Well my first couple of days on the job were a little hectic to say the least, two days down at the World Skills, at the NEC in Birmingham. If I could sum up the experience in one word it would have to be ‘unbelievable’, the size of the event was enormous and the number of people amazing.
Walking around the event and being able to watch the talented competitors was inspiring, who knew you could fit so many different skills in to one place. From watching hair and beauty, to observing aviation mechanics, you never quite knew what was around the next corner.
Not only were you able to admire the skills being used, there were areas where you could ‘have a go’. These areas were consistently full, with all ages wanting to ‘have a go’ with activities such as; building your own plane, creating jewelry, sculpting a car out of clay, and how fast can you hammer a 4inch nail in to a block of wood, which was extremely popular with the school children.
Just to make the experience that more memorable, we had students from Kendal College competing within the film category, who WON GOLD! I shall attempt to attach the link to their final piece, fingers crossed, I hope you enjoy it.
The first meeting of the NLC 'Pride' Project group took place on October 16th. 12 members attended including staff, learners and representatives of the local LGBT community. Specific questions were used as focus points at this meeting using the 'Professional Dialogue' template in order to determine the direction of the project. Additionally our 'external' crtitical friend was present to enable an external critical perspective to be developed in relation to the direction of the first meeting.
Here is a summary of the collective responses from the group from this first meeting. These responses will then feed into the second meeting which will focus upon specific strategies and content of the LGBT 'Good Practice' guide:
What do we want to change/see changed and why?
Attitudes towards the LGBT community to become more positive; A gradual eradication of ‘old school’ attitudes; Issues relating to the LGBT community to be embraced in a positive manner; Everyone to feel safe within their learning area and on the college campus; All staff should be approachable; Higher profile of LGBT community within the college; No areas with low illumination which could create an ‘unsafe’ ambience and a possible ‘no go’ area; Staff and students to better understand the issues affecting the LGBT community; Education of the non-LGBT community of the issues affecting the LGBT community
What is the issue/problem and what is/are the root cause(s)?
With WorldSkills a hot topic at the moment following the massive success of the GB finals in Birmingham last week, we can now introduce more team members for our project:
Harriet Crabtree will be the project officer, developing the project themes, identifying where she can support and working closely with the learners and the tutors. Hattie attended WorldSkills last week and will be posting her own thoughts from the show once she is set up on the toolkit. We were delighted to win gold for the film category and the team's film of the event has reportedly gone "viral"...but more of that another day.
Dan Hodge has also joined the team to bring his Augmented Reality skills to the party. He led the film team at WorldSkills and is planning to use the team of 4 talented students to get involved in the outputs for the project.
Ashley Needham has also joined the team to provide some one-to-one mentoring to identified learners.
Welcome to our project blog.
During the life of the project we hope to keep you abreast of how the project is developing but if you have any questions or are interested in undertaking similar activity get in touch.
Whats been happening In November?
Peterborough Regional College had a stand at the skills show proming inclusive skills competitions. Students with learning sifficulties and disabilities as well as staff shared information on inclusive competitions and their importance.
I am .... experiencing the Skills Show! I spent the day visiting the Skills show at the NEC learning more about skills competitions and seeing them in action. The event was amazing, providing lots of advice and experiences for young people to gain an insight into potential future careers. The Skills Show currently provdes skills competitions for student working towards or who have recently completed levels 2,3 or 4 qualifications related to thier skill.
The LGB and/or T group met today to discuss the project in more depth and to really get the ball rolling with brainstorming ideas and thinking about what individuals can contribute to the project. The students were really enthusiatic hearing about the projects that are taking place in other colleges involved, we spoke about how we can learn from what other colleges are doing on and around their campuses' and how this can be taken and used within our college.
One student in particular had the idea of a temporary themed art gallery displaying various forms of art around LGBT history month as a way of involving a wider range of students and to raise awareness of the event in the lead up to February. We also started throwing ideas around for our multimedia project with the PARIS LGBT group in Newham. More news to come soon!
Grace Lloyd - LGBT Officer for the Student's Union at Havering College
A few member of our LGBandT Social and Support group in our meeting today:
Just a quick update from us here in York. Our Mindfulness project has got off to an exciting start with a fabulous response to a pilot-taster session we set up for City of York Council employees. We expected maybe half a dozen takers for our fifteen minute Mindfulness session and got......fifty! I (Mark) felt like Santa in his grotto as group after group were led in to receive their quarter of an hour of meditation and tranquility! This was followed by email bombardment from those important (and scary!) HR people who wanted to know why staff were looking relaxed and talking about living in the moment! They appear to be very interested and are sending their most scary and important director types to learn more. Success and not a penny of project money spent!
We are currently setting up classes from the taster feedback and hope to get some funding either through charging staff a small fee, or through Council internal lottery funding.
Mindfulness is something Angela and I both passionately believe in. We see the results every week - only last Friday we had a learner with chronic depression informing us of her first moment of hope and genuine relief from her condition in years. We see this sort of reaction regularly and desperately want to offer our Mindfulness courses more widely - with an ambition to make them self-sustainable through student training-to-lead innovations.
So, these are really - really exciting times - we are very pleased and grateful for being accepted for this project - it is fantastic.
My name is Ian Aldridge and I am the project co-ordinator for my college's EDIFdefinition project. South Thames College, situated in S.W. London attracts learners who have disabilities and difficulties from several London boroughs including Wandsworth, Merton, Lambeth, Sutton and Richmond. Like other 'EDIF' colleagues this is my first (ever) blog and I'm very pleased to be part of the EDIF2013/14 community. Through the agency of seminars our project is aimed at dispelling myths and wrong perceptions that local employers may have about disability or learning difficulties being an obstacle to employment particularly in the case of Apprenticeships. So, I need to get cracking on in speaking with learners and with the help of our college's Business Development centre contacting those local firms.
We have agreed the date for our first master class event - 12 December in central Nottingham. Zoe is now actively pulling together materials for the session!