19 November 2015

ABC Awards has sponsored students on vocational qualifications to enjoy an exciting work experience at the Association of Colleges (AoC) annual conference.

Learners studying catering, floristry, event management and journalism have supported the AoC delivery teams to make the three-day event and gala dinner a success both front of house and behind the scenes.

Floristry students from South Staffordshire College were selected to decorate the balcony of the main exhibition hall and provide student-made centre pieces for the AoC's gala dinner, held on Wednesday 18th November.

The students created 120 contemporary floral centre pieces for the dinner and were also creating live corsages in the exhibition room on Wednesday.

Leanne Westwood, a Level 3 Floristry student said:

"I'm really loving the experience; it's the first big event we've attended and we've had a lot of people visit our table in the main hall to see what we are doing."

William Simmons, a fellow Level 3 learner added:

"Everyone who stops by the table has told us how good they think the work we're doing is, including some pretty important-looking people!

"We're also really proud of the centre pieces we've made for the gala dinner. I can't tell you much as I don't want to give anything away, but they're very contemporary and made to give people the "wow" factor."

The two students are both currently employed alongside their studies but would like to have their own floristry businesses one day, with dreams to work with the world's best flowers.

"It would be great to get experience seeing the wholesale production in Holland," Will explained.

"All the best flowers in the world are grown at the auction in Amsterdam and Dutch floristry is unbelievably good."

Leanne agreed: "The standards of creativity and technical application are very high and the European style is quite different. It would be amazing to experience it."

On the Wednesday evening, the AoC gala dinner was served by students from Derby College, while learners at Derby College, South Cheshire College and Eastleigh College provided kitchen preparation support for the dinner.

Paul Eeles, Chief Executive at ABC Awards said:

"Learners are at the heart of all that we do and it's important to give them the opportunity to enhance their skills in a real-life environment.

"We have been continually impressed over the course of the week with the high standards delivered by students, from event management, floral displays and the excellent dinner service we received at the gala dinner on Wednesday evening. Congratulations to all the students who have helped made this week a success."

To find out more about the AoC annual conference from the perspective of journalist work experience student Diana Read from Birmingham Metropolitan College, please click here.