On Wednesday 20 March, South Thames College learners welcomed Omar Sharif, Prince’s Trust Ambassador and winner of the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever of the Year Award at The Pride of Britain Awards 2018.
Inspirational and motivational speaker, Omar, ran a series of informative and Guns, Gangs and Knife Crime Workshops to 155 of our young learners. He commented: “I had the honour of sharing my struggles and successes with the staff and students of South Thames College. I can only express my gratitude to everyone involved - it was a full on day, tears were shed, people laughed but most importantly, seeds of change were planted. After delivering for more than 5 hours I felt energised and motivated; I learnt a lot from the students and was very impressed with their behaviour and with the overall moral within the College.”
Growing up in an area of London where gun and knife crime were a way of life, Omar became involved in a gang when he was 16 years old. When three of his friends died as a result of knife crime, it was a horrifying wake-up call and Omar knew things needed to change. Omar now uses his inspirational story and life experiences to coach and help deter other youngsters from following the same destructive path.
On Friday 15 March the College hosted Warren Lubin, Communities Manager for United Living, a major construction management company. During his visit, Warren visited workshops and gave a series of talks to our Level 1 Maintenance Operations learners and Level 2 Plumbing learners on careers in the Construction sector, and opportunities to progress to employment at the end of the academic year.
Warren's insight was invaluable, and focused on key employability skills that organisations such as United Living look for, such as attendance, reliability and the importance of health and safety.
All of the sessions were well received by the learners, with the Q&A session for one group lasting more than 30 minutes!
United Living, in association with some of their subcontractors, have now offered additional Work Experience placements for Construction learners moving forward.
On Thursday 14 March the College hosted James McCallum, Managing Director of Caremark (Wandsworth), one of the largest care providers in South West London.
During his visit James spoke to Level 3 Health & Social Care learners about his career, opportunities in the sector, and the personal attributes he looked for from staff.
The talk concluded with an overview of how learners can apply for existing part-time roles with Caremark, alongside their main course, and how to apply for them. The College will shortly begin advertising vacancies on behalf of Caremark on its internal Learner Jobs Board.
On Wednesday 27 February Halifax Bank put learners on our Level 2 Business course through their paces. Senior staff from the Brixton branch including the Branch Manager completed mock job interviews for existing bank jobs using the company recruitment framework.
This was the final part of a 3 stage process, where staff from the bank helped the learners to identify their own strengths and weaknesses in relation to the world of work, and then prepare for the final mock interview.
All of the staff from the Halifax were hugely impressed with the way in which the learners conducted themselves throughout, and are now going to start advertising relevant branch-based part-time jobs through the College's learner jobs board.
Halifax have already confirmed that they would like to continue to work with the College on similar projects moving forward.
School of English and Maths Lecturer, Ida Leal, has recently had her language teaching research published in the book ‘Continuity and Discontinuity in Learning Careers: Potentials for a Learning Space in a Changing World’.
This is as a result of her ongoing interest in the power of meaningful dialogue and critical reflection through reading to transform lives. Ida has been using book clubs with her ESOL and English for International Students for a number of years as a strategy to encourage her learners to develop a love of reading in English. The formalisation of her idea started when she was a student on the BA in Lifelong Learning, run by Canterbury Christ Church University, here at the College and her research has subsequently taken her to Cape Town, Seville, Leeds and Rennes where she has explored her idea more and shared it with the wider teaching community. Ida states: “taking an approach to English language teaching which fosters transformative learning, helps to enable English language learners to think more democratically and more critically. This is becoming an ever more important skill to negotiate and navigate the multi-cultural worlds our students live in.”
To enrich our younger ESOL learners’ experience at the College, ESOL lecturer Sandra Augusto-Willcocks, arranged for an afternoon of Afro Dance Fusion run by excellent instructor Adriano Oliveira.
Professional dancer and choreographer Adriano, skilfully mixed dance and Brazilian martial arts to engage, motivate and energise over 40 of our learners in an amazing session which was enjoyed by all.
