Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Together with their partners Groundwork South and the School of Natural Building Hastings Borough Council have been awarded £890,000 towards building a new centre at Hastings Country Park.

The new visitor centre will be part of a major European funded project to construct public buildings from straw.  Other countries involved in the project are Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and France.    The aim of the project is to showcase sustainable building projects with reduced carbon footprints.  The new visitor centre will be the first straw build building in the borough and will be a focus for new interpretation and events at the Country Park.hastings-country-park-nature-reserve

The partners submitted an initial expression of interest to Interreg North West Europe for the programme in February 2016 and were one of only 4 projects out of 79 applicants under the Low Carbon funding stream invited to submit a further, full application.

Providing a new visitor centre at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve is a top priority for the council.  Planning permission was granted in 2015 so the council is keen to progress with the project as soon as possible.

The Interreg (NWE) Programme is a transnational European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission.  This grant is worth £540,000 to the council and its partner Groundwork South and £350,000 for the School of Natural Building, the UK’s lead organisation for straw buildings.

Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, the council’s new lead member for environment and place explained:

“This is absolutely fantastic news for the council.  We have had an ambition to build a new centre at Hastings Country Park for a number of years and with our partners Groundwork South have been working on grant applications to realise this ambition.  We hope to have the new centre open to the public early in 2018.  The new centre will be a completely sustainable straw building; a fitting building for the country park and its visitors and one which our residents can rightly be proud of”.

Executive director of Groundwork, Gary Jacobs added:

“I’m thrilled that our partnership has been successful in securing this grant award despite the tough competition. We believe a first class nature reserve deserves a first class visitor centre.  Working with the Friends of Hastings Country Park and the council we can now take forward this exciting opportunity to build one of the first public straw bale buildings in the UK which will help educate and inform local people and visitors of the truly amazing local heritage and wildlife on their doorstep.”

Eileen Sutherland from the School of Natural Building (SNaB) commented:

“This project is a significant milestone on the road to sustainable building across NW Europe.

By working with other European specialists, SNaB will deliver workforce skills and curriculum innovation in the field of Natural Building”


Hastings Pier have announced that pioneering UK Grime act Dizzee Rascal will be playing in Hastings for the first time ever on the Pier on September 16th to open the weekender that also sees Happy Mondays & Levellers performing.

With four number one singles, four top ten albums, a Mercury Prize, a performance at the Olympic opening ceremony in 2012 and collaborations with both Calvin Harris and DJ Fresh under his belt, Dizzee Rascal has become a key name in both the UK garage scene and the international pop market.

His live show has drawn crowds from all around the world, and after a run of festival performances this summer, the Hastings Pier show is sure to be an epic affair and if this alone isn’t enticing enough, the support bill for the Dizzee Rascal show is set to be equally as incredible and is scheduled to be announced soon.

Following Dizzee Rascal’s performance on Friday night, The Happy Mondays are set to perform ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’ in it’s entirety for it’s 25th anniversary on Saturday September 17th, plus a selection of greatest hits. Support on the night will come from The Orb performing ‘Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld’ in full, also for it’s 25th anniversary; and Formation, one of the most exciting new indie electronica acts of the moment.

Sunday 18th September will see Levellers perform ‘Levelling the Land’ for it’s 25th anniversary, plus a selection of greatest hits; with support from Turin Brakers who recently released their seventh album ‘Lost Property’; and the Nottingham folk-punk outfit Ferocious Dog.

How often have you been on a training course, really enjoyed the content but found it difficult to either retain or remember the information that you learnt, let alone put it into action.

One of the reasons for this is that many training courses throw a huge amount of information at you, but don’t give you any real time to practice the new skills in such a way as to ensure that they feel embedded.

The other is simply the problem of being bombarded daily with new information that you can’t possibly retain all of it so you become selective and much of what has been learnt gets lost.

There are a number of ways to overcome this issue, and one of them is to ensure that the delegates receive the best possible back up through support material and in-work reviews.

