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The College of North East London (CONEL) was transformed into a film set last Friday when learners, staff and a professional media crew set about making a new video aimed at encouraging school leavers to go on to Further Education.

This project sprang to life from a student/governor meeting when learners commented on the difficulties they faced when making the transition from school to college. To address these issues and break down some of the barriers to learning CONEL decided to make a true to life, informative and contemporary video packed with young peoples’ views on the ups and downs of college life.

The script author and director Stefania Marangoni, a lecturer at the college and professional filmmaker commissioned by the college to produce the video, kept the content authentic by writing alongside learners and incorporating their own experiences into the story. “I wanted to make the video as accessible as possible. Young people are more stimulated by images than text and they will be able to watch and relate to the stories featured. It was also great to give current students the chance to work with professionals on the shoot – such valuable work experience.”

In fact, the Camera Assistant and Camera Trainee for the video are both ‘Creative Connections’ graduates from CONEL whilst the Production Assistant is currently studying for the same course. (This award winning qualification is designed to train people for technical jobs in the media, such as camera operators, video editors or sound recordists in TV, video or radio). Another former learner who now teaches at the college was in charge of sound during filming. The Actors were all current CONEL learners – it was a real college affair!

It is hoped that this video, primarily addressing the needs of young black and ethnic minority learners, will help to show young people between 13-17 who would ordinarily drop out of education that they have other choices. The number of suspensions and expulsions for this group is disproportionately high.

The finished piece ‘Step up: making the transition from school to college’ will be made available to local schools, sixth form and Further Education colleges and careers services from October this year. Both learners and staff from CONEL will also visit local schools using the video to stimulate discussions about Further Education. Feedback from these sessions will be used to refine the footage and cover issues that may have been missed.

Notes to editors:
1. For more information on the video and its availability, please contact Stefania at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2. The Creative Connections course won a National Training Award (NTA) in 2003 for lasting excellence and success through training and learning. For more information on this accolade please go to www.nationaltrainingawards.com
3. Find out more about the Creative Connections and other new media courses at CONEL by visiting www.conel.ac.uk or calling our course information hotline on 020 8442 3055.

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