MidKent College https://www.midkent.ac.uk MidKent College : Blog Feed Copyright 2019, MidKent College. Wed, 11 Sep 201911:14:31 GMT 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.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/thinking-of-becoming-a-make-up-artist/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/thinking-of-becoming-a-make-up-artist/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 11:14:31 GMT
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!

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/should-i-switch-to-college/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/should-i-switch-to-college/ Thu, 05 Sep 2019 16:12:07 GMT
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

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/returning-to-education/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/returning-to-education/ Fri, 30 Aug 2019 13:05:52 GMT
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.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/did-you-know-these-famous-people-were-former-apprentices/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/did-you-know-these-famous-people-were-former-apprentices/ Thu, 22 Aug 2019 08:42:32 GMT
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.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/questions-about-enrolment/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/questions-about-enrolment/ Wed, 07 Aug 2019 16:13:38 GMT
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!

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/just-received-your-results/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/just-received-your-results/ Wed, 07 Aug 2019 16:09:20 GMT
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! 


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.


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.


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 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. 


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. 


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


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!

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/college-buzzwords/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/college-buzzwords/ Wed, 07 Aug 2019 12:26:09 GMT
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!

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/preparing-for-college/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/preparing-for-college/ Wed, 07 Aug 2019 09:17:22 GMT
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.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/how-to-become-a-painter--decorator/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/how-to-become-a-painter--decorator/ Wed, 24 Jul 2019 14:36:06 GMT
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.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/your-summer-reads/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/your-summer-reads/ Mon, 22 Jul 2019 10:20:34 GMT
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  

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/five-tips-on-keeping-healthy-at-work/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/five-tips-on-keeping-healthy-at-work/ Sat, 20 Jul 2019 11:53:09 GMT
How to Become a Mechanic

A mechanic is an extremely skilled worker that is capable of maintaining and repairing different types of equipment. These can include cars, motorbikes and other vehicles as well as a variety of other machinery depending on your specialism. If you’re interested in how to become a mechanic in the UK, we’ve put together a handy guide. 

There are several ways you can become a mechanic, though some career paths include:

Enrolling in a Mechanic Course

Enrolling in a mechanic course or motor trade qualification at college can be a great first step towards becoming a mechanic. There are a variety of courses on offer, to help you qualify, from vehicle maintenance to transport maintenance and vehicle technology.

You’ll usually need a minimum of two GCSEs grade 3-9 (D or above) for a level 2 course, and a minimum of four GCSEs at grades 4-9 (C or above) for a level 3 course. 

Learning through a college allows you to learn the theory behind your future career path, as well as providing a level of training through controlled environments at college. View mechanic study programmes at MidKent College to find out more.

Gaining a Mechanic Apprenticeship

There are other ways you can become a mechanic, including gaining a related apprenticeship. A mechanic or motor trades apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to learn on the job whilst being paid. Having relevant experience is extremely valuable, as it gives you the opportunity to hone your skills beyond training. Like college, an apprenticeship also earns you a nationally recognised qualification that will give you access to more working opportunities.

In order to become a mechanic apprentice, you’ll typically require GCSEs in English and Maths for an intermediate apprenticeship (Level 2) or five GCSEs grade 4-9 (C or above) for an advanced apprenticeship (Level 3). You can view our mechanic apprenticeships to find out more.

Can I Become a Mechanic with no Experience?

In some ways, yes. Some people are naturally mechanically inclined, tinkering on vehicles, or perhaps assisting others on vehicles belonging to family members. This approach tends to be ‘learning as you go’ without any training, which can be extremely positive in fuelling passion and gaining an interest in mechanics. Having previous experience tinkering on cars and making repairs can be a great stepping stone to starting a college qualification or apprenticeship. But what if you haven’t done that?

Nowadays, becoming a mechanic without any experience proves very difficult. Previously, many ‘informal’ untrained mechanics would take a small fee for private work. This has become much rarer since cars have become more advanced and require certified MOTs and repairs. To join a reputable company as a mechanic, you need some form of experience, but there’s nothing wrong with starting as a trainee if you’d like to join the industry. This can be done regardless of your age providing you have the right qualifications.

