MidKent College https://www.midkent.ac.uk MidKent College : Blog Feed Copyright 2019, MidKent College. Mon, 28 Oct 201915:14:34 GMT Apprentice of the Month: Jesse Underwood (October 2019)

It’s great to hear positive stories about hard working apprentices. This month Fabrication and Welding apprentice Jesse was nominated by his training officer, Dave Roffe, who believed he should be recognised for his outstanding effort:

“Despite having dyslexia Jesse has applied himself very well over the last two years. His improvement across all aspects of his apprenticeship has been excellent and is especially noticeable in English and maths. He passed his Level 2 in Functional Skills English course at the end of September 2019 with flying colours. His written work has improved dramatically since the start of his apprenticeship. He also passed Level 2 in Functional Skills maths in July this year. Despite these Functional Skills courses being above the level required to successfully complete his apprenticeship, he willingly took on the higher and more challenging option in both cases. Jesse has struggled at times but has never given up or allowed himself to be distracted from his goals. Apart from his excellent attitude towards the learning process, Jesse also has a pleasant and humorous nature.”

We asked Jesse how he felt about being nominated and his experience working for Halton Food Services:

“I feel really honoured and proud. It’s really good working for Halton Food Services, it’s a very rewarding job and at times can be quite entertaining! The best part about working for Halton Food Services is the support I receive from my work colleagues and job satisfaction. I’ve also attended a few events with the company including: a boat trip, dinner on the Thames, go karting, Christmas dinner and a disco at Priestfields.”

His employer from Halton Food Services commented:

“Jesse is a great apprentice. He is keen to learn new skills and throws himself into anything that is asked of him. He is honest and trustworthy and is happy to help anyone even if it’s not within the requirements of his role. Some aspects of the apprenticeship he has found difficult; however he has never given up. He shows great potential and we hope that he has a long and prosperous career with us after he has completed his apprenticeship.”

Keep up the good work Jesse!


If you are interested in an apprenticeship for yourself or to upskill a member of your team, then please have a look at the apprenticeships we offer.

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Understanding Mental Health

Please be aware that this blog post will be addressing sensitive topics such as depression, suicide, PTSD, anxiety and other mental illnesses. 

Mental health is now a commonly discussed topic, with awareness raised about mental illnesses more than it ever was previously. Mental health is always a major agenda for the UK government and education institutions. 

For this World Mental Health Day (10 October) we have written a post to help our students, parents and staff better understand mental health, and the steps that can be taken to find you or your loved one support.  

So, what is mental health? 

Mental health can refer to a person’s current state of mind. This can relate to mood, emotions, actions and behaviour. It can be influenced by many factors, including your day-to-day life experiences, genetic predisposition, biological factors and upbringing, amongst other reasons. 

According to statistics presented on the Anxiety UK website, 1 in 10 young people are inclined to experience a mental health disorder, with anxiety and depression being the most common mental health issues. As disorders develop frequently between teenage and early adult years, a lot of students find themselves struggling without often knowing the reason why. 

How can you know if you have mental health issues?

You can take a look at our article on potential symptoms of mental illness, which lists some feelings or actions to watch out for. However, without the help of a professional psychiatrist, licensed counsellor or in some cases, a GP, you cannot diagnose your condition for certain.

Why would a person develop mental health issues in College?

It is difficult to say, as there can be a range of reasons for developing a mental illness. Here are just a few:

  • Genetic or inherited conditions
  • Feeling isolated
  • PTSD following incident(s)         
  • Growing feelings of anxiety around new people
  • Taking new medication, including the contraceptive pill (for females)
  • Dealing with an abusive partner or having relationship issues
  • Complicated family issues, such as divorce
  • Disliking your programme or teachers
  • Fear of failing
  • Worrying that missing classes will result in not being able to catch up
  • Bullying
  • Having to retake, whether that’s an exam or the entire year
  • Not getting along with/making friends
  • Fearing that your grades will be too low for the career path you wish to follow
  • General feeling of stress.
  • Not knowing what job you want after College.

Sometimes, you can also feel as if your mood has changed without any trigger at all. In these instances, you can speak to a counsellor or doctor, who can help you to identify why you feel the way you do, as well as suggesting treatments or medication. 

If you feel like you are struggling with your mental health or if you have a feeling that something may be wrong, you can speak to our MidKent College Student Counselling Service by calling 01634 383239. 

Remember that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to mental health. Taking the first step will be difficult, but if you talk to us, we promise to support you to have the help you need.

If you need to speak urgently to someone out of College hours, then we recommend contacting these numbers. There are nationwide helplines available for every hour of the day. You can call:

Anxiety UK

For those with diagnosed anxiety, phone lines are open Mon-Fri 9:30am to 5:30pm.

