Chesterfield College students and tutors make a difference to so many lives

Students from Chesterfield College's Childhood Studies department present �2,180 to JOEL which supports families after the loss of a baby.
Students from Chesterfield College's Childhood Studies department present �2,180 to JOEL which supports families after the loss of a baby.

It’s the time of year when many people look back on 2018 and start to think about what the future might bring.

Reviewing and planning is crucial in education to get the best results for our students, for employers and to meet the needs of the community we serve, writes Julie Richards, principal of Chesterfield College.

Although exam results and progressions are vital, celebrating success is not just about exam results. It is about the difference we make to people’s lives and the goals we help them to reach.

You can’t measure the impact of giving young people the skills to raise thousands of pounds for charity or helping them to make a difference to the lives of others. You can’t quantify how it feels for someone who thought they would never go to university when they graduate. Ironically, these are the things which add value and give students an advantage.

I want to share some of those defining moments of the college year with you.

Before the end of term, Childhood Studies students handed over a cheque for £2,180 to my chosen charity JOEL, which aims to support families through pregnancy and parenting after the loss of a baby. They took part in a variety of fundraising activities from sponsored walks to bake sales.

Foundation Studies students are developing essential life, employability and study skills by getting involved in charity projects. Throughout the year they have made and sold goods at themed markets in college. They have also held raffles and tombolas .

In October, students and staff wrote and performed a song to highlight how we feel about the differences colleges make and the need to adequately fund the work we do in support of the national Love Our Colleges campaign. I was overwhelmed by the support we got from people within the organisation, others in the education sector and the general public.

Our students have had the chance to use their skills on exciting live projects. Digital Technologies students created a virtual tour of the lost village of Ashopton. Students from art, design, digital technologies and fashion also collaborated with Cromford Mill to develop a variety of visitor experiences.

Volunteer staff and media students have live streamed concerts of artists such as Jools Holland, Gregory Porter and Jake Bugg, to people with life-limiting illnesses across the globe. They are now part of the Melodic Caring Project UK team partnering with a charity in the United States.

All of this is possible because of our amazing students and the dedication of the staff who work so hard. However, without working with parents, employers and community organisations we couldn’t achieve any of this. I hope we can continue to work together to make a difference to students and our local communities into 2019 and beyond.