Twenty one colleges in the West Midlands have joined forces to produce a region-wide approach to educating learners about the dangers of gang violence and knife crime.
Announced at the beginning of Colleges Week, the Further Education and Skills Productivity Group has designed a ‘Safer Student Charter’ with support from the West Midlands Combined Authority and West Midlands Police.
It aims to ensure young people who attend colleges throughout the region are taught about “modern dangers and safety risks” that affect them and teaches them how to avoid these.
The partnership will see all colleges “deliver key themed events” that will “ensure students are given the skills to be able to identify and avoid safety risks outside of their studies”.
According to reports of figures from the Office for National Statistics, police in the West Midlands recorded 3,428 offences involving knives or sharp instruments in the year to March 2019, the highest number since comparable records began in 2010-11.
Chair of the Safer Student Group and Halesowen College principal, David Williams, said: “Our collaborative approach means that regardless of which college a young person attends, they will receive a fantastic academic, technical or vocational education partnered with insights and learning on how to avoid dangers that are more prevalent amongst today’s young people.
“Our coordinated approach will allow us to share best practice and resources across the college network which will undoubtedly add significant benefit to students across the Midlands.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Thousands of young people attend our further education colleges and it is vital that our campuses not only offer safe spaces for people to learn but ensure learners are equipped to keep themselves safe.
“Every college in the FEPSG already does its utmost to keep its students safe, but by being part of the same conversation the colleges are able to share their experiences and best practice.”
Colleges Week is part of the #LoveOurColleges campaign and is taking place from 14 to 18 October 2019.
It is calling for greater recognition and investment in colleges, and will see colleges across the country hosting local events and speaking to their local MPs.
The 21 colleges signed the West Midlands Student Safety Charter are:
Birmingham Metropolitan College
Burton and South Derbyshire College
City of Wolverhampton College
Dudley College of Technology
National College of Advanced Transport and Infrastructure
Heart of Worcestershire College
Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
Solihull College and University Centre
South and City College Birmingham
South Staffordshire College
University College Birmingham
WCG and Association of Colleges