Transforming lives for 70 years

Published: 9th June 2022

Published by City College Southampton

To mark our platinum anniversary, City College is calling its former alumni to get in touch and share their memories of the college through the decades.

City College was originally called Southampton Technical College, when it opened in June 1952 to meet the skills needs of Southampton, which was rebuilding and recovering after the Second World War.

Read the story highlights below and see how City College transformed the lives of many students, apprentices and staff. 

If you have a story you would like to share, visit our share your story page.

Name: Thelma

Course(s) studied and year: BTEC First & BTEC National Diploma in Leisure Studies in 1992

Quote: "I had a negative educational experience at school, but my time at Southampton Tech (City College) gave me the confidence and inspiration to continue my studies.  It taught me independence and self-reliance.  I went on to successfully complete a BTEC Higher National Diploma, a BSc Degree and an MSc."

Name: Chris

Course(s) studied and year: Hospitality & Catering Levels 1, 2 and 3 in 1999

Quote: "The lecturers were a massive influence, especially the late Martin Nash who not only taught me his skills but stayed a good friend after I left college.  Had opportunities to go abroad and study the making of wine and also participate in lots of cookery competitions, one of which I won (Toque d'or 99) along with two other students. Great memories."

Name: Andy

Course(s) studied and year: Drama Diploma and two A-Levels (History and English Literature) in 1973

Quote: "My two years at St Mary's College were utterly transformative in my life, making everything else I went on to do possible. My confidence was hugely enhanced by the two years of study at the college, as was my desire to succeed and professional ambition."

Name: Julia

Course(s) studied and year: C.E.E in Nursing 1987 and BTEC National Diploma in Health Studies 1989

Quote: "The College helped me access Nurse Training as when I left school I did not meet the entry requirements. I had wanted to be a nurse since I was eight years old. From College I was able to gain entry to Nurse Training. I also made a lifelong friend who ended up going into teaching. We are still in touch."


Name: Stephanie

Course(s) studied and year: Business Administration level 1, 2 and 3 in 1999

Quote: "In college we are allowed to choose which way our future leads us, for the first time in my life I was able to decide for myself what I wanted to do and the direction I was heading. I have fond memories of my time in college and memories that I shall never forget."

Name: Richard

Course(s) studied and year: Drama, Psychology, Government & Politics in 1987

Quote: "I loved my time at the college - the first tentative steps of adulthood and learning the ways of the world. I learnt resilience - had some great tutors and began to understand that anything is achievable."

Name: Cyzel

Course(s) studied and year: BTEC level 2 & 3 Health and Social care GCSE Maths in 2019

Quote: "Helped me boost my confidence and developed my love for being with service users when they need us the most. My placement experiences prepared me to develop on the 6 Cs, especially compassion and courage. Compassion towards not just service users but also service providers."

Name: Liz

Course(s) studied and year: A-level English Literature and A-level British Government and Politics in 1978

Quote: "My teachers at City College were amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed both courses and got good grades - good enough to get a place at Uni. I did Philosophy and Politics and eventually became a Senior Research Fellow in Psychology - who'd have thought it!"

Name: Alice

Course(s) studied and year: Level 2 Light Vehicle Maintenance in 2013

Quote: "They showed me discipline and that women can become mechanics and can do whatever their dream might be."

Name: Ryan

Course(s) studied and year: Level 3 Motor Vehicle (Apprentice) 2012

Quote: "After completing I went on to teach which I am now celebrating 10 years of. I also became an assessor for other apprentices."

Name: Kerry

Course(s) studied and year: Dental Technology in 2000

Quote: "I had a great experience studying dental technology. I met some great people at City College and thoroughly enjoyed my time there."

Name: Janet

Course(s) studied and year: Secretarial studies in 1976

Quote: "Gave me a career of Administrative and Management work."

Name: Angela

Course(s) studied and year: Hairdressing

Quote: "Being at the college for 2 years was the best years. Great bunch of students in all subjects and still in contact today. Happy times."

Name: David

Course(s) studied and year: A-level Economics, Economic History and British Constitution in 1967

Quote: "Enjoyed my time at college and was treated as an adult. Enabled me to achieve my ambition of going to university - first in my family."

Name: Rose

Course(s) studied and year: A three-year full-time hospitality course in 1970 that included:

  • Bakery and Confectionery
  • Flour Technology
  • Cake Decoration
  • Microbiology

Quote: "Provided me with knowledge and skills that has given me many years of satisfaction."

Name: Michelle

Course(s) studied and year: Pre-Nursing and BTEC Health Studies in 1989

Quote: "Met a true friend who I'm still in touch with. Learnt that nursing wasn't for me but it helped me recognise my potential and convinced me to apply for teacher training and gain a degree. I went on to work in education for 26 years."

Name: David

Course(s) studied and year: ONC Mechanical Engineering (1956) and Aero engineering endorsement (1964)

Quote: "I was an apprentice at Folland Aircraft at Hamble from 1953 - 1958 and obtaining my ONC on day release at the college allowed me to become an aeronautical engineer apprentice and I then became a draughtsman in the design office and much more. Without my ONC none of my career would have been possible, so I have the College to thank for starting a successful career for me."

Name: Louise

Course(s) studied and year: Pre-nursing course from 1975 to 1977

Quote: "l learnt about nursing history and studied sciences. I undertook work experience and this started me on a long career in working with people. I am still a social worker."

Name: Dominique

Course(s) studied and year: Health and Social Care 2009

Quote: "They put me forward to have a test for dyslexia. This really helped with my learning and benefited me whilst I studied at university which I passed with a 2.1. The staff were extremely supportive with my future plans and helped me to see my potential."

Name: Sharon

Course(s) studied and year: Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy 1990

Quote: "Loved it there studying hairdressing and was fortunate enough to be offered a job as a hairdressing technician. Left to work in my own salon and had a second salon a few years later."

Name: Mark

Course(s) studied and year: O levels and then A-level Maths Statistics and Computer Science 1976

Quote: "City College made my life! I left school with no qualifications then, at college, I did 12 O levels in a year and went on to do A-levels. Went on to get a degree, taught for 7 years and then moved into the industry. This is all due to the fantastic opportunity given to me by the college. Great times, great lecturers."

Name: Harriet

Course(s) studied and year: Hospitality 2016

Quote: "By far the best thing I have ever done. By far the best times of my life. I have never forgotten those fantastic staff members that gave me the confidence and abilities to carry me through life's work journey."

Name: Janette

Course(s) studied and year: Secretarial including shorthand, typing (manual), bookkeeping, business French in 1965

Quote: "Became secretary, secretary/bookkeeper, personal assistant and administrator using the skills learned. Still using shorthand and typing for taking minutes of meetings."

Name: David

Course(s) studied and year: C&G Electrical Plant in 1982

Quote: "Having left school with no real direction, attending Southampton Technical College I found a career that I have been proud to develop. It was at Southampton Technical college that I met my wife to be and we have been happily married for 34 years."