Sunderland College students have made their final presentations as part of a Health and Care Project Based Learning programme designed to bring the classroom and world of work closer together.
Level 1 Health students were tasked with answering a real-world issue as part of the Ford Next Generation Learning programme in partnership with the North East LEP and Edge Future Learning, before presenting their ideas to a panel of sector and College leaders.
The students were set the task of answering ‘How can we reduce risk taking behaviour in young people in Sunderland?’ ahead of the eight-week project, which enhances transferrable skills as well as Maths and English, and received regular feedback on their ideas from mentors at organisations such as Sunderland City Council.
Lucy Whiteman, who created a room designed to raise awareness of the long-term and short-term effects of drugs on physical and mental health, said: “During this project I have learned how to create my own room and I have grown my confidence to stand up and present in front of people. I am very proud of what I have created.
“This time last year I had no confidence in making presentations and I never thought I would be standing up in front of everyone delivering them. I would like to thank all the teachers and mentors who have helped us and say a huge well done to everyone.”
Michelle Henderson, who is hoping to become a Primary School Teacher, added: My project was about mental health and peer pressure in 16 to 18-year-olds. I carried out a lot of research and found some good examples to support my project.
“I learned how to create a presentation and speak in front of everyone. I am a lot more confident in myself than I was when I started the course in September.
“On the whole this project has helped me communicate with people better and has strongly developed my team working skills which I will be able to transfer to my chosen career.”
The pioneering Ford Next Generation Learning programme benefits young people, communities and local economies by addressing skills shortages and youth unemployment through embedding community connected learning. An area of focus for Sunderland College has been to adopt project-based learning as a different teaching approach in study programmes, with the impact evident to see in the students’ presentations.
Students can see the relevance of this style of teaching, how to apply their knowledge in the real world and are able to make informed decisions about their progression.
Industry alignment support officers, recruited by North East LEP, have been working directly in schools and colleges to help them better engage with local businesses and apply real-life work situations to the curriculum.
Health and Social Care Lecturer, Stefan Garroway, said: “Our students have done fantastic today; they have been amazing. The skills they have developed throughout the project are going to take them forward in their education and their chosen professions.
“We have built their confidence in class to be able to present in front of an audience and they were nervous, but I could not be prouder of them.
“The project-based learning approach has allowed us to teach them things that would normally be reserved for Level 3 students, so they have been grasping topics and theories that would not be taught at this stage. They have taken everything on board everything their mentors have said, so the project has had real world relevance.”
Andrea McLaughlin, from Sunderland City Council, said: “The students have done fantastically. They have really thought about peer advocacy for positive health messages and have focused on how to present this information and how it will be accessed.
“They have always been very professional, for a Level 1 group, and impressed me with their interest, their enthusiasm, they have asked appropriate questions and for relevant information. I am very proud of them.
“The benefits of this kind of approach the development of transferrable skills, such as reflection, the ability to research and present information, and have confidence in what you are talking about are vital. It’s not always about what you have been taught, sometimes it’s what you find out for yourself.”
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