Arts Derbyshire


Former Derby College Group student recognised in national Student Green Commitment Awards

Laura Smith, a former student at Derby College Group (DCG) who now works at the College as a member of their teaching staff, is celebrating after being awarded runner up in the national Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Student Green Commitment Award at the Student of the Year Awards.

The awards celebrate the truly unique students from AoC member colleges across England who deserve recognition and will go on to inspire others. The Student Green Commitment Award is given to students who have made a significant impact on sustainability, biodiversity, and/or green skills at a national, regional, local or community level.

Laura was a worthy finalist. And is now involved in the upcycling qualification at DCG.

When Laura applied for the Introduction to Upcycling Course at Derby College Group she was already running a craft business, mainly making items from recycled books. However, she felt she would benefit from joining a course where she would meet people and collaborate, and she chose upcycling as she was already interested in making items from scrap.

The course provided an introduction to upcycling, promoting experimentation in creating items from different scrap materials, all sourced from a local charity.

The AoC commented “Already having crafting skills, there was a degree of differentiation required to stretch and challenge Laura within the group through peer mentoring and extension activities. Laura’s infectious enthusiasm had a positive impact on the whole group. She was full of brilliant ideas and encouragement. Even when her ideas didn’t quite go to plan, she has the ability to reflect and evaluate in order to rethink things and see where improvements can be made. She would create new and innovative items from the materials being used each week. She produced some lovely items.”

Derby College Group advertised for Community Learning teachers and Laura was encouraged by her tutor to apply. She is now on a teacher training programme and delivering some Introduction to Upcycling sessions at the College.

Laura said of her Awards Evening experience “I had a fantastic time at the AoC conference yesterday, I am very proud to be a runner up.

“The whole experience of being in the final has been brilliant. During the evening, so many people came and shared their views with me on sustainability and others congratulated me on raising awareness.

“Even though I didn’t come home with the award, DCG have made me feel like a winner with all their support and encouragement, and now I can really see our green commitment coming together at the college and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow!”

And if you like to make beautiful items from scrap materials and would like to explore your creative side with upcycling crafts, DCG is now taking applications for the course in January: Introduction to Upcycling/Crafting.


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