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Bouquet of the week

Aedit Van der Velden

Twenty years ago Aedit van der Velden left her home in The Hague to live in London. Her education had been cut short - "I knew I had a brain, I just didn't know where it was." Luckily she heard about an access course called New Horizons at the City Lit and, as Aedit says: "I found my brain and it changed my life."

That early experience made her the teacher she is today at the London College of Fashion. "I knew I wanted to give something back to teaching. When you've been a mature student you understand how hard it is to study."

Next to the library at the college is The Study Room where Aedit and a team of tutors offer learning support. Here the most visual and imaginative students discover they can write and express themselves in words as creatively as they can dress a mannequin.

"She's brilliant at working out what particular students need," says Susan Orr who co-ordinates the Study Room and who nominated Aedit for Bouquet of the Week. "All that stuff about empowering students, which is easy to say and hard to do - she does it."

The college offers fashion education to 2,800 students on 25 different courses. They range from BTEC diplomas to degrees, masters courses and doctorates but all can get support from the Study Room - whether its with a 10,000 word dissertation or learning to do research on a computer.

Around 10 per cent of students use this learning support service and make half-hour appointments with the team of tutors. Some come every week, others for just a couple of sessions. Aedit says she encourages them to think around subjects, to ask questions and to brainstorm. "Sometimes they come in distressed, because work is getting too much. But on the whole they come up with their own answers and go away smiling."

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