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Association of Colleges Conference Celebrates Student Social Action

21 November 2016

It was a happy coincidence that the annual conference of the Association of Colleges (AoC) came the week before #iwillWeek, which celebrates social action by young people. This is because it gave us the opportunity to highlight, and give well deserved publicity to, the volunteering undertaken by our students. The theme of my speech to the conference was ‘colleges work for everyone’. One aspect of this wide ranging role is that ‘colleges work for their communities’ and are often a critical part of the social infrastructure of their area. I specifically mentioned the tens of thousands of students who undertake social action in their community, giving their time and expertise to support people in need of help. They also gain valuable work experience and material to support their CVs and interviews. An example is AoC Sport’s work with the Football Association. Through this over 150 student ‘football activators’, from dozens of colleges, successfully engaged more than 17,500 young people in sport. The conference was also the place where we announced our annual Student of the Year Awards and our Beacon Awards for outstanding colleges. Again colleges and students involved in social action featured highly. Two students – Jack Whitmore from City College Brighton and Hove, runner up in the 16 to 18-year-old category and Michal Kolanski from Craven College, winner of the 19-years-old and over category are active student volunteers. Michal is a student in public services and as well as enjoying social action, he hopes it will help him secure his dream of becoming a Police Officer. Weymouth College, won the Beacon Award for Sport in the Curriculum for inspiring students to achieve, develop and excel through sport, health and fitness. The college’s school of sport and public services provides and promotes sport and fitness activities and competitions for all students at the college and also, through student volunteering work, for the wider local community. The AoC Conference truly demonstrated the power of social action and that college students really do Step Up to Serve. Ian Ashman is the President of the Association of Colleges