ace centreWork has started on a state-of-the-art new facility aimed at tackling the severe skills shortages threatening to hit the construction industry in Northamptonshire.

The £4.75million Advanced Construction Engineering (ACE) Centre, to be built at Northampton College’s Booth Lane campus, will help train the next generation of builders, plumbers and decorators and teach pioneering new techniques aimed at equipping the workforce of the future with the very latest skills.

dsc 06971Two Northampton College students have been handpicked and appointed by one of the world’s leading infrastructure companies, Balfour Beatty.

Bradley Foley, 16, and 18-year-old Thomas Skinner, both BTEC Level 3 Civil Engineering students, have started industrial placements at the company’s regional offices in Northampton Business Park at Brackmills, where they are now combining three days of classroom learning in college with two days on-site work experience.


Not content with being stars on the pitch, three Northampton Saints players are now bidding to be top of the class by taking on a part-time welding course at Northampton College.

Tom Wood, Alex Waller and Teimana Harrison are all taking the course at Booth Lane as they look to develop their skills away from Franklin's Gardens.

The trio are taking a Level 1 course in Fabrication and Welding, taking advantage of the college’s state-of-the-art facilities to hone their skills.

Back row forward Tom Wood, aged 31, is a DIY enthusiast who has his own workshop at home. When he’s not playing for Saints or England, for whom he has 50 caps, he can often be found tinkering with his own designs.

He said: “I’m doing the course to broaden my skillset so I can fabricate stuff at home. Basically I’m a hobbyist, doing a bit of woodwork and metalwork in my own workshop and I just wanted to put some paperwork and qualifications with the stuff I have been doing self-taught at home.

“All the facilities and equipment here at the college are first class. You can go nuts for a couple of hours, blitz some welds, make some mistakes and get the tuition from the guys to help hone your skills.”

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A “talented pair” of former Northampton College students are preparing to travel the country in the UK tour of West End hit, Motown The Musical.

Ethan Davis and Deearna McLean landed understudy roles in the hit show after successful auditions this summer. Beginning next month, the pair will take the performance to 25 UK cities over 15 months.

The dedicated professionals have had to learn dozens of parts in preparation for the tour, which could see them called upon to cover cast absence.

Rehearsing for eight hours a day, six days a week, Ethan has been required to learn every male ensemble part, as well as the role of Smokey Robinson. The 21-year-old studied a Level 3 diploma in Musical Theatre at Northampton College before he gained a place at the American Musical Theatre Academy in London. Deearna also completed the same course at Northampton College.

Ethan, from East Hunsbury, thanked his college tutors for steering him in the right direction and added: “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. When I was at a crossroads over which direction to go in they advised me on the best route to take to achieve my aspirations.

“The course was fantastic – just like a drama school. It prepared me for what was to come. I began drama school with an advantage. The experiences I had at college boosted my confidence in singing, dancing and acting, enabling me to go on and be successful at drama school and ultimately auditions.”

Currently rehearsing at a studio in London, the pair will travel to Birmingham this week to begin final rehearsals at the Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre before the curtain goes up on Thursday, October 11.

Northampton College Musical Theatre tutor Suzanne Bushen said: “I am delighted to hear that this talented pair of former students are putting what they have learnt into practice on the UK stage. I’m incredibly proud to see what they have achieved so far and I look forward to hearing about the opportunities I am sure will come their way in the future.”

The pair have become the latest former Booth Lane students to be involved in the jukebox musical telling the story of his time running the legendary US record label and his personal and professional relationships with Motown artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson.

They are following in the footsteps of Natalie Kassanga, who also featured in girl band Alien Uncovered in the 2015 X Factor. She recently took on the role of Diana Ross in the West End version of Motown at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London.

lewis parry website

A Northampton College student has been hailed a ‘lifesaver’ having come to the aid of a disabled woman who had fallen out of her wheelchair and was lying unconscious on the floor.

Lewis Parry, a health and social care student at the college’s Booth Lane campus, was given a round of applause from fellow students as a result of his actions.

The 18–year-old, from Melton Road North, Wellingborough rushed over to the stricken woman who had collapsed close to where he was due to catch the bus into college on Friday, September 28.

He said: “She had fallen face down on the pavement and was unresponsive, not breathing at all. A couple of people had just walked past but I stopped to see if she was ok and when it became obvious that she wasn’t I rang for an ambulance to make sure she got the help she needed.

“I helped to move her into the recovery position, holding her neck to keep her still and when the paramedics arrived they assessed the situation and took her to hospital.

“The idea of leaving somebody on their own in a situation like this scares me, I instinctively knew I needed to help. I feel proud, and actually blessed, to have been able to experience something like this that makes me know that if it happens again in the future I will know exactly what to do.

“I have been learning about things such as CPR, the recovery position and how one injury can lead onto others and the content of the college course really helped me on the day. To be able to put into practice what we have been taught in a real life situation is an incredible feeling. I hope the lady is ok and recovering well.”

As a result of his intervention, Lewis was late into college but when staff discovered the reasons why his tutors were informed and the teenage hero walked into class to a round of applause from fellow students.

Tutor Laura Thorpe said: “I feel incredibly proud of Lewis. When others were walking by he crossed over the road and sought help very quickly. His course has been helpful to him and given him an understanding and a sense of duty to other people.”

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Sulayman Hafesji-Wade

Sulayman Hafesji-Wade

The sports facilities at Northampton College ensure students are at the very top of their game, allowing them to focus on honing their skills and pushing towards their goals. Sulayman has...



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