Phone: 03444 775 774 Text Service: 07537 416 905

Mind

If you have mental health problems and require information or advice, call from Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm. There is also an urgent help tool available on the website to help you manage and understand your situation. 

Phone: 0300 123 3393 

No Panic 

If you suffer from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), panic attacks, phobias or anxiety, No Panic can provide advice and support with self-recovery. Youth helpline is available Mon, Tues, Weds and Fri 3pm to 6pm. Thurs 3pm to 8pm and Sat 6pm to 8pm. Standard helpline open from 10am to 10pm daily. 

Youth Helpline (13-20 year olds): 0330 606 1174 Helpline: 0844 967 4848

PAPYRUS

A society for the prevention of young suicides, contact Papyrus if you are finding it difficult to cope with life or if you know anyone who is having suicidal thoughts. Hours are Mon-Fri 9am to 10pm and weekends 2pm to 10pm. 

Phone: 0800 068 4141 Text: 0778 620 9697 Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org 

Samaritans

Lines are open 24 hours a day. You can either call or email The Samaritans depending on whether you would prefer to speak about your issues or write them down. 

Freephone number: 116 123  Email: jo@samaritans.org

If you don’t know what type of helpline you need, use the Find a Helpline service to find a number for your situation. 

Alternatively, you can make an appointment with your local GP for further advice. In an emergency, please call 111 or 999, especially if you require immediate medical assistance. 

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Apprentice of the Month: Jodie Sanders (September 2019)

Congratulations to our Apprentice of the Month Jodie Sanders who has been recognised for this award whilst working for Medway Council in the HR department.

See what her employer Jo feels about having Jodie as one of her employees:

"Jodie is a key member of our team and her commitment and dedication to everything she undertakes is resolute. Jodie is keen to improve herself and seeks out new opportunities to learn and develop. She is a joy to work with and we would like to congratulate her on this nomination."

Let’s hear what our winner had to say about being Apprentice of the Month:

"I feel really proud that my efforts are being recognised. Working for Medway Council is enjoyable and brings new challenges and chance for improvements constantly. The best part about working for Medway Council is the people and I really enjoy the team I work in; I always feel supported and motivated by them."

Here is why Jodie was nominated by her Training Officer, Jane Laraman.

"Jodie consistently works really hard and always meets the targets set for her. She has maintained 100% attendance and punctuality and is always organised and prepared for the lessons and meetings. Jodie is always enthusiastic and never complains even when the pressure can sometimes be tough. She is always professional, polite and very friendly and in my opinion, the perfect student!"

Well done Jodie!


Find out more about apprenticeships in Kent here.

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Returning to education as an adult

Coming back to College as an adult can feel like a daunting prospect but the benefits of returning can make that beginning wobble all worth it.

We caught up with Skye, a previous adult student at the College, to see what her experience was like with us.

‘I found being a student again challenging, but rewarding. My confidence has improved since joining and completing the course, with many thanks owed to my tutor Julie who was fantastic. Lectures were given in an informative way, and easy to engage with. 

I have learnt self-confidence and lots academically. The biggest skill learnt was to construct an essay and applying Harvard referencing correctly. 

I came to MidKent College as I hadn’t been in education for quite some time. I wanted to get up-to-date with studying, with the plan to go onto university in the future. 

I have enrolled at university after gaining a conditional offer earlier this year (on the condition that I passed my HNC).’

It is natural to feel nervous about returning to education. If you are considering coming back to education then why not check out all of the professional courses we provide.

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How can you support a friend with their mental health?

Did you know that two out of three of us have experienced a mental health problem in our lifetime?*

We all suffer from time-to-time, but sometimes people hide their issues, and you may just not know what to do or say! Everyone has different triggers, and symptoms. Mental health covers a wide range of mental health problems such as depression, panic attacks, OCD or anxiety.

So how can you help?

  • Offer to talk to them if you have concerns. Sometimes just airing things in the open can help people to talk through their issues!
  • Let them share what they want to share, don’t presume and don’t ask too probing questions
  • Keep your questions open ended, and start the conversation in a calm, non-pressured environment where you have enough time to listen
  • You can’t promise to keep things confidential – they may need professional help
  • Ask them if there’s any tasks you can help them with – this may help with the pressure that they’re feeling
  • Be realistic about the support you can offer. It’s great that you’re there to help and listen, but sometimes professional help is needed. Other times it could just be as simple as them knowing you’re there for them, and will help out where needed
  • Offer them help if you think they need to see a professional or point them towards mental health charity Mind
  • The College has a student welfare team on both sites, as well as a counselling service available

On 10 October 2019 is World Mental Health Day. Find out more about the day, how you can improve your own mental health or support others here.


