Hundreds of students from across The Trafford College Group have spent the day in the virtual company of some of the most inspirational innovators, survivors and risk takers from across the globe at the Association of College’s (AoC) first ever live Student Conference, #CollegesLive.
The #CollegesLive event presented FE students with the opportunity to explore the themes that have dominated in a year like no other – social justice, climate change and overcoming adversity.
Hearing from a host of inspirational speakers, including the 10th man on the moon, a Holocaust survivor, an up-and-coming rap star and a youth climate change leader, students left the one-day event with better team working skills, a greater understanding of how to overcome obstacles, and a range of different tips and tools to help them become more resilient. As the world around them changes rapidly, students were also given a rare opportunity to ask questions about what the future holds.
Midge Ure OBE, Singer/Songwriter/Producer, co-Founder of BandAid / LiveAid & Ambassador for Save the Children, shared what he has learned from a lifetime of campaigning, as Band Aid and Live Aid brought together artists, activists and politicians to push for change for over a decade. He commented:
I am delighted to be a part of this first ‘Colleges Live’ conference. An event which motivates a young person to be creative and engaged with their future will be a great asset as they move on to the next stage of their life”.
Guest speakers at the event were specifically chosen in relation to discussions, debates and protests in the UK and across the globe. From tackling the climate emergency, to systemic racism or running a successful campaign on many social justice and equality issues, each speaker could resonate with young people’s ideas, concerns or hopes for the future.
Charles Duke, Astronaut, was a critical part of NASAs space programme during the height of the space race. He helped to guide Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins as they touched down on the Moon in 1969. He also became the tenth person to ever step foot on the moon himself.
Other speakers included, Ana Carolina Corrêa – Global Climate Change, who is on the frontline of the battle against the climate emergency, and Jerri Williams – an African American FBI Special Agent who overcame many obstacles and prejudices to become a leading female FBI agent working to improve diversity and inclusion in the FBI.
98 year-old Edgar Feuchwanger, a German?British historian and a neighbour of Adolf Hitler until he and his family were forced to flee Germany, shared his story of witnessing the rise of Nazi Germany first-hand.
Edgar’s story taught GCSE student Malik Adam about overcoming hurdles in life. He said:
I learned that even though life pushes you hard, the important thing is to be able to take in a lot from life but keep pushing back as hard as possible and never give up. We live in a peaceful country, but we have to appreciate what we have got and remember people who fought and died to let us be here: thank you to them.”
Meanwhile, Ellie Thompson, who is studying Maths, English, Psychology and Citizenship GCSEs, took tips from the varied life paths of the special guests. She said:
#CollegesLive appealed to me because I was able to delve deeper into the different backgrounds of each speaker and find out more about the stages they went through to get to the places or careers they are in today. They really helped me understand the different steps I could take to achieve my goals and career dreams to be successful later in life.”