South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.
Higher, Professional, Technical.
Outstanding by standing out

Former SGS Students

Vada Finniear

While studying at SGS, A-Level student Vada was, and still is, a member of Team GBs gymnastic squad. Vada has achieved huge success in gymnastics, which includes competing at the Pat Wade Tournament in November 2014, the European Championships, Germany, in October 2015 and the World Championships, China, in March 2016.

Speaking about his sport/study balance, Vada said: "It was a challenge to juggle gymnastics and college work but my teachers at SGS were very accommodating and supportive. If there were competitions abroad I would have to miss college and catch up when I got back, but then if I had exams coming up I would have to miss training so that I had time to revise. I feel very fortunate to have had teachers who were really helpful and kept me on track with my studying. I couldn't have done it without them."

Will Bayley

Former SGS and Bristol Academy of Sport star, Will Bayley, was born with a rare congenital disorder called arthrogryposis, which affected all four of his limbs from the age of three months old. Then at the age of seven he was also diagnosed with cancer. This is when Will began playing table tennis, after his grandmother bought him his first table as a welcomed distraction during his recovery.

Will joined SGS in 2007 studying one of the College's higher education sport routes. He also joined the table tennis Academy, competing in class 6. Not only did the training enhance Will's skillset it also helped improve his mobility, and he was reclassified to compete in class 7.

Since college, Will has achieved what many would have considered near impossible - winning a variety of prestigious accolades and competitions, including a Gold medal at the 2016 Paralympics and a number one world ranking.

Sabina Savage

Former SGS Bristol School of Art student, Sabina Savage, is living her childhood dream and fulfilling her career ambitions as a fashion designer with her own label.

Sabina began her studies at Bristol School of Art Queens Road in 2007, studying the Foundation Diploma and Pathway in Fashion.

After completing her studies at the age of 18, and despite speaking no French, Sabina took the bold step of moving to Paris to pursue her dream of studying couture design and techniques at a prestigious fashion school. After graduating in 2011 at the top of her year and winning the coveted Nouvelle Couture Award, she moved back to England to work for several top fashion houses, including Gareth Pugh, Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen.

Sabina's sincere love of fashion, drawing and hand-laboured artwork has lead to the creation of her very own self-titled scarf line. Her work places huge emphasis on hand finishing, exquisite fabrics and high quality production, alongside her elaborate hand drawn prints.

Sabina's scarfs can be found in stores across the globe in America, Japan, Denmark, Hong Kong, France, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Russia and the UK.

Speaking of her success Sabina said: "I sincerely valued my time at SGS. My tutors were wonderfully inspiring and really gave me the confidence to aim high. Next stop, world domination!"

Cameron Parker

Cameron Parker is now the UK's number one schools motivational speaker - inspiring tens of thousands of individuals across the country.

While at SGS, studying business and training with the College's American Football Academy, Cameron was selected to join the Great Britain American Football squad, an achievement that developed his mental fortitude and thirst for success. Even though Cameron has dyslexia and ADHD, he went on to obtain top marks in his studies at SGS and just recently completed a Business Degree at University of the West of England.

Cameron now works with schools, colleges, sports teams, and on individual cases, bringing motivational speaking to where it is needed.

Debbie Stanley-Jones

In January 2009, Debbie was made redundant from her job. Determined to make the best of a bad situation, She used the opportunity to embark on new career.

Keen to try something new Debbie enrolled on a six-week plumbing taster course, which to her delight, she loved. After successfully completing the taster course, she progressed to the level 2 plumbing course, qualifying in September 2009.

After perfecting her skills in the classroom Debbie decided to set up her own business, 'Plumbher', in January 2010.

Since then Debbie has qualified in NVQ level 2 plumbing and more recently, Gas Safe. Debbie has also supported six students in achieving their NVQ level 2 in plumbing, two of which are running their own plumbing businesses, and three who are now employed plumbers.

Today, Plumbher is a highly successful business with a very positive reputation and hundreds of happy customers.

Tara Maule

Tara Maule joined SGS in September 2013 having never previously studied engineering. She had, however, always relished the challenge of solving problems using both her mind and her hands, so it was no surprise when a visit to college inspired her to sign up to engineering.

Tara embarked on a two course in electrical and electronic engineering and was undeterred at finding herself the only female in her group. Her work was of such a high standard that she completed the course achieving straight distinction stars. Indeed, such was the distance that Tara travelled in her studies and her attitude to learning that she was awarded the Principal's Award for Top Learner in July 2015. Presenting the award, Kevin Hamblin, Principal of SGS, praised her drive, determination and commitment to succeed.

When the time came to move on, it was Tara's attitude to work that impressed prospective employers including GE Aviation, who selected her for their Higher Apprenticeship scheme.

Tara appreciates the solid grounding that she gained during her two years at SGS. The close fit between the content of her college course and the degree allowed her to transition smoothly into the world of work, so that she found herself well prepared for the exciting challenges presented by the higher apprenticeship and the degree course.

Geoff Dibb

Geoff Dibb is fulfilling his career ambitions in the world of games design.

After years of hard work and dedication, 22 year-old Geoff secured a position as junior games designer for industry behemoth, Rockstar Games.

Geoff studied the level 3 extended diploma creative computer games design & production at SGS six years ago and now works in the company's Lincoln office.

Speaking about his journey from SGS student to Rockstar employee Geoff said: "It has taken a massive amount of hard work, time and effort to get here. From my beginning's as a games design student six years ago I have met many fantastic friends and colleagues along the way whose support has made this possible."

Joe Sims

Today, Joe Sims is primarily known for his incredible performance in ITV's drama Broadchurch, but back in 1999 he was an SGS student studying a BTEC in performing arts.

In addition to his appearances on TV, in the theatre and in films, Joe has more than 100 radio credits to his name including a run on the popular radio drama The Archers. He also was a judge for the prestigious Carleton Hobbs award in 2016.

Joe won Best Actor at the Studio Salford Theatre Awards in 2011 and the People's Favourite Male Performance at the 2012 offwestend.com. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2017 BBC Audio Drama Awards for his portrayal of a suicidal boxer in Al Smith's award winning drama Lifelines.

Bilal Kardar

Bilal came to the preparation for work and life department (PWL) with no qualifications and unable to enrol onto a mainstream vocational course within college. Bilal lacked confidence and qualifications but he was polite, respectful and highly motivated. He had the insight to invest a year of his education into building the foundations of a better future and attained the outstanding achievers award towards the completion of the course.

A year in the PWL department furnished Bilal with opportunities to build his confidence as well as provide some outstanding work experience at Rolls Royce. Bilal progressed onto GCSEs, and then onto business studies level 3 and Bilal is now graduating as a bachelor of arts with honours in business [team entrepreneurship] from UWE. His successful journey continues as he has also gained a conditional offer to study the MA programme in international business from Regents University London as a postgraduate student.

Hetty Upton

Hetty had a great interest in wildlife and the natural world ever since she was a child. After school, she went to SGS to undertake a course in animal management and spent a few years working at Bristol Zoo with the animal keeping and presentations teams. Hetty then moved to Devon to complete a degree in conservation biology at university.

Speaking about her experience at SGS Hetty said: "If not for SGS, I might not be where I am now. The animal care staff are a very good team, always enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the topics, making every lecture interesting and informative. It was the first time I had ever enjoyed doing my coursework! I hope other students are as inspired by this course as I was."

Taulupe "Toby" Faletau

From Tonga to Pontypool, Wales No 8 'Toby' Faletau has made a name for himself as a high-class international rugby player.

Growing up in Wales, Toby travelled across the Severn Bridge in search of competitive rugby and landed at SGS College to study for a BTEC National Certificate in Sport and develop as a rugby player with the College's successful Rugby Academy.

Speaking about Toby's success, Director of Sport at SGS College, Simon Panes, said: "I am delighted for Toby. When he joined SGS College it was evident straight away the talent he had but he was very raw. He worked incredibly hard both on his rugby and in the classroom and deserves everything he gets. Toby is now a real role model for our current players who hope to emulate his achievements."

Molly Curtis

19 year-old Molly Curtis always wanted to turn her life-long passion for travel into a career so enrolled at SGS to study travel tourism level 2 before progressing onto the air industry course.

Immediately after completing the air industry course Molly applied for and successfully secured a position with British Airways (BA) mixed fleet cabin crew.

Speaking of her journey, Molly said: "I always dreamed of working for BA so felt a little anxious before the training but covered the same aspects that I had already learned at SGS, so I found it very easy and was able to demonstrate my abilities straight away. I must have impressed - I got the job!"

"Were it not for my training at SGS it would have been an entirely different experience. I recommend anyone interested in this industry to study at SGS."

Jenny Jones

Jenny has come a long way since she was a student at SGS College (formerly Filton College). Nobody would have guessed that a trip to Churchill's dry slope for a free snowboarding lesson would be the start of an incredible career. Just a couple of years later, in 1999, she launched her professional snowboarding career at the British Freeski and Snowboard Championships and has gone on to win numerous events across the globe, most recently winning slopestyle bronze at the Sochi 2014 Olympics - Great Britain's first medal on snow in the history of the Winter Games.

Sajid Javid

Former SGS College student, Sajid Javid was appointed to run the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Mr Javid took over the post of Business Secretary in David Cameron's new majority Conservative government, moving from his old post at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Mr Javid was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, but moved to Bristol with his family at an early age, where he was educated at a comprehensive school near the city and at SGS College (formerly Filton Technical College). Vice Principal and Deputy Chief, Sara-Jane Watkins: "I would like to congratulate and welcome former student, Sajid Javid, into his new role as Business Secretary. I hope to invite Sajid to visit us in the near future so he can see the developments within Further Education and its value within the education sector."

Mitch Hewer

Born in Bristol, Mitch trained at South West Academy of Dramatic Arts, and has appeared in the music video "The Club" by Lisa Morgan.

In 2007, Mitch was cast as Maxxie Oliver, a gay character, in the teen drama, Skins. He appeared on the cover of the March and October 2007 issues of gay lifestyle magazine Attitude, where the magazine did a "Gays on TV" feature which included stars from Skins, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and Shameless. Hewer starred in the music drama, Britannia High, in the role of Danny Miller. He also appeared on the popular ITV and ITV2 shows Xtra Factor, This Morning, Richard and Judy's New Position and on the BBC comedy show Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Stephen Gill

Gill's father, a keen photographer, taught him to develop and print his own pictures in the darkroom in their attic. In 1985, while still at school, he went to work for a local, Bristol-based photography company, copying and restoring old photographs and helping to take family portraits. In 1992 he enrolled in the photography foundation course at Filton College in Bristol. Two years later, he went on to work at the Magnum Photos agency in London, first as an intern and then full-time. In 1997 he left Magnum to become a freelance photographer, working on commissions to shoot portraits for newspaper supplements and editorial, whilst continuing to make a variety of personal photographic series.