From education to employment

Student Development Officer from Castle College talks to FE News

“Oliver Tindall from Castle College, Sheffield won his QIA Star Award in the Outstanding Innovation Category. In his job as student development officer he has introduced a series of projects which has embedded innovation and enterprise throughout the college.

Tell us about your job and what it entails.

When the enterprise scheme was set up a year ago it was embraced by both students and staff. We operate schemes at all levels. At foundation level there is “Learn to Earn” which gives students a chance to learn basic employment and enterprise skills. We concentrate on exercises such as CV writing and personal economics.

At levels 1 & 2 students have an introduction to enterprise and business. They have to organise and produce an event and get involved in the planning, costing and organisation. We also have role models, preferably ex-students, come in to the college to talk to them about their enterprises.

Level 3 students follow a programme which delivers self-employment skills such as writing a business plan and book keeping. In addition we have just opened an enterprise gateway designed to assist students who have business start-up ideas. We provide office facilities, and have linked up with support agencies and aim to provide an introduction to the outside world, beyond the college gates

What changes would you like to see in FE?

Certainly I would like to see more funding, FE is always the poor relation to schools and universities.

Of all the developments in FE this year, which do you welcome most?

I think raising the leaving age to 18 is a good thing. Vocational training will give those who might not enjoy school a chance to achieve something.

How does it feel to win the Star Award?

When my name was read out I couldn”t believe it since at the end of the day I”m just doing my job. I was honoured and pleased just to be nominated by the college’s senior management. When I went to the regional celebrations in Newcastle the other nominees were all there for doing fantastic things so to win the award was unbelievable.

Many thanks to Oliver for talking to FE News

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