Our News

6 November 2013

Cardiff and Vale College students get the chance to be heard

Cardiff and Vale College has launched a series of debates for students, giving them the chance to boost their communication skills and confidence by tackling topical issues with people from the local business community.

The first B#Heard debate was organised by the B#Epic Team and chaired by Enterprise Education Consultant Richard Strudwick. The panel featured CAVC Governor and former IBM executive Peter Dolan, local entrepreneur and Dizzyjam founder Neil Cocker and CAVC Business Studies and Economics Lecturer Mark Wilson.

The topics under discussion included whether the government should cut benefits for young people, issues concerning using smart phones in the classroom and whether work prospects are better in or outside of Wales. Students were able to contribute their views from the floor, or Tweet reactions using the hashtag #bepic.

A series of further debates is planned, with the next due to take place in December.

CAVC Senior Entrepreneurship Development Officer Tania Davies said: “Communication and confidence are two skills recognised as preferred ingredients for the world of work. B#Heard allows learners a platform to engage directly with the community and business representatives to debate hot topics.”

Richard Strudwick said that he thought CAVC’s approach to engaging students was sector leading.

“It’s really exciting to see Cardiff and Vale College taking such an interest in students’ opinions and engaging them in intellectual, topical debates,” he explained. “Employers want to employ young people who have proved themselves by achieving well academically but they also want to employ articulate and thoughtful individuals, not robots.

“Creating opportunities, like B#Heard, for young people to share their ideas, voice their views and challenge others is much needed. The more of this in the education system the better, let’s hope other schools and colleges follow the path CAVC is forging.”

Neil Cocker added: "It's always an honour to talk to young people and students, and get some insight into the way they view their changing world. All too often the media portray them as one homogenous mass, but it was refreshing to see just how smart, honest, and deeply held lots of their opinions were."

The B#Heard debates are one element of the College’s B#Epic programme, designed by its Enterprise and Employability Team to inspire, motivate and challenge students. B#Epic forms part of the College’s wider work as the only Welsh college in the Gazelle Group of entrepreneurial further education (FE) institutions.

The Gazelle Colleges Group aims to transform FE by developing new learning models focused on providing students with commercial, entrepreneurial learning opportunities. The colleges sit at the heart of their local entrepreneurial ecosystems, breaking down the barriers between business and education by developing innovative partnerships with local employers and community stakeholders, to equip students with the skills, capabilities and confidence to make or take a job.