When a group of Nescot students were asked to choose who they would vote for if the election was today – they produced a hung parliament, mirroring the current predictions of the polls and media.
Introducing them to Democracy Day at the College, Director of Learner Services, Jacqui Udy, invited students to vote on a series of questions using electronic keypads which tallied the results into percentages, depending on the student’s answer. One question, ‘Learner voice makes things change?’ was greeted with a very positive response from the students.
Local Councillor, Jean Smith, explained what her varied role within the community entails and Frances Rutter, Chief Executive Officer of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, also took a few moments to discuss her job with the students.
Visiting the Epsom & Ewell Council Democracy Bus which was situated outside the Student Refectory, the students were given a mock ballot paper to complete, whilst Democracy Day organiser, Louise Basso, Leisure & Youth Development Officer, was on-hand with her colleagues to offer advice about the voting process and answer any questions from the students about how and why they should register to vote.
Amadou Bah, Nescot student and Chairman of the National Learner Panel, addressed the students next and explained his role representing students in the UK and the work of the National Learner Panel. Amadou volunteered himself as a member of the forthcoming Nescot steering committee tasked with setting up the NUS at Nescot for September.
Students then put themselves forward as potential Nescot NUS Committee candidates, and a hustings took place where each candidate was given the opportunity to persuade their peers to vote them onto the committee. Votes were then cast by their fellow learners in specially-constructed polling booths and, as lunchtime beckoned, the votes were counted and the results were confirmed, before the following successful candidates were announced:
- Jodie Clarke
- Charlie Jackson
- Amadou Bah
- Katie Bennett
- Peter Ali
- Marc Penman-Bixley
New NUS Steering Committee member, Charlie Jackson, spoke of his excitement and pride at being elected by his student peers:
“At first I was nervous speaking in front of everyone and explaining what I’d like to do as their representative,” Charlie said. “But I’m very happy that I was elected as I understand their concerns. I hope to make the college a better, cleaner and safer environment for all – not just for students, but staff and public too.”