students at the college’s creative arts campus in Hinckley and later shortlisted their top three favourite design concepts. Finalists’ work was shared via the club’s Facebook page and members voted overwhelming for Gracie’s deigns in a poll. Picking up second and third places respectively were students Abi MacDonald and River Cooper.

Harry, who leads on riders’ welfare said,

“We were extremely impressed by the students’ response to our brief and found it really difficult to reach a shortlist because the quality and standard from all of them was so high. Having settled on our three preferred concepts, we were very happy for Gracie’s design to be selected with such enthusiasm by our members. We are looking forward to putting the designs into production and wearing the new shirts on our social rides and in cycle cross, road racing and mountain-biking competitions within the next few months. The club is always open to new members, and we are keen to expand our membership to include more women cyclists.” 

Joanne Hall, fashion and textiles lecturer at NWSLC said,

“We were delighted to work with HCRC on this unique brief which provided our students with a live commercial project to test their skills. They were all provided with the same template block for the kit and required to design bright and highly visible concepts for health and safety reasons. Seven Year 1 students on our fashion and textiles course responded and it was great experience for them. It has been rewarding to be able to help a local community organisation, and we look forward to seeing the finished articles when they have been produced.”   

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said,

“Well done to all those students who rose to the challenge and congratulations to Gracie on being selected as the winner. Our college loves to work at the heart of its community especially when the projects enable students to practice the skills they have learned as they prepare to join the workforce.” 

Work by all the creative arts students at the college’s Hinckley Campus is currently on show as part of an exhibition entitled ‘Empowerment’ that is open to the public until Friday 30 June 2023. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book.

Prospective students who are interested in the creative arts can find out more at the college’s Hinckley Campus open event on Monday 26 June from 5pm – 8pm. Visit the college website to register and see times of other campus open events during the week.

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