Share happy memories of your Sheffield college years

Forty years ago I started working at Granville College of Further Education in Sheffield as a Trade Union Studies Tutor.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 10:00 pm
Catherine Pike, one of a group of Sheffield College students who painted a mural in the Walled Garden in Meersbrook Park
Catherine Pike, one of a group of Sheffield College students who painted a mural in the Walled Garden in Meersbrook Park

After stints in Sheffield as a number-plate printer at Jepsons, electrician’s mate at Atkinsons and as a part-time tutor in Manchester, Sheffield, Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe, this was my first “proper job”.

I moved up the ladder a bit. I switched to online learning from trade union studies. I was very involved in the FE trade union, NATFHE.

I met thousands of capable and committed students and many brilliant colleagues.

Eileen Lowe (left) and Winifred Lee, are served by catering students Zoe Gilbert (left) and Helen Hawksworth at Castle College on October 18, 1990

In 2002 I got a job outside FE. By that time Granville College had become Castle College (in 1988) and part of The Sheffield College in 1992.

But I remained infected by the FE bug.

In 2005 or 2006 I replied to an advertisement in The Star for volunteers to serve on The Sheffield College’s governing body.

In 2008, at my second attempt, I was appointed as a governor.

TV chef Brian Turner and student Maria Duty

Last year, in a period of rapid change for the college, my fellow governors appointed me chair of the board.

Over the last 18 months, led by our chief executive and principal Angela Foulkes and her team, the college is changing fast, and for the better.

This is signalled clearly by:

n Improvements in the numbers of students who are successfully completing programmes;

Students from Sheffield College model recycled fashions at a Veolia Environmental Services fashion show at the Winter Gardens, to mark World Environmental Day

n Our strong relationships with employers and other partner-organisations across the city;

n The decision by Mayor Dan Jarvis’s Combined Authority to invest more than £3.5m in the development of skills training capacity at our Olive Grove engineering training centre, the Liberty Speciality Steel engineering training centre and CTL workplace training.

We now run from four main campuses – Peaks, Olive Grove, City, and Hillsborough – and three smaller ones – Stocksbridge Engineering Steels, Fir Vale, Eyre Street.

Our 1,500 staff work with around 16,000 students and apprentices every year, with courses running from entry level to degree level.

Beauty Consultants at Castle College, Sheffield 18 October 1990

We’ve been cut to the bone by central government over the last decade.

Working with other colleges MPs from all parties and with the support of the media, including The Star and Sheffield Telegraph, and organisations like the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, we are campaigning hard for improved funding.

But funding is half the story. We know that FE can really change lives. So we want to involve past students of The Sheffield College.

We’d love to get pictures from your time at college, so that we can build up a permanent archive.

Like tens of thousands of others, did you or someone in your family study in an FE college in Sheffield or Stocksbridge? Send us pictures and memories.

We are running a competition to be won by 10 people sending in the most interesting memories.

Sheffield College women’s workshop carpentry and furniture production courses

The winners, assuming they live in easy reach of Sheffield, will get a dinner for two at the college’s award-winning Silver Plate Restaurant, hosted by Angela Foulkes and Star and Telegraph editor Nancy Fielder.

Prizes to be won by past students of The Sheffield College, and of any of its predecessors including Castle, Granville, Loxley, Norton, Parkwood, Parson Cross, Richmond, Shirecliffe, Stannington, Stocksbridge, Stradbroke.

We are also going to commission some of our talented art students to develop an exhibition that showcases memories and photographs that people send in.

This conveys the impact that further education has had on the city and its people’s lives.

To share your stories or your pictures from college, email [email protected]

To connect with us, complete the short web-form at for occasional updates.

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