THE final week of the autumn term saw students studying at USP College treated to virtual visits from experts and industry specialists from across a range of sectors.
The guest speakers for the College’s second Student Continuous Professional Development (CPD) day of the academic year included representatives from The FA, Essex Police, Thurrock Foodbank, Bletchley Park, The Bank of England and Pembrokeshire-based zoo Folly Farm, along with local Conservative politician for Castle Point Rebecca Harris MP and Conservative Cllr Colin Maclean.
Rebecca Harris MP said,
‘While I normally look forward to meeting students in Parliament or in the College in person, I was very pleased to take part in this virtual event this year. The education of the next generation should be a top priority for everyone and as ever, I was delighted to play a part in trying to help local students with their studies. As usual the students had some excellent, thoughtful questions for me – there is no doubt many of them would have a successful career in politics.’
The virtual visitors held a range of talks, Q&A sessions and practical activities aimed at groups of students across the College’s five professional sector areas: Creative and Digital; Finance and Professional Services; Life and Sport Sciences; Health, Care and Medical; and Early Years, Childcare and Education.
John Rollinson, 17, from Thundersley is studying A-Levels in Classical Civilisation, History and Media Studies and has aspirations to become an archaeologist. One of the sessions he took part in was an Enigma codebreaking activity led by facilitators from Bletchley Park, the now famous but once top secret home to World War Two codebreakers.
He said: “The Bletchley Park CPD session went above and beyond my expectations as Andrew Fryer really knew what he was talking about and he made it very interactive with us breaking codes and him asking us questions.”
Abigail Guyll, 17, from Billericay is studying A-Level Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics and plans to train as a doctor. She heard presentations from current medical student at University of East Anglia, Cerys Wilks and Dr Rowena Paget, Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics University of Kent.
She said: “The CPD sessions solidified my confidence in continuing my medical career path. It has also opened my mind to different medical career paths and other medicine related courses I may want to take in the future and potentially mathematical courses I’d like to study.”
Jasmine Thompson-Prior, 18, from Leigh-on-Sea is studying A-Levels in Fine Art and Drama and Theatre Studies along with a subsidiary diploma in Media and Theatrical Make Up. She plans to pursue a creative career and attended sessions from film-maker and music video producer, Andrew Delaney, who has worked with George Michael and Lauren Hill, and local award-winning writer, actor and film maker Charles Sharman Cox.
She said: “I’ve discovered different routes I can go down using the subjects I am already studying and how I could do it. These discussions showed me about how difficult even the best in the business have it. Therefore I feel more prepared. Like I know a little bit more about what to expect, how to prepare and that it is possible for me to get to where I want to be.”
Assistant Principal Vocational, Jon Briggs said: “CPD days are a key part of the College’s career-focused learning strategy, which is centred around ensuring that students leave not only with great qualifications, but with a head-start on gaining the essential professional and transferable skills that they’ll need when they go into the workplace.
“Students gain invaluable access to industry professionals and an insight into what career opportunities are available in their chosen sector, and feedback shows that they find these days incredibly beneficial.”
Alongside CPD days, the College has established Sector Boards for each of its curriculum sector areas with representation from both local and national employers. The role of these boards is to ensure that the curriculum, including the qualifications offered and the skills developed in our students are fit for purpose and have the endorsement of employers. Content and projects are based on the latest industry trends and aligned with the expectations of candidates and university applicants. Each sector also has a College Company, which allows students to put their new knowledge and skills into practice while working in a pseudo agency format with real business clients.
The next USP College Virtual Open Evening will take place on 4th February.