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The Corporation

Posted: 15/12/16

College strengthens European links

Work-related training has boosted vocational and language skills for eight learners from Finland and Germany, during a visit hosted by West Nottinghamshire College.

  • The group of eight soon settled into the college surroundings
  • Hairdressing apprentice Julia Korpinen with Oona Kaipainen in the Revive hair salon
  • Oona Kaipainen (standing) with Portland College students Megan Stapleton, Bethany Broadhurst and Abbey Broadhurst during a craft session

Apprentices in IT from Osnabruck Technical College in Germany joined hairdressing, health and social care and automation and electrical engineering learners from Jyvaskyla College in Finland for six weeks of work experience and time at the Mansfield-based college.

The learners from overseas had the opportunity to join classes with students at the college as well as work with local businesses to broaden their knowledge of the industries in the UK. It comes after students from West Notts visited Finland earlier this year as part of an Erasmus+ to the country and other European countries.

Juuso Oksanan, Samu Pummila and Väinö Huotari, who are all studying to be automation and electrical engineers in Finland, enjoyed a work placement with Mansfield-based Overton Electrical Services Ltd.

Juuso said: “Everyone was really nice and supportive and we got on very well, talking about how English people live and sharing jokes.

“We got to help with tasks such as installing new LED lights to the ceiling and cables inside the lamp posts. In our free time we visited Nottingham, Chesterfield and Mansfield, played games watched English TV and made food for ourselves. It was nice to see a different culture.”

Meanwhile, fellow students Emmi Hovi and Julia Korpinen brushed up on their hairdressing techniques working with students and clients at the Revive salon at the college’s Derby Road campus.

Julia said: “I’ve really benefitted from my time at West Notts. We have worked with a lot of clients washing and blow drying hair as well as doing a number of cuts and highlights.

“We’ve watched other students working in classes and have picked up a number of new techniques. Things aren’t that different to our lessons in Finland; we seem to be working at the same levels.”

Health and social care student Oona Kaipainen had the opportunity to work with students with learning difficulties and disabilities at neighbouring Portland College, Mansfield, where all the overseas students lodged during their stay in the UK.

Oona was able to assist students with craftwork and communicating with them. She also helped the learners at lunchtimes with their meals and care needs.

She said: “Back home in my vocational school I’m studying to be a practical nurse which is what I want to do as a career. It’s been great coming to England and learn how health and social care is taught here. I’ve been able to visit Nottingham too for a bit of shopping and everyone has been so nice and friendly during my stay.”

A further two students from Germany joined the group to undertake experience in IT with the college’s IT team.

Tom Hackmann and Marcel Sievers, who both work at Personal Computer Organisation GmbH in Osnabrück, were able to work with college IT technicians and take part in classes and workshops alongside IT students.

Director of IT and learning resources Gavin Peake said: “We’ve aimed to give Erasmus students a substantive experience, offering them real projects to see through from beginning to end. These will not only be valuable on their CV but also will expand their knowledge of the subject. 

“For the IT teams hosting the overseas students, developing new talent and mentoring them on projects has allowed them to expand their own skillsets.”

International co-ordinator Kadri Saat, said: “The feedback I’ve had from colleagues at the college and from local employers who supported with hosting has been really great. Everyone has been impressed with the level of English and mature attitude that has been demonstrated by our visiting learners.

“We’re busy planning for the return visits for hair and beauty, and catering and hospitality learners to Finland in April and ICT and TV media and film learners will visit Germany in May.

“There are plans for further visits to Denmark and Estonia for public services and construction students while engineering, health and social care and business learners will be on their way to France in spring.                     

“I’m delighted that Erasmus+ funding allows us to continue to offer these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to our learners.”