Students ‘cashing in’ on learning opportunity

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ANGUS College has unveiled a brand new student led venture showcasing the best the college has to offer.

The College Shop was opened on Tuesday by chairman of the board of governors Graham Hay who cut the ribbon at a ceremony attended by the lecturers and students involved in the project.

The new shop, which is situated in The Pod on the ground floor of the Esk Building, will sell Angus College merchandise such as water bottles, hoodies and polo shirts.

It will also double as a swap shop resource for the students, allowing them to barter for items. For example, a student might wish to trade an old dress for a course textbook, or vice-versa.

The shell of the shop was constructed by college joinery students and decorated by the painting and decorating students.

Katie Anderson, student engagement officer, acted as the client and had each group work to a remit and coordinate with each other.

She said: “The project was about six months in total. We came up with the plan last summer. It took two to three months to tweak the business plan and then the students started the build in January. There’s such a lack of jobs out there and some students graduate without gaining any work experience.

“This gives their CV a bit of a boost.”

Student volunteers will also be involved in the day-to-day running of the shop, from customer service to cashing up at the end of the day.

The shop when not open will be used as a training tool for a wide spectrum of students. Kate explained: “The shop will be used as a retail learning environment and the ESOL classes have already booked in to improve their English.

“Also students with special development requirements such as dyslexia and dyspraxia will use the shop.

“To get students familiar with that kind of environment is brilliant for them. It’s better than pretending.”

The shop will also sell Fair Trade goods to help raise awareness of world issues. Katie added: “We’re hoping this is the kind of thing that makes them aware of Fair Trade and the global importance of helping poor farmers.”

Mary Reid from the Arbroath Fair Trade Action Group had also been invited along to the opening. She explained: “The shop is also going to sell Fair Trade snack bars that the students will eat.

“This whole thing is not just Arbroath but Scotland. There’s a big push for Scotland to become a Fair Trade nation. The Restaurant 56 is using Fair Trade and so is the shop now.”

Thanks were also given to Adrian Hill from Basecamp. Katie explained: “Adrian’s was the only business that got on board, he donated a till and some shelving.”

The distinctive logo for the shop was designed by modest first year art student Duke Etrim. He said: “Well I’ve got an iPad and I was just messing around with some software. I’m into typography. I just mixed all the fonts around and that was it really. Well it’s good because I only just started the arts course here and it would be really good if I wanted to move on.”

Both Mr Hay and the principal of Angus College, John Burt, gave short speeches to the assembled students expressing their congratulations on finishing the shop. Mr Hay said: “It’s always nice on such a miserable day to have a pleasant duty to perform.

“The Angus Centre of Enterprise was the start when it opened last year and this kind of project shows the initiative of the students and the lecturers starting up this venture.”

Mr Burt was also fulsome in his praise for those involved. He said: “I take my hat off to the students. I think this is a really exciting project and it’s totally down to the students. I’m very pleased. It’s great when a student project succeeds. It’s really great when you get to see the seed of an idea grow and it turns into something real. We need to recognise the support we’ve had from Katie Anderson, Steve Rennie and his joiners, Mike Swan and the painters and decorators and Duke Etrim from the art department. There’s been a tremendous cross college effort and our thanks to everyone for their great contribution.”