Sparking learning into life

Two Motor vehicle students recently put their skills to the test – by creating their own e-bikes.

The Level 2 students were looking for a more reliable mode of transport. So when an opportunity to convert their bicycles into e-bikes presented itself at college, they seized it.

Student Aidan Stone said: “I converted my bike by taking off the back wheel and fitting a new one with the motor attached to the wheel, then I fitted the battery and controller to the frame and wired everything up.

“I needed a more reliable mode of transport than an e-scooter. This helps me get to work and to college, and it has better range.

“We learned about the electrics of vehicles which helped me a lot when wiring my bike up. Our technician, Chris Poole and lecturer, Howard Wallace were a great help.

“I have found my course brilliant and we’re always learning new stuff. Once I’ve finished, I’m hoping to go into a garage.”

Harrogate College is focused on supporting the green economy by providing the green skills training our district needs. As part of that commitment, we will be introducing a new electric vehicle infrastructure training course this September.

We have also teamed up with a number of local experts to promote the sustainable agenda. Those include eDub Conversions, a North Yorkshire company that specialises in electric vehicle conversions.

When it came to his bicycle conversion, student Eddie Gibbs took inspiration from the local business’s example. He said: “What eDub is doing is trying a completely new thing in the area of vehicles, and helping to expand the motor vehicle industry.”

Eddie is hoping to land a job in the motorsport industry.

Programme Manager for Business and Professional at Harrogate College, Deborah Redman, taught both students English over the past two years.

She said: “We are all really proud of the progress they have made while they have been here. They are both passionate about cars, and showing an interest in the green agenda.”

Sustainability is a key value for the college, which has published a pledge that sets out its goal of becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

It is also providing carbon literacy training for students and staff, and has taken steps to ensure recycling and sustainability are embedded into all of its courses.

Design-a-menu project hailed as a great example of teamwork

‘A really successful collaboration’.

That’s the tasty verdict on a design-the-menu project that Harrogate College has just completed for RHS Garden Harlow Carr.

Hospitality students were asked to create a hypothetical menu, with a focus on sustainability, for the new café Harlow Carr is creating at the former Harrogate Arms pub.

The challenge involved the students splitting into sub-teams to come up with different ideas. Their completed menus ended up featuring everything from vegetable lasagne to an eggs Benedict and smoothie combo, along with some inventive twists on traditional family favourites.

Each sub-group had to then explain their concepts, and provide samples of their dishes for tasting, during an end-of-project presentation.

The Harlow Carr team were impressed with the results, and gave positive feedback across the board.

Praise for thoughtful, well-planned and sustainability-focused ideas

Commenting on a presentation by students Ellena, Chris and Amber, they said:The vegetable lasagne and side salad looked very colourful and fresh. It was excellently presented and would appeal to both adults and children alike.

“The presentation was extremely thorough and well planned. There was excellent consideration given to sourcing local food and reducing the carbon footprint.

“Their menu choice appealed to us as they had considered our audience and their needs. They provided a menu that created the option of eating in or ‘taking out’, which customers would appreciate the flexibility.

“Consideration was also given to the ‘take-out’ packaging providing ethical choices, for example through using beeswax wraps.”

The project proved a hit with the students too, who enjoyed a fact-finding trip to the gardens. They were then given a ‘sowing and growing’ masterclass – using planters built at the college – by an RHS Harlow Carr gardener, who visited several times.

Harrogate College, which is working towards becoming net zero carbon by 2030, has made sustainability one of its key goals and provides carbon literacy training to students and staff.

A great chance to grow and develop

In her report, Professional Cookery student Ellena Harrison-Wood described how she relished the chance to come up with environmentally-friendly solutions as part of her team’s pitch.

She said: “Doing this project massively helped me personally grow and develop a lot of skills, including my *STEM 7 skills. 

“We were very conscious of our carbon footprint and making it as small as possible. Part of our plan was to use local businesses in Harrogate to really cut down on the travel of our ingredients, and to give back to the local community. “

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, added: “It has been a really successful collaborative project and the students have taken a lot from it.

“They did a great job, and we’re already talking to Harlow Carr about teaming up again soon.”

