STUDENTS from Middlesbrough College swapped lessons for leadership recently.
It was all part of the student “Takeover Challenge” in which 28 learners stepped up to take on the jobs of college managers.
Senior staff – across departments such as finance, marketing and the principal’s office – handed over responsibility for running of the college to the group who made big decisions about day-to-day operations.
The students all have ambitions to forge careers at management-level after their studies and the takeover day was designed to give them experience of what life at the top is like.
Steve Donnison, teaching and learning manager at Middlesbrough College, explained: “It’s unusual for students to find themselves calling the shots like this, but the Takeover Challenge provides students with opportunities and real experiences to do this.
“It’s part of a national scheme organised by The Children’s Commissioner for England in which businesses and organisations open up jobs for young people to try.
“In the College the students spend a day with a chosen manager from one of the departments and they’re given real responsibility.”
As part of the Challenge, students took part in the College Management Team – a high-level meeting of senior staff – helping to make key decisions about the day to day operational running of the college.
With support from the real managers the students also carried out some of the daily tasks that make sure the college runs smoothly.
Laura McKeown, 16, from Eston, spent the day in the shoes of Carolyn Kipling, Middlesbrough College’s vice principal – Finance and Registry.
The A Level student – who is studying Media, Art and Design and Psychology – was shown how the college’s finances are run.
She said: “Until today I didn’t really know much about what goes on behind the scenes at the college, outside of classes.
“It was interesting to find out more about what people like Carolyn do when they come to work here and it’s given me some experience that I can build on.”
Meanwhile 17-year-old Tom Kirby, from Marton, was given an insight into how the College’s Marketing department is run.
He worked with director of Marketing, Communications and PR Andrea Waller-Amos, on tasks including setting a social media strategy to drive recruitment to a particular course and competitor analysis.
Tom, who is studying A Levels in Maths, Business and Geography, said: “I really enjoyed the day, I wanted to get stuck in and really contribute – rather than just observing – and I think I managed that.
“Outside of studying I run my own businesses and the insights into marketing – particularly social media – will really help me with that.
“I’m hoping to go to university to study Football Business and Marketing, and the experience has made me sure that marketing is a good route to go down.”
And 18-year-old Kieron Ezard, from Thornaby, has ambitions to become a PE teacher.
He worked with the College’s deputy director of programmes – Sport, Travel & Public Services, Alan Shepherd, along with associate director of Sport and Recreation Janine Tyzack.
Kieron, who has ambitions to study at Leeds Beckett University, said: “It was really interesting to spend time with Alan as he put forward new ideas about course programmes to staff.”