My colleague Jemma and I were delighted to visit Coleg Gwent Crosskeys Campus today where the Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis AM, was presenting students with certificates for their participation in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Inclusion (SENDI) project pilot.
This European initiative, supported by ASDAN, aims to provide ‘an international standard for certificating vocational learning of those with Special Educational Needs, especially disabled learners’. The students from the Independent Living Skills (ILS) department have recently been working on the Fruit and Vegetable Co-operative; an enterprise supported by the Rural Regeneration Unit, whereby students provide high quality, low-cost fruit and vegetables to staff and students at the college. The pilot offered the chance for the department to accredit this work by generating evidence though photographs and supporting statements for each of the criteria in the framework.
Independent Living Skills lecturer, Victoria English, spoke very highly of the SENDI qualification, saying it provided "an excellent vehicle for demonstrating real transferable skills that can be utilised in the workplace” and that it would "demonstrate to employers the vast amount of untapped potential we have among this student body”. Victoria had prepared a short video showing the students’ recent activities and achievements including winning numerous awards, a trip to Poland and even meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Around thirty of the students from the ILS department have also been undertaking the ASDAN Diplomas in Life Skills qualification, based around the development of personal, social and employability skills. This qualification is aimed at pre- and post-16 learners working at Entry 1, 2 or 3; units include Independent Living, Personal and Social Development and Preparation for Work.
It was a pleasure to see how these inspirational students had developed their knowledge and skills through participating in both the SENDI project and ASDAN qualifications. The passion and dedication of the staff was very apparent and had clearly had a great impact on the progression of the students. On behalf of everyone at ASDAN we would like to congratulate all students and staff involved and we look forward to visiting again in the future.