With so many people choosing to take up new skills for 2018, we thought who better to choose for our February tenant spotlight than City College.
Based out of our Steward Street Business Lofts, the college has been here for a good 6 years and as an official partner of Leicester College, they focus on delivering employment-led courses to try and combat skill shortages in Birmingham and Solihull.
We met with Managing Director, Sunil Saha, to find out what the driving force behind City College is and why they love being UrbanWorkSpace tenants.
Hi Sunil, what made you decide to set up City College?
Back in 2014, Birmingham and Solihull councils unveiled a scheme to create 100,000 jobs for the people of Birmingham – we thought it was a fantastic initiative and wanted to try and support it by equipping those who need it most with the tools to go out into the working world and make a difference.
Have you always been interested in education?
When I was growing up back in India, my father was a head teacher in a school. I was always so inspired by him and it always made me take a real interest in education. Unfortunately it turned out I wasn’t any good at teaching, but I spotted where I could make a difference in education management and decided to set up City College to try and close the skill gap that we have in Birmingham.
What kinds of courses do you offer?
We have five wonderful teachers here who do an incredible job with our 30 learners to teach them fully funded levels 2 and 3 courses in health & social care and business administration to support the new jobs being created around Birmingham.
We also offer foundation degrees in levels 4 and 5 in partnership with Leicester College at a reduced fee so graduates can go on to complete their Bachelor’s degree much quicker.
For businesses we actually offer courses in health & safety, manual handling and business management. We try and make sure there’s something for everybody here.
Who is eligible for your courses?
Everybody is welcome here, we have learners enrolled with us from 19 years of age all the way up to 78. However we do try to target those from different social economic backgrounds as these communities are where the skill shortages are the worst.
We’re able to cater for students with disabilities and in fact, we love nothing more than helping our learners discover hidden talents that had never been explored before. I have two autistic sisters and having grown up seeing the struggles they’ve had with the education system, I felt compelled to try and change the way we perceive those with disabilities. I truly can’t stand to see anybody left behind.
What made you choose Steward Street as City College’s home?
Accessibility was a main driver for us basing ourselves from Steward Street. Many of our students are from the surrounding areas so we needed somewhere spacious that was easily commutable. Steward Street fit the bill completely as there are 3 bus stops right up the road.
The free street parking is also a huge bonus
What’s your favourite thing about being an UrbanWorkSpace tenant?
Aside from the facilities here being great, I’d have to say the friendly staff are what really makes a difference for us. It’s really important for our students to be met with friendly faces when they come here, and with such a wonderful atmosphere we couldn’t ask for more really.
Have you made many changes to your space here at Steward Street?
We actually used to be on the third floor, but due to having our own separate exit and catering for mixed abilities and ages we asked to move down to the first floor. UrbanWorkSpace couldn’t have been more accommodating in this respect.
They also painted the entire wing for us and even knocked some walls through to allow for bigger classrooms and for our IT room to be built. In fact, they’ve recently began working on some triple glazing for us to stop it getting cold in the winter.
Where do you like to go around here for a bite to eat?
I’m actually on a health kick so I’m trying to bring my own food in with me, but I do have a real penchant for Rose Villa Tavern’s food in the Jewellery Quarter – it’s really good!
We also love The Kitchen at Steward Street, they do a really nice dish of the day and our students often will go down there for some lunch.
If you’d like to learn more about City College or would like to enrol for one of their courses visit their website for more information.