This ‘Spotlight On” features the “Be Engaged” programme created by the Students’ Association and the Learner Engagement Team at New College Lanarkshire, designed to increase the engagement of students in a wide range of activities outside the classroom and provide them with awards which recognise their participation, complementing their formal education and enhancing their employability prospects.
It was launched in 2016 and has been developed to become a highly popular programme for students; it has also built strong relationships with organisations and employers in the local community. The programme focuses on eight themes with a range of activities and volunteering opportunities aligned with each of them:
- Be educated….. peer mentoring, pathways to university, school ambassadors
- Be heard….. student elections, class reps, college surveys
- Be motivated….. volunteering and fund-raising
- Be skilled….. teaching, workshops, skills competitions
- Be healthy….. sports clubs, healthy living initiatives, mental health
- Be environmental….. recycling, wildlife, community safety
- Be respected….. ethnic minorities, disabilities, anti-bullying
- Be entertained….. media, performing arts, live events
The programme has been promoted through student online portals, email, students’ association social media and college campus posters. The Be Engaged portal enables students to develop ideas for initiatives to be part of the programme, sign up for activities, track and update their participation in the programme and claim awards. Awards are based on levels of participation and are made at Bronze, Silver or Gold.
Since the programme has been running, around 10,000 students have engaged with the resource, with over 650 already in receipt of awards. The overall programme has increased levels of student engagement across all campuses and has given students opportunities to widen their college experience and improve their employability skills.
The programme has been recognised by a range of national and local organisations such as:
Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire – “The Be Engaged Programme will prove to be hugely worthwhile in presenting New College Lanarkshire students with greater opportunities to engage in vital community work. It will allow local organisations to benefit from the wellspring of talent that exists in the college, while offering students the chance to gain experience, learn new skills and hopefully instilling within them a lifelong appetite for volunteering”.
Jamie Hepburn MSP – “New College Lanarkshire is to be congratulated for its Be Engaged Programme. Getting involved in activities outwith the formal learning environment is a wonderful thing for students. Anything that is done to better recognise the extracurricular efforts of students is to be warmly welcomed.”
At the sparqs Student Engagement Awards in March 2017, Be Engaged was winner in the category “An initiative led by a students’ association in partnership with their college which has made the most impact on the enhancement of the student experience.”
View the category webpage to see them collecting their award.
For further information about Be Engaged, please contact John O’Hara, Senior Learner Engagement Officer at New College Lanarkshire firstname.lastname@example.org