Enterprising Students at Northern Regional College

Tuesday

Northern Regional College students at the College’s Ballymoney campus made a successful foray into the cut and thrust of the world of business with a fundraising project in aid of the Cancer Fund for Children. Route2Work, Aspire2Work and Workready are among the inclusive programmes offered by the College for students with learning difficulties or disabilities. As part of their course, Route2Work students complete an enterprise unit to get practical ‘hands on’ experience of what is involved in bringing a product to market.

Lecturer Elaine MacAuley explains: “The students researched a variety of gift ideas before deciding to make a range of handcrafted Christmas gifts to sell to family and friends at home and staff and students on campus. They were completely sold out of everything within days and all proceeds went to the Cancer Fund for Children, the class’s nominated charity. 

“These courses are designed to build on skills and knowledge the students may already have to help prepare them for the world of work or to progress to another further education course.

“The students cover a wide range of subjects and different skill areas depending on the their interests. These can include customer service, food safety and hygiene, food and drink skills, local history, citizenship, identifying car parts and car washing.

“The idea is to improve the students’ employability by building on skills they already have and helping them to develop new ones. They also work towards improving their numeracy, literacy and ICT skills which helps them progress to other courses.

Elaine continued: “Last term, one of the students, Ethan Redmond, who is also the class rep, suggested we get involved with the Students’ Union’s ‘All Wrapped Up for Christmas’ fundraising campaign to raise awareness and money for the Cancer Fund for Children.  I felt that the charity would be a worthy beneficiary for the proceeds from the sale whilst providing the students with more publicity and support for their event”.

“Ethan had been involved in a variety of fundraising events before and his enthusiasm rubbed off on the others with the entire class getting involved in organising the Christmas Fair. It was a real team effort and everyone contributed to the success of the project, whether it was carrying out market research, designing and making the Christmas gifts, or getting involved in promotion and selling.” 

Ethan, who spearheaded the students’ fundraising efforts, said he really enjoyed the experience. 
“I did some fundraising for different charities by myself before so I knew it involved a lot of work. It was great working with the others in the class and doing the Christmas Fair was a really fun way of covering the different learning outcomes.”

The Route2Work Christmas sale raised £233.09, making a significant contribution to the College ‘All Wrapped Up for Christmas’ campaign which raised a grand total of £1070.27 across all campuses.

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