After eight excellent weeks, the Ladders course concluded on Thursday with the final presentation, giving the students the opportunity to showcase the skills they’d learnt throughout the course and present the project they had been working on.

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After introductions from TICE Founder and Director Jennifer Barrett, each of the programme mentors took their turn to introduce the work from their course. First up was Chloe Rodham, who gave the audience a brief rundown of what the students had got up to throughout the Film & TV course. From guest speakers to day trips, Chloe explained how these sessions helped educate the students on the different aspects of the Creative Industry and how they helped them to develop their projects.

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After this it was time for a quick Q & A with some of the students. Peter, Sisley, Andrew and Heather took to the stage to give a better understanding of what they learnt on the course and how the programme helped shape the direction of their final project. Andrew described how he and his collaborative partner Maxine used their shared interest in academics and backgrounds in Fine Art and English Literature as inspiration for their project, while Heather expressed how the course had sparked her interest in animation and that she hoped that, once completed, her stop motion piece could be added to her show reel. Peter and Sisley articulated how, through the course, they were given priceless advice from Chloe as well as the various guest speakers and also mentioned that they took inspiration from the Arcus Animation promotional video, which was shown during the master class in Week 6, when thinking about the tone they wanted to set for their own project.

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Then came the big reveal – the students’ projects. With many of the students choosing to collaborate, there were four videos to watch, which were introduced by Chloe as “interesting and different.” The range included promotional videos for future and developing companies, stop motion animation and a spoken poem piece, all of which were executed to a high standard! It was incredible to see how the students had incorporated things that they had learnt over the past eight weeks and created such wonderful pieces of work.

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Next up it was time for Music mentor Sam Burt to discuss what his programme had entailed. Taking it back to the first day he explained how the students were tasked with drawing where they currently saw themselves, including their strengths and weaknesses, with the hope that they could improve over the eight weeks, something that they certainly seemed to have achieved.

Sam commended the students on their ability to work together as they often had to share equipment and facilities like the recording studio. Introducing three of his students – Tom, Matt and Froggy – it was wonderful to hear the goals they had set themselves and, after listening to the incredible tracks they had made, what they had managed to achieve. All of the students said that this was a stepping-stone for them to continue progressing in the music industry and they seemed extremely grateful for the opportunities they have received from doing this programme. Froggy explained how the support of Sam and the other students had encouraged him to record a track in the studio while Tom has gained some work experience from teaching guitar at one of Sam’s other projects! It really shows how this programme doesn’t just help to create a piece of work, it can give people the confidence to do things they wouldn’t have otherwise done and opens up more doors for future opportunities.

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Finally, it was time for Phil Jeffes to present the work the Software Development students had produced. After explaining the different programmes they had learnt about and the companies they had got to visit, students Hannah, James and Josh were introduced. With three very different projects, it was remarkable to see how they had managed to make such an encouraging start on their work.

Hannah designed and programmed an inviting website for a friends company which was ready to simply add content, describing how she used market research on design trends to decide on the theme. James made a skeletal base for a game called ‘The Dare’, which he described as a choose your own adventure style horror game. Demonstrating the varying elements of the game, he also added that he created a plan of what he intended to include with more time. With aspirations of working in video games, James initially hoped to add to his C.V. with this programme but ended up thoroughly enjoying it while doing so. Josh then showed his work, an idle game ideal for playing when you need a break from something, demonstrating the different levels and upgrades of the game and how his skills have developed.

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Before the night was over, there was a quick chat from Youth Focus, who worked with some of the students from the various courses, as well a few others, to create Ladders Champions. They explained all about the Open Badge Academy, a creative tool to capture learning where you can log your skills and experiences and show what makes you different to other people, something that would be beneficial when applying for jobs in the future. When all of the talks were completed, we were all treated to lots of celebratory pizza and given the opportunity to discuss the showcase and talk about upcoming opportunities.

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After seeing how amazing the projects turned out, it confirmed just how the past eight weeks have been. Hearing from the various guest speakers and getting to use professional equipment certainly gave the students the inspiration and tools to create work of an exceedingly high standard and also got them thinking about how they can move forward within the Creative Industry. Having worked with some wonderful people, it really is sad that the course has come to an end but the options on offer for the students certainly don’t stop here and this is hopefully just the first step on them following their ambitions. I hope you have all enjoyed keeping up with these posts and learning about what goes on during the Ladders course, it has been a pleasure to document this experience and I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have writing them.

By Olivia Carr (TICE Blogger).