Camp America – student hones volunteering skills

After a visit to Camp Laughing Waters to visit two students there, Kevin O’Hare continues on to Camp Herrlich as he catches up with the students who have gone over to the United States to take advantage of an opportunity to work with Camp America, honing their employability skills as they look after and become role models to children at the camp.

Following on from my trip to Camp Laughing Waters, I paid a visit to student Erikas Gotovskij at Camp Herrlich on the border of New York state and Connecticut. The camp has a classic rural feel, with a beautiful lake for students to swim and kayak in. There’s a converted school bus which is an art room and, rather than residential stays, they do more day visit activities with children. Erikas has finished his first year of A levels in biology, maths and chemistry, and hopes to study medicine, with the eventual goal of becoming a heart surgeon. He believes this experience will give him the confidence to volunteer for placements in hospitals. Participants have the option of extending their stay, by up to 30 days, to further explore the US after they have completed their nine week placement. After the camp he is travelling for a month to Chicago, Ohio, Michigan and Rhode Island.

You can see a snapshot of what life on a Camp America placement is like here.

Keighley College welcomes new principal

Our Interim Principal Kevin O’Hare has been appointed as the new Principal of Keighley College.

Kevin took over from the college’s former Principal, Steve Kelly in December last year.

As interim Principal for the last four months, Kevin has made a positive impact in building relationships with both students and staff, which has contributed to, and is enhancing the college’s culture and presence in the community.

He has also played a key role in the college’s recent successes, such as hosting Keighley’s first ever TedX event. There has also been significant progress across the education institution’s A level, special educational needs and disability (SEND) and high needs provisions.

Kevin said: “What a brilliant four months I’ve had at Keighley College. I’m so pleased that I can continue on this positive journey with students, staff and the local community.

“I’ve been incredibly impressed with the aspirations of our young people at college. They have both embraced and made me feel welcome. It’s clear that our students have huge potential and I’m looking forward to leading the Keighley team to help deliver the best learning outcomes for them.

“I look forward to driving our culture of providing exceptional, responsive and life-changing education, skills and experiences for individuals, businesses and communities. This means ensuring that students gain the necessary skills and knowledge to progress to the next level, be it higher education, an apprenticeship or employment.”

Kevin has worked in the FE sector for 29 years. During this period, he has undertaken roles at every level of the curriculum. He has taught from entry to degree level, and has led, written and quality assured programmes across vocational, academic and apprenticeship programmes.

He joined Leeds City College, which is part of Luminate Education Group, in 1992 when there were limited options for creative learners in Leeds. With a small number of learners he helped establish a programme which has grown to include 850 learners over a range of subject areas.

He has an outstanding track record as a leader in education with a particular interest in Creative Arts and Digital programmes; his previous role was Head of Visual and Digital Arts at Leeds City College’s Quarry Hill campus.

Kevin sits on a number of professional boards and governing bodies, including as a Director of East Street Arts, and has worked with local organisations such as Games Republic, The Tetley, and Leeds Playhouse.