Students and staff from Activate Learning’s Health and Social Care, Early Years and Protective Services programmes in Reading held a special celebration lunch on 22 May to thank hardworking partners who keep the community healthy and safe.
The college works with a wide range of partners including social care providers, charities, childcare settings, the army and the NHS. This creates real-world work opportunities for students, a talent pipeline for employers, and the chance for young people to give something back to the community.
A partnership with Wigwam Day Nursery has seen Reading College students organise and facilitate fortnightly activities involving older people and the under-fives. The intergenerational project ‘The Gift’, brings young children and older people together to learn from each other. Staff have seen visible improvements in the sociability and confidence of both the older people and the preschoolers, as well as providing invaluable work experience for health and social care students.
Warrant Officer 1 Rob Soutter, who attended the lunch on behalf of the 7 Rifles infantry regiment based at Reading’s Brock Barracks said: “We like, and need, to be involved in the community, and a lot of skills that we can offer the young learners are around (personal) development. Right from the off, our experience has been very positive. The students are willing to learn and have been onside. They’ve displayed great attitudes across the board. We’re in the second year of the partnership, and we can see it go on for many more years to come.”
Also at the event was Public Services student George Tomes, who said: “The college has taught me a lot about public services, and the people I have meet here have been really helpful. I’ve learnt a lot about teamwork, leadership skills and responsibilities rather than it just being purely academic. I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s a good facility.”
Salwa Boon, Director of Curriculum for the Faculty for Academic and Professional Studies says: “This is the 6th year that we’ve held our thank you lunch and it is a wonderful opportunity to show our partnership network our appreciation for their support.
“Through our extensive and successful partnerships, we offer students the work experience they need to secure their dream job or a place at university, and create a pipeline of talent for local business.
“This year we are also celebrating winning funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership for a high-spec care suite that replicates a hospital ward, and which will give our healthcare learners a true-to-life and innovative learning environment. These facilities will be open in September here at Reading College, and will benefit not only our students, but will be available as learning venue for local secondary school pupils and trainee social care workers.”