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BMet students are being challenged by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop an innovative digital solution to promote the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of young people.

The live project is being run by the Career Colleges Trust in partnership with AWS and The Samaritans. The judging panel also has representatives from London Sport, Marylebone Cricket Club and UK Active.

The students are being joined by other Career College students from Barking & Dagenham, BMet, Coleg Gwent and Westminster Kingsway, all of which have digital Career Colleges.

The aim of the initiative is to give the group of 16-19 year olds an opportunity to work on a real industry brief, while supporting and raising awareness of this important issue for The Samaritans.

In addition, The Samaritans will be visiting each of the four Career Colleges to help young people with the topic. In particular, they will be giving guidance about how to deal with the growing issue of male suicide, the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.

Bogdan-Valentin Fuiorea, an IT student at BMet said:“Projects like these are unique. You do things you wouldn’t normally do like present your ideas to an audience of hundreds.  You also get to know and work with different people, building connections for the future.

The 19-year-old continued: “Mental health is not an easy topic to be open about, especially suicide.  Measures should be taken so that younger generations know there are people out there for them who they could talk to.  It will be good to come up with technology solutions that help everyone in schools and colleges learn to be more comfortable talking about it.”

Graphic design student, Sarah Asim commented: “It’s easy to say that communication is what makes a team successful – this live brief will show us how.  I’m responsible for putting a powerpoint together that we’ll use as part of our final pitch to the competition judges.  It’s not just my work – I’m relying on everyone else for input. 

“This is just one area where good communication and collaboration comes in.”

Fellow graphic design student, Aaliyah Shaw added: “This live brief is something that will stand out on my CV.  I’m the team’s vice leader and project planner.  I’m an organised person anyway so I like the idea of making sure everyone else sticks to our plan.

“With all of is being involved in the final presentation and pitch, the whole project is a change for us to develop and improve.”

The full project brief was unveiled at a special all-day session, recently held at AWS HQ in central London. The eight-week challenge was explained and students also heard from each of the organisations involved, receiving valuable insight about the health and sports tech industries and the many technologies currently being developed.

Students will be working in groups of six on one of three proposals. These proposals were chosen from over 500 ideas submitted by Career College students in the first stage of the project – with the winners presented with Amazon Echo vouchers at the briefing session.

Welcoming students to the briefing at AWS HQ, Digital Director at the Career Colleges Trust, Julia Von Klonowski, said:

“This is the third year we have run a live project for our students in partnership with AWS and I am delighted that The Samaritans and the other partners have joined us this year.

“Working on such a worthwhile challenge is an amazing opportunity for Career College students. Not only does it offer first-hand experience of the real world of work, it gives them access to industry experts and insight into the many jobs and opportunities available within the digital sector and beyond.

“Our project theme of Wellbeing is hugely important at a time when mental health issues in our society are increasing. The use of technology to promote emotional and physical wellbeing among young people is an important approach and I look forward to seeing the many exciting and innovative ideas that our students come up with.”

The task must be managed and run in exactly the same way as any other ‘real’ industry project. Students will have two project meetings with the client during the eight weeks, focusing on design, finance and the project plan.

Representatives from Career Colleges Trust, AWS and The Samaritans will sit on the project board, joined by representatives from UK Active, London Sport and the MCC on the judging panel.

The student teams will return to AWS’ offices in March to present their solutions, with prizes to be awarded to the winning projects.

Chris Hayman, Head of UK & I Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, said: TBC

“We are excited to be supporting the Career Colleges Trust and its students for a third year, with the aim to inspire the next generation of digital technology experts in the UK.

 “Introducing young people to the latest and most innovative cloud technologies is critical for both today’s workforce and the workforce of the future.

“We know from the previous two years just how talented and creative Career College students are and we can’t wait to see what innovative ideas they develop to support The Samaritans on this very important issue of wellbeing.”

Samaritans Service Development Manager, Karen Harvey, said:

“It’s crucial that young people have the opportunity to shape resources that are aimed at their age group, as they know best what will work. This project is a great opportunity for the Career College student to explore how technology can support their peers. Samaritans have developed resources in consultation with young people and we are excited to be part of this project and to see the innovative ideas that are being developed.

“Samaritans DEAL resources, Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening (DEAL) are designed to develop skills to support young people, so that they can build their own emotional resilience and navigate the challenges life throws up, while supporting each other. It is essential to get the message across early that it is okay to seek help if you are struggling and highlight the different ways you can do this.”


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