Vocational learners from London and Gloucestershire gained valuable first-hand experience in their intended careers as well as a taste of Canadian culture during a four-week Turing Scheme placement in Vancouver.
Thirty students from BSix Sixth Form College, Hackney, and South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College made the trips to North America, which were organised by London-based RiSE International, a specialist in providing international work placements.
Each one spent time working in a Vancouver business or organisation related to their area of study while also immersing themselves in the day-to-day life of the city, one of Canada’s most ethnically and linguistically diverse, from their base at the University of British Colombia.
Sarah Hitchcock, co-director at RiSE International, said: “We worked closely with both colleges and students were recruited from a range of vocational areas, including business, health and social care, sports and tourism.
“Learning outcomes were tailored to the individual, covering employability, careers development, transferable soft skills and sector-specific technical skills.
“Going on a Turing Scheme placement gives learners the chance to apply the skills they learn at college to a real-life work setting – but it’s so much more than that. They gain life skills, developing their adaptability, resilience and confidence.
“They’re supported to step outside of their comfort zone, and experience living and working in a different culture.”
BSix student Maiya King undertook a childcare placement at the Berwick Child Development Centre in Vancouver and has since gone on to secure a job at a nursery back home in Hackney.
Future full of new opportunities
“My placement gave me an eye-opening look into working with all kinds of children and working in a cooperative effort with other members of staff,” she said.
“I wanted to discover the differences and similarities between day care settings in and outside of the UK. The placement was incredible. The day care setting accommodated and facilitated the children fantastically. I genuinely don’t think I have seen a day care quite like it in my life.
“This placement will help me professionally in the future as my career will predominantly be surrounding children and childcare. My future is one full of new opportunities, including taking on a new job, which is the first step in my career to becoming a childcare professional.”
Fellow BSix student Hazera Hoque did a health and social car placement at the Richmond Centre for Disabilities, in Vancouver, a non-profit organisation focused on enabled those with disabilities to participate in their communities.
“This placement developed skills in communication, listening, administration, advertising, programme management, programme development as well as social media management,” she said. “We covered so much in our time here in Vancouver.
“I learned essential independent life skills here as well – all of my time was spent learning, during my free time, whilst doing chores, or in my work placement.”
SGS College student Jack Deegan feels that his IT placement will help him in the job market going forward.
Showing drive and independence
“This work placement will help me professionally in the future, as the work I completed relates to the field I am keen to pursue, most notably digital marketing,” he said. “It will help me stand out during job applications.
“Having the chance to travel the world and complete work experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and shows initiative, drive and independence.”
Nicola Smart, learning area manager for business, travel and tourism at SGS College, described the positive impact the trip has had on all of the students.
“They have come back like different people. When you have things like this on your CV, it is life experience you wouldn’t get in a classroom situation. The confidence it has given them makes students so much more employable.”
Find out more about FE/VET funding opportunities with the Turing Scheme