The innovative new Life Skills Centre at Aylesbury College has been unveiled at a special ceremony today, celebrating one of the first specialist education programmes of its kind in the country.
The cutting edge facility for young people aged 16 - 25 with learning difficulties was formally opened by Cabinet Member Mike Appleyard, in front of centre staff, students, and students of Furzedown School
The Life Skills Centre, which started teaching students in September, provides a new learning experience designed to help young people become more independent and work-ready, as part of a new, progressive educational programme for Buckinghamshire. The Centre offers personalised, bespoke learning designed specifically around each student’s needs and learning interests. Students develop key learning and life skills such as budgeting, staying safe, travelling and healthy living. Students also benefit from training and education in work-based subjects and college courses of their choice, such as computer programming.
Mike Appleyard said: “I am thrilled to be able to formally open the Life Skills Centre, which has been specially designed and personalised to meet the needs of its students. It gives young people with quite complex learning needs a unique mix of academic or vocational education together with crucial skills to help them with day-to-day living – which is already improving outcomes for the students who come here.”
Kieran Rolston, a student at the Life Skills Centre who was baking cupcakes for the event, commented: “It’s a very good Centre. It’s a good place to learn and make friends. It is important for me to be near family because family is the only real wealth in the world. Before coming here, I was quite uptight, but I’m more relaxed now. Learning to bake helps me with a dream I have which is to own a restaurant. When I come here I have feelings of happiness, joy and confidence. It is important to be here because the past is behind you but the future is not yet written. The people here are like angels helping you along.”
Pauline Odulinkski, Principal of Aylesbury College explains further: “Aylesbury College is passionate about supporting young people in securing the best skills and education for adult life and is excited about this innovative facility. The Life Skills Centre allows us to provide education opportunities, with the benefits of our Integrated Learning Campus environment, to young people who might not otherwise have had them. This is a completely new way of providing education and training but we know there is great demand in the county because the building was doubled in size from the original plan.”
Mike Appleyard also presented a prize to students of Furzedown School who named the building. The ceremony was followed by a celebration cream tea prepared especially for the event by the students at the Centre.
The new Life Skills Centre, along with the New Ways Centre at Amersham & Wycombe College, comprise the Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) programme, a collaborative project being run by Buckinghamshire County Council in partnership with Aylesbury College and Amersham & Wycombe College, disability charity Macintyre No Limits™, Chiltern Way Federation schools, Amersham advocacy group Talkback and other key partners in the community. It is one of the first local authority programmes nationally to design and adopt a partnership approach among local education providers and specialists to fulfil student needs.