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The Corporation

Posted: 09/05/18

Digital students enjoy EMPEX week

Computer scientists at West Nottinghamshire College have had packed schedules during this year’s Employability and Experience Event (EMPEX), which was tailor-made by tutors to improve their progression opportunities.

  • Nathan Crossland in a virtual reality world
  • Nathan Hibbert and Owen Blythe playing a mutiplayer game called PUBG.

During EMPEX week (16-20 April) more than 130 students enjoyed activities, guest speakers and visits out which were all designed to give them great networking experiences and new skills needed for employment and further studies.

The week was split into a range of themes, starting with Higher Education on Monday (16 April) when Lecturers from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Derby spoke to groups about the life of a university student. There was a range of advice given on the application process for university as well as what to expect from higher level assignment writing.

Covering the subject of games development both Level 2 and Level 3 computer science groups enjoyed trips out. Level 2 students visited the National Video Arcade (Game City) in Nottingham to look at the history of gaming, with a talk from a local games developer.

Meanwhile, Level 3 students took a trip to the Arcade Club in Manchester focusing on virtual reality and games development. They were able to compare retro games versus modern and benefited from talks from lecturers from the University of Derby.

Guest speakers included David Hartshorne, co-director of Mansfield-based company Dijitul. Students heard about David’s career journey and his job as a web specialist. He spoke about his company’s services which deal with everything from strategy, to search engine optimisation and design to domain name system management.

Students also got the chance to pose industry-based questions to guests Dan Dolby of PC World and KnowHow and Tony Westwater who is the IT manager for Sports Direct.

Each group had the opportunity to get their CVs updated and improved and the Level 3 groups took part in first aid training, achieving a certificate through St John Ambulance.

The college’s apprenticeship team were also on hand to talk about apprenticeship standards and how to succeed on apprenticeship assessments.

Student David Brockhouse said: “I’ve studied at university before and I’ve learnt that it isn't just a course, it's a whole experience. Getting stuck in and meeting people is a whole part of that experience and students should take advantage of that.

“The guest speakers gave us faith in the course we are taking and the industry we are entering, with visions of the future being mostly consisting of robots and computers we have all the opportunities available to us.

“I’m coming back next year to study the HNC/HND course in computing. I decided long ago because I just love the atmosphere in the college, the staff and students. I've made friends here and I know that the next two years in the university centre is going to be fantastic!”

Curriculum manager Trudi Dean said: “EMPEX was extremely well-received by the students. Having insight from our guest speakers from both industry and Higher Education has really motivated them to aim higher and encouraged them to explore progression paths that they may not have previously considered.”