The student voice was in full focus and force at BMet’s variety-filled student-led conference this year and was enhanced with captivating speakers and interactive workshops.
Around 80 learners including student governors, student council members and college/course representatives across BMet’s colleges took centre stage at the “Developing your voice and championing change” event, held at Sutton Coldfield College to highlight issues that matter to students.
The conference was brought to life with inspirational and motivational guests – Anthony Bennett – “aka Miracle Man” and BMet’s very own Principal and CEO, Pat Carvalho, who shared insightful and thought-provoking talks.
Attendees were also treated to the award-winning magical entertainer and mystery artist, Jester Styles, who captivated and surprised participants with his work.
Updates on agreed “10 Point Plan” actions for an anti-racist strategy at the college linked to youth focused social enterprise Leaders Unlocked, formed a central part of the event.
This followed learners answering a number of survey questions in relating to teaching & learning, support, safety & wellbeing, events, social life & college culture, world of work & aspirations and complaints, structure & process for a Leader’s Unlocked ‘s Student Commission On Racial Justice report.
Student breakout sessions also enabled students to get into small groups for a BMet Strategy discussion, which facilitated rich discussions with peers across BMet’s colleges to review student-focused changes.
Here is what some of our students had to say at the event:
Melody, James Watt College Governor and Level 3 Engineering Student, who opened the event and helped facilitate debates:
“It was a great opportunity for me and all students who attended to be involved in such a forward-thinking event, which left a positive impact on all.
“We were all extremely involved and we had the right people to make it a resounding success and I am looking forward to future student conferences.”
Abas, Level 2 IT student at Matthew Boulton College:
“It was a very interesting and informative event.
“Not only was I able to engage in conversations that matter to me, but I was also able to get good advice and support from the guest speakers too especially Anthony who I resonated with so much. The magician was also on a different level!”
Rosa, Vocational Studies Class Representative:
“I am so pleased that I attended as the event definitely exceeded my expectations.
“It was good to hear about the personal experiences and journeys of both my peers and guest speakers. I learned so much as it was all so insightful and eye opening.”
Nicole, Student Council Sustainability Representative and Level 2 Health and Social Care student at James Watt College:
“This event was interesting, fun and very educational. It has helped me to improve my confidence, my communication skills, and understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses.
“It has left a positive impact on myself and others to remember to always be kind, loving and to always respect others and to remind people they are not alone. The keyword to success is Focus, Determination and Hard Work.”
Guest Speaker Anthony Bennett, who spoke about his life challenges and how he was able to develop a positive mindset and inspire others to be the best they can be said:
“Thank you to all the staff and students for inviting me to be a part of your student conference today.
“A highlight for me was seeing students step out of their comfort zones, walk to the front of the room and share something unscripted with the rest of the room. It created a deeper level of connection with everyone in the room.
“Love. Be kind. Help others…and keep saying yes, to opportunities, amazing things can happen!”
To reinforce BMet’s allegiance to sustainability, there were also a variety of free sustainable items for students to take away with them on the event’s welcome desk including water bottles and power banks – which are linked to a BMet and Police initiative to highlight the importance of safety e.g. making sure that phones are always fully charged.
Speaking of the event, Pat Carvalho, BMet CEO and Vice Principal said:
“I was very happy to be a part of the student conference and to talk with students on matters that concern and affect them.
“The student voice is vital, as it continually contributes to improvements at BMet. It is central to our self-evaluation, planning and decision making and is gathered from events such as this, our student councils, course reps, as well as our general student community.”