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Industry Week Prepares Students for the World of Work

1st April 2014

With many young people affected by the current economic climate resulting in a lack of jobs, Calderdale College students have been looking at ways to sharpen their employability skills during the College’s annual Industry Week.

Industry Week takes place every year and is designed to create confidence, enhance skills, raise employability skills; along with allowing students to gain a great insight into their chosen industry as well as the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience.  An array of demonstrations, presentations and practical workshops across all subject areas were given by industry experts from a broad range of organisations, which offered advice and support to College students.

The week began with a Business Breakfast, where Gary Scot from Suma explored the differences between Suma and some of the more traditional businesses, alongside how some of Suma’s more radical ideas can be incorporated within a business to produce a happy, engaged workforce which is essential to driving growth to local employers across Calderdale, College staff and students in the Empty Space Theatre at the College.

Joanne Gas, Assistant Principal in Teaching and Learning said: “Industry Week gives our students a real experience of what is out there in industry in the areas that they train in, enriching their learning, skills and knowledge in current practices which is additional to their qualifications. These enhanced skills give our students the edge when they are applying for jobs, going for interviews and taking part in trade skills tests ens­­uring they are work ready.”

Industry experts across every subject area, including former students visited the College to deliver demonstrations and offer advice and tips on how to succeed in industry. Each class was treated to a demonstration relevant to their specialism; from the Royal Navy carrying out psychometric tests and Construction hosting an inter skills build competition to a workshop with former Graphic Design and Art student, now a professional artist, who has been commissioned by the BBC, Channel 4, Ikea and Converse.

Richard Walsh, Professional Cookery Lecturer, organised a broad range of activities for his students throughout industry week:  “We went to Bradford market to meet our fruit and vegetable supplier. The military are here, they have seen a different side to catering and side to where they can use their qualifications. We have had demonstrations from chefs from the area - we have had Ben Varley from the Design House, 3 rosettes Chef who came into explain his style of cooking to our students and the different ingredients.

We have looked at modern cookery, using very modern methods which are cutting edge and we have had a cheese tasting session and have educated the palettes of all the students, so they can taste different cheeses and decide which food, wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks will go best. It has been a very informative week; the students have really enjoyed it and have got a lot out of it,” continued Richard.

Students from Hair & Media Make-up were treated to an intensive workshop on silicone painting and learnt how to build realistic flesh tones using a minimal amount of products and then spoke about blended edge application for high definition special effects with Special Effects Make-up Artist, Mike Dargan. Mike has worked on such films as Quantum of Solace and Batman and TV Programmes including Bodyfarm and ITV Monroe: “I think Industry Week is vital; what you need is fresh up-to-date information and it is not always easy for lecturers to know and do everything. You need specialists to give you the information on what products are being used.”

Lewis Robert Wells, Level 3 Public Services student from Bradford who has wanted to be a Police Officer from an early age said: “It has been really informative and a good insight into what I want to do when I finish this course. This week has been a good insight into other Public Services such as the Armed Forces and the Fire Service. I want to be a Dog Handler in the Police - it looks like an interesting and exciting job and it is well paid.”

Simon Dun, Art Lecturer at the College, felt the week had motivated students to think about their future careers: “This year’s Industry Week was a great experience for our students to meet former student Sarah Yates, Graphic Designer and Artist, who came in to teach a workshop, talk about her work and how she has got to where she is today. They learnt some new skills which they can now take out into industry in the future.”

Claire Warnes, Holistic & Spa Therapies Course Leader, Beauty Therapy Training Officer for Apprentices and Industry Week Coordinator said: “It has been invaluable for our students to speak to former students about what they can do when they leave College to work in industry and hopefully they will be inspired. It is also about touching base with employers about what we are offering and if we can do anything different.”

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