Sandra commented: “It was a really fantastic day and all the students had a lot of fun and learned something new.” Students commented that it was “The best day ever!” with some even asking if the sessions would be running every week from now on!
To celebrate National Careers and Apprenticeships Weeks South Thames College hosted an Employer Breakfast on Friday 8th March with the Honourable Member of Parliament for Battersea, Marsha de Cordova (Shadow Minister Work & Pensions/Disabled People) delivering the keynote. We were joined at this auspicious event by representatives from over 70 organisations across a range of sectors where they had the opportunity to network with each other.
Jamie Stevenson, Director of Business Partnerships, South Thames Colleges Group commented: “South Thames College recognises its role in the importance of preparing individuals for work which is sustainable and allows them to progress and achieve economic prosperity. This can only be done by working in partnership with our local employers. We as a collective can make sure that we have the right skills and training for today’s jobs and those future jobs that don’t yet exist.”
Employability Week at South Thames College has been a huge success with many positive outcomes for our learners. Students across the College attended insightful employer talks, benefited from mock interviews and attended Employer Fairs throughout the week. The employers generously gave up their time and spoke very positively about our learners.
- Childcare – Level 1 and Level 2 learners attended events run by recruitment staff from Bright Horizons nursery group). The events went so well, that the staff are coming back later in the week to interview 5 learners for initial Work Experience placements, which could be converted into employment at the end of the course, if they go well.
- Art & Design – Level 2 learners attended events run by Roopa Basu, founder of Art by Roopa.
- TV & Film Production – Level 3 Year 1 learners attended events run by Peter Fison, founder of South West London TV.
- Hair & Beauty - Headmasters and Exquisite Hair & Beauty Salon. The Hair & Beauty employers were particularly impressed with the professional image provided by the learners.
- Health & Social Care - Caremark Wandsworth and Living Foods for Health. Caremark Wandsworth are very keen to work with us to host a Recruitment Fair in the summer term for learners aged 18+ who are not progressing with us or going to University.
- Pamela Hurley, Business Partnerships Manager at our dedicated Business Centre was able to advise learners of Apprenticeship options for these sectors.
Rhianna Larkai, a Level 3 Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care learner, decided to join the Anthony Nolan register two years ago following a presentation delivered at College by a representative of the Anthony Nolan Charity, with Rhianna sending off a cheek swab to join the register.
Anthony Nolan is a charity that matches incredible individuals willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to people who desperately need lifesaving transplants. The charity educates young people about the lifesaving difference they can make by joining their register. They further conduct ground-breaking research to improve the success rates of transplants and improve the lives of all people with blood cancer and provide support, advice and information for people with blood cancer and their families.
A big congratulations to nine of our Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design who participated in a real live project with homebuilder Joseph Homes. The project brief gave them their first taste of what it takes it to be a working designer in the Creative Industries. The winning designs were announced at a special exhibition held at South Thames Collegeon 28th February. Guests were invited to view all competition entries, before witnessing the joint winners being presented with prizes by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Piers McCausland.
Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Piers McCausland, Leader of the Council, Cllr Ravi Govindia, and Managing Director of Joseph Homes Michael Bryn-Jones announced Laura Mathews and Rafael Fischer as the deserving winners after their entries impressed five specialist guest judges - Mark Davies (Futurecity), Helen Phelan (Artist), Chris Leigh-Cattrall (M3 Design Development), Zoe Green (landscape and urban designer for The Tramyard) and Morley Von Sternberg (Photographer). The runners up, Cristina Rosculete and Rodrigo Branco, were also highly commended by the judges.
Students were invited to provide suggested designs for a sculpture at Joseph Homes’ current Balham development, The Tramyard, by creating a mood board with research and drawings. Their designs had to encompass the values of Joseph Homes, as well as including the history of the site as London’s last working tram depot. The two winning designs will now be combined to inspire the final sculpture at The Tramyard.