You could undertake an industry placement in a local garage of test centre for some practical experience in becoming a mechanic. This could significantly benefit your practical and industry knowledge.

So, How can I Become a Mechanic?

In order to become a mechanic, you require either an apprenticeship or a college qualification, to become a trainee afterwards. Whichever option you choose, it’s important you have the right GCSEs or equivalent qualifications to get on these courses, especially English and Maths.

How you become a mechanic is relatively simple, but requires hard work to get you there. If you’re interested in our motor vehicle courses, or our motor trade apprenticeships, apply to Midkent College today or contact us for more details about our courses.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/how-to-become-a-mechanic/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/how-to-become-a-mechanic/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:48:29 GMT
Degree level apprenticeships

“Apprenticeships” is a term that most people are familiar with. However, do people really know where an apprenticeship can take you?

For example, did you know that you can study an apprenticeship at a degree level? Because you can!

‘Degree level apprenticeships? … Meaning a ridiculous loan – no thank you!’

Actually no. The best part of venturing onto a higher-level apprenticeship is that you are studying at degree level without the financial burden university degrees can have on some people. Student loan free!

You get paid

Don’t forget this is still an apprenticeship – therefore you will be getting paid for all of your efforts! (Sounds pretty good to me). Plus, some of the top recruiters can pay anything from £16,000 and has been known to be as high as £23,000.

Filling the gap

You might have heard that employers are struggling to recruit employees with specific skills at a graduate level. These apprenticeships are helping to not only create a tailored path for an apprentice, but allow the employer to hire someone who is able to fill that gap that they desperately require for their company.

Working and studying

Degree apprenticeships are designed perfectly for those who want to stay, or go straight into in employment, whilst securing a qualification. 

Don’t waste time

So many people head to university as they feel they have to. But university is an option, not a necessity. And for a lot, it isn’t the path they want to follow – and that is ok. Therefore, if you are looking for a specific qualification but want to work, this could be the option for you.

Or, perhaps you have a degree but want a new qualification. As long as the apprenticeship isn’t in the same subject area as your degree - you can do it.

If you are considering this as an option or just want to have a chat then get in touch!

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/degree-level-apprenticeships/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/degree-level-apprenticeships/ Thu, 04 Jul 2019 14:24:15 GMT
Distractions at work

We live in a world full of distractions and we have been incredibly good at not letting this disturb us whilst we are hard at work, because we are professional – right?

Well, I don’t think that original statement is entirely true…with so much to divert our eye every day we can waste so much time not actually getting anything done.

Below are a few examples of how we are drawn away from our screens and how to tackle the time-wasting.

The smartphone seduction

When you are incredibly popular, it is hard to keep people waiting – I get it, especially when your device is difficult to say ‘no’ to. When the light appears or you hear the ‘beep’ we are drawn to being in contact with the clever piece of technology. Whether we are endlessly scrolling through Instagram, finding funny memes on Facebook or picking it up for the sake of unlocking it to not really do anything at all. This is when you know you need space - and your phone will understand. Distance is healthy, so it might be worth turning off all notifications, so your eyes are focused on your work. However, if you feel you are still distracted by its presence a stronger intervention needs to be put in place. ‘It’s not you, it’s me’; perhaps storing it somewhere safe. Schedule times when it is appropriate to be reunited. For example at lunchtime - the perfect dinner date! 

The ridiculous rituals

So we all have those little rituals in our mind. Like we have a meeting in 15 minutes, therefore there is no point getting immersed in a piece of work when I am leaving the desk soon – sound familiar? Therefore, you end up browsing through tabs or opening your social media to discover nothing has really changed from the ten minutes ago that you scrolled through it on your phone. Change your mindset and begin a task. It is fine to start something and then come back to it. When you do return, you will probably be thankful you aren’t starting from scratch.