*Source: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

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Our top tips to look after your mental health

It’s important to look after yourself – both physically and mentally. Here's some quick and simple tips that may help to improve your mental health.

Exercise

Regular activity can boost your self-esteem, help you to concentrate better and improve your sleep!

Check out local classes, offers on gyms or just grab your trainers, some water and get those tunes blasting for a walk round your local park!

Keep hydrated (with water!)

It’s important to keep yourself hydrated – so aim for 2-3 litres per day. There’s lots of apps available to keep on-track of your water consumption. Alcohol is a depressant, and not a good way to manage your emotions and feelings.

Take a break

Sometimes a break from routine – even if it’s just 10 minutes! – may help you. Find what chills you out, and just listen to your body. There’s no point burning yourself out as your concentration and mental health will suffer. Tackle issues head on – avoiding things won’t make them go away! Do what works for you whether that’s creating a list you can tick things off, or discussing your issues with a friend or family member.

Keep in touch with others

Sometimes you may just not want to talk to anyone, and that’s OK! As long as that doesn’t become the norm. Book in to see friends, and it’ll give you something to look forward to too.

Eat well

Make sure you eat a balanced diet so you stay healthy. Stay away from too many sugary foods and takeaways as they’ll make you feel sluggish!

Top up your vitamin D

It’s important that you get time outdoors in the fresh air – particular in winter! SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, can affect some people so they’re more depressed in the winter. Read more about SAD here.

Ask for help, support or advice

Recognise when you’re not feeling good in yourself. Ask for help from friends, family, those at College or gain support from independent sources. Find out more from the mental health charity Mind about the support available from them.

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Why is it important to attend an open event?

An open event is a great experience to discover your next move in education.  

You may think you know what to do to reach your future career but when it comes to the real thing it could be a completely different idea to what you imagine. Step away from the vision in your mind and have an experience. 

So, here is why we think attending an open event is only a good thing: 

Meet real people. This is your opportunity to ask all of the questions about College and the study programmes you are interested in – with the people that teach them. All our departments are on hand to not only say ‘Hi’ but to answer any queries or worries you might have. Therefore, you can get a great feel to whether these are the people that you want to help you to reach your future career goals with.  

Are you getting a good vibe? It’s important that the staff are great for you but also the environment that you could be studying in. Pictures are very different to walking in the areas where you might hang out and the rooms you will learn in. You need to be sure that you feel good when you walk into the College as you will spend a lot of your time here so it’s a good idea to be at ease and a place you want to come to study. However, you are only going to reach that conclusion by attending!  

The facilities. Come and see the fantastic facilities we have to help you get the best out of your College programme and give you the skills for your future. You are not going to see how awesome they are by scrolling through them on your phone… 

Be prepared! That’s right – Getting all the information on programmes, entry requirements etc. gets you focused on what you need to aim for in your last year leading up to your GCSEs. You'll also have options if your results don’t go as you wished! You want to feel confident with your next step – so research it and attending an open event is part of that process. 

It’s free…Everything is better with no price tag! Whether you’re still considering your options, or know that College is definitely for you, an open day will help you towards making a decision. If you are set on College, it’s good to visit as many times as possible to find your way around, and meet your tutors! 

College has been one of the best decisions some of our students have made! However, College isn’t always for everyone and that is OK – so come and find out if we are for you. 

And guess what? Our November open days are approaching. Click here to see all of our open event dates!  

Don’t forget that if you are worried that you have no idea what you next move is our career advisers will be on hand to help you too!  

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Just. Be. Nice.

In all our lives we have a consistent denominator: people. Regardless of your job, the reality is we will forever be put in social situations. But with everyone you come in to contact with - are you really being nice? 

It is a well-used expression that we don’t know what people are going through. So, if we can all be a little kinder – that small gesture could impact someone’s day more than we know.  

Here is a list of some of the things that could help bring an extra layer of positivity: 

  • Smile more 
  • Be yourself 
  • Acknowledge strangers 
  • Check-in on your friends  
  • Appreciate your success 
  • Help others get to their goal 
  • Let go of the little things  
  • Do a little more, so someone can do a little less that day  
  • Reserve judgment  
  • Stand up for the vulnerable.  

There are so many ways to be kind to each other. However, your motive towards being nice is also important. It isn’t about you looking good, talking about how kind you are. Being kind isn’t always fun and full of feel good moments. Sometimes when there is a moment to be nice, it may turn out to be inconvenient, might make you late, add to your workload or leave you out of pocket. Nobody said it was easy. If we all went with the attitude to help others when we feel good, then we are all missing out on truly interacting with people in a positive way. So sometimes, being nice is hard work – but it is worth it.  

You also don’t want this to look forced. Quality over quantity. If you consistently make small changes over time it could really make an impact.  

