Free eco-friendly house building course

Construction businesses can find out how to make super energy-efficient buildings through a free course we are delivering.

Passive House for Construction Professionals and Management, a four week, one-day-a-week training programme that has been fully funded by the government, will start on Tuesday 7 March.

Passive houses are built to rigorous energy efficient design standards to help them maintain an almost constant temperature – thereby slashing their energy bills and carbon footprint.

The course will be run by Leeds-based passive house specialists Pure Haus, who will also be installing a mini passive house in our grounds on Thursday 2 March.

Welcome to the future of the construction industry

Director Kevin Pratt said: “Building energy efficient homes and retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient is the future.

“I’m so pleased that Harrogate College has embraced the future of the construction industry and this course is a really exciting project for us to be involved in.

“We’re looking forward to installing a ‘mini pure haus’ at the college, too; it will be a real eye-opener for students and help educate them about how we need to build homes to play our part in tackling climate change.”

As an environmentally conscious college which is working to achieve carbon zero status by 2035, we are always looking for ways to raise awareness of the sustainability and green skills agenda. In March, we will be holding a variety of environmentally-focused activities for our Green Month.

One of those events will see Zero Carbon Harrogate, at 6.30pm on 16 March, present a free introductory talk on Retrofitting Your Home. Guests will hear from several expert speakers about the art of eco-renovation and how to go about improving the energy efficiency of their properties.

This will be the latest in a string of retrofit courses or information events that we have helped to deliver over the past two years.

Playing our part in the fight against climate change

Principal Danny Wild said: “Creating more energy efficient buildings, and improving the efficiency of the ones we already have, is an important part of the fight against climate change.

“We are delighted to be partnering with local businesses and community groups to raise awareness of, and offer training in, skills like passive house building and retrofitting.

“It is such practices that we all need to adopt, as organisations and individuals, if we are to make real change, reduce our collective carbon footprint and, of course, save money.”

Other Green Month events will include a visit by North Yorkshire Rotters and their smoothie-making bicycle on 3 March and a fashion show on 29 March. A variety of sustainably produced dishes, meanwhile, will be served in the canteen throughout the month.

Click here to book a place on Passive House for Construction Professionals and Management. The retrofit talk, meanwhile, can be booked here.

Lend a hand to create a special space for Harrogate

Green-fingered members of Harrogate’s community are being invited to help our students and staff create a garden of sanctuary.

Our college – a recognised College of Sanctuary – is transforming part of its campus into a space where refugees, in particular, can enjoy a quiet moment while appreciating nature.

Many displaced people do not own land where they can relax or grow things. The new garden is being created to address that and has been designed by, and for, refugees.

Local residents, and especially Harrogate-based refugees and those working with them, are being urged to join staff and students as they forge ahead with creating the attraction.

Youth Social Action Apprentice, Florence Clarke-Drayson, said: “This project is open to staff, students and members of the community, so it’s a great way to meet new people.

“We have ensured that our refugee students are at the heart of the garden and we want them to be involved at each stage so they get ownership, feel proud and can enjoy the process of creating and growing.

“We would welcome a helping hand from local residents, especially refugees and asylum seekers and those who are supporting them, as we move forward.

“We started the scheme to give people an outdoor space that they can take care of. Gardening and working outdoors can be excellent for mental health and wellbeing, and often refugees and asylum seekers don’t have these outdoor spaces or ownership over space.

“We want to make a location that will be calming and allow people to work with, and appreciate, nature.”

In 2022 the college, which prides itself on providing an inclusive environment, was awarded College of Sanctuary status in recognition of its work to support refugees and those seeking asylum.

Florence added: “By working to create our Garden of Sanctuary, you’ll be putting our values of inclusivity and sustainability into action.

“This disused piece of land is currently not much to look at and partially overgrown. But we’re aiming, with the help of the local community, to transform it into a peaceful space that will  include a number of features including vegetable and flower beds and a winding path.

The Gardening Group meets for two hours every Thursday from 2pm, meeting at the college reception. For more details email

Helping Harrogate sparkle – students capture the Christmas window displays

Harrogate’s shop windows are sparkling again for Christmas – and our students have been helping to showcase some of the finest examples.

Each year businesses are asked to produce eye-catching creations for the Harrogate Christmas Shop Window Competition, which is sponsored by Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID).

This year, four of our Art and Design students – Levi Hughes, Alfie Dorwood, Tilly Fiorini and Maria Rocha – got involved by photographing the entries for the organisers, the Rotary Club of Harrogate.

A credit to the college

Kathryn MacColl, Chair of the rotary club’s Youth Services Committee, said: “The students were a joy to work with and their enthusiasm for their subject shone through.

