Students Staff

20 October 2015

Challenge takes students to heart of local government

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 11:35 am
Students at County Hall

Essex Challenge Project students at County Hall

A group of Essex politics students have seized a valuable opportunity to learn at first-hand how local government works, as part of a new joint module between the University and Essex County Council.

The module is based around a Challenge Project, called Reinvigorating Essex, to be undertaken by the students, allowing them to gain an understanding of how local government works.

The Challenge Project, which is made up of three streams, will task the students with researching questions and producing proposals on how to unlock economic growth, revitalise civic participation and improve community resilience across the county.

An Insight Day at County Hall in Chelmsford last week allowed the students to gain an overview of local government in Essex and the many services the County Council provides, as well as finding out about the challenges facing public services.

The Challenge Project will see the students ultimately producing a think-tank style report which will be used by senior leaders and commissioners at Essex County Council to help inform decision making.

Director of Employability at the University, Dave Stanbury, said: “This project offers our students the opportunity to develop valuable workplace skills while building a network of contacts.

“Visiting County Hall and having access to high level briefings brings the project to life and embeds the students’ learning in a realistic context, helping to prepare them for professional and personal success.”

Jodie Sheridan, one of the students, said: “I’ve always wanted my future job to be one in which I’m influencing people’s lives in a meaningful way. It was the main reason I decided to be a part of this project, as it represents a direct experience in local government, as well as giving me some insight into who and what makes up government. This was something I previously felt was quite mysterious.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Essex on this project. It will allow students to not only progress their studies with new insight but also perhaps forge a future career in local government.”

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