A dreary start to the beginning of May has now given way to bright and beautiful sunshine! And we’ve got some wonderful cheery stories to go with it! One college has resumed offering external work placements, giving students a chance to go out and about in their local community, whilst another has some lovely new arrivals in the form of four baby lambs!
May was also an exciting month at Natspec, as we hosted our virtual Conference and CPD week, which included announcing the winners of the 2021 Natspec Awards. And in June we’ll be hosting the Natspec Games as a virtual event! There’s also still time to check out training offered this summer from Natspec’s Transform and TechAbility services and get yourself booked on.
- Announcing 2021’s Natspec Award Winners
- WESC Foundation Student Completes Paid Supported Internship
- Stockton Heath barber teams up with autism specialists to provide much needed haircuts
- New arrivals at Cambian Dilston
- Returning to outside work placements
- Queen Alexandra College (QAC) students complete ‘The Great Climb’ sponsored challenge
- Students Showcase Their Artistic Talents At The Wylye Valley Art Trail 2021
- Sense College Loughborough retains Matrix Standard Accreditation
Announcing 2021’s Natspec Award Winners
On Thursday 13 May, as part of our CPD and Conference week we announced the winners of the 2021 Natspec Awards, in a sparkling online virtual ceremony attended by college staff and students as well as members of the wider sector.
The ceremony was hosted by Lynette Barrett, chair of Natspec, who was joined by some of our judges and members of the Natspec Team to announce the awards.
The full list of winners is:
Innovative Use of Technology: Bridge College
Pathways into Employment: LEAP College
Student Voice: Sense College
Wellbeing and Mental Health: Eat That Frog
Inter-disciplinary Working: Portland College
Partnership Working: Linkage College
Curriculum Innovation: Orchard Hill College
Home Learning: Ambitious College
If you’d like to find out more about them and their award-winning practice, as well as the rest of the shortlisted entries, please check out the full article on our website. You can also watch a full recording of the ceremony:
Each of the award-winning colleges will now present a webinar in which they share their award-winning practice – keep an eye out for those at a later date!
WESC Foundation Student Completes Paid Supported Internship
Last week, college student Nina completed her last day at IKEA. Nina has been working at IKEA alongside her studies at WESC Foundation since October, when she secured a paid role after impressing her managers just three weeks into her supported internship.
Supported internships are study programmes for young people ages 16 to 24 who have special education needs that might need extra support to move into employment. Nina’s supported internship at IKEA was particularly unique as it was paid.
Nina’s role at IKEA
Since working at IKEA, Nina has developed a number of skills. Her daily responsibilities included using the tea and coffee machines and taking food out to customers. Nina has a keen interest in retail and hospitality and hopes that she will be able to apply some of her new skills in her next role.
Nina’s supported internship at IKEA is a fantastic addition to her already sound CV. Prior to Nina’s last day, her manager at IKEA wrote her a letter thanking her for her hard work, and commenting on how much Nina had grown and developed. They said:
“We hope you have enjoyed your time at IKEA as much as we have enjoyed having you on our team! You have fitted in so well with the team and took all the learning in your stride. We know whatever your future career holds you will be extremely successful.”
On Nina’s last day, she left IKEA laden with gifts, a whole new set of skills, a superb reference and most importantly, a huge smile on her face.
Whatever’s next for Nina, we know her future is bright!
Stockton Heath barber teams up with autism specialists to provide much needed haircuts
A Stockton Heath barber has successfully teamed up with autism specialists Wargrave House school and College Post 16 Provision to give college students a much-needed haircut.
Andy Nash, Barber Anxiety, teamed up with TRIM-IT last month to become the first tech-enabled vehicle outside of London to offer visits to potential customers who are afraid to leave home or who are shielding due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He took his services to Wargrave House School and College in Newton-le-Willows to give some of the post-16 students a trim and tidy up while they were in college.
Julliet Doherty, Head of Post 16 provision, said: “We had students who were ready for a haircut after lockdown but we were unsure how well they would accept a haircut due to heightened anxiety.
“Introducing Barber Anxiety’s Andy was a huge success.
“Letting students see his mobile barber shop was a great way to break down the barriers that they face.
“Teaching personal care and hygiene is an important element of the curriculum for the students and taking care of their hair and appearance is an essential part of this.”
Speaking at the launch of his mobile van, Andy said: “I will carry on providing that safe space for men, who struggle with the regular barbershop, as well as bringing convenience to people’s lives.”
New arrivals at Cambian Dilston
Cambian Dilston has welcomed some wonderful new arrivals in the form of four new baby lambs! The lambs are only a couple of weeks old and need feeding a few times each day by bottle and feeding bucket. The students that enjoy animal care sessions really enjoy feeding them, cleaning their pen out and giving and receiving lots of cuddles.
