At Futureworks we endeavour to create a warm and friendly learning environment that welcomes and is accepting of students of all backgrounds and capabilities. Promotion of diversity in our student culture is an important part of our ethos: we consider a rich and diverse student body a privilege and benefit to the learning environment of our organisation. As part of this commitment, we perform an Annual Diversity Report to identify where we can enhance our provision, and to hold ourselves to a higher standard.
A central focus as part of our remit as a Higher Education Provider is to build an inclusive community for all our staff and students. Below are some of the ways we are currently trying to achieve this:
- Futureworks students are thought of as being Futureworks Student Partners, as they are invested in the enhancement of their education and, as such, the status and opinions of our partners is held in the same regard as those of our colleagues. Elected representatives from the Student Partners express the viewpoint of other members of the student body by acting through formal communication channels, committees and working groups.
- Student Feedback is greatly encouraged and regularly received, which gives students a clear voice in the organisation. In addition to the views of the student representatives, feedback is received from all students via Module Evaluation Questionnaires and Student Experience Surveys. The results of this feedback provide us with valuable insight, which in turn enables us to make any necessary adjustments to both programmes and learning resources, and also to helps with the dissemination of Best Practice.
- We promote engagement and interaction between students not just in class but also through the MyFutureworks virtual learning environment, to help to promote an open and accessible student community.
- Futureworks has tailored its courses and employability programmes to the creative industries, which typically attracts a wide range of individuals and can be very beneficial to those of differing capabilities and also to those who relate to the Autistic Spectrum.
- Futureworks regularly runs short-term workshops to help develop skills for students in the nearby community who show high potential and a desire to later move into Higher Education.
- Futureworks heavily endorses Multi-Mode Learning. As the courses we offer are typically creative in nature, so are the forms of learning offered. Students have the opportunity to learn by both observation and participation in studio sessions. Depending on the subject being studied, many student activities can range from anything from using our motion-capture facilities at our Media City studio to Outside Filming Projects and even participating in large scale gaming competitions. These activities help promote the engagement of all our students and can help encourage the participation of students with Specific Learning Difficulties and students on the Autistic Spectrum.
- Statistics show that women working in the creative industries are under-represented when compared against the number of male employees. The Futureworks Annual Diversity Report has identified that this imbalance is mirrored in our recruitment and enrolment, and has affected our overall intake of female students. As a result we are currently working to increase our outreach activities to promote to more female students in order to help us provide a more enriched and inclusive Student Community and to support the diversity of the Creative Media Industries.
- We offer several Pathway Courses that enable students to progress through Higher Education. These courses include: *Diploma in Audio Engineering and Production – pathway to BSc Audio Engineering and Production, Game Audio and Music Production, *Diploma in TV & Film Production – BA Post Production for Film & TV, BA Independent Filmmaking, BA 3D Visual Effects *Diploma in 3D Modelling and Animation, Diploma in Game Development, Foundation in Game Art – BA Game Art, BA Games Design, BA Digital Animation with Illustration and BA Graphic Arts and Design.
As outlined in our Equal Opportunities Statement (http://futureworks.ac.uk/equal-opportunities/), “Futureworks is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality. We aim to foster a culture which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes inclusion, and values diversity.” We uphold this ideal regarding both staff and students throughout the education process and to the employment of individuals who attend our organisation. Futureworks follows both statutory provisions and organisational policy to uphold and protect that ideal.
Accessibility and Support
As part of the learning experience here at Futureworks, we have integrated a number of measures and services to support students of all capabilities. The following is a selection of just some of these provisions made as part of the Futureworks learning experience:
- Running Start Provision. Straight from the beginning of the learning experience, students who would prefer a quieter environment with increased support can begin the induction process at a more relaxed pace a day earlier than our set day for induction as part of our Running Start provision.
- All students have access to Personal Tutors. Appointments with Personal Tutors can be booked in advance by phone, also a facility to message Personal Tutors with queries is made available via the MyFutureworks system.
- Reasonable adjustments can be made to the learning experience for any student who requires extra support.
- Student support is not done on a “one size fits all” basis, we tailor our support to meet the needs of each individual student.
- Reviews of the support for individual students are done throughout the year.