Everyone is important. Look after yourself, look after the people around you and, always make the effort to be nice. 

 

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Developing your skills at College

Hi, I am Grant Riddell and I study the Level 3 in IT.

I came to MidKent College as I thought it was the best option for me.

I started here on the Level 1 in ICT & Business, then the Level 2 Information Technology and at the moment I am studying the Level 3 in Information Technology. I came to College with no GCSEs and I now have a 5 in maths and English. I have recently completed my Level 2 in Information Technology study programme and got a Double Distinction.

The thing that I have probably enjoyed the most here is the teachers. They are actually quite fun, like my maths and English teacher Raj and Joey. I even stayed behind in English and maths just to talk to them. You still learn in your lessons but can talk to them afterwards. It’s less of a school environment and more of a business environment with friends.

With work experience my first year I had to complete 100 hours which I did at Cats Protection, volunteering and also helping someone with their dog walking business. In my second year we were designing a website for a mental health company who were trying to reach a younger audience. A few of us got together to try and update their webpage and make it more friendly to the youth. This year I am hoping to work more in the IT field and currently I have applied for work experience with a few companies in Medway.

I feel proud of what I have achieved over the last two years. My first year here I did entry 3 and level 1 in my English and maths. In my second year I got a 5 in maths and a 4 in English but retook my English as I wanted to get a higher grade and I now have a 5. I also got a Distinction in my speaking and listening. I have done a lot more than what was expected of me.

It’s very enjoyable here and you get a lot done. After my level 3 I am hoping to do an apprenticeship or go to university to study either cybersecurity or software engineering.


Thinking about studying IT at College? Find out more here.

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Thinking of becoming a make-up artist?

We caught up with former student Kayleigh about her career progression since completing her course...

I studied for two years at MidKent College from 2015, completing Level 2 and 3 Theatrical Hair and Media Make-Up for TV and Film.

University wasn't for me so going to MidKent College was 100% the right choice for me. I really enjoyed my time at College. I made some really good friends too. All of my tutors were very friendly and there if you needed anything.

I am currently a freelance theatrical make-up artist. I went freelance earlier this year after working in an office for a year and a half and filling my weekends with photoshoots. I took a leap and made it a full-time position. This year alone I have worked on two indie feature films and a short film. For my first film I was assistant make-up artist working alongside a special effects make-up artist as it was a horror film. For another horror feature I was head of the make-up department.

I absolutely love my job - I meet so many different people and get to create such amazing pieces. I have now started to plan my own shoots involving dress designers, hairstylist, venues and other suppliers etc. I have also been published in Vanity Fair twice and this month been published in Vogue.

MidKent College really gave me a good starting point with my career. I learnt the basics of make-up coverage and hair tips that I use daily. It not only taught me skills with my make-up but it gave me an independence. It wasn't school anymore and it was a fabulous transition, exactly what I needed at the time.

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Should I switch to College?

Your post-16 options are a big decision.

You may not know what you want to do yet as a career – and that’s OK! – or whether you want to go onto university or an apprenticeship.

Everyone considers their options at a different speed, so don’t worry if all of your friends seem to be miles ahead (they’re probably worrying just as much as you!).

If you’ve just started at sixth form studying A-levels or BTECs, with a private training provider or in an apprenticeship, and you’ve realised it’s just…not…your…thing…that’s also OK!

Sometimes you need to try these things to determine if they’re for you.

So, what next?

  1. Have a good chat with those around you; parents, carers, friends, teachers etc. It might just be new term nerves, or the step up in studying.
  2. Have a think – does your current option give you the qualifications you’ll need in the future?
  3. Are you going to be happy completing your current option? There’s no need to stay in your current situation if there’s still time to find another local study option.
  4. Check out your options at College. We do have places available on some programmes and apprenticeships. Call our friendly course enquiries team on 01634 402020 to discuss your options.
  5. Visit our drop-in enrolment session on 14 September 10am-2pm at either campus to apply, interview AND enrol on a programme
  6. Email our impartial careers advisers – they’ll be able to talk you through ALL of your options!

You do have time to switch to College, but you can’t bury your head in the sand and not make a decision! We accept students into the first few weeks of term, but unfortunately after that catching up may just not be possible for you. And you don’t want to delay finding THE option for you until January, or even next September!

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Returning to Education

Thinking about coming back to College as an adult learner? Gaining new qualifications is a great way to boost your current skills, retrain for a new career, or just improve your confidence and knowledge. 

What’s stopping you? 

Fear. Will I be capable of the work involved? Will I be surrounded by teenagers? What if I fail? 

Cost. How will I afford the fees? Will I be eligible for any concessions or student loans?   

Time. How will I juggle all my other commitments such as family and job? Will I be too old by the time I pass the course? 

