FE Week takes a look at what’s on offer at colleges across the country during Colleges Week 2011

Warwickshire College challenged a radio presenter to try some of their vocational courses as part of Colleges Week 2011.  Ollie Gallant, who presents the breakfast show at Touch FM, took part in five taster sessions which were then broadcast over five consecutive mornings on the station. One of the challenges included scaling a tree 60 foot in the air with only a rope and harness. The deadly ascent was designed to show Mr Gallant the physical side of the tree surgery and arboriculture course held at the college. Tutor Andrew Panter said: “People don’t realise how much physical strength you need to become a tree surgeon. “Giving people a taster of this subject certainly helps potential students get a better idea of what is expected before they come on a course.” Mr Gallant’s other tasks included grooming a horse, making clothes out of a plastic bag and constructing a working carpentry joint. Mr Gallant said: “I never knew there were so many options available ‘outside the classroom.’ “If I was still at school and looking at what to do next, I would have absolutely loved to come to a college like this and do one of these hands-on sessions.” Warwickshire College set up the sessions to show students the land-based courses that they offer and what life as a college student is like.

Hartlepool College of Further Education has been teaching young people how to make their own sweets, create light graffiti and beat a robot at table tennis as part of Colleges Week 2011. The innovative sessions were put on by the college to show learners the creative side of some of their courses. Visitors could try their hand at a number of vocational trades such as aerospace engineering, plumbing and beauty therapy throughout the week. Other activities included piloting a flight simulator, dry stone walling and pyramid building.

Havering College has been offering young people the chance to try hairdressing and CPR at a local retail complex (see picture). Potential students visiting The Brewery Shopping Centre in Romford were taught how to bandage properly and use various lifesaving skills such as Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).The college was also offering visitors the chance to try a range of hairdressing skills such as hair braiding, basket weaving and hair-up techniques. The event, called ‘Have a Go in Colleges Week’, was designed to spark ambition and show young people the variety of career possibilities being taught at the college.

Southport College had a local reporter come in and try aromatic massage, photography and motor vehicle maintenance as part of Colleges Week 2011. The Southport Visitor sent one of their journalists to show potential students the variety of practical courses being taught at the college.

Carshalton College has been holding grand tours for visitors as part of Colleges Week 2011. Potential students had the chance to look around the Renaissance hair and beauty salon, the Nightingales in-house training restaurant and student common room on September 28. The tours also stopped at the motor vehicle and construction work spaces. The Pulse Health & fitness Centre team were available to provide young people with tours of the college gym, swimming pool, dance studios and sports hall.

East Berkshire College treated young people to ‘bite-size’ career tasters at a special event held by East Berkshire College. Vocational activities on offer included bricklaying, hairdressing and manicures, motor vehicle maintenance and t-shirt printing. Visitors could also participate in more energetic activities including an army-style assault coure.

Blackpool and The Fylde College has been offering students the chance to take part in a crime scene investigation as part of Colleges Week 2011. The Open Day offered visitors a number of activities including ‘You’re Hired’, ‘Place Your Bets’ and ‘Under the Sea’. Carina Gribbon, 14-19 Learning Partnership Manager said of Colleges Week: “It’s a great way of igniting a passion to learn, as well as helping us connect with our local community.”

South Devon College treated members of their music department to a disk-jockey master class from BBC Radio 1 DJ Ras Kwame as part of Colleges Week. The college also held the Torbay Police Bravery Awards with student volunteers from the college’s uniformed public services department. The student union (SDC: SU) held a number of events with a healthy theme to celebrate the announcement that South Devon College has been recognised as a ‘Healthy FE College’ by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS).

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