From education to employment

Students and staff co-producing to lead the way to success

Empowering students to work alongside college staff when making key decisions not only develops students’ skills but also massively benefits the college to make the right decisions. 

Co-production is an approach where people work together as equals, towards a shared goal, through shared learning and shared responsibility. A powerful model of co-production is being used currently with students to design the new student induction. Hart’s Model of Participation (Hart, 2002) suggests that the highest level of participation is student-initiated co-production, sharing decisions with staff. Having recognised students’ suggestions around improving induction through various student voice surveys, it is now a real positive that the students have the confidence to lead key decisions regarding induction. 

The benefits of co-production exist for both the college and the students. For the college, these benefits include fresh perspectives and new ideas, awareness of young peoples’ actual needs, improved decision making and improved aspirations for all. The benefits of co-production for students includes their personal development, their improved self-confidence, their ability to influence decisions which affect their learning and well-being, their development of relationships with staff, feeling valued and empowered. Furthermore, this model of co-production has benefits for society as this is a great mechanism to develop future leaders. Students and staff can see the direct impact of their collective decisions and see themselves as key influencers and even gamechangers.  

By the end of the current induction project, we will have co-produced (with students and staff) an exciting resource which underpins the new student induction process. We collectively agree that this resource will have a positive impact to help new students settle into college easily, make friends, learn key information, develop skills, and look forward to their exciting learning journey ahead of them. 

The improvements in student retention will lead to success for all key stakeholders; the college, students, employers, universities, parents/carers, and the community. 

We are confident that this project will provide an invaluable template to support future decision making, with co-production between students and staff leading the way!

By Suki Dhesi, Vice Principal – Students, Learning & Quality, HSDC

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