October 2019

UCB joins forces with Midlands colleges to launch Safer Student Charter

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University College Birmingham has joined forces with educational institutions throughout the West Midlands as part of a campaign to educate young people on issues such as gang violence and knife crime.

The initiative, supported by West Midlands Police and the West Midlands Combined Authority, has seen 21 colleges in the region work together to design a ‘Safer Student Charter’.

Announced in conjunction with Love our Colleges Week in October, the charter details a coordinated effort to give young people the skills to identify and avoid modern dangers and safety risks outside of their studies.

The collaboration will include a number of key themed events with continued activity planned to help make a positive impact on the safety, health and wellbeing of tens of thousands of young people across the region.

The group has already held a number of meetings to discuss areas such as young people’s perceptions of safety and strategies for preventing violence.

David Williams, Chair of the Safer Student Group and CEO of Halesowen College, said: "This new partnership brings together best practice that is already happening in colleges throughout the West Midlands.

"Our collaborative approach means that regardless of which college a young person attends, they will receive a fantastic academic, technical or vocational education partnered with insights and learning on how to avoid dangers that are more prevalent among today's young people.

"Our coordinated approach will allow us to share best practice and resources across the college network which will undoubtedly add significant benefit to students across the Midlands."

UCB lecturer and urban youth specialist Craig Pinkney, who is one of the UK's leading experts in tackling gang crime and youth violence, said the collaboration can provide mutual benefits for UCB and partner colleges around the region.

"UCB is at the heart of the city and many of our students and their families have come from communities affected by these issues," said Craig. "We have trained workers on how to respond to these issues and invested in research into social media and youth violence.

"Any institution can benefit from the way we operate and we can learn from others. There are many ways of responding and it requires a collective multi-agency, multi-institution approach."

Among the staff attending the Safer Student Group meetings on behalf of UCB were Neil McStravick, Student Welfare and Safeguarding Manager, as well as Phil Godwin, Director of Human Resources.

"It is great to see these 21 institutions across the West Midlands working in partnership," said Phil. "This will allow us to share information across the region about experiences and to ensure students know where to report any worries or concerns.

"Our University welcomes this development and we look forward to working further with our partners, the police and other organisations to make sure our students are kept safe, both on campus and while travelling to and from university."

The Safer Student Charter is not the first safety initiative in which UCB has been involved this year, with the University previously hosting a schools conference in January where children from across the West Midlands devised a manifesto to tackle youth violence.

UCB offers a number of courses for anyone interested in a career working with children, young people and families. Find out more about our range of courses within the School of Education, Health and Community here.

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