The Higher Education team has begun a weekly seminar by volunteer teachers that invites students to hear about the passions behind the profession. ‘Passion Project’ allows Sixth Formers to gain an insight into the hobbies, interests and things that make teachers tick. The idea is for students to realise ways they can improve their emotional wellbeing outside of their studies at school and subsequently at university.
On our visit, early on a Wednesday morning, design technology teacher, Mr Stuart Holes regaled those in attendance with his penchant for creating reconditioned campervans in old-model utility work cars. Using his skills as a printmaker, industrial designer, builder and graphics whizz, Mr Holes has spent much time and effort turning vehicular rocks into diamonds. Each campervan is unique, complete with audio-visual equipment, colourful interiors and amazing exteriors with cool graphics.
Sighting patience, composure and problem solving as the necessary skills required to get the job done, Mr Holes emphasised the importance of finding something outside of your usual day-to-day to manage stress.
“At times, I found myself stressed at work and needed something to take my mind off it - something that was just for me. Working on the campervans took me to my happy place, and this positive energy translated into other areas of my life too,” he emphasised.
This message is the reason why Associate Director of Higher Education, Ms Racheal Walker conceived and enacted Passion Project in the first place.
“Any teacher can sign up to share a skill, experience, travel story, or even a monumental disaster, with the Sixth Formers. Passion Project requires no academic focus but conveys a message worth considering. We often talk a fair bit about failure and resilience with this year group, so tales of resilience and fortitude are great for these young adults to hear,” she claimed.
With a presentation set for every Wednesday until well into the second term, students are bound to hear about something that enthrals and enlightens them.
“On the horizon, we have talks from a range of different staff on a vast number of topics such as Bob Dylan, fossil hunting and a Bolivian death road, to name a few! We are really looking forward to hearing about them and seeing how the students react,” Ms Walker insisted.