- Supplementary to learning in lesson time, course learning materials are also published on our virtual learning environment “MyFutureworks”. We appreciate that being able to look through learning materials over again helps support students of all learning abilities.
- 1 to 1 sessions with staff are available to all students should they require them.
- Following feedback from our students, some of our facilities are now made available for increased hours to provide additional access to resources and provide opportunity to develop coursework.
- If a student advises our organisation that they have specific religious requirements, we endeavour to make reasonable adjustments and provisions where realistically feasible.
- SPLD Stickers. When submitting coursework, students with specific learning difficulties can have SPLD stickers attached to their coursework in order to ensure the work submitted is marked against SPLD guidelines. This is done to ensure that all appropriate consideration is taken in the marking process and to enable equality.
- Where the individual circumstances of the student require it, permanent extensions for coursework can be granted for the duration of that student’s education at Futureworks.
- A Hardship Bursary is maintained to help students in extreme circumstances. If issued to a student, help can be provided regarding travel, accommodation and SPLD tests. Although not part of the Hardship Bursary, when warranted in isolated circumstances the option of loans have been considered.
- We heavily promote Flexible Learning and upon discussion with members of staff, we can make accommodations appropriate to a student’s requirements.
As part of our commitment to improving the accessibility of our facilities to disabled students, the following are examples of some of the measures we have taken so far in order to meet this objective:
- Installation of disabled ramps on the ground floor.
- As part of the re-fit of the building, lifts have been fitted nearby the main access point to the facility.
- There is a staff point of contact for all individual with disabilities via our Student Services Department.
- Reasonable adjustments can be made to for individual students i.e. Alternative Access to the building.
We are dedicated to ensure that as well as receiving an enlightening and rewarding education, our students also receive preparation to help increase their chances of employment in their desired sector following completion of their education at Futureworks. Some examples of activities include:
- Continuing Development Education is embedded as part of all courses as standard.
- Continual Development weeks are held each semester to help develop our students employability skills.
- Futureworks holds a range of industry connections and many of our tutors have years of industry experience. Introduction via Futureworks can help promote relationships between students and representatives of their desired industry.
- An exciting way we help connect students to the industry is our very own Futureworks Music In-House Record Label. Established back in 2011, the label has since been helping Futureworks Students and Alumni distribute their music productions to the worldwide marketplace. Details of the programme can be found on our website http://futureworks.ac.uk/about/futureworks-music/ the label website itself can be found at http://futureworks.ac.uk/about/futureworks-music/
- An Industry Newsletter is published monthly to keep all are Students and Alumni up to date with the very latest industry information and trends to help promote their industry awareness.
- We are currently in the development stages of a new Industry Advisory Group. The following four areas will form the basis of the groups interaction with industry:
1. Academic module delivery e.g. Do they reflect or deliver on professional requirements?
2. Integration of current industry developments into the curriculum.
3. Understanding of academic value in a commercial context of transferable skills, known as Added Graduate Value – AGV.
4. Investigation of the most effective way of facilitating developing partnerships and work experience e.g. live projects.
- We believe participation in this group will ensure students receive the most industry relevant education we can provide and will help develop lifetime industry contacts.
- Guest Lecturers from contacts in industry occur regularly and give a good insight into good practices and developments in the industry. Guest Lecturers are also sourced from Futureworks Alumni which help to showcase the opportunities available following completion of an education through Futureworks.
- We maintain a comprehensive careers section on our website to assist our students on their future endeavours.
- We are very proud of our Alumni and are always keen to remain in contact with them once they leave Futureworks and assist them throughout their career and in outside projects. We maintain a Futureworks Alumni Linkedin page to promote Alumni communication and to provide a place where students can regularly find recently posted job opportunities and career guidance resources.
Ensuring our staff members are aware of our students needs and know how to help them is an ever developing part of our staff training. Below are some of the key programmes our staff members are currently training upon:
- Mental Health Awareness
- Autism Awareness
- Mental Health 1st Aid England
- Training on “Definitions of Equality & Diversity” and “Supporting Students”.
- Prevent Duty
We feel this training helps staff members gain a better understanding of the needs of our students and helps them to provide support to all of the members of our student body. Additionally this promotes greater access for students to our institution knowing they can be safe in the knowledge that are staff are equip to meet their needs.