EMPEX opens up bright future for digital students

Student Nathan Crossland tries out a virtual reality game
Student Nathan Crossland tries out a virtual reality game

Computer scientists at West Nottinghamshire College have had packed schedules during last month’s Employability and Experience Event (EMPEX) which was tailor made by tutors to improve their progression opportunities.

During EMPEX week more than 130 students enjoyed activities, advice on university applications, guest speakers and visits which were all designed to give them great networking experiences and new skills needed for employment and further studies.

Level two games development students visited the National Video Arcade (Game City) in Nottingham to look at the history of gaming, while level three students on the same course took a trip to the Arcade Club in Manchester, focusing on virtual reality and games development, comparing retro games with modern equivalents.

Guest speakers on the week included David Hartshorne, co-director of Mansfield-based company Dijitu.

Students also got the chance to pose industry-based questions to guests Dan Dolby of PC World and KnowHow and Tony Westwater, IT manager for Sports Direct.

Each group had the opportunity to get their CVs updated and improved and the level three groups took part in first aid training, achieving a certificate through St John Ambulance.

The college’s apprenticeship team were also on hand to talk about apprenticeship standards and how to succeed on apprenticeship assessments.

David Brockhouse, one of the students involved, said: “I’ve studied at university before and I’ve learnt that it isn’t just a course, it’s a whole experience.

“Getting stuck in and meeting people is a whole part of that experience and students should take advantage of that.

“The guest speakers gave us faith in the course we are taking and the industry we are entering, with visions of the future being mostly consisting of robots and computers we have all the opportunities available to us.

“I’m coming back next year to study the HNC/HND course in computing.

“I decided long ago because I just love the atmosphere in the college, the staff and students.

“I’ve made friends here and I know that the next two years in the university centre is going to be fantastic.”

Trudi Dean, curriculum manager at the college, added: “EMPEX was extremely well-received by the students.

“Having insight from our guest speakers from both industry and higher education has really motivated them to aim higher and encouraged them to explore progression paths that they may not have previously considered.”