The delightful distractions  

Interacting with your colleagues is great. Having a good relationship makes work easier and it is always nice to break away from the screen for a little office ‘banter’. But the talkative Tim’s and the nattering Nina’s aren’t always the best ingredient in your workload mix. It is very easy to get drawn into the latest gossip or a hot topic of conversation. However, if a deadline is looming and work needs to be done then you have to break away, rather than having a conversation for the sake of being polite. A subtle way could be plugging in your headphones, even if no music is playing.


Surely they are important? Yes, but sometimes do you feel you are in a meeting for the sake of having a meeting? Does this need to be something that takes an hour? Can this be a phone call? Or just an email? Meetings aren’t always the best route to go down, but more importantly they are time-consuming. Really evaluate the purpose and what will be gained from the discussion. This doesn’t mean cancel every meeting but really look at why you are going - before you do. We have all been to a meeting where we feel we have wasted not only an hour of our life but an hour we could have dedicated to a piece of work.

I feel that we will forever be distracted by something during the day or the week but being aware of what is distracting you, and ways to reduce it, is surely a good thing. Right?

So, I suggest you stop reading this and get back to work!


https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/distractions-at-work/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/distractions-at-work/ Thu, 04 Jul 2019 13:19:54 GMT
Thinking about an online course?

When I was offered the chance to do an online learning course, I was worried about how I would fit in studying alongside work and being a parent.  Also, I’d never tried distance learning – any other courses I’ve completed have been classroom based with the tutor there in front of you, so I was also worried about what would happen if I didn’t understand something!

I chose to do the Level 2 in Information, Advice or Guidance which fits in with my job role advising students on the most relevant study programme or apprenticeship for them. It was really easy to apply; I just had to complete an online form through the MidKent College website. From there, I was sent a pack containing the workbooks required for the course and my online tutor contacted me by telephone. She explained how everything worked, gave me my login details for the e-assessor portal and confirmed the target dates that the workbooks needed to be completed by.

The workbooks contain all the information you need to complete the course. There are also answer booklets for those who want to write their answers. I preferred to complete mine through the portal and typed them straight into the online answer booklet. This made it easier to edit or add extra details as I went along.

If I had any questions or concerns, I could contact the tutor by email and she was really good at getting back to me.  At the end of each workbook (there were two that made up the qualification I was doing) you had to submit your work to the tutor. She then gave feedback on my answers and let me know if there was anything I could have added or needed to change. Luckily everything was fine and I had some positive feedback which really motivated me to carry on with the second part of the course. 

The course leads to a recognised level 2 qualification – it wasn’t too difficult, but did challenge me and I felt that I had learned things I could apply to my role.

You get 12 weeks to complete the course, but I actually did it in six! As a busy working mum, I was worried that I wouldn’t get time to finish it, but I found it became a lot easier if I managed my time.I allowed an hour or two every couple of nights to read through the workbook and questions and enter my answers. I then spent half a day on the weekend before the due date going through everything and editing if necessary before I submitted it.

I was really impressed with the content of the course and very happy with the contact from the tutor who was really friendly and helpful. I didn’t have to pay for the course as it is government funded if you are over 19 and have lived in the EU for three years. I get to keep the workbooks too, so if I want to refer back to anything I can.

There are loads of subject areas to choose from and having found the first one pretty straightforward, I plan to apply for a couple more over the next year or so. They are really useful for improving and refreshing your skills and for adding to your CPD file or your CV if you are looking for a job.

Read more about the range of online courses available at MidKent College.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/thinking-about-an-online-course/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/thinking-about-an-online-course/ Tue, 18 Jun 2019 16:00:48 GMT
Apprentice of the Month: Abbi Collins (May 2019)

We’re delighted to celebrate another great apprentice of the month! Congratulations to Ardo, and Abbi.

Ardo is one of the world’s leading suppliers of frozen plant based food with a turnover in excess of 1 billion Euros. In the UK the HR team provides full generalist support to two sites employing nearly 200 people.

