A local bus operator and newly-launched vocational learning college have collaborated on a joint initiative to help young people make their way to the learning facility, and a student from Stockton is helping make that journey even easier.
Delivered by Stockton Riverside College, the Skills Academy provides subsidised travel for students through its partnership with local bus companies. In order to help the young learners become familiar with their new bus route, and perhaps their first experience of travelling by bus, Stagecoach North East and The Skills Academy in Billingham have partnered together to create a video and treasure hunt which will help the young adults become more comfortable with travel.
16-year old Charlotte Stobbs, a child care student and student mentor from Hardwick in Stockton, who will begin her studies at The Skills Academy in September, volunteered to help with the project. To raise awareness of bus journeys and how easy it is to use public transport, the young student helped film the 20 minute bus ride on a number 36 service from Stockton High Street to the college on Marsh House Avenue, accompanied by Skills Academy Manager Lorna McLean.
The journey was broadcast live using Periscope, an application similar to YouTube and also promoted via social media platform Facebook to the college’s followers and potential new students. The video will then be edited and promoted at the college’s induction day, to help familiarise the new learners with the process of using a bus and places they will pass along the route. In addition, students will also be offered guided rides with student mentors such as Charlotte.
Lorna McLean, Skills Academy Manager, said: “For most 16-year-olds, parents have been the main mode of transport for getting around, so they may not have used bus before. We recognise that getting a bus can be strange and perhaps a bit daunting, especially with timetables and routes, so we are working with one of our travel partners, Stagecoach North East, to look at how our students could be more comfortable with coming to college on the bus. The video, which Charlotte is helping to film, shows how simple it can be to get from Stockton Town Centre to the college using just one bus.
“At the Skills Academy, we want to instil a greater sense of self awareness and confidence in our students through our nurturing, learning community. We pride ourselves on our pastoral care, and provide a mentoring programme to support our young learners in getting ready for the world of study and work. As student mentor, even before starting her own course, Charlotte has already helped us over the summer to get prepared for the start of the academic year, including helping with the bus journey filming.“