Creative and Digital Industry Day – Nelson and Colne College

Hi! My name is Nafisa Naheed and I am the Creative and Digital Curriculum Leader at Nelson and Colne College. On Friday 30 November, we held our very first Creative and Digital Industry Careers Day for our Level 3 learners across the Art, Media and Digital provision.

Preparing for the future was the aim of the day! There was a vibrant mix of inspirational talks, interview and portfolio workshops and practical activities led by industry experts to help students (and teachers!) develop links with employers and find future work experience opportunities. We hoped to give students a chance to find out more about jobs in their chosen industry, higher education, apprenticeships and make more informed choices about their careers.

For the staff team this was an opportunity to find out more about the skills and knowledge needed for particular jobs in industry. Plus, you can’t forget the T Levels. The conference also played a part in our ongoing preparation to deliver these new qualifications from 2020. Throughout the events of the day (including a delicious networking lunch!) we were able to form better relationships with the visiting employers and form links that will help us in the future.

We were delighted to welcome visitors on the day from the BBC, 2br, UCLan, the University Centre at Blackburn College, Haslingden Community Link, the University of Bradford, Wise Owl Creative, Super Slow Way, Manchester Film School, and the Nelson and Colne College Apprenticeship Team and Careers Team. They all spent valuable time with ourselves and our students and throughout the day students recorded information, questions and anything they found useful in their conference booklets, alongside their attendance stamp cards, to be collected after attending all of the workshops.

The morning sessions were aimed around meeting employers and finding out about different types of industries. The students enjoyed talks with employers and discovering information about how industries work, the skills and qualities favoured by employers and tops tips about how to prepare for the next steps in their careers. The afternoon sessions were aimed more towards career guidance, university preparation and portfolio building. The students were in smaller groups which allowed them a more in depth experience with the guests and opportunity for Q&A.

The experience – staff and student quotes

“I found the Inspirational Talk and the BBC Workshop to be most useful. The Inspirational Talk was incredibly worthwhile as it contextualised college life and why studying is beneficial. The BBC Workshop opened up the opportunity of a BBC Apprenticeship for me.” – Kamran Sajid – Level 3 Creative and Digital Media

“I enjoyed learning how to build a good portfolio and learning how to answer questions for an interview as this will really help me. I also enjoyed the positivity from the inspirational lecturer, and I learned how to be more positive. From this day there are many steps and techniques I can take into university or employment.” – Rozina Akhtar – Level 3 Art and Design

“The best part of the day was the interview workshop where we took part in a speed dating activity and we had a chance to talk to employers, university advisors and the Apprenticeship team. This helped me to understand the skills, qualities and behaviours expected from myself in an interview. I have university interviews coming up and I feel more confident and prepared now.” – Bart Kozik – Level 3 Games Programming and Software Development

“I found the talk given by Paul White from Wise Owl Creative was the most inspirational part of the day. Paul told us how he and his friends came up with an idea and then created a business from that. This has inspired me to be more creative in my life and shown me that you can create successful businesses from innovative ideas.” – Zeeshan Khan – Level 3 Networking and Systems Support

“The Industry Careers Day created an opportunity for students to meet with employers and discuss job roles and skills needed for those job roles. They gained a lot of valuable information about what qualities employers value which are similar to what we expect from them in college for example good attitudes, punctuality, work ethic, independent thinking and enthusiasm etc. This information reinforced the same information that we as tutors are already giving students in the classroom however hearing it from another source really brought it to life for them.” – Neelam Hussain – Digital Lecturer

“The students were able to meet professionals working in their industries from the local area which showed them that jobs are available for them to aspire to. Being able to speak in person with the employers rather than over the phone gave them a better experience. Amanda Odlin from UCLan was excellent at speaking to the students about their work and discussing ideas, artists to look at and what the university would expect from them.” – Simone French – Creative Lecturer

Conclusion

A lot of work went into the planning and the delivery of the day from staff but it was all worthwhile in the end. Both staff and students have benefited hugely from the day, as it enabled staff to network with local employers which has led to some work experience opportunities for our students. Staff also have a better understanding of employers needs which can help them prepare students for work placements.

The quality of the advice and guidance given to students was fantastic and they now have a better perception of the skills and qualities required by an employer in their chosen industries. The students feel more confident in preparing for university and job interviews too. Feedback from employers has been positive, with Paul White writing on LinkedIn: “Great day with Andrew Cain visiting Nelson and Colne College to talk to their Industry Day, about our journeys from NCC to today. Four workshop sessions and almost 100 students!”

Areas for improvement for next year have already been identified, for example including more emphasis on developing communication and presentation skills within our students, which we as teachers can then develop further. I would like our next Industry Careers Day to be much bigger by inviting more employers to deliver a greater range of high quality workshops to provide staff and students with an even better experience.