Students from four digital Career Colleges across the UK put their creative and presentation skills to the test last week – at the virtual final of a project sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS), and supported by The Prince’s Trust, Barnardos, HSBC and the BBC.
The 80 16-18-year-old students were set a twelve-week challenge to create and develop a digital solution to help with the mental and physical effects of Covid-19 on their own age group.
An annual event in its fifth year, the Career Colleges’ digital project usually culminates in a face-to-face event at AWS’ Shoreditch offices in front of a judging panel. This year it had had to take place via a virtual link, with students joining from each of their colleges – which included Birmingham Metropolitan (BMet), Barking & Dagenham, Coleg Gwent and USP.
Each group presented its ideas and solution to the judges. Awards were given for Best Presentation, Best Run Project, Best Reflection, Best Solution and Best Overall Project as well as special awards for the Career College student of the year and the Alan Livett award.
Julia Von Klonowski, Digital Director at the Career Colleges Trust and architect of the AWS Project, said:
“As ever, the students blew myself and the other judges away with the high quality of their projects. This has been such a tough 18 months for so many young people and remaining focused on their education, particularly with so much virtual learning, has not been easy.
“However, we have seen remarkable commitment, courage and determination throughout. Of course, it is a shame that we couldn’t bring everyone together in London in the usual way, but the power of technology has certainly enabled us to celebrate and reward the students’ hard work and resilience.
“I am so grateful to our wonderful judges for their continued support for Career Colleges – their involvement ensures that students get a genuine experience of running a real-life industry project.
“The skills they have acquired in this process will stand them in excellent stead for the next steps in their education and career journey.”
The standard was very high all round, but a team from BMet College was chosen as the overall winner for its ‘MePet’ solution as well as Best face-to face Presentation and another BMet team won one of the two prizes for Best Solution.
Commenting on the winning team’s work, the judging panel said:
“The innovative design of MePet’s solution was well thought out and an ‘elegant demonstration of technology’. These students worked closely together and built a wonderful team. It was inspiring to see how much they cared for and supported each other – resulting in them developing the winning solution and having the best presentation. Very well done to them.”
Teams from other colleges also picked up awards. Teams from BDC and USP were presented with Best Run Project and from Coleg Gwent and BMet for Best Solution, and a team from Coleg Gwent picked up the accolade for Best Virtual Presentation . The prize for Best Reflection was presented to Joel Walpole from BDC and Socrates DaSilva from BMet.
Career College Student of the Year awards were also presented to:
Barking & Dagenham College – Keytrin Gymora
BMet – Elijah Lewis
Coleg Gwent – Matthew Sumner
USP – Dagomir Wojcek
The Alan Livett Award went to Lehel Nagy (who was also the Leader of the MePet group).
The project task had to be managed and run in the same way as any other ‘real’ industry project. Each team appointed a Project Manager and students had two project meetings and several workshops with the client, focusing on issues, design, digital marketing, networking, finance and project planning.
During the virtual event, students also heard from a range of speakers – including representatives from HSBC, BBC, Barnardos and LumberYard – about career opportunities within these different industries. Degree apprentices currently working at AWS spoke to the Career College students about their own experiences, highlighting the benefits of taking this hands-on training route.
For more information about Career Colleges, visit www.careercolleges.org.uk