Coffee and pizza enrich learning diet

14th October 2005 at 01:00
TESHSBC INTERNATIONAL FE COLLEGE OF THE YEAR WINNER - PRIZE POUNDS 5,000

From work experience in Italy for catering trainees, to a partnership with a Kenyan college and Fairtrade coffee in the canteen, Royal Forest of Dean college, in Gloucestershire, is a fine example of how global links enrich learning.

Further education entries had to demonstrate links which created a truly international dimension to college life, showing how the link promotes global or European citizenship, joint curriculum projects or the sharing of expertise, mutual development of colleges and impact on the local community.

Dawn Ward, Royal Forest of Dean college's principal, said: "We believe the links we have in place allow our students to grow their knowledge and understanding of other cultures."

Since 1990 the college has fostered European citizenship, offering all its students study visits and work experience abroad.

All its catering students have the chance of a three-week summer work experience in hotel and pizzaria kitchens in Bibione, Italy. Its language students have also made trips to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The college has run a range of joint curriculum Comenius projects with schools in France, Germany, Denmark and Austria, including one on "being an active citizen in Europe".

Its four partner 11-16 schools have all built partnerships with schools in the Kisumu area of Kenya. The college therefore resurrected an old link with Kisumu polytechnic, bringing reciprocal visits for staff and students.

In preparation for a recent visit, the college ran Swahili classes.

The link highlighted key issues for the Kenyan partner, particularly Aids and trade, which have since been adopted by a Global Awareness Group. The group has campaigned to get Fairtrade products on sale in the refectory. It has also boosted awareness of Aids, holding two campaigns culminating in an Aids awareness day across the curriculum, in which students gave interviews on the issue to local press and TV.

The college will put its prize money towards building a voluntary counselling and testing clinic on Kisumu polytechnic's campus and basing an Aids worker there. The project will involve its construction and plumbing students.

RUNNER-UP - PRIZE POUNDS 1,500

Havering college of further and higher education, in Hornchurch, has well-established links with an American vocational college, Hocking college in Ohio. As well as staff and student visits, the Essex college has also developed an international curriculum and staff development programme.

Students can study abroad and gain dual qualifications, and its links have allowed work experience placements in the Bahamas and Peru. The college also has links with India and Russia.

It will use its prize money to start an international bursary for less well-off students.

Deputy principal Avril Lawrence said the link helped students gain a global outlook and "transferable skills they'll need to be competitive in any country".

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