From education to employment

College introduces 102-year-old to virtual reality

Barnsley College’s Learning for Living and Work (LFLW) students and staff welcomed members of Age UK Barnsley’s Forever Young social group to a Remembrance Day-themed session on modern technology.

The session was hosted in the college’s Discover Digital space, which was launched to help improve digital skills locally, and allowed the two generations to chat and take part in interactive activities together.

The group used learning platforms Nearpod and Mentimeter to complete iPad activities, then used VR headsets for a virtual fly in a two-seated war plane.

To finish off, the group took part in a Kahoot! Quiz on Remembrance traditions and watched an emotive Remembrance Day poem online by local poet Ben Taylor, also known as ‘Yorkshire Prose’.

Among those who attended was Edie Greaves, who turns 103 next month. Edie sat with LFLW student Anthony Kenyon and completed activities on the iPads and VR headsets, sparking her to share how her own husband had fought in the Second World War.

The department’s partnership with Age UK Barnsley is set to continue with a food donation collection for the elderly in time for Christmas, and donations can be made now until Friday 2 December at the Crumbs and Cookie Crumbs cafés at the college’s Old Mill Lane campus.

Matt Wilson, the Learning for Living and Work Tutor who led the session, said:

“It was truly a special session.

“The students were really happy to show the ladies from Age UK how to use the iPads and VR headsets. It was great for them to spend time together chatting and learning from one another and talking about Remembrance Day.

“It was certainly intergenerational, with a more-than-85-years age difference between Edie in particular and our students, and I think everyone gained a lot from it.”

Senior Social Inclusion Officer at Age UK Barnsley, Natalie Stokes, added:

“We were delighted to work with Barnsley College on this project, bringing some of the Churchfields Forever Young Social Group to take part in this virtual Remembrance event with college students.

“All of the members had a great afternoon and really enjoyed taking part. It was a wonderful demonstration of intergenerational working in action.”

Barnsley College offers a range of study programmes including full and part-time vocational courses, apprenticeships, T Levels, and university-level courses.

There’s still time for 16 to 18-year-olds not currently in education, employment, or training to apply for this academic year. Through a personalised timetable they could build their skills for the future – whether it’s a mix of art, engineering, digital and fashion; or construction, catering, games design, music, or anything in between.

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