Weston College holds largest academic conference in the South West | Weston College

Weston College holds largest academic conference in the South West

Yesterday, Weston College held one of the largest academic conferences in the country, inviting over 300 delegates to a symposium held in Weston-super-Mare’s Winter Gardens.

Guest speakers included David Eccles, EDF Energy’s Head of Communications for Hinkley Point C, who gave an insight into the developments and opportunities that Hinkley Point C offers to the College and local businesses. He said that EDF plan to “work closely with Weston College to help equip young people with the skills they need to move into technically demanding professions.”

This message was expanded on by Guy Hazlehurst, EDF’s Workforce Development Director, who said that he was “hugely impressed” by the College and its response and enthusiasm to EDF’s development. He went on to state that the Hinkley Point C was 5 times larger than the London Olympics and could lead to 50 000 jobs being created in the area, from hairdressers and caterers to engineers and project managers. “From start to finish,” Guy continued, “Hinkley Point C will be a 100 year project and EDF intend to work with Weston College for the duration.”


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Dylan Wiliam, Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London, spoke about the importance of maximising the impact of personal development, ending his speech by saying that “Weston College is amazing.”

Dr Paul Phillips OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College introduced the event and gave a detailed insight into the future approaches by Government for the world of Further Education. He spoke of the concept of area review, the brilliant academic results at the college coupled with his own anecdotal interpretations regarding change management. He concluded with praise for all the staff and students of the college and said, “It is awesome to see the whole Weston College team together to celebrate and share the outstanding teaching practises that go on throughout the College. As ever, we put the learner first in everything that we do and we enter the new academic year with reward focus and energy.”

The event’s organiser, Claire Bushell – Weston College’s Executive Director in charge of Learning Resources and Quality Improvement – said: “The teaching and learning conference is all about looking at the key issues that academic staff will face in the future. It is an amazing opportunity for staff to come together to listen to internationally renowned speakers that will hopefully inspire their teaching in the next academic year.”

Workshops followed the keynote speeches and the College departments set up stalls around the edges of the Winter Garden’s ballroom, allowing lecturers to meet, exchange ideas, share enthusiasm and swap tips. The workshops’ topics included: The Art of Conversation, The Next Frontier, My Former Life, Educating Britain and The Bridge.

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