“They were very polite, well-mannered and considerate as they photographed the shop windows and took care with the general public.

“They were an absolute credit to the college and we wish them every success with their ambitious plans for their future careers.” 

The competition entries were judged on three criteria – illumination, innovation and spirit of Christmas – and the overall winner was announced as Weetons Food Hall.

Serving up a festive feast

Our hospitality students, meanwhile, recently served up a festive feast for local residents.

The event involved transforming the canteen area into a fully operational restaurant where students prepared and served a three course meal .

Based around a traditional Christmas theme, the menu included traditional seasonal fare including turkey crown, nut Wellington, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.

Christmas pudding and snow-dusted mince pies were also on offer, along with mulled wine.

We hold a number of themed and seasonal meals each year to give our hospitality students valuable experience of working in a fast-paced, public-facing environment.

Students share everyday ways we can spend less and live better

At Harrogate College, we are committed to living our values all year round, and there are plenty of ways you can practise good self-care whilst also being sustainable. 

Not only is this good for the planet, but learning how to reduce waste and shop smartly can also save you money.

So to help you celebrate sustainability, we asked our students for their tips on how to spend less and live better.

Here’s what they had to say:

When it comes to beauty, waste not, want not

We all like to look our best, but it’s easy to overspend on products you don’t really need. Often, this happens because you’re not getting the most out of the stuff you already have.

Our hair and beauty therapy students have discovered that when it comes to makeup, a lot of people will throw away containers that actually have a lot of product left in them. 

We’ve probably all cut the base off the toothpaste to get the most out of it, but what about using a lip brush to get the last out of your lipstick? And, if you regularly open your mascara to find it’s gone dry, you can also try using a saline solution to resurrect it.

The same can also be said for a lot of beauty accessories. Think twice before throwing away a used makeup bag or brush as, often after a quick clean, they’ll be as good as new. 

Lastly, you need not spend your cash on expensive cleaning products. For many cosmetic products, soap and water will suffice.

Become a savvy shopper

Food is an essential that we all need to think about. But with so much variety on the market, it can be tricky to know how to get the most from your money. 

Our catering and hospitality students believe that the key to sustainable grocery shopping is planning ahead, and this starts with looking at your calendar.

When buying fresh produce, it’s important to think seasonally. Certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, will be cheaper when they are ‘in season’. 

For example, brussels sprouts, carrots and parsnips are typically grown through the winter, whereas tomatoes and strawberries are easier to find in summer. If you want access to food when it’s out of season, why not try stocking up when it is in season and freezing it for later?

Not only will it be cheaper, but shopping seasonally reduces your carbon footprint, as you will be relying less on imported food.

There are also ways to save on food that is pre-prepared. Many shops and services now offer a ‘too good to go’ service that’s designed to reduce waste at the end of the day –  meaning you can receive top-quality produce at a fraction of the price. 

Make the most of your wellbeing on a budget

It doesn’t have to be a lot, but sometimes a small pick-me-up can really boost your mood. 

Pastoral Manager, Kerry Walker, has shared with us her top tip for treating yourself on a budget. She said, “If I’ve learnt one thing in my role, it is that a little chocolate is always good for your wellbeing! 

“My tip is to buy large bars of chocolate as opposed to the tubs of mixed chocolates, as it’s better value for money and has less plastic packaging.”

There are also ways that you can de-stress and relax without spending a penny or leaving the house! There are lots of step-by-step guided meditations and yoga videos on Youtube, which can offer a sense of calm, peace and balance that is beneficial for your emotional wellbeing.

A final tip from Danny Wild…

When we asked Principal Danny Wild what his top tip was, he said, “If you’re looking for money-saving and financial advice, it’s best to ask the experts.

“There are lots of online blogs, Twitter accounts and finance gurus such as Martin Lewis who publish online content with the aim of helping you save money.”

If you are a student at Harrogate College and are struggling financially, you may qualify for support with travel, meals, childcare and the cost of equipment, kit, residential and educational visits.

For more information, please visit

Comic-con inspiration for our creative arts students

Our students have been showcasing their creative talents as part of an annual celebration of comic art.

The Thought Bubble Convention is a two-day event that marks the achievements of illustrators, graphic art, comics and fans.

Our level 3 creative practice students, who get free passes to the event, enjoy attending to meet artists and others from the graphic art community, and share ideas. The students also, as part of their coursework, get the chance to produce their own zine (a self-funded magazine or fanzine) from scratch to display at the convention.