Ardo’s Human Resources Director, Morag Bailey tells us why Abbi is a worthy apprentice of the month:

Abbi joined us straight from her A Levels having had no previous experience of HR or working in a corporate environment. However from her very first day she has shown maturity and professionalism in all she has done. She has taken ownership for tasks and responsibilities assigned to her, has excellent self-management skills, is methodical, accurate and on time in everything she does. When she joined us I put together a training matrix for her but had to speed it up as she was grasping the basics quicker than anticipated.

This has allowed me to give her specific projects to work on which will aid her professional development and has freed up colleagues' time to work on other projects. Nothing is too much for her. She has the courage to step out of her comfort zone and find solutions when the need has arisen. She is popular with colleagues and managers throughout the business who have quickly come to value her support and advice.

As well as getting to grips with the tasks given to her, she has shown a genuine interest in how HR fits into the corporate structure of Ardo and the part we play in delivering strategic objectives. She always discusses at team meetings what she has been focused on at College and looks for opportunities to apply this knowledge practically.

It has been a delight to have Abbi join my team - she is bright, funny, professional, caring, responsible, intellectually curious and a team player. I am sure that she has a bright career ahead of her in HR and I am very proud to have her in my team.

It's clear that Abbi has slotted into the Ardo team perfectly! Here is her experience so far:

I am extremely delighted to have been nominated for Apprentice of the Month. I feel a sense of achievement; it’s proving that I am on the right track to achieve the goals that I have set myself. Becoming an apprentice in the workplace has been a massive change for me and a shift from what I had originally planned to do, so to be recognised has given me more confidence and courage to push my own capabilities even further. Being recognised has brought huge satisfaction and pride as it proves that hard work, dedication and commitment really does reap reward in one form or another. I am truly grateful to those around me who have helped and supported me this far and the opportunities that I have been given.

Ardo UK is an SME employing just fewer than 200 people, but with further sites based all around the world and our head office is based in Ardooie, Belgium. Currently there are three of us in the HR department at Ardo working side-by-side to aid and support departments and individuals in a variety of needs. As there are only three of us, it provides me with lots of opportunity to get involved with many aspects of the job in a busy and fast paced environment. Due to Ardo UK being a reasonably small company, a sense of community is clear in the culture as you walk around the building. We also have an average long service of 11 years which says a lot about how the company runs and the type of people it retains. Working for Ardo allows me to get involved in the taste panel at lunch time and play football for the 5-a-side team which brings both engagement and enjoyment.

The best part about working at Ardo is the environment in which I work. I am actively encouraged to learn and participate in many aspects of the job. I am encouraged to ask questions, challenge and problem solve on a regular basis and by having such a varied role allows me to face challenges and push myself out of my comfort zone. The support around not just from my department but others around the business also contributes to a pleasant and friendly environment which promotes hard work and commitment to responsibilities. My knowledge surrounding HR has grown emphatically aided by the opportunities that my team have given and guided me through. The encouragement to learn and develop not only as an individual but as a team is second to none which is only fuelling my willingness to absorb as much information as I can.

Here is what her lecturer had to say about teaching Abbi:

Abbi is self-motivated and driven to achieve success both professionally and in her studies. Since starting the apprenticeship in September she has never settled for doing the minimum required for any task that she has been set by me (in or out of College). She has been industriously proactive in working with her employer to produce work-based evidence consistently high quality to meet, and in many instances, exceed the requirements of the apprenticeship standard.

It is evident that she is intrinsically motivated to learn to develop her ability to take on more work-related responsibility and support her established HR colleagues.
Abbi is very popular with her cohort of fellow apprentices/students. During her studies she is always willing to share her work-based insights, best practice and her ‘can-do attitude’ when working in paired or group tasks. There have been several instances when Abbi has helped learners in the group by signposting them to useful resources relating to work-based projects that she has undertaken.
Since commencing the apprenticeship back in September Abbi has worked hard on the daunting challenge of developing her public speaking skills. A recent example of her progress was evidenced when she prepared and delivered a well-researched and highly informative training session on the subject of ‘Modern Slavery’ to her peers as part of an assessment. In the weeks preceding her assessment for this piece of work, she made effective use of independent study time working on her presentation skills.
In summary Abbi is steadily continuing to develop from being a noticeably reserved person who back in September had very limited knowledge and experience of the HR profession towards being a practitioner who is increasing in confidence, diligence and commercially awareness.

