Thursday 22 March 2012


Students at a Buckinghamshire College have been given a glowing reference after designing jackets for women in the construction industry.

First year Fashion and Clothing Diploma students at Amersham and Wycombe College were tasked by the Thames Valley region of the UK’s leading housebuilder, Persimmon Homes, to produce high visibility jackets to suit the growing number of women in the industry.

The task formed a large part of the group’s work in the first two terms, but so impressed was Persimmon Homes Thames Valley with the designs, that they are being offered to a national manufacturer for potential large scale production.

Kathryn Lycett, design lecturer at Amersham and Wycombe College, was delighted with the feedback and the way the students set about a difficult task.

She said: “First year students are not usually set such tasks so early, but we felt it was a great opportunity for them to learn skills they would need in the professional work environment.

“It’s been very exciting to work on this project and they have worked from the initial concept stage right through to producing a finished garment made from the correct fluorescent material.

“Research and the creation of mood boards was the most important part of the brief as it gave the students a chance to create a design that was unique to them, while also being flattering and useful to women on construction sites.”

The twelve designs were then modelled by the students who showcased them to the college and even performed an outdoor fashion show for a video.

Persimmon Homes Thames Valley sales director, Elaine Stratford, said: “The students have obviously worked tremendously hard at this project and the results are excellent.

“I’ve been in the construction industry for over 25 years and worn many jackets that are cumbersome, weighty and not very flattering to women.

“We challenged the students to bring a feminine aspect to these jackets and they have risen to the challenge and done a brilliant job.

“They have given the increasing number of women in the industry something they would feel stylish and comfortable in, something they would be proud to wear.

“Persimmon Homes is very proud of this project as the company thinks it’s important we link with local communities, colleges and schools to help benefit everyone in the region.”

The designs are currently being considered by a manufacturer and soon one, or more, of the designs could be seen on a UK construction site.

Kathryn added: “If one of the designs was produced for the national market place it would be a huge reward for the hard work of everyone involved.

“I can’t thank Elaine and everyone at Persimmon Homes enough for involving us in this project and I hope that the link between the continues to grow.”

Tuesday 20 March 2012


The sky’s the limit for two members of staff at a Chester business this Easter.

Dane Volkswagen’s receptionist Sophie Davis and business manager Iain Gilholm normally have their feet planted firmly on the ground, but on Easter Sunday they will be heading for the heavens to take part in a charity skydive.

Sophie, aged 20 and 30-year-old Iain, have set themselves a target of raising £500 for Cancer Research.

For Sophie it’s her first skydive and even though she’s looking forward to it she’s hoping nerves don’t get the better of her when the aircraft levels out at 12,00ft and it’s time to step out.

She said: “It’s a great cause and I just want to help raise as much money as I can. At the moment I am looking forward to the big day but I just know that once I get up in that plane I’m going to be very apprehensive - to say the least.”

Iain is almost a veteran skydiver - ¬having done one before in Australia, although he’s a little apprehensive he admits to looking forward to his first skydive jump in the UK.

“It’s going to be an amazing day, and I’m sure we will both get a great buzz from both the jump and raising so much money for charity,” he said.

Dane Volkswagen’s brand manager, Chris McCabe, added: “Everyone at Dane Volkswagen wishes Sophie and Iain the best of luck with the sky dive, it’s certainly going to be a great experience.

“Staff are digging deep into their pockets to help the diving duo reach their target for a very good charity.”

Iain and Sophie have set up a website to help reach their fundraising target