With National Careers Week 2015 only a few weeks away, Klaudia Mitura (MD @ Employability Town) interviewed Sam Harding (Learner Engagement Coordinator @ Basingstoke College of Technology) who is one of Employability Town’s clients.

Sam very kindly agreed to share her tips and experiences in organising events aimed at boosting students’ social, employability and enterprise skills, known at BCoT as Review andDevelopment (RAD) weeks.

We hope that you will find the below information useful as well as inspirational!

What are RAD weeks and what is the aim of them?

 At BCoT our academic year is split into 6 week blocks: 5 weeks of teaching and learning and 1 week of catching up with students, completing extra projects and developing young people’s social, employability and enterprise skills. This 6th week is known as Review and Development (RAD) week. The aims of the RAD weeks are to allow students to finalise any remaining work as well as give them a skills boost.

What kind of activities do they involve?

RAD weeks are packed with events and activities that help young people to be more successful in their current course as well as in their future career. The activities are usually very varied and they include field trips, inspirational speakers, employers’ visits and interactive workshops. These activities relate closely to the theme of each RAD week.

How does RAD week relate to employability?

At BCoT employability skills are very high on our agenda so in each RAD week we include a selection of activities on that topic. Additionally, the principle behind RAD week is that all the activities aim to boost students’ skills set and develop their professional potential. Due to the National Careers Week in March, our RAD week during that time concentrates on Employability and Enterprise Skills including a Careers Fair.

How do workshops run by Employability Town contribute to your goal?

The workshops designed by Employability Town really fit within our RAD weeks as they concentrate on boosting young people’ skills and abilities.

Additionally, the workshops address different levels and capabilities of our students while they are learning and progressing themselves as individuals.

The workshops develop learners’ further understanding of various aspects of their own sector and career prospects but also provide that personal insight. In other words students not only develop their professional potential but also gain practical tips that they can apply to their personal development.

For instance, in our December RAD week among several workshops, Employability Town delivered a workshop on time management. From the participants, the main positive feedback was that after the workshop they were able to apply what they had learnt to their day-to-day life. Personally, I feel that is what makes the workshops so effective as making small changes in students’ current behaviour will help them flourish and so impact their career prospects.

Why did you choose Employability Town?

Apart from the fact that the workshops are absolutely brilliant, Employability Town has also a very good reputation from working with a variety of Schools, Colleges and Charities. Employability Town has a real enthusiasm and passion for working with young people and developing their mindsets. We have been working with Employability Town since their beginnings and I am very happy to see the company progress so quickly.

What would be your tips for people who might be interested in organising RAD weeks?

In order for RAD weeks to be truly effective, we collaborate on them as a whole College meaning not only tutors and teachers are involved in the design and implementation but also our students and senior managers. Therefore, my first tip for anyone in College event management is to involve everybody in event design and implementation, from students to corporate staff. Also, the RAD weeks should reflect the needs of students and staff.

Our RAD weeks are closely designed around the needs of students and tutors and that is why they change from year to year. For instance, last academic year we had a very rigid schedule because that was requested by students and tutors but this year we are more flexible, allowing students and staff to attend drop in sessions and open access events.

Finally, another great tip is to make sure that you are working with local providers and employers such as Employability Town to make sure that your students are getting the best information and advice. At BCoT we have established a very strong network that supports successful delivery of our RAD weeks.

Thank you Sam!

We look forward to supporting your students in the near future!

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