Abbi is a credit to her employer as well as MidKent College.

Congratulations Abbi!

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/apprentice-of-the-month-abbi-collins-may-2019/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/apprentice-of-the-month-abbi-collins-may-2019/ Fri, 17 May 2019 11:42:17 GMT
Our Pick: 'The Joy of Work' Book Review

Like many, my career has seen its ups and downs. Looking back over the last 20+ years there have been times when I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my work and times when, quite frankly, I’ve wanted nothing more than to run screaming for the hills.

The Joy of Work doesn’t shy away from that, and instead encourages us, regardless of seniority or lack of it, to take responsibility for the way we feel about work and the impact we can have on those we work with; to recognise that small changes in our attitude and in our working practices can transform how we feel about our jobs and interactions with our colleagues.

In section 1, Bruce Daisley encourages us to Recharge with easy to implement hacks that can help work to feel manageable. Crucially, most of these are things we can look to change without having to secure senior management approval – simple stuff like actually taking a lunch break. But if you do need to build a compelling case, there’s plenty of workplace psychology and scientific research to add some credibility to help to inform and persuade.

Section 2 urges us to Sync, with solid suggestions for building meaningful, trusting and productive connections with colleagues ranging from the easy task of ‘moving the kettle’ to get staff from different teams talking and collaborating, to the slightly harder to develop empathic ability to know when you should leave people alone.

Finally, section 3 sets out solid research and techniques to help create Buzz – that almost immeasurable quality combining engagement and positivity that we all seem to crave. Who knew that banning phones from meetings could achieve this far better than a slide and a ball pool…

If you’ve got an interest in workplace psychology, or you’re just not content to whittle away the years until retirement in a job that you don’t enjoy, this is a must-read.

As much as I’d love to tell you more, it’s time for lunch…

Interested in learning more about business? Our Business courses can help you learn all the skills you need. Find out more.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/our-pick-the-joy-of-work-book-review/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/our-pick-the-joy-of-work-book-review/ Fri, 17 May 2019 11:09:03 GMT
Apprenticeships for adults

Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers - they're also suitable for adults too!

In fact, there is no upper age limit for apprentices. You may be looking for a career change or perhaps have been promoted within your company and need to learn new skills and build your confidence. Apprenticeships are designed to help you gain hands-on experience in your chosen industry; learning new skills and gaining a recognised qualification all whilst earning a wage. 

There are benefits of apprentices to employers too as they help them to develop their existing workforce, plug skills gaps within the company and attract and train new recruits.

What apprenticeships are there?

You do need to be employed to be considered for an apprenticeship – this needs to be for a minimum of 30 hours per week. You may already be employed and be looking to improve your skills with that industry, or you may be looking for an employer to take you on as an apprentice so that you can re-train. You can search for apprenticeship vacancies on the government’s “Find an Apprenticeship” website.

Apprenticeships are available in a wide variety of industries. They are not limited to the traditional trades such as Electrical Installation, Plumbing or  Engineering - they can also be undertaken in areas such as  Accountancy, Human Resources and IT to name a few. 

The College offers higher apprenticeships in Accounting, Construction, Engineering, Human Resources and ICT

What apprenticeship level am I?

Four levels are available depending on the subject area chosen, and your current qualifications:

Intermediate (Level 2): equivalent to GCSE 

Advanced (Level 3): equvialent to A level

Higher (Level 4 and 5): equivalent to HNC/ HND/Foundation Degree

Degree (Level 6 and 7): equivalent to Batchelor’s Degree

Higher level and degree apprenticeships are perfect for those looking to progress in their career into an advanced, technical or managerial role. They allow you to gain a qualification at Level 4 or above, such as an HNC/D or Foundation degree, and in some areas you can progress up to full degree level. Completion takes between one and five years with part-time study at College or university (usually day release).