Local company Cherrystone Ltd have launched their new website with material designed to give backup support to learning. By being able to continually review the training learnt, less resources are wasted on training and more action is taken uses the new found knowledge.

This week is the start of National Apprenticeship Week, running from 14-18 March.  The week aims to raise the profile of apprenticeships and celebrating the important role they have in equipping people of all ages with the skills that they need to prosper in their lives.

Employers, apprentices, business support organisations, learning providers, colleges and schools across the UK will be supporting the week by hosting activities to showcase the activities to showcase the achievements of benefits of apprenticeships.

The week is run by the National Apprenticeship service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individual businesses and the wider economy.



Sussex Coast College Hastings has formed a partnership with Monpani SE College, South Africa, through the British Council Skills for Employability programme, to support the development of employability in the Engineering department of Monpani College.

The Sussex Coast College Hastings Engineering team is working with the employer partners in the UK and South Africa, to support the aims and objectives of the project.

Head of International Business Development, Jeremy Oughton said ‘As part of the efforts to work towards responding to the needs of industry, Sussex Coast College Hastings will be working with Mopani South East FET College over the next year as part of the British Council’s International Skills Partnership programme. The partnership, funded by the British Council, will support both organisations to co-develop solutions to on-going skills and employability challenges through sharing best practice and lessons learned to build a lasting partnership of mutual engagement.’

Just like in many other countries, the main challenge in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system in South Africa and the United Kingdom is providing an immediate and accurate response to the fast-changing needs of the labour market.

To date, it has been acknowledged that more effective partnership between the TVET sector and world of work will support in closing the current skills gap. This kind of partnership between industry and colleges requires greater systematic strategic coordination, work integrated learning and adaption of local curriculum to reflect industry needs. In 2015 pairing the right set of skills required by industry is crucial.


Hi Tech Hastings company Alpine Components train engineers from GlaxoSmithKline site at the Innovation Centre

Alpine Components’ Chief Technician and trainer Micky Jackson recently carried out a training session at the Innovation Centre for six engineers that work at the blue-chip pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Worthing.

ultraprobe 9000

The high technology training was organised to help Glaxosmithkline fully utilize a piece of equipment they purchased back in 2013, which is called an Ultraprobe 9000. The product is a portable, hand-held ultrasonic detector, which can detect high frequency sounds and translate them in to an audible frequency.

This technology will enable the GSK engineers to find very small leaks that can seriously disrupt production or waste energy and money. The company also plans to use the equipment to monitor and trend the condition of mechanical components on-site, such as bearings, pumps and gearboxes. This will allow GSK to detect mechanical defects at an early stage and prevent unexpected failure and downtime of critical machinery.

The Hastings based company export thermal imaging and ultrasonic products such as the Ultraprobe 9000 all over the world and have shipped this equipment to more than 60 countries.

Alpine Components are grateful for the opportunity to host training days and events like this at the Innovation Centre, and would also like to thank the Sussex Exchange for the catering that was provided during the training days.

Hi Tech Hastings company Alpine Components train engineers from GlaxoSmithKline site at Innovation Centre

Alpine Components’ Chief Technician and trainer Micky Jackson recently carried out a training session at the Innovation Centre for 6 engineers that work at the blue-chip pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Worthing.

A new hub opens in St.leonards on Friday 27th March.  The new hub St.leonards Works will be a  marketplace for people to access employment and gain skills.


St.Leonards Work will officially open at 5pm on Friday at 65 London Road. Employers and local organisations are invited to attend the formal opening and launch event.

The two year project which is funded by Hastings Borough Council, Amicus Horizon and the Department for Work and Pensions means that residents will be able to access employment, training and volunteering opportunities at the hub.

The St.leonards hub will offer the same as Hastings Works which is based in Robertson Street.

Both centres will open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm  providing skills and support for local people.


Hastings Independent is a free fortnightly newspaper for the Hastings & St Leonards community. This month has been a milestone month as not only did the paper celebrate its first anniversary but on Saturday 21st February it began its long awaited training programme for people interested in journalism and newspaper production.

