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Colleges Week stories reveal inspiration behind students’ love of learning at York College

The inspirational role of colleges is being celebrated by York College students as part of a national week-long awareness event.

Colleges Week, which runs from Monday (Oct 18) has inspired a number of students at the College to reveal what led them to courses as diverse as Stonemasonry and Media Make-up, and what they hope for the future.

Despite lockdown bringing a tough year for students across the UK, Aidan Carey, 17, from York , not only adapted to remote study to continue his three A Levels, but also managed to start up his own fashion label.

“The support I received while we were all working remotely was fantastic,” he said. “It really instilled values of time management and self-discipline. My Art course has also really helped me to develop an understanding of the design process.

“I put my spare time into doing something I’ve always wanted to do, and I set up my own fashion label. I designed my first collection of t-shirts and sweatshirts, set up a website, created brand advertising and researched the entire logistical process. It has been a steep learning curve, but I want to work in fashion. York College has been immensely supportive of this ambition and has provided a valuable first step for my career”.

Fellow student, Andeif Abubakr, 19, came to the UK two-and-a-half years ago, as a refugee from Sudan.

“Starting at York College in 2019, my English soon began to improve, he said. “My first year wasn’t easy but I definitely developed a lot in that time. I’m now studying GCSE Maths and English and I’m also part-way through my IT course.

“College has given me a lot of help, not just in learning English, but in building confidence, finding friends and helping me in my goal of getting to university. I want to study IT and eventually go into IT support”.

Matilda Austen, who is studying Foundation Degree (FdA) Media Make-up, Special Effects & Hair Design, is on track to achieve her career ambitions.

“It’s a career path I’ve wanted to take since I was at school.

“I started out on a beauty therapy course before moving up to the Media Make-up degree. I wanted to gain more confidence and broaden my skills before I head out into the industry, and being in College is certainly providing me with all that.

“The course covers absolutely everything I know I’m going to need to break into the industry – whether I choose to go into film, television, or theatre.”

Adult student, Rioghan McTeighe-Day, is currently one month into a Stonemasonry level 2 course, which he combines with a job at a quarry in Tadcaster.

“I already had an affinity for stonework after working on a farm in Wales where I built dry-stone walls then, while travelling, I worked on the facades of homes in Mongolia,” he explained.

“Although I’m only one month in, my course at York College has grounded me in the basics and fundamentals to working in stone as well as Health and Safety, and geometric drawing. But it’s also helped develop essential life skills. I definitely feel as though I’ll be able to apply what I’m learning here in College, to a career in stonemasonry.”

Lee Probert, Chief Executive and Principal of York College, said: “It’s always great to have an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work colleges do in setting people of all ages on a successful course in life.

“Colleges Week gives us the opportunity to do that, and to celebrate where we take students, whether it’s work, T Levels, apprenticeships, Higher Education or just the confidence to live independently. It doesn’t really matter what the ambition is – it’s about the focus on progression.

Hear more from staff and students about the inspirational role of our College as part of this national week-long awareness event...