The topics covered in this year’s zines ranged from Michael Ryder’s supernatural adventure comic, The Vengeful Beast, to a photographic meditation on mental health, by Laila Fairholm. Bronagh Humphries, meanwhile, used a concertina format, featuring iconic images of Scarborough, for her zine.

Rising to a unique challenge

The students all relished the challenge, which Michael hailed as ‘unique and fun’. He added: “I have found the course so far to be a very good way of improving my skills in the creative industry.

“Working with other creative people has made the atmosphere in the class very friendly and everyone is willing to help each other, which has helped me settle in.

“The Thought bubble convention was a very important opportunity to see other people’s work and learn how they promote it. The artists were very friendly and seeing what they were doing really inspired me. Having our work shown there, knowing it was being looked at by loads of people, was an amazing experience.”

A joyous creative experience

Programme manager for MA Creative Practice, Dr Annabel Smith said: “Over the last couple of years I have built a relationship with the organisers of the Thought Bubble Convention.

“We have used this opportunity to set an exciting brief for our level 3 creative practice students, with each setting their story within their own specialism to design and format a zine – whether it be photographic, illustrative, digital or hand-rendered.

“This year the students did themselves proud and produced a wide variety of styles, stories and outcomes. They all attended over the two days and realised what a broad range of artists and styles are out there in this community.

“To add to the fun, many visitors dress up as their favourite characters from comic adventures. It was a joyous and happy crowd of people, and our students really related to the creative atmosphere.”

Images from Harrogate College student Bronagh Humphries' Scarborough-focused zine
Part of Bronagh Humphries’ Scarborough-focused zine

Held at Harrogate Convention Centre, this year’s Thought Bubble Convention was held in November when more than 400 comic-creating exhibitors took part over the two days.

Harrogate College Business Newsletter – November

Harrogate College prides itself on working hand in hand with local businesses and organisations to provide the skills and training they need to ensure that our economy grows and thrives. Our monthly newsletter is a handy way of keeping our partners informed of developments at the college.
To receive future Harrogate College Business Newsletters directly to your inbox click here

Business Newsletter – November 2022
Dear partners,

Sharing our vision for the future, and explaining how we can help businesses and organisations in the district prosper, is a major part of the college’s work.

Hospitality is one of our key sectors, so I was delighted to be asked, along with other guest speakers, to talk at the recent Helping Harrogate Hospitality event.

Our commitment to sustainability and supporting green industries is also one of our top priorities, and it was satisfying to see our efforts recognised at the 2022 Green Gown Awards, where we reached the finals.

Harrogate College prides itself on providing an inclusive and supportive learning environment, where everyone can flourish – including disabled and neurodivergent students. So we are proud to showcase some of the achievements of our learners in this edition, which coincides with UK Disability History Month. 

We have also been hearing from some of our first T Level students about how they’ve been finding these exciting new technical qualifications, which blend academic learning with industry placements.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Danny Wild
Harrogate College


Creating paths into hospitality
Harrogate College prides itself on constantly evolving to provide the skills our key local industries most need.

Principal Danny Wild was one the key speakers at Helping Harrogate Hospitality on 25 November. The event, held at Goldsborough Hall, was organised by Philip Bolson of Mr B Hospitality in partnership with the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Speaking on Supporting Hospitality for the Future, Danny told the guests and other speakers how the college was encouraging students to see the full range of opportunities that the sector offers.

Read the full story here.

Recognition for our sustainability work
Our commitment to sustainability has been recognised by a major environmental awards scheme.The Green Gown Awards celebrates examples of exceptional green projects that are being carried out by education institutions across the country.Harrogate College reached the finals this year after being shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s Employees category. The judges were impressed by the partnership work the college is doing to provide retrofit training, deliver green skills based on local feedback, and embed sustainability into its courses.

Principal Danny Wild said: “This recognition will inspire us to work even harder to become a centre of green excellence and, as outlined in our Sustainability Pledge, become a net zero college by 2035.”

Read more here.

Thumbs-up for T Levels
T Levels, with their unique mix of work-based training and classroom education, are appealing to increasing numbers of people – and especially those interested in getting a ‘head start’ into their careers.

They are also designed to help plug our local and national skills gap, and, through their vocational emphasis, improve the quality of our future workforce.

We recently asked two of the college’s Digital and IT students, Adrian and Claire, about how they have found the T Level experience so far, and what advantages it has brought.

Both of them rated the blended learning style – which involves doing 80% of the course in the classroom, and the other 20% on a quality industry placement – as a key attraction, and cited plenty of other benefits too.

Read the full story here.

Overcoming barriers in study and work
UK Disability History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements of people living with a disability, runs from 16 November to 16 December.