As a community newspaper run by volunteers, one of its aims is to provide opportunities for those considering a profession in the newspaper industry but experience is often very difficult to obtain. The Hastings Independent has developed an on-going training programme, starting with an introductory overview to be held at regular intervals and they will be making topic specific subject courses such as research, sub-editing, editing and production available over the year. These will be advertised on the website and in the paper (and in Business in Hastings!).

training course

For the first introductory course Hastings Works kindly provided a suitable training space, and the workshop was run by the paper’s existing volunteers.  This meant the group is able to offer training free to anyone interested, in line with its guiding principles of supporting all people in the community.

On Saturday twenty prospective reporters and editors attended and went through an introductory session. The first part introduced the newspaper production process from inception to distribution, the overview of the roles of the various people involved and the legal requirements that are specific to the business. The second part focused on journalism; how information is gathered, verified and then written. Those wishing to were offered a topic to research and prepare an article which they could submit for consideration for inclusion in the newspaper.

Hastings Independent is a not for profit organisation. Its income is from grants, donations and from limited paid advertising in the paper and on the website. Back issues are available to download from its website www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk. Potential advertisers are welcome to discuss opportunities with us, particularly those with a community focus.

Hastings Independent is always interested in suitable stories and leads so please send any you are aware of to subs@hastingsindependentpress.co.uk.


Energy management specialist Marshall-Tufflex’s recently launched E-PRO Approved initiative has been welcomed by Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd.marshall-tufflex-logo

E-PRO is the first approval scheme of its kind for electrical contractors installing energy management solutions. Those accepted on to the programme are trained and fully supported by Marshall-Tufflex.

Ms Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, said of the scheme: “I welcome Marshall-Tufflex’s new investment in energy management education and skills and wish them every success.”

To apply to become E-PRO Approved installers must be registered with NICEIC, ECA, SELECT or NAPIT. If their application is successful they will attend a training course and, once approved, have access to on-going technical and product training, inclusion in an online ‘Find an Installer’ directory, full technical support and the ability to generate branded quotations on-line plus sales and marketing support.

For more information visit www.eproapproved.co.uk


Traineeships were introduced by the Department of Education in 2014, with Sussex Coast College Hastings currently being one of the few Colleges’ in the region to offer the scheme.traineeships

Ten students completed the first Traineeship offer that started in September and six have now been offered apprenticeships by their employer at the end of the course in Construction, Bricklaying, Carpentry, Plumbing and Parts Management with Ford.

Project Co-ordinator Tony Giles said, ‘The course consists of two weeks’ employability training, including confidence building, job search, personal statement, interview techniques, CV writing and so much more.’

Shannon Firminger completed her Level 2 in Mechanics at SCCH and hoped to go on to an Apprenticeship to start her career, but unfortunately her maths and English grades were not high enough.

She was told about the Traineeship scheme by one of her tutors and decided to embark on the 12 week programme, helping her gain her maths and English grades to progress onto the Apprenticeship she had her heart set on.

Shannon has now progressed on to her Mechanics Apprenticeship with Hastings based company 247 247 and is enjoying every minute.

‘I would recommend a Traineeship to anyone as you learn skills to take to your employers which make you look more professional and feel more confident’ says Shannon. ‘It is intense but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It has been worth every minute.’

Dan Shelley, Vice Principal for Enterprise, Employment and Skills, said, ‘Our Traineeship scheme provides employers with an excellent opportunity to support young people gain skills by offering work placements that could also lead to them becoming their next employee. They are also a great way for young people to get the skills and experience they need to secure an apprenticeship, which will lead to employment and a career in the future. We really urge any employers or students who are interested to get in touch.’

Shannon concluded, ‘I want to keep working with cars and keep doing what I love doing, which is being a mechanic. I now have my C grade in English and I am working towards my C grade in maths.’

If you’re a young person or an employer looking for more information on Traineeships at Sussex Coast College Hastings, contact Tony Giles on TGiles@sussexcoast.ac.uk or call 01424 458824.