How can you resolve these issues? 

Firstly, you need to gather as much information as you can about the courses you are interested in. Where can you study, what are the entry requirements and what will you gain at the end of the course – does it actually lead to a qualification? College and university websites contain the information you need to make a start, but you may need to call or email if you have a specific question that you cannot find an answer to. Attend any open events that you can; it will help to meet other people interested in the course and talk with the tutor prior to application. It is easy to get trapped in negative thoughts about failure, but you never know until you try! 

Costs are a big factor in deciding to return to education. Fees are usually payable if are over 19. However, there are concessions and government loans available depending on the course and your circumstances. Check with the college or university directly to confirm if you may be eligible. Advanced Learner Loans are available to cover fees for Level 3 courses. Higher Education loans are available to cover fees for HNCs, HNDs, Foundation Degrees and full Batchelor Degrees. If you or the course you are applying for are not eligible for a concession or a loan, there may be a payment plan available instead which allows you to pay in instalments. 

If you are working and/or have family to care for at home, it can be a struggle to fit studying in alongside everything else! Time-management really is the only solution to this – try and put aside a bit of time each day for studying so that things don’t build up into something unmanageable. Use the library or learning facilities on site to get your work or research done outside of home – it may be easier to concentrate and complete it in a more timely manner. 

Why not have a look at the University Level and Professional Courses we offer.

If you’re not sure what career path to take but know you want to make changes, it may be helpful for you to speak to a Careers Adviser. The National Careers Service has a helpline and some very useful online tools to help you narrow down your search:  

Skill Health Check

Job Categories

Find a Course

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Did you know these famous people were former apprentices? So you’ve heard about apprenticeships – but are you aware of these famous former apprentices?

Gordon Ramsay. TV star Gordon started his successful career as a catering apprentice, and is now one of the most famous names in the catering world owning multiple restaurants and TV shows.

David Beckham. David was an apprentice in the football Youth Training Scheme before he went on to global sporting (and fashion and advertising!) fame.

John Frieda. John began his incredibly successful career as a hairdressing apprentice! He not only owns glamourous salons, but also his own booming product line.

Sir Alex Ferguson. Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson actually started his career as a shipyard apprentice!

Elvis. After secondary school, Elvis decided to become an apprentice electrician before pursuing his talent as a musician.

Sir Ian McKellan. Award-winning actor Sir Ian McKellen, of X-Men and Lord of the Rings fame, started his successful career after completing a theatre apprenticeship.

Sir Michael Caine. Sir Michael, who has stared in a wide range of films from Austin Powers to Cars 2 and The Italian Job, actually started life as a plumbing apprentice!

An apprenticeship can open a whole range of opportunities to you, with many finding employment within the company or industry that they have apprenticed in. Apprenticeships are offered from level 2, right up to degree level.

If you are interested in an apprenticeship, talk to our impartial careers team or apprenticeship advisers to find out more, and to see what local vacancies are currently on offer.

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Questions about enrolment?

My grades aren’t as high as I was predicted, can I still enrol on my course?  What shall I do?

Don’t worry! Please come along on the date and time that you have been sent in your enrolment letter. We’ll then be able to help you to find the right programme for you.

I haven’t had my grades yet, what shall I do?

Please don’t worry – please visit the College on the date and time in your enrolment letter.

I can’t come into enrolment (on holiday/ill etc). What shall I do?

Please let our applications team know as soon as possible by sending them an email or ringing them on 01634 383140.

My son/daughter got all the grades they need except for English/Maths, will they still be able to enrol on the same level and re-sit English/Maths?

Our tutors will be able to talk you through their options at your scheduled enrolment session – and they’ll be able to re-sit their English and maths at College to achieve a grade 4.

I’ve left my results slips at my nan’s/boyfriends etc or have lost my results slips, can I still come in and enrol?

Please come in to your enrolment session – but have a final check at home, in the car, in your bag…before you leave!

All of my friends are enrolling today, but I didn’t get a letter, what shall I do?

Please ring our applications team to confirm the next step for you, or visit our late enrolment session on 29 or 30 August from 9am-4.30pm at either campus.

What do I need to wear to enrolment – do I need to wear my uniform?

No, you don’t need to wear your uniform for enrolment. Please come along in whatever is comfortable for you!

Can I park at the campus?

We will have some spaces available for you to park at campus during enrolment, but do advise you to take public transport if possible. When you are a student, the Maidstone Campus is able to offer students free parking. Students at the Medway Campus are only able to park on campus if they are a blue badge holder.

Where do I go for enrolment?

Come to the enrolment session on your letter at the relevant campus. Once you’ve parked or hopped off the bus, head to reception when you’ll be directed to where you need to go.

I’m going to be late for enrolment, can I still come in?