The worry for most adult learners looking to complete an apprenticeship is how much it will cost. Apprenticeships are funded partly by employers (via the apprenticeship levy) and partly by the government – there is usually no cost for the student apart from perhaps travel and equipment expenses. It can be a great way for an adult to gain a higher level or degree qualification without the traditional university route, which can be expensive.

The benefits of completing an apprenticeship as an adult include:

1. The ability to earn as you learn

2. Achievement of valuable work-related skills

3. Improved confidence

4. Great career progression opportunities

5. Increased earning potential.


Send us an email or phone us on 01634 402020.

Find out more information about the apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships offered at MidKent College.

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/apprenticeships-for-adults/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/apprenticeships-for-adults/ Fri, 26 Apr 2019 10:40:44 GMT
Our Pick: 'OPEN' Book Review

Perhaps this could be the page turner you have been looking for? 

Working in Education Technology and Innovation it looked like the perfect read.

The Audible version of the book is 8 1/2 hours long, so something I could listen to in roughly a week on my drive to and from work. The print book is 233 pages long. 

Published in November 2013, OPEN offers insight and suggestions on how we will "Work, Live and Learn" in the future, using education, industry and personal learning as examples. OPEN offers inspiration and call to order that we should be sharing our ideas and work for the good of one another and our businesses. Referencing the acronym S.O.F.T, the model hopes for Sharing, Openness, Free and Trusting environments that we live and learn in.

It references useful case studies in a multitude of environments that emphasise the benefits of working collaboratively in a fast-paced world. I took particular interest in the work of High Tech High, which has seemingly ripped up the rulebook for the way a school/classroom is laid out in favour of collaborative and open space learning. 

The book is a must-read for any organisation leader to support the building of a collaborative and innovative culture.


https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/our-pick-open-book-review/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/our-pick-open-book-review/ Tue, 23 Apr 2019 14:58:28 GMT
Apprentice of the Month: Joe Barker (April 2019)

When students are given opportunities – great things can happen. 

Read Joe’s experience of being an apprentice at New Line Learning Academy

I am overwhelmed and extremely grateful to be nominated as an apprentice of the month. This is an achievement I will take forward with me and feel that this is the best start of what looks to be a promising career. At New Line Learning Academy I learn something new every day, not just about the job role, but life and communication skills. The apprenticeship has given me the skill set I need to come out of education and into the real world. I feel truly privileged to have been offered this apprenticeship. Since working at New Line Learning my confidence has grown and I have gained valuable experience in the workplace/IT environment. The working/personal relationships I have built up with my colleagues have been invaluable. 

Joe’s employer also had some great things to say about him being part of their team: 

During Joe’s apprenticeship, it has been a pleasure to watch Joe grow as a person. Joe’s technical knowledge has gone from strength-to-strength and Joe’s ability to retain knowledge/new skills is very impressive. He has built fantastic working relationships with his colleagues and students, is incredibly approachable, and one of the easiest people to get on with. Joe goes above and beyond within New Line Learning, working overtime, helping different departments and helping with school events. If Joe continues at this pace, I anticipate he will have a very successful career. It has been an honour to mentor him. 

Joe’s training officer put Joe forward for apprentice of the month - read why Joe was nominated: 

Since joining the College just over a year ago, I have observed and assessed Joe's effective participation in the IT Applications Specialist Level 2 programme. In my opinion, despite joining the programme as a novice, he has worked extremely well and has used his IT skills well, alongside his willingness to support colleagues in classroom settings. Joe's assignment reports are of a good standard, which shows his attention to detail as well as research and information handling abilities. 
His employer has also displayed a significant involvement in Joe's training and assessment, which is good practice; I am glad to nominate Joe and I believe he deserves the recognition – well done!  

Continue with this great attitude, Joe. 

Are you an employer looking for an apprentice? We have a list of businesses who benefit from new recruits from us every year. Become an apprenticeship employer now

https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/apprentice-of-the-month-joe-barker-april-2019/ https://www.midkent.ac.uk/news/blog/apprentice-of-the-month-joe-barker-april-2019/ Tue, 23 Apr 2019 13:29:25 GMT