This year, the theme for UK Disability History Month is ‘Disability, Health and Wellbeing’. Unfortunately, there can still be a level of misunderstanding when it comes to some of the challenges disabled and neurodiverse people can experience.

Here at Harrogate College, we have a number of remarkable students who overcome challenges every day and who have gone on to enjoy personal, academic and career success. 

We spoke to three students about their experiences of wellbeing within education and how the college has supported them along the way.

Read more here.


Work with us! We are a college that prides itself on collaborating wth the district’s businesses and community groups. To find out more contact Business Engagement Advisor Susan Roberts, email:,

We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of our Business Newsletter.

Looking to the future – creating paths into hospitality

Our college prides itself on constantly evolving to provide the skills our key local industries most need.

Our Principal, Danny Wild, has been explaining some of the many ways in which we have been supporting the hospitality sector to local businesses.

Danny was one the key speakers at Helping Harrogate Hospitality on 25 November. The event, held at Goldsborough Hall, was organised by Philip Bolson of Mr B Hospitality in partnership with the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Speaking on Supporting Hospitality for the Future, Danny told the guests and other speakers how the college was encouraging students to see the full range of opportunities that the sector offers.

Shining a light on opportunities – and role models

Catering stars Neil Mendoza and Callum Bowmer
Hospitality stars Neil Mendoza and Callum Bowmer

He said: “The college is providing careers advice that encourages students to think beyond ‘front-of-house’, because the hospitality industry also includes things like finance, marketing and much more.

“I also spoke about how our employers’ network, which ties into our commitment to delivering an employer-led curriculum, lets local businesses directly influence what kinds of courses and skills we provide based on their needs.

“We have also been active in producing media pieces to shine a light on locally-grown success stories in the media. For example, earlier this year we produced a widely publicised article which featured two former Harrogate College students who have become hospitality stars, Callum Bowmer and Neil Mendoza.

“These kinds of inspiring examples provide great role models for our students while promoting the local hospitality industry.”

Invaluable experience and collaboration

Danny discussed the lifeskills training that students have been getting too, such as customer service training experience – and how that was showcased at the college’s recent recruitment fair.

And he stressed the importance of developing students’ soft skills, especially STEM 7 (the core skills that underpin Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills, to arm them with transferable talents.

Our hospitality team ensures that our students gain some invaluable experience of working in a fast, public-facing environment through the themed dining nights that we hold during each year.

Hospitality students are also taken on regular fact-finding trips to local hotels and restaurants, like Rudding Park.Our partnership work with local businesses, meanwhile, has led to students producing sustainable dining menu ideas for RHS Garden Harlow Park.

What are the advantages of T Levels? We asked our students!

Deciding what to do when you finish school can be tough. With options such as apprenticeships, A Levels and vocational courses, it can be tricky to figure out which one is right for you. 

Of all the qualifications, T Levels are the new kid on the block. Introduced just two years ago, T Levels feature a mix of classroom-based learning and work experience to provide you with the skills you need for future employment.

Having only been around for a short time, you may not be aware of all the things a T Level has to offer you. So we spoke to two of Harrogate College’s Digital and IT students, Adrian and Claire, and asked them: what are the advantages of T Levels?

The course offers a blend of different learning styles

Whichever T Level you take, you’ll spend 80% of the course in the classroom and the other 20% on a meaningful industry placement. For Adrian, the varied learning style has been a great way to develop and master certain skills, before putting them to the test. 

He said, “The best thing about the T Level is the mixture of theory and practical learning. I like to learn the basics so that I can then put it all into practice when doing work experience.” 

On Adrian’s Digital and IT course, he’s had the opportunity to work with a regional IT provider, which he says has helped deepen his understanding of how we use digital technologies to analyse and solve problems.

You can specialise in your favourite subject

For people who already know what they want their future to look like, having to take so many options at GCSE can be frustrating. If this sounds like you, then T Levels could be your one-way ticket to specialising in something you love. 

Claire’s passion has always been IT, and so she was delighted to find out there was a way she could focus on it full time. 

She said, “I’ve always been interested in information technology, especially programming. So when one of my tutor’s told me about this T Level, I knew it would be perfect for me. 

“So far I’ve had the chance to learn about a variety of areas, including internet networks, security and programming, which is still my favourite. There are so many different aspects of IT that I’d never even heard of, so taking this course has been great to expand my horizons.”

Outside of college, Claire gets to use what she’s learned to advance her coding skills, which she likes to do whilst listening to Taylor Swift.

They prepare you for the next step, whatever that may be

All T Level courses have been designed in collaboration with employers, to ensure that you get the skills you need to enter straight into employment. 

