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Crawley student fighting her way to Olympic success

At just 12 years old, Keira Austin a student at Thomas Bennett Community College has been making the School proud with her incredible Karate achievements.



Keira was just 7 years of age when she started her karate classes and within a year, she had already won her first competition coming first in weapons, second in sparring and first in kata.

Keira’s passion and dedication to the sport has most recently taken her to Ireland where she participated in an international fighting competition with over 4,000 participants from all over the world.  During the lead up to the competition Keira was training on a daily basis totalling to approx. 13 hours a week.

In November Keira will enter another major competition in Blackpool, which if she is to win, will place her in the England national team. For this competition Keira’s Mum is hoping to gain a strong sponsorship to help with expenses as well as recognition from prestigious fighting organisations which will put Keira on to an even stronger path.

All of this experience and the national competitions Keira has entered are helping to move her up the ladder and pursue her final goal of becoming a professional fighter in the Olympics.

Alongside all of this, Keira is now taking part in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes which she attends for 2 hours a week.  Keira hopes that learning another style of fighting will assist her as she becomes older in becoming fully flexible and able to take part in many different types of competitions and tournaments whether it be karate or wrestling.

Head Teacher, Stuart Smith says,

“Keira’s achievements and outstanding dedication are absolutely admirable for someone so young.  We are incredibly proud of Kiera and all of her success.  With such an amazing work ethic and great commitment we feel sure that Keira’s dream of becoming an Olympic fighter will come to fruition.  We wish Keira the very best of luck at her competition in November.”


Crawley College unveils plans for state-of-the-art new STEM facility

Crawley College has revealed the exciting first stage in the development of its campus.



The college, which is part of the Chichester College Group (CCG), has unveiled plans to build a multi-million pound facility on the site, at College Road in Crawley, which will put the college at the cutting edge of training delivery in a whole range of subjects.

The new building will be home to a suite of modern teaching and interactive spaces, which will be used to integrate the use of technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) in to all subjects taught across Crawley College.

Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of CCG, said:

“We are very excited to be able to share our plans for the new STEM facility here at Crawley College.

“Working with employers, the council and the community, we recognise how important it is to invest in STEM and this new facility will give the college a specialist building to train students in advanced technologies, in turn ensuring that local people are able to fill local jobs in these industries.

“This is part of our long-term commitment to Crawley College and investing in the modernisation of our facilities for the benefit of young people in the local area.

“This will also be a centre that will be accessible to local schools, employers and the wider community – it will be a STEM centre that is not just for Crawley College, but for Crawley.”

The facility, which has received funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, will house cutting edge technology, including virtual and mixed reality technology.

West Sussex-based contractors W Stirland Ltd will be managing the project, which was approved at Crawley Borough Council’s planning meeting on Monday 18 November.

Shaun Stirland, Managing Director at W Stirland, said:

“We are really pleased to be working with the Chichester College Group on this exciting new development.”

Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director at CCG, added:

“We are aiming to address skills shortages in the engineering, construction and IT industries, providing high quality, employer-led training in industry-standard facilities.

“This in turn will help to drive career aspirations, enabling young people to gain the support and training they need to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in these industries.

“The new STEM facility will enhance the way we teach and introduce a whole new way of learning, which is more interactive, creative and engaging and will enable us to develop new courses to train the future workforce in a wide range of specialisms.

“This centre will also integrate STEM technology into all subjects, providing a different approach to teaching and training.”

Building work is due to begin in January 2020, and the building is set to open to students in January 2021.

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