BBC Points West visited Norton Radstock College yesterday for a feature on autism awareness. We were running an event for Autism Awareness Day with some of our EDIFdefinition project participants dressed in onesies. It was fun but there was a serious message about understanding autism with a very inspiring talk from Simon O’Kane, 26, a PhD Physicist from the University of Bath who was diagnosed as autistic at the age of four.
It was good to chat with some of the the EDIF project participants about how the project has helped them to develop confidence by gaining work placements which will hopefully lead to an offer of an apprenticeship or employment.
March 31st the planning group held an evaluation meeting about the event:
All staff / visitor feedback was positive.
Students gained a broader view of work options and enjoyed experiencing the various activities.
It was excellent to have employer input from Premier Inn and Love Plants Shrewsbury -
Premier Inn were able to give specific industry advice on the standards of bed making.
Premier Inn from Chester are work experience providers for the college, representatives from Chester
attended the event, they will be touching base with other regional managers about the other possibilities of work with the college.This could open up new partnerships and opportunities for the college.
Additionally Love Plants have been approached to be a judge for a national Inclusive Skills competition being hosted by the college, again new partnerships could be formed.
We are awaiting feedback from our post event questionnaires from these employers.
The activities from Personal and Social Development were based on specific employability skills:
Spot the Mistakes! A short video of an interview - spot the 10 mistakes made by the interviewee
What do I Wear? Select the appropriate clothes, objects and equipment needed for a specific Job (from a range of picture cards)
Who wants to be a Millionaire? Quiz based on the TV show with questions about employment and careers
provided clear explicit careers guidance about specific employability skills to learners. It was agreed at the meeting these
activities complimented the activities based on actual vocational skills.
It was agreed at the meeting, if the event was to be repeated it would be beneficial to scale it down abit
to really focus even further on delivering careers advice to compliment the experiential activity further.
Well, it’s been over a month since the LGBT History month events at Morley College and we are pleased to say that there has been some really good publicity around LGBT HM and the Educate Out Prejudicedefinition project in the media! In this BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Gay Rights: Tying the Knot?’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yggdf< listen to this interesting broadcast, and look out for a mention 35 minutes in.
The British Council had an International Live stream on LGBT and ESOLdefinition in which our project was also mentioned on 3 slides as an example of cross college integration, details on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rkygkkowp60<
Also, here are some related links to other publicity:
LGBT Information Day
EmployAble banners have been printed to promote paid work opportunities for people with disabilities. These will be shown at the NIACEdefinition regional events and at the national BASE conference in September.
Students have already received two offers of paid employment following the EmployAble business breakfast. last week. Those with experince of working in the Star Bistro have ben offered opportuiiinities to work as part of a corporate events catering and service team and one student is working at local restaurant.
Had a meeting with one of our learners and his job coach this morning. Plans were agreed for the support needed on the first day of the learners placement which starts this week. Lists of skills the learner would like to learn and develop are being drawn up and they are both really keen to get going. I look forward to hearing all about it!
The other placements are going well - attendance is excellent, the feedback is positive ,and the learners are enjoying their experiences.
But we need more placements - any "top tips" anyone?
These learners are fabulous, lots of enthusiasm shines through as they eagerly await word of a work placement opportunity. By seeking advise from tutors, coordinators and others who know the potential placements closely, only those who might benefit the most from this experience have been selected. It may seem calm on the surface, but it is full steam ahead. A time plan is now drawn up, scheduling a range of stages, setting out chronologically, employer meetings , learner briefings, initial introductons and bespoke planning, with the view to commencing work placements at the begining of May. Some movement is expected, because a match for some of the ten placements is still being sought, whilst several are at the bespoke planning stage. Feedback from managers and staff in the workplace has been positive, on the whole. With broad agreement that the emphasis is upon ways which support and encourage the strengths of learner-placements, coupled with practical methodologies to help overcome barriers to differentiation.
This short course encourages students to learn cake decorating skills whilst embracing and interrogating LGBT language in relation to names and labels. The course is led by artist Lucille Power.
We are using the medium of cake decorating to explore perceptions, language and labels used to describe LGBT people and their lives. As we learn different ways to decorate cakes, we discuss the power of words. This will lead to us creating an art-work of cakes iced with words and images we have collected over this short course, which we will invite students and staff to share with us, encouraging people to eat their words.
Session 1 saw us working with glace icing, to create base-layers on cakes, and learning different methods of mixing colours into icing.
After an initial introduction to and overview of icing types and uses for different design outcomes, we got practical, and created a lot of mess mixing icing, experimenting with colour and consistency, all crucial in the process of icing cakes.
Tutor training to deliver the project has raised almost as many questions as it has answered. Tutors have been particularly concerned about the the impact that foregrounding LGBT experiences in the classroom might have on LGBT learners themselves. All of them are UCUdefinition members and it was great to be able to access union expertise on this. In addition we have been able to check our embedding strategies with a focus group of LGBT learners at Fircroft. The steer they are giving us is:
- This is a really +'ve step in recognising who we are
- Most people in class are ready for new thinking
- Flag that this is coming
- Don't be over zealous or clinical or too personal either
- Beware of putting all the emphasis on rights
- If the LGBT reference isn't relevant to the course, then it will be cringe-making
- You might be touching on LGBT issues at a point in a learner's life when they aren't ready to deal with it
They like the sound of the full monitoring form which NIACEdefinition are developing for the Foundation. At this stage they would be nervous about completing it in public and it being linked to other MIS systems. But they liked the idea of using it as a periodic free-standing exercise which gives visibility to the full diversity of identities.
A business breakfast launch attended by 24 local employers, keen to know more about National Star EmployAble programme, was a huge success. A presentation showcased the barriers to employment for people with disabilities and outlined how EmployAble would support employers to overcome these. A presentation by a local employer on the business benefits of employing disabled people was well received. A Job Mentor from the EmployAble programme talked about how employers could use the mentoring service to ensure employees learnt the right skills for each job offered. During the event we were able to play four video CV's from students seeking employment. Feedback found that employers really valued seeing these as it focussed very much on the person and not their disability. Before the event BBC radio Gloucestershire featured the event in the morning breakfast programme with interviews with an employer, trainee and project leader. During the event Gloucestershire Echo was able to interview attendees and photograph the event (to be posted when published). Overall this was a very successful engagement event with many new employers and employer networks involved in the EmployAble scheme. Attendees included; Gloucestershire Jobs, In2Print, Mitsubishi Motors, Gloucestershire County Council, Le Beaujolais restaurant, Burtons Kindergarten, Quality Assurance Agency, Federation of Small Businesses among many, many others. Our EmployAble team will be meeting with individual businesses over the next two weeks to arrange individual placements.
Our 'All for One - One for All' project made it into the local paper!!!