But what if, like Adrian and Claire, you’re thinking about university? The good news is that taking a T Level will not stop you progressing onto further education. 

Adrian said, “my main goal is to get a place at university to study computer science. I think that my T Level will help me get there, as the skills that I will develop throughout the course and work experience will help me a lot.”

Claire added, “I think that my T Level will help me get to university as not only does it help me understand useful subjects, the independent learning aspect allows me to be versatile and a better version of myself.”

In fact, as many as 130 UK universities have confirmed that T Levels will be suitable for entry on to at least one of their courses. 

So, how do our students rate their T Level?

Adrian: “I would rate it 8/10. It is definitely a big improvement from the course that I did last year, and I’m hoping by the end of the year that score will continue to improve.”

Claire: “I would rate it 9/10 because everyday you get to learn new things and absorb knowledge which helps you in building your future.”

High praise indeed! 

If you enjoyed reading about Claire and Adrian’s experiences, visit our T Levels page to find more about studying T Level at Harrogate College 

Students share their experiences for UK Disability History Month

This week marks the beginning of Disability History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements of people living with a disability. 

This year, the theme for UK Disability History Month is ‘Disability, Health and Wellbeing’. Unfortunately, there can still be a level of misunderstanding when it comes to some of the challenges disabled and neurodiverse people can experience.

Here at Harrogate College, we have a number of remarkable students who overcome challenges everyday and who have gone on to enjoy personal and academic success. 

We spoke to three students about their experiences of wellbeing within education and how the college has supported them along the way.

Megan Knight, who studied Beauty Therapy at Harrogate College, is now loving her job as a spa therapist

‘For others with autism who are thinking of studying or applying for a job, I would say – never let the ignorance surrounding autism get in your way.’

Megan Knight, who is autistic, was apprehensive about feeling overwhelmed when she first started her course, due to the potential learning barriers and sensory triggers associated with more hands-on learning. But the college’s staff worked closely with her to draw up an action plan that would remove obstacles and give Megan the very best chance to succeed – and it worked.

Megan said, “My tutors at Harrogate were great at setting a calming work environment, so I was less likely to be triggered.

“Autism can affect the way we learn but, due to me being a visual learner, I was often able to watch a treatment demo before being able to copy it myself.

“Despite the difficulties and struggles we can face every day, your autism gives you a creative view on the world, so work with that and let that creativity shine through. Stay focused on your goal and don’t let anyone get in your way.”

Megan Knight studied Level 2 and 3 Beauty Therapy at Harrogate College, and has since gone on to excel in her role as a spa therapist. 

A 'role model' - Harrogate College Business student Emily Holder

‘The college has been really flexible to let me continue my fencing and training, it’s been really great.’

Emily Holder has cerebral palsy, but manages to fence using a specialist sports wheelchair. Earlier this year she reached a personal milestone by representing the GBR women’s team at the Warsaw Para World Cup. She now hopes to go on and compete in the 2024 Paralympics, all whilst studying at University of York towards a BA in Business Management. 

Emily has credited Harrogate College and her tutors for helping her to successfully balance the demands of her sport and her studies.

She said, “The staff have been very helpful and understanding. Although we haven’t been going to too many things because of covid, when it has come to me having to take time to attend training and fencing competitions they’ve been really good, on the understanding that I just need to make sure I get the work done. Which, to be fair, I always do!

“I also use a little bit of sport psychology, in terms of setting goals and deadlines, envisioning positive outcomes and that sort of thing, to help with my studies.”

Emily Holder completed her Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma in Business at Harrogate College throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst also representing Great Britain in Paralympic Fencing.

Mollie Blakey

‘My tutors were able to help me and identified that I have dyslexia. It boosted my confidence massively as I was now aware of why I was struggling.’

Whilst studying towards her GCSEs, Mollie Blakey struggled at school and felt she didn’t fit in. It was not until she started at college that she got the support she needed and discovered that she was dyslexic.

After discovering her passion for food preparation and customer service at college, Mollie gained the confidence she needed to take the next step in her future.

Molly said, “The support I received from my tutors throughout my two years at college made a massive difference academically as I really struggled at school.

“I don’t think I would have landed a job at Bettys if I had not received the support I needed. College gave me the confidence to believe I could do what I wanted and achieve what I wanted to achieve.

“I want to encourage others, especially those who may have a disability, to follow their dreams and pursue what they are passionate about. Don’t ever let anyone ever tell you that you are not capable of achieving what you want.”

Mollie Blakey completed a food preparation course at Harrogate College, and is now using the skills she learnt in her role at Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms.