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John Helliwell

Over the four years he spent at City College, recent graduate John Helliwell, 23, fully immersed himself in College life. From representing his peers as a student governor and organising bake sales in support of the College’s charity, to working as a student ambassador, it’s a wonder how John managed to make time for his studies.

John is obviously a natural project manager, though, and somehow he always found the time for his business diploma and then his Foundation Degree in Business Management, completing both with outstanding results. 

Now working as a Production Support Operative, John is once again proving his abilities in time-management by also running virtual work experience placements for schoolchildren with special educational needs and disabilities, and he is hoping to become a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) ambassador in addition to progressing his career. 

John said: “I have always been interested in business, which is why I chose to leave St Boniface’s RC College after doing A Level maths and AS Further Maths and complete a business diploma at the College. 

“I really enjoyed everything about my time at the College. From an academic point of view, the staff were superb: they are highly knowledgeable and very supportive. I also enjoyed the chance to go abroad for an educational visit and I have some great memories from that experience.

“We got to work on some very interesting projects, one of my favourites was the Money Mogul Challenge, and I enjoyed being able to do various fundraising activities. When I finished my BTEC, I knew I wanted to do a university-level qualification. I could have gone elsewhere, but City College worked for me. 

“It’s a smaller campus and smaller class sizes, which means you get more one-to-one time with the lecturers who, as I said, really know their subject. Also, another bonus is the fees are lower than at a university, but the quality of education you get is exactly the same, possibly better.”

John’s role at Babcock involves a variety of business support and administration tasks, but he is also very knowledgeable with Microsoft PowerPoint and offers support to colleagues in this area. On top of his day-to-day work, John has been doing some outreach work with local children with autism – something he finds particularly rewarding as he himself has autism. 

“COVID has interrupted some of our plans for work experience opportunities at Babcock, but I hope we can build on the virtual work we have been doing and hold some in-person events. I felt really supported by City College during both of my courses, and Babcock is also a very supportive place to work for people with autism.

“I would thoroughly recommend the College to anyone who wants to study somewhere vibrant, friendly and where you can be yourself. As for business, if that is what you are interested in, you won’t find a better course than the BTEC, and the Foundation Degree is excellent for developing the skills you need for management.”