Yes, please let us know by ringing 01634 383140.

How long does enrolment take?

Enrolment takes roughly an hour and a half. Please ensure you bring all of your documents and results slips with you, to make the process as quick as possible.

Can I bring my mum/dad/baby to enrolment?

Sure – but if you’d prefer to come alone, that’s absolutely fine too.

My son/daughter is doing an apprenticeship, when do they enrol?

We'll write to you to confirm when they are to enrol.        

I haven’t applied yet, can I come in today and enrol?

Please come along to our drop in enrolment session on 29 or 30 August from 9am-4.30pm at either campus.

Can I pay my fees at enrolment?

If you’re aged 16-18 then your programme is free. If you’re 19+ you will be able to pay for your fees at enrolment, or start an instalment plan.

Will I get any help with fees/travel/childcare?

Yes we have a student financial support team here to help you. Check out your options here, or talk to one of our advisers at your enrolment session.

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Just received your results?

Will I be offered a place on anything else if I’ve received better/lower grades than I expected?

If we have the availability, and the programme fits with your long term career aim, then we’ll do our best to ensure you have a place on a programme. If you’ve already applied, please still come along to your booked enrolment session in your letter, or visit our late enrolment session on 14 September from 10am-1pm.

Can I still apply for a programme at College?

Please search and apply for a programme online. Our late drop-in enrolment sessions are on 29 and 30 August from 9am-4.30pm at both campuses.

I don’t want to do the programme I’ve applied for anymore, can I swap to something else?

If we have places available on the programme you’re interested in, and it’s suitable for you, then we will look to offer you a place on a different programme.

I don’t want to attend the campus I’ve applied for anymore, can I swap to the other campus?

If we offer the programme at the other campus, and there are places available, then we will be able to swap you to the other campus. We’ll do our best to ensure that you’re on the best programme for you. Please still come into your scheduled enrolment session, and speak to the staff available.

I no longer want my place at College, what do I need to do?

Please let our applications team know as soon as possible so your place can be offered to another student. Please email them with full details, or ring them on 01634 383140.

Where do I get my uniform from?

The department will write to you about which supplier to buy your uniform from.

Can I park at the campus?

We will have some spaces available for you to park at campus during enrolment, but we do advise you to take public transport if possible. When you are a student, the Maidstone Campus is able to offer students free parking. Students at the Medway Campus are only able to park on campus if they are a blue badge holder.

Will I get any help with fees/travel/childcare?

Check out this part of our website to see if you are entitled to any financial support

I need to talk to someone about my options – who should I contact?

Please contact our course enquiries team on 01634 402020, or via email. Alternatively, please talk to us via Live Chat on our website. Please be aware that it’s a very busy time for us, but we will be in touch with you as soon as possible about your query!

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College buzzwords

If you’ve been to the College for an open event, a taster day or have just been browsing our website, you might have heard or seen certain words and phrases over and over again. 

You might not know what these mean yet but don’t worry, we’re here to explain more! 

Enrolment  

This is when you come into College to officially enrol on the programme you have been offered a place on.  We will check your qualifications, take your picture, sort out any fees (if applicable) and give you your ID badge ready to start your programme. Any other enrolment questions?  See our FAQs here.

Bursary 

Some people can get a bursary to help pay for education-related costs like clothing, books, travel and so on. If you need help with a bursary application, contact the Careers team.

E-learning

At College there are a range of classrooms, equipment and multimedia workshops to help you learn, giving you access to all the computer software and a personal College email to make sure you get the best from your study programme.

Work ready interviews

Work ready interviews are offered to all of our students as part of their study programmes. We arrange them with local businesses and they’re a chance for you to practice your job interview skills.

NUS

NUS is the national voice of students helping them to campaign, get cheap student discounts and provide advice on living student life to the full. 

Study programme  

This is your chosen full-time course alongside four other key elements which make up your personal study programme:

  • Your main qualification (e.g. Level 2 in Animal Care) 
  • English (at the correct level for you) 
  • Maths (at the correct level for you) 
  • Industry placement
  • Personal and professional development

Want more info? Click here to find out more.

Together, these elements provide you with the opportunity to achieve the qualifications and skills you need to prepare for work, an apprenticeship or university. All aspects are important, and all need to be completed. 

Functional skills

These are English and maths qualifications that you will do alongside your course if you do not meet the requirements to do GCSE. You will be enrolled on the best level for you and they will form part of your study programme. 

Refectory 

Basically, the canteen! Grab a hot or cold drink, snack or main meal. There’s loads of choice and plenty of room to sit and eat. 

Lanyard 

This is your College photo ID badge. Worn around your neck, these must be worn at all times whilst on campus. 