Students, staff and visitors, meanwhile, will be able to sample some of the vegetables and herbs that the students have been growing when the Bistro holds a Street Food Festival on Thursday 30 June.

The event – which will include entertainment – runs from 6pm to 8.30pm and costs £15, which gives diners five tickets to spend at food and drink stalls. 

More details on our hospitality courses can be found here.

*STEM 7 refers to the core skills that underpin STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and are vital in all kinds of jobs. Those are: creative thinking, data-driven decisions, collaboration, communication, flexibility, intellectual curiosity and problem solving.

Sustainability strategy must link up with college-level action on green skills

Harrogate College has hailed new proposals to put education at the heart of the UK’s sustainability drive.

The government’s Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy includes plans to introduce a new Natural History GCSE, develop a Primary Science Model Curriculum and promote carbon literacy training.

The Department for Education (DfE) believes those proposals will play a crucial role in the wider push to reduce the country’s environmental footprint.

Harrogate College, which is already working with local employers to provide a range of green skills training – including for the electric vehicle and retrofitting industries – has welcomed the move.

But it is urging the DfE to ensure that sufficient support for vocational training at post-16 level is included in its plans.

Funding vital for sustainability sector vocational courses

Our Principal, Danny Wild, said: “It is great to see the Department for Education taking positive action on sustainability, and there is much to be applauded in this new policy.

“Encouraging more young people to seek jobs in the green sector and learn the necessary, emerging skills that are needed, is vital as we work to produce a workforce fit for the challenges ahead.

“As a further education provider committed to sustainability and supporting the local economy, our college is continually tailoring its offering to do just that.

“We have already run successful retrofit courses and, from September, our curriculum will expand to include more sustainable construction training and courses on electric vehicle charging units.

“However, we need proper support and funding from the government to be able to keep providing and expanding such training as the demand for green skills continues to grow.”

Leading the way on carbon literacy training

Part of the new strategy involves an acceleration of the government’s plans to roll out carbon literacy training at all levels of education.

Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, has also pledged greater support for teaching climate change awareness at all levels by 2023 – and new requirements will be introduced for further education teachers to build sustainability into their lessons.

Harrogate College is already ahead of the game in that regard, having completed its first carbon literacy training sessions for students and staff earlier this year.

Ensuring that carbon literacy training is provided is part of the college’s Sustainability Pledge, which outlines its ambitions to become a net zero carbon college by 2030.

The commitment was announced when the college hosted the launch of the first Harrogate District Climate Action Festival in October, 2021.

Sustainability is on the menu

Students from Harrogate College are using their culinary and creative skills to come up with a new, sustainable menu for RHS Garden Harlow Carr.

Hospitality students have been asked to devise a hypothetical fresh bill of fare and concept for a new café that is being created by converting the former Harrogate Arms pub.

Harlow Carr, which owns the Grade II Listed property, grows plenty of fresh produce which will feature prominently in the new establishment’s dishes. 

The Harrogate College group, who are being led by seven Level 2 Professional Cookery students, recently visited the site to be briefed on their task. They also enjoyed a tour of the grounds, plus a chance to try their hand at potting.

An exciting collaboration that reflects our values

The initiative represents the start of a closer partnership between the college and Harlow Carr, who worked collaboratively to find the right project.

Harrogate College’s Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies Programme Manager, Jason Parry, said: “This is an exciting project that has a focus on sustainability and working with the produce grown on the site.

“It ticks so many boxes for us in terms of the college’s values and aspirations – sustainability, ‘food to fork’, carbon reduction and seasonality – along with menu and service design, work experience and responding to a client brief.”

Fresh produce at RHS Garden Harlow Carr

Pitching for success

He added: “The project will be followed up throughout the year with Harlow Carr, who will do a progress check with the students in January.

“Ultimately it will end up with the students giving a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to Harlow Carr staff, with small groups presenting their ideas around the menu, and the service, and showing how they have worked to meet the client’s brief.”

Harrogate College, as part of its wider drive to become a centre of green excellence, recently launched a Sustainability Pledge which sets out its commitment to becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

For more details on hospitality courses at the college click here