Reporter 432, 1 March 1999

Strengthening connections to the outside world

A pioneering database of commercial opportunities for the oil and gas industry has been developed by a final year geography student. Hannah Love demonstrated the powerful applications of the new tool to senior managers of Petroconsultants-MAI while on work experience at the company. "I showed them what it could really do and changed their attitude towards the software," she said.

Fellow student Richard Haynes also took advantage of the 20-credit module offered by the geography department. Mr Haynes spent his Christmas break working for Shell in Nigeria.

"It was long hours and hard work but I found it very interesting," said Mr Haynes, perhaps trying to make a good impression on his father, a senior director within the company.

Despite being available in over three- quarters of departments, only one in two students takes the work experience offered as part of their course. Following recommendations in the Dearing Review, the Government is trying to extend the nature and range of work experience in higher education. A University seminar for teaching staff aimed at encouraging students to participate in course-related work experience has been scheduled for March 22.

The one-day seminar begins at 9.15am. For more information contact Gerald Aylward in TLSU on ext 4097.

The University's city and regional office has relaunched its activities with the local community under the umbrella title 'campus connect'. Staff and students regularly carry out a range of activities with local schools and community groups, including tutoring in schools and organising campus visits.

Over 200 students volunteered their services in the last academic year. Second year English and classical literature student Carla Stimpson was one of 100 students who acted as classroom assistants.

"Carla was excellent, she showed initiative and reacted well to the children," said Victoria primary school teacher Angela Allison. Computer science finalist Dan Weaver also helped out in local schools, organising after-school IT clubs with a dozen of his colleagues.

Other activities in the new campus connect initiative feature students mentoring, delivering workshops and carrying out projects for local organisations as part of their courses.

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