On Tuesday 6 November, 118 students from further education colleges across Kent and Medway came together for KaMCOP’s ‘Caring for Your Future’ collaborative conference. The morning, hosted at Westgate Hall, welcomed Health and Social Care, and Early Years students from the Sheppey, Folkestone and Dover Campuses of East Kent College.
Students had the opportunity to hear from people working in the field. Cliff Evans from the Medway Foundation Trust spoke about the growing range of roles available in the NHS, specifically within the emergency department. They were also joined by Senior Lecturers from the University of Kent who focused on the range of higher education options available for those with a BTEC National Diploma, and Lucy Fogg from Canterbury Christ Church University who looked at working in a career in Early Years. The morning was rounded off by Tom Delahunt, Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University, who engaged the students in an emotive and thought provoking session about failure and the barriers they may have when thinking about their future.
The event was also supported by 18 wonderful ambassadors from Canterbury Christ Church University who shared their experiences and answered the many questions the students had about life as a university student, and finance. Verity Pooke, PhD Ambassador from the University of Kent, also shared her experience about her journey and her unique field of specialism; emergency contraception.
After lunch, students walked through Canterbury for a tour of Canterbury Christ Church University, culminating in an Employability Fair with 46 employers from the fields of Health, Care and Early Years. Usually held just for Canterbury Christ Church University graduates, this year college students, (including Canterbury and Broadstairs Campuses of East Kent College) were invited to join the event to ask employers questions about working in the sector. After meeting with the students, the employers were positive about the future of the workforce, commenting on the proactive and intelligent questions raised by the college students.
Students valued the opportunity and as one student summarised:
“Yes, it was useful. I have learnt that my only barrier to not going to uni was me. Now I have built my confidence and I am willing to go.”