Video: High flyers back college campaign

Oscar winners, entrepreneurs and TV stars are backing a campaign to get young people in Brighton and West Sussex to think about their futures; and they are all former students of the newly-formed MET college.

Thursday, 6th April 2017, 8:53 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:50 am
James Villiers and apprentice Piero Grossi at The Ginger Dog Restaurant (Photograph: Sam Stephenson) SUS-170304-155152001

The METfutures campaign launched today (Thursday), and follows hot on the heels of the merger between City College and Northbrook last week, forming the new Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (MET), with campuses in Brighton, Worthing and Shoreham. It ties in with research commissioned by the college which identified the top industries for the next generation of workers, and highlighted the ‘value of apprenticeships and technical skills in the workplace’.

METfutures features high-achievers from the college’s alumni, as well as current trainees and apprentices.

Deborah Meaden, entrepreneur and star of TV show Dragons Den, was a former Brighton Technical College student, and said: “When someone is interested in a career in business, I think it’s important to learn some of the fundamentals and that’s exactly what the college gave me.”

Gresham Blake and apprentice Jake Baker-Cliff (Photograph: Sam Stephenson) SUS-170304-155312001

Former MET students Ben McKellar, chef and owner of the Sussex Gingerman restaurants, and his colleague James Villiers, chef and semi-finalist in Masterchef: The Professionals, joined the campaign, and have also taken on an apprentice with the college, 19-year-old Piero Grossi. Mr Villiers said: “Just looking on social media you see chefs that are tweeting and advertising positions. There’s a certain level at the moment that any establishment can’t fill. There’s a massive shortage. We need more young talent to start coming into the industry to fill those gaps.”

Beauty therapist Clare Rogers, owner of The Treatment Rooms, and plumber Sam Bishop of Bishops Property Services, have also both taken on apprentices from their former college, and feature in the campaign. Other high-fliers supporting METfutures include Alice Townes, theatrical hair and make-up artist working in the West End; Paul Norris, visual special effects supervisor and Oscar winner; Gresham Blake, a Brighton fashion designer; celebrity hairdresser Simon Webster; score writer Terence Dunn; and Aston Martin engineer Georgie Nunn.

Janet Osei-Berchie, 23, and a trainee construction site manager, joined the campaign, and said: “For women and young girls thinking of working in the construction industry, it may seem scary because it’s a male dominated world, but don’t be scared. There are many roles out there for women in managerial roles especially, and I feel like we bring something different into the construction industry.”

To find out more about the campaign, visit:

Sam Bishop from Bishops Property Services with apprentices Howard Doney and Brandon Newman ( Photograph: Sam Stephenson) SUS-170504-160144001
Janet Osei-Berchie, Osborne trainee site manager (Photograph: METfutures/Bosie Vincent) SUS-170304-155229001