IT course WOWs students

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 January 2004


(2004), "IT course WOWs students", Education + Training, Vol. 46 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

IT course WOWs students

IT course WOWs students

A flexible information-technology (IT) course aimed at people who would otherwise be excluded has won a south-west regional award in the National Training Awards. Weston College, in Weston-super-Mare, introduced its WOW – World of Work – programme to reach lone parents, the long-term unemployed, people with a history of mental problems and those who have completed drug rehabilitation. Its success can be measured by the fact that the 19 people completing WOW so far have found jobs or are continuing training.

WOW was the brainchild of Dr Paul Phillips, who was appointed Weston College principal in 2000. One of his aims was to offer a quality, modular-learning curriculum that was inclusive.

Normally if the start of a course is missed, potential students must wait another year. Under WOW, trainees can enter the course at any stage. WOW is run twice a year and anyone applying between courses can join a pre-WOW programme of flexible learning until the next course begins. The college runs workshops during college holidays for learners, like recovering addicts, who require continuity.

The modular 28-week course is timetabled over three days a week, with learners able to use the college's drop-in facilities to practise and reinforce their learning. Class teaching, individual learning with tutor support, group activities and role-play are all used to deliver the IT training. The trainees learn CV writing and self-marketing skills in weekly tutorial sessions.

"We were overwhelmed with applicants and initially took 26 on to the course instead of the 16 originally planned," said Dr Phillips. Every student achieved at least three qualifications. There was a 100 per cent achievement on many of the qualifications taken, including computer literacy and information technology. Ten people achieved Level 2 qualifications and four achieved Level 3 in text processing and word processing.