Animal care tutor Helen ran a naming competition to find the best names for all the new arrivals. Upon voting, the students decided that their favourite names were Pepsi, Curly, Vera and Cappuccino.
The lambs have grown so much in the few weeks that Cambian Dilston have had them that tutor Helen struggled to get a photo with them! Luckily, we think she managed to do so.
Returning to outside work placements
Derwen College students Brandon and Dougie were able to return to work placements outside of college when they manned the Derwen College stall as part of Oswestry’s monthly Artisan Market last week.
It was so exciting to be able to return to work placements and be part of the town community. The day was made even more memorable when new town mayor Councillor Mark Jones visited their stall.
The Shropshire College’s market stall sells cakes, bread, jams and chutneys made by Hospitality & Food students at the college’s Food Centre. It offers real customer-facing work experience for students, acts as a showcase for Derwen College, and brings some income into the college.
Oswestry Town Council holds weekly markets at the town’s Bailey Head as well as the monthly Artisan Market.
Work experience co-ordinator Abi Baker said that she was ‘absolutely over-the-moon’ that students from vocational pathways were able to return to work placements.
She said: “At college we’ve made sure that work placements have been available for students on-site through our online shop, staff and student takeaway service TipTopTakeOut, new charity shop The Vintage Advantage, and an Ebay shop. However, nothing beats the experience of being back out in the community talking to real customers. It’s been an amazing day for students and staff.”
Queen Alexandra College (QAC) students complete ‘The Great Climb’ sponsored challenge
During the month of May, students and staff at QAC took on their onsite indoor climbing wall to scale the heights of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 830m tall. It was all part of a sponsored challenge, organised by one of the College’s students to raise money for QAC and YoungMinds, a charity that helps to provide support for children and young adults struggling with mental health challenges.
The event was organised by Eliza, QAC Sport student, as part of her coursework. Eliza said: “We had to organise a sports event for one of our units and I knew I wanted mine to be a fundraising one. I’m passionate about mental health as I struggle with it myself, so I chose YoungMinds as the second charity.”
The challenge involved climbing the wall 104 times in one day in order to reach target height. Eliza was very persuasive and managed to get plenty of students and staff involved to make it possible. She also helped write the risk assessment, assigned roles to other students and took into account considerations around Covid guidelines. There was plenty of sanitiser around and lots of cleaning of equipment between climbs to make sure it was safe for everyone.
After the event, Eliza’s programme tutor Jess commented: “I’m really proud of Eliza for using her coursework to create something to benefit others. Her attention to detail, planning and delivery was fantastic.”
Everyone who took part worked really hard and challenged themselves, whether they did one climb or twenty. There were plenty of smiles and a few aching limbs but it was worth everyone’s efforts as the event raised over £1000 to be split between both charities.
Students Showcase Their Artistic Talents At The Wylye Valley Art Trail 2021
Students at Fairfield Farm College recently supported the Wylye Valley Art Trail 2021, showcasing a display of their creative artwork. The Wylye Valley Art Trail returned for another successful year from May 1 – May 9 2021, featuring artwork from over 140 artists in 48 different venues. The team at Fairfield Farm College were delighted to be involved once again.
Throughout the 9 days, the popular Café at Fairfield Farm College hosted artwork from a diverse range of talented local artists. Enterprise students at the College had worked hard for many months to produce pieces for the event. Students used a wide range of medium to create a variety of collections, some of these included more traditional methods such as watercolour, whilst others used photography and screen printing, creating their own wallpaper.
Shelley Hughes, Enterprise tutor at Fairfield Farm College said “It was fantastic to be able to host part of the Wylye Valley Arts Trail. So many people were impressed with the amazing quality of the work that students produced, and we can’t wait to do it again next year.”
Sense College Loughborough retains Matrix Standard Accreditation
Earlier this year, Sense College Loughborough was assessed for the re-accreditation of the matrix Standard, an international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and/or guidance. After two days of virtual meetings with staff, students, parents and employers, the College is pleased to announce that we retained our accreditation.
To be accredited with the matrix Standard, an organisation must ensure the delivery of high-quality information, advice and guidance. It also helps providers to improve their services. The assessor felt that the College offered an impartial service to students from the moment of initial contact until they finish their College programme.
The College was praised for the high level of quality of services, even throughout the pandemic and the transition to Sense; “The transition from RNIB to Sense has been handled with sensitivity and professionalism and many of the staff described “business as usual”. This has supported the continuation of services to the same high level of quality – even though the pandemic.”
The College was also recognised for good use of its resources, taking advantage of the layout of the College to enable some students to take part in an internal work placement. The assessment has also provided an opportunity to develop and improve the College’s provision, looking at new ways to ‘match’ students and employers in the future.
The College will have annual Continuous Improvement Checks to retain the matrix Standard accreditation going forward.
Members only content
This content is for Natspec members only. Please log in to access it.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.