Article by Love2learn journalism students Geoffrey Mackett and Penny Tranter
For two years Kez Hawkins has been the face of the Bath College Students’ Union. This June, she will stand down from her post as president and hand over to a successor from the May student union elections.
The role has allowed her to grow in confidence, she said: “I am here to represent all students, and where change is needed or sought, I promote it to the college management.” She gets different ideas from students through Student Voice, and when these are practicable, they can make improvements to the everyday life of the college.
Kez confessed when she first took on the role it was scary, “I did not know the scope of the post,” she said. But she soon found her feet, and enjoyed it so much that she stayed for the permitted second year. “You make the job,” she said, having been persuaded to stand by her predecessor. “Having no plans at the end of my photography course, I used it as a gap year.”
“You are a governor of the college; you sit on the interview panels for senior staff. I didn’t understand the language that is used in the day-to-day management of the college, especially the financial aspects, so it was a steep learning curve.”
Kez said she sometimes finds it difficult to get students to voice their ideas when they are focused on coursework, but used novel methods to get these ideas known.
“My last one was to post ideas written on cards shaped like light bulbs, and then hung on a washing line,” she said, adding that the Students’ Union chalkboard is open for students to nominate themselves or colleagues for posts on the student union committee.
There are eight students who give time each week to support the president, which is a full-time paid post, four days a week.
Passionate about her time at Bath College, Kez praises the tutor from her photography course, who encouraged her. “I wasn’t a good pupil at school” she admits, “when I came to the college I had to re-sit my GCSE English, I didn’t want to go to university. I saw photography as a hobby, not a job, but I grew to love it.”
Now with the experience of her course and two years as President, she has a great CV which has led her to youth work. She explains: “Twice a week I am helping as an assistant youth worker in Bath, at the Riverside Youth Hub, and I love it.”
Now passionate about further education and young people, she hopes to do more work with young people. When she leaves Bath College in the summer, her first commitment will be a four-week summer camp with the National Citizen Service here in Bath. The first week will be a residential away from the area in the Isle of Wight. Kez will be balancing this work alongside work generated by the photography company she has launched.
Once elected, new team members, including the president will shadow current student union officers as they learn the role. The college is keen for more students to show an interest in these posts, which help with the running of the college and providing support to students.
To find out more about the roles click here.