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Lived experience success brings college a bronze award

Posted: 27 June 2023

West Nottinghamshire College has achieved the Award for Lived Experience Charter Status – becoming the first college in the country to be recognised as part of this prestigious charter.

(Left to right) members of the care experienced team Lisa Coleman, Chloe Martin and Wayne Golding with the bronze charter
(Left to right) members of the care experienced team Lisa Coleman, Chloe Martin and Wayne Golding with the bronze charter

The award, which will apply for a duration of three years, recognises the work that the college does towards corporate parenting and protected characteristics for care experienced young people.

The bronze award was presented to the college at the Lived Experience Charter Awards event this spring. It was attended online by a range of other organisations across healthcare, justice, the NHS and government departments.

The Lived Experience Charter was devised by Career Matters, a social enterprise which provides career services that implement innovative projects seeking to democratise access to education and employment. It focuses on lived experience communities, including children who are in local authority care as well as young people and adults who have left care, and individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

West Nottinghamshire College was applauded for its commitment to the open and inclusive recruitment of people with lived experience in the care system, as well as its dedication to implementing corporate parenting into students’ lives.

Being a corporate parent sees the college acting in the same way as a parent for those students who are care experienced, in terms of supporting them in their education and progression. Currently, there are 55 students who are classed as care experienced young people studying at the college and there are approximately the same number predicted to be enrolled for the next academic year, across a range of courses.

Currently the college offers advice and guidance on next study steps, progression and career aims. It offers support with financial matters to help individuals attend college. Every care experienced student has their own mentor (body system) and careers professional, and students have access to a named designated care experienced coach for help with attendance, emotional support and a peer support worker who helps with developing life skills and social and emotional skills for independence.

The college also works closely with the local authority and social care teams on behalf of care experienced students as well as offering them help from their team of counsellors and trained mental health advisors for help with their emotional wellbeing.

The college’s care experienced coach Wayne Golding attended the awards to collect the bronze award. He said: “This is tremendous news to be recognised for the work we are doing for both our students who have experience in care and for our staff who are developing their skills to further support these individuals.

“There are some great things on the horizon at the college to further support our care leavers, including sporting activities with our current sport students, the provision of a starter kit pack including laptops for each care experience student, a range of social events and focus groups and workshops to assist with homework, independent living skills, and making new friends.

“Throughout July and August, we’ll be holding an intensive summer school for ten of our new care experience students who are joining the college in September, through the Jody Seaton Power 5 workshops. The aim of these sessions will be to help them to develop resilience, good habits for learning and break down any self-imposed limitations, to prepare their for college life.”

Wayne is supported in the care experienced team by care experience coach Lisa Coleman and peer mentor apprentice Chloe Martin. Chloe is now working towards her Level 3 Peer Support Worker Apprenticeship.

The college, which is one of the first organisations to implement this new apprenticeship, has worked closely with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – the lead organisation in the ‘trailblazer’ group. Together they are co-developing the peer worker apprenticeship standard for a wide range of lived experience roles across the health, justice, and education sectors.

West Nottinghamshire College is also one of only five colleges in the country appointed to deliver the training element of the programme.

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