College guests talk crime and justice

Deb Leonard talking to students over Teams.

Students had the opportunity to take part in a range of crime and justice workshops, listening to guest speakers and inspirational talks as part of the College’s crime and justice week.

The online talks allowed students to explore potential careers, develop the skills they need for Higher Education or employment and enrichment for personal, social and professional development.

The main activity of the week was a gripping talk by Madeleine Black, author and public speaker who shared her personal and moving story to shatter the shame, stigma and silence surrounding sexual violence.

Madeleine said: “I was delighted to be invited to share my story with the students as I’m passionate about raising awareness of sexual violence and to help start the conversation around rape, consent, recovery and hope. It’s so important for all students to know that it’s ok to talk about rape and sexual abuse, to know that it’s not acceptable and where they can go for support.”

Speaker Hanif Mohammed, Assistant Manager of In2Change, talked to students about serving a lengthy prison sentence and how he has changed his life around to successfully deliver interventions to over 15,000 young people.

Gavin McKenna, the pioneer behind Reach Every Generation, spoke of his first-hand experience of gang culture; Gavin has quickly established himself as a leading figure in combating gang culture in London.

Roger Cheetham, an attempted murder survivor, drew on his own experiences and helped students see how the tools, techniques and methodologies he has used, has given him the resilience to overcome his traumatic past.

Former Rugby star Allen Langham shared his inspirational journey of how he overcame adversity and a life of crime to become the successful author, speaker and Chaplain he is today.

Think Forensic, a forensic events organisation, carried out engaging and interactive sessions on forensic science, linguistics, and techniques, geographical profiling and careers facilitated by experts from crime investigation backgrounds.

Sue Procter, Company Director at Think Forensic, added: “Think Forensic is made up of specialists in forensic science and crime investigation. We feel it is important to share our experiences with young people with a view to opening their eyes to either careers they may not be aware of or which they feel are out of reach. We hope to show them they can achieve and that there are opportunities for exciting and stimulating careers.”

Students also had the opportunity to listen to guest speaker Deb Leonard talk about her career in the police force spanning 30 years, culminating in her becoming police sergeant for counter terrorism. Deb said: “It is vitally important to give something back to support our young people today. They are, after all, our future. It has been a real privilege and a joy to share a tiny snapshot of my police career with students at Barnsley College during crime and justice week.”

Over the course of the week, students heard from other speakers from a range of professional backgrounds. This included Chris Gore, manager of Metro Bank in Sheffield; Jannete Walker, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at Barnsley CVS; Brian Cole, Senior Build Manager at Wilmott Dixon; Owen Gleadall, former Magistrate; Kirsty Morgan, Financial Well-being Officer at Virgin Money; Rona Whittet, Student Recruitment Officer at Abertay University; Charlotte Peel and Ashleigh Robinson-Beaumont from Irwin Mitchell and many more.

The sessions were organised by Jess Widdowson, Enterprise Team Leader at Barnsley College. Jess added: “This was our second consecutive year of running our crime and justice week, which brings together students from across the College to hear a number of enrichment style and career talks.

“This year was even bigger than last year, welcoming speakers from across the UK, giving students some real food for thought and a genuine insight into a variety of careers within the sector. We are working with businesses to lead the economic recovery and meet employers’ needs, both now and for future roles, by providing students and adults with the skills to succeed. I would like to personally thank all of our guest speakers and already look forward to next year’s event.”

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Last updated: 20th July 2021