Environment-friendly students shine at the Bexley Eco-Fest

A group of eco-enthusiastic business students from London South East Colleges have been working full-pelt towards this year’s Bexley Eco-Fest as part of a unique work experience programme.

On Saturday 17 October, Cory Riverside Energy and London Borough of Bexley delivered, for the second year in a row, the highly popular event, albeit virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, and with an online programme focussing on sustainability and wellbeing in the community.

The students were enlisted to help market and manage the festival by developing the official website, shooting and editing videos and publicising it online.

Business students Dima Condratchi and Iuliana Grecu, both from Erith and IT student Mariam Bolaji from Thamesmead were amongst the enthusiastic volunteer participants who helped to make the Eco Fest a such a huge success.

Dima would like to work as a store manager in the retail sector one day and hopes to follow up his course at College with an apprenticeship. He said: “This is my second year working on this project. Obviously, last years’ experience was very different to this due to the current measures put in place to combat the coronavirus. In 2019 the work was more physical and ‘on location’ compared to how we have had to operate this year. Since early September we have been having to become more creative and work around many obstacles – promoting and hosting all the activities online. I have to say though, it’s been highly enlightening, and my digital skills have taken a major boost.”

Iuliana would like to work in the banking sector and is also considering an apprenticeship to take her to the next level of her career. She said: “This is another real-work experience I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in and I too have come away with far more insight, skills and knowledge than what I had before. Not only that, but it’s also been brilliant working with the people from Bexley Council and Cory Riverside Energy to pull this whole thing together – I really feel like I’ve achieved something.”

Mariam has ambitions to become an IT consultant helping firms to build infrastructure and online business through e-commerce. She volunteered to acquire work experience, enhance her communication skills and to build confidence ahead of entering the UK’s fiercely competitive job markets. She said: “Though I’ve taken quite a lot out of this project, I think the most valuable part for me was being part of the team to design, build and roll-out the festival’s official website. There is so much involved in terms of structuring the site and populating it with engaging content – as well getting the functionality correct and making it as user-friendly as possible. I’ve also learnt lots more about the environment and care for our planet too.”

Fiona Cummins, Cory Riverside Energy’s Community Learning and Development Manager, worked directly with the students from the very start of term. She has been very impressed by the sheer passion and devotion they have shown. Fiona said: “The students were a huge help in organising the Eco Festival. In the run up to the event, they offered great ideas, assisted with marketing and website development, and created video content for the day itself. The experience will have given them some useful insight into both business and event management. In joining the wrap-up call to reflect on the event’s successes and possible improvements, the students are also aware that the work does not stop once the event is over. We hope we can work with them again on future projects.”

It’s been brilliant working with the people from Bexley Council and Cory Riverside Energy to pull this whole thing together – I really feel like I’ve achieved something