LRC

There is a Learning Resource Centre in all of our buildings, where you can access books, texts, computers and software to help you with your learning.

Counsellors and welfare officers

This team offers free help and support through one to one counselling or group sessions, and appointments can be made with them through your personal development tutors, or by emailing counselling@midkent.ac.uk.

Don’t forget to follow us on our social media accounts!

Questions about College? Let us know below!

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Preparing for College

Are you joining us in September ?  If so, we guess that you are feeling nervous, although hopefully excited too! 

Leaving school and starting College is a big step – you'll be leaving familiar faces and places behind and starting a new more independent chapter in your life. 

It’s natural to be nervous but there are steps you can take to keep those butterflies in check. 

1.  Get organised. 

If you are organised you will definitely feel more relaxed. Organise the stuff you will need for College – do you have to wear a uniform for your programme? If so, make sure you know what’s required and where to get it from. If you have been given details for any books you need or required stationery, try and get these organised as early as you can to save last minute stress. 

2.  Plan your journey to College  

You may have been able to walk to your previous school, but College could be a longer journey for you. This can be daunting, but if you plan your journey it will be less of a worry. If you are going to be using public transport, research the routes and the time it takes to make the journey. Ensure you have the correct timetables and bus numbers/train times. Do a dummy run so you know exactly how long it takes and where to get on and off.  

If you think you may be eligible for a bursary to help with costs for travel/uniform/trips/college meals – make an application. 

If you are not eligible for the bursary, maybe you are eligible for a discounted bus pass.   

3. Use your nerves in a positive way 

Try not to let nerves get the better of you. Remember that when you start College, nearly everyone else will be feeling the same as you! Be open to meeting new people and making friends. When you start College it’s possible that you won’t know anyone but instead of seeing this as a bad thing, try to see it in a positive way. See it as an opportunity to start afresh.   

4. Don’t be scared to ask questions 

There’s no getting away from the fact that College will be different from school. Hopefully you have been to an open event or a taster day which has given you the chance to get a feel for what College will be like for you. Nevertheless, you may still feel nervous and worried - fear of the unknown is pretty powerful! We are here to help, whether it’s before you start College, or during your first few weeks, please get in touch if you have any questions and we will try to help. 

Why not follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? We post regular updates on student activities, student news, success stories and other useful information. It will hopefully help you to become more familiar with College life and get you excited for September! 

Questions about College? Let us know below!

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How to Become a Painter & Decorator

Becoming a painter and decorator requires a large amount of skills as it's a creative construction career. You will be working on a wide range of projects, from decorating domestic homes to painting large-scale industrial architecture, applying paint, wallpaper, and other finishes to interior and exterior surfaces, and structures. We’ve put together a brief overview of how to become a painter and decorator in the UK.

There are two main ways you can become a decorator:

Tasks undertaken by a painter and decorator can involve anything from choosing colour, measuring surfaces, stripping and repairing walls, applying paint and wallpaper, and applying finishes like stains, varnish and marbling. It’s also important to remember that providing good customer service is part of your role. You could do this by tidying up well once finished, and accurately quoting the cost of your work, whilst remaining professional and well-mannered.

Enrolling on a Painting & Decorating Course

To become a decorator and painter, you may wish to enrol in a Level 2 or Level 3 painting and decorating course. The level you enter will depend on your previous qualifications. The skills you will learn at college will assist you in securing employment in the painting and decorating industry, or even help you to set up your own business and become self-employed.

During your college course, you could be learning everything from stencilling and sponging, to spray painting and marbling. The college will provide facilities for you to test and enhance your skills. The entry requirements vary depending on the college, but the average is four GCSEs with at least a grade 3 (D), including English or maths at a grade 3 (D) or above. 

For those aged 16-18, you’ll be learning exactly the same content, but will undertake a Painting and Decorating study programme instead. These programmes include work experience, as well as the study of English and maths to perfect your employability skills. 

Enrolling in a college course combines the working knowledge and hands on experience that is required in the painting and decorating industry, allowing you to test your skills, as well as learning the tips and tricks of the trade.

Gaining a Painting & Decorating Apprenticeship

You can also become a painter and decorator through undertaking an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a great way of learning the skills you need to become a decorator of good quality, whilst giving you hands on experience in the industry. Learning on the job, whilst earning money is a popular way to become a skilled painter and decorator.

An apprenticeship lasts between 21-36 months, ranging from level 2 to level 4 depending on your experience and qualification level. The entry requirements, once again, vary depending on the college and company that you will be working for, but the average is five GCSEs at a grade 3 (D) or above, including English and maths. Other requirements such as the completion of an initial assessment and having an employment contract already within the industry may be applicable. The framework of the apprenticeship will include on-the-job training, and studying maths, English, and/or ICT (dependent on GCSE qualifications) at college whilst getting paid.

