Rotherham: College staff forge ties with Europe with Bulgarian visit

Staff from Rotherham College with pupils from Gramada school in Bulgaria
Staff from Rotherham College with pupils from Gramada school in Bulgaria

Rotherham College has been helping to improve the skills of young people from the Bulgarian town of Gramada in the Vidin Province, including young people from the Roma community.

The project is run in partnership with the lead organisation Equal Chance for Children at Risk and a social enterprise called Phoenix Inspire and Phoenix Café.

The project gives members of the local community the opportunity to gain meaningful jobs through training, skills acquisition, education and personal development. The scheme is part funded by the European Social Fund aims to boost social inclusion and employability of young people in the Vidin region.

Staff from the college spent five days in Bulgaria, with Rachel Nicholls (assistant principal), Christine McManamonm (deputy head of department caring professions, science and land-based industries) and Phil Callus (curriculum leader in catering and hospitality) all making the trip.

During the week, the Rotherham staff saw how education is delivered in Bulgaria by observing lessons at a local school, visiting a children’s home, giving advice in the Phoenix Café and participating in a seminar discussing social and educational inclusion strategies.

The trip was the first in what is hoped will be a long-term partnership with staff from Phoenix Inspire and Phoenix Café.

A group from Bulgaria will be visiting Rotherham College to see how they motivate, support and inspire young people who attend the college.

In particular focusing the on the cookery and catering courses delivered at the college.

The visit will also include a trip to a local school and children’s’ centre.

Prior to the visit students fund-raised for the school in Gramada by carrying out a number of activities including tombola, a raffle for a sweet hamper and first aid lecturer Alex McAuslin having his head shaved, whihc all raised a total of £347.

Rachel Nichols said “Visiting the school in Gramada was an amazing opportunity and experience. To see how much the teachers and pupils achieve with limited resources was very humbling. We are really looking forward to their return trip and continuing to work with them to share experiences and expertise in particular around engaging vulnerable groups.”