Students and staff at Derwen College are in the running for a prestigious business award after reaching the final and welcoming judges to the college.


Students from the specialist college near Oswestry demonstrated how app technology is supporting them in their work placements when they met judges from Shropshire Chamber Business Awards.


The college is a finalist in the prestigious county awards, and students and staff were keen to welcome experts to show them how technology is used to aid students in their learning and work placements.


Judges were welcomed to the Gobowen college’s on-site Premier Inn training hotel for the final judging stages. The college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities has been shortlisted for an award for its development and use of innovative new apps and supporting website in the Chamber awards Technology, Enterprise and Innovation category.


The college, working with app development companies Hunter Bevan and Starfish Labs, has developed apps for phones and tablets which prompt students, guiding them step by step through the skills necessary to make up a hotel room to industry standards. Easy-to-follow instructions are broken down into individual ‘routes’ such as stripping and making the bed or cleaning the bathroom. These prompts can be viewed on tablet or mobile as a video with audio instructions, with written words and pictures or written words and Makaton sign language symbols, depending on students’ preferred method of learning.


The college is also in the process of developing apps to support students in other work environments to prepare them for work after college. The next phase of app development is an employer-focused app supporting businesses in employing people with additional needs.


Neil Bevan, director of Starfish Labs and ‘Industry Champion’ for the college – who has been instrumental in the development of the apps – also met with judges.


Derwen College Marketing and Communications Manager Tonia Davies said that the college was delighted to be able to showcase the innovative Premier Inn app which has been in development over the past year.


She said: “Students enjoyed showing the judges how they use this unique app to prompt them in their work skills at our training hotel and on their off-site work placements in Premier Inn. We hope that the judges could see the far-reaching potential of this app and others that we have in development, and have our fingers crossed for the finals.”


Republished courtesy of Derwen College