Once you have completed a level 2 or 3 apprenticeship, you can either progress to a higher level apprenticeship, or secure a job and begin your career within the painting and decorating industry. You will be a fully qualified tradesperson with the ability to apply for workplace projects.

If you are interested in applying for a college course or an apprenticeship in Painting and Decorating, contact us for more details.

Can I Become a Painter and Decorator with no Experience?

Anyone can try their hand at painting and decorating, even by doing some DIY at home, but becoming a skilled and qualified painter and decorator requires high levels of skill and hard work.

Getting a painter decorator job with no experience proves difficult, as people look for experienced tradespeople and craftsmen to conduct work inside their homes and businesses.

However, you don’t specifically need to be qualified to enter the role. As long as you have a familiarity with the required materials and processes, good communication skills, a creative outlook, time management skills and the physical strength and balance, it is possible to become a painter and decorator in the UK with no level 2-4 qualifications. Instead, you’ll need to have learned these skills through some form of experience, and know how to proficiently decorate a business or domestic premises.

It’s therefore a great advantage to have completed a painting and decorator course prior to trying to obtain your first paid job!

So, How can I Become a Painter and Decorator?

If you’re interested in pursuing this career, you can either take part in a painter and decorator course or study programme, or alternatively undertake a decorating apprenticeship.

Regardless of the option you choose, it’s important that you have the right qualifications to start with. English and maths in particular are important.

Any experience in the industry can prove really helpful in fuelling your passion for the role, or providing much-needed experience. If you have any further questions on how to become a painter and decorator, or questions regarding a College course or apprenticeship, becoming self-employed, or painting and decorating in general - please contact us, so we can get you the help and information that you need.

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Your summer reads

Need some inspiration for your summer reads? Check out the recommendations from our Learning Resource Centre advisers:

A Game of Thrones : A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

The first opus in a series of seven volumes, A Game of Thrones, chronicles the struggle for power in the violent realm of the Seven Kingdoms. The Houses of Stark, Lannister and Targaryen all have a claim to the Iron Throne. Expect epic battles, treachery, heroic acts and mythical creatures! The TV adaptation of the much-acclaimed modern fantasy came to a close earlier this year so why not pick up a copy of the book from a MidKent College Learning Resource Centre?

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

“In principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder.” 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with social skills but leads an uncomplicated, carefully timetabled life from which nothing is missing. Or so she believes. Until one day, a simple act of kindness shatters her world and forces her to explore her past again and open her heart little by little.

In turns heartbreaking and funny, it is a wonderful story about loneliness, friendship and resilience that will touch your heart and make you think.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

“I am always saying "Glad to've met you" to somebody I'm not at all glad I  met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.” 

First published in 1951, this coming of age novel has been beloved by many generations ever since. Its hero-narrator, Holden Cauldfield, sixteen, recalls the two days of his life he spent underground in New York after having been expelled from his prep school. Confused and disillusioned, Holden searches for truth and rails against the “phoniness” of the adult world. He ends up exhausted and emotionally unstable. A modern classic of teenage angst and rebellion and a must read.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”

Auggie Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school, until now. He is about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. he has to contend with friendships, fall-outs and bullying, but manages to maintain an upbeat attitude throughout it all. The thing is Auggie is just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. Moving and uplifting, his story is truly inspirational.

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Five tips on keeping healthy at work

We all want to be healthy and then we see cake … then suddenly being healthy can wait.

However, if you spend the majority of the day sitting behind a desk there are a few simple and sustainable changes that you can make to improve your health at work - here are our top five...

1. Breakfast, eat it! - Ok, it may sound straightforward, but this seems to be the meal that we all forget/have no time to digest. 'Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?' I think so, but do you?

2. More H2O - Another slightly obvious suggestion you might be thinking, but are you drinking enough water? There are so many benefits to keeping hydrated throughout the day

3. Reduce caffeine consumption - 'Hi, I am Sophie and I am a coffee addict!' If - like me, caffeine is a big part of your life...I mean day, then reducing the amount could make a difference. I limit myself to one cup first thing! - but sometimes you may see a cup on my desk later in the afternoon...

4. Ditch the desk - Not literally, before you begin lobbing them out of your window, but try and leave the desk when you can, and have your lunch away from the screen. Any opportunity to move around - do it!

5. How clean is your desk? -  Sometimes we can neglect the environment we are working in, but a little workstation makeover could be great for you. A tidy desk, a tidy mind - right? Dedicate a few minutes before you leave to make your desk a clutter-free zone. So when you arrive the following morning, you have a place that is inviting to work in. You are at your desk a lot; there is no reason why you couldn't get a little creative!

Sophie Cawsey
Marketing and Communications Officer  

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