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  • Writer's pictureBeth Nunn

Future Ready at Connell College

One of our flagship programmes here at PIE, is the ‘Future Ready’ Programme. The main aim being that we are preparing students for a future they may not quite be ready for.

The Future Ready Programme is a programme designed to develop five key skills. We refer to these as the slices of the PIE, and they are: digital, project management, communication, community and cultural capital.

We had 3 groups at Connell this academic year – studying Sport, Business and Health and Social Care taking part in our programme.

We began in November and the first few weeks went to plan, students were introduced to the iDEA award and we had quite a few students complete their Bronze award in record time. We then went into Tier 3 - still in college but no work experience visits allowed.

Not to be deterred we set up our first ever Connell College Virtual Careers Speed Networking Event. 18 local business experts took part, who in turn spent time speaking to our Future Ready cohort. We used Zoom to allow students the precious opportunity to meet local professionals, and focus on some time exploring possible careers options. They spent 10 minutes in different break out rooms speaking to a variety of different people, ranging from travel consultants, to robotics teachers! This went really well and gave the students a really valuable opportunity to talk to a variety of local businesses – albeit virtually! Connections were built and we had mentoring opportunities arise from this which was fantastic.

We had just begun to talk about the second part of the programme – looking at Social Action the session before Christmas when the bubble burst! (To be fair compared to lots of schools and colleges we did well to make it this far).

The New Year brought Lockdown 3 which meant we had to go online – really testing our digital slice of PIE. We looked at the sustainable development goals, linking them to social action and through Google Classroom we were able to complete a social action project – we had a huge variety of topics and means of getting these topics out into the world. Take a look:

Although we were due to finish the course at February half term, we were able to offer and complete an extra 4 sessions of face to face Social Action, from 8th March when we were allowed back in to college. We wanted to be able to focus more on teamwork and the project management slices of the PIE as well as try to focus on issues of concern to Connell students and their local area. It was interesting however that following lots of discussions it was national issues which were still of the greatest concern – particularly keeping women safe following on from the horrific Sarah Everard murder. Racism and equal access to education for young people with disabilities were some of the other issues the students wanted to take action on. We discussed at length how we could apply this to the Connell community and with many Covid restrictions still in place most teams, through their smart planning, decided that the digital option was still the best way to raise awareness using social media platforms. Here are some examples:

So despite an eventful time during our work with Connell students we were still able to deliver our Future Ready programme and all 5 slices of PIE!

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