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On Friday 3rd October, Stephen Crabb - Secretary of State for Wales visited Pembrokeshire College to talk to Welsh Baccalaureate students.
Mr Crabb spoke at length about many issues facing young people in Wales today and, having risen from a local MP to a place in the Cabinet he was able to demonstrate that young people in Pembrokeshire can achieve their ambitions.
The Pembs Parents Have Your Say group has 500 members - a sign of how much interest there is in being involved in decisions that effect us and our families. Please take a look at the Pembs Parents Topic - designed to capture the ideas of parents about the thorny issue of unauthorised absence and school fines. VocalEyes allows us all to rate and debate each other's ideas. The information is anonymous on the front page and is designed to allow large groups of people to generate, rate and debate ideas to help decision-makers make more informed decisions. Please participate! We will be sending a report to the county council as part of its promised consultation process.
We've been doing a bit of cosmetic surgery to give your VocalEyes group a boost. This is not just about making the page look a bit nicer, it's about making VocalEyes easier to use.
For starters, we've moved the group name top left and you can see whether you're a member of the group right there. This is followed directly by the main menu and submenu, so users know exactly where they are and how to get where they're going.
We have shifted things about a bit so you don't have to scroll to get to your content and your topics, ideas and actions now stand out more on the page.
All in all there are dozens of tiny tweaks that add up to a more intuitive experience for your users.
You may have noticed a new item in the menu bar at the top of the page called 'Impact Blog'. We're collecting blog posts from different groups to create a fascinating insight into the impact that VocalEyes is having in different communities.
So, if any interesting interesting actions come out of your VocalEyes group, be sure to blog about it and it will appear here.
A big new addition to VocalEyes is the ability to translate it into different languages. At the moment, you can have any Language as long as it's English or Welsh.
If you are a Welsh speaker, we need your help. We've done a very quick, rough translation of the site and there are bound to be some errors. Join this group to share your ideas for improving our Welsh: http://vocaleyes.org/vocaleyes-yn-gymraeg
The College provides a number of courses for learners who wish to venture into the glamorous world of the beauty industry. Courses on offer include hair dressing, massage, make up and nail services. Learners can then learn the ' in's and out's ' of their trade from their early years and gain a wealth of knowledge and experience based advice from both their tutors and their fellow colleagues.
However, there is a rather large jump between theoretical knowledge and practical application. In many cases, skills are hardly as simple as they initially appear on paper. Pembrokeshire College has thus come up with a way to ensure that it's beauty learners are fully prepared in both the theoretical and practical aspects of their work and each have experience in their respective fields to give them the best chance of success in the world of work.
Hence, Pembrokeshire College houses a fully equipped Salon run by the beauty students in order to give them the experience the need, and the opportunity to try out their skills on paying customers.
We have all seen the popular political show 'Question Time', where politicians debate certain topics and are then put on the spot by members of the audience consisting of their most significant stakeholder - the general public.
Using this as their inspiration, the student -led Events Planning Committee launched their very own Question Time event, giving an audience of students the chance to grill the Principal, Assistant and Deputy Principal's and other members of the Senior Management. Team about the issues important to them. This was taken one step further, where after the QT had concluded, there was an interactive event where learners could vote on their preferred answers to a number of questions - similar to the "ask the audience" feature on the famous quiz show 'Who wants to be a Millionaire'.
Needless to say, this went down as quite a hit with the students and increased their level of satisfaction with the SMT as they could see open dialogue occurring.
A game of pool is a popular social activity during a busy college day. Thus, to accommodate this, there are a number of pool tables available for use to give as many students as possible the opportunity to play and enjoy their free time. However, due to limited space, these are no full size pool tables, so even though a suggestion for a full size pool table was given on VocalEyes, and initially considered, it was conclusively reached that there is not enough room for a full size pool table without the removal of some of the existing tables. This would have resulted in less tables available for play, a longer waiting time etc. So we have decided ' if it isn't broken, don't fix it!', and will leave the area as it is!
Each one of us has our own ideas of what we like to do to wind down. Whether it be letting off some steam playing a game of sports or learning a life skill such as a new language or first-aid, or even creative activities such as model making and or debating in a society can be therapeutic in their own ways. All if these activities have been organised on your lazy Wednesday afternoon as a nice break from busy stressful college life and to keep you motivated and invigorated. Also, for those of you re- sitting a GCSE or two, there are classes to help you get at the top of your game and ready to pass and do yourselves proud! Use VocalEyes to let the WOW team know if there are any other activities you would like brought to life!
Despite the beautiful sunny picture attached to this post, Wales is hardly known for its high temperatures and scorching sunlight. After a change in legislation, all smokers must now smoke outside, away from public buildings. the problem arises when nature takes it's course and hurls down rain for hours on end,... Where are the smokers to go? Unfortunately, after having priced up the smoking/ bus shelters to arrive at a potential cost of £80,000 ; the college has not found it feasible to provide these shelters for the students. Though many of you were understandably unhappy with this outcomes, you were all very understanding once the financial situation was explained to you. A big thank you for your maturity!
Students on a traineeship course fed back on ideas to improve their course. One pointed out that the PPE engineering overalls didn't fit the female students very well. The engineering department took this feedback and within a couple of days had sources new kit; student-generated Ideas into action powered by VocalEyes.
The college got straight onto their suppliers when female engineering students pointed out their boots were too big! Here's the suitably booted students putting their best foot forward. One small step for a student, one giant leap for womankind.
“Bring back the college choir! It has been temporarily cancelled and no one else has been approached to lead it. This was really successful in getting staff together across college.”
Such an activity is great for staff health and morale, encouraging motivation and cooperation among staff members. Over 200 staff spent the time to rate the idea with an exceptional average rating of 4.8 out of 5!
The newly assembled staff choir now regularly meet 4-5pm every Wednesday; organized by Tracy Saunders and Vicky Parr, and headed by Sue Howley as choir leader.
They recently made their big debut singing to you all at the graduation ceremony at St Davids Cathedral!
College students attending a traineeship course over the summer took some taster sessions in various areas within the college such as hairdressing, IT and engineering. They also participated in a scheme to test out using mobile technology - and learning Apps - on loaned tablet devices to enhance their learning experience. Photographed one of our trainees using the tablet provided.
VocalEyes was easily-accessible on the tablet devices and this ensured all learners had their say on the running of their course. The group contributed 21 ideas and also familiarised themselves with how to use VocalEyes. Empowered and participating in their learning,
Learner Voice has never been more important in helping the college respond to learner needs, communicating with specific groups and encouraging students to become active learners - and citizens.
These new graphs give you a quick insight into the level of activity in your group. They are also interactive - you can click drag over an area of the graph zoom in and look in detail at a shorter period of time.
If you are a group administrator, you will find them on your Stats & Reports page.