The reception area at City College Plymouth received an injection of colour last week thanks to an exhibition of artwork produced by Skills Development students.
The young artists, who are aged 16 to 19, were proud to see their work on display having studied colour and painting techniques in the weekly art sessions that form a part of their Vocational Options and Employability Skills programme. A giraffe, poppies, the Loch Ness Monster and owls were just some of the subjects featured in their work, which they completed on canvas using acrylic paint.
Tutor Sue Evans said: “The students on this course have moderate learning difficulties, disabilities or are on the autistic spectrum. During these art sessions, we encourage the students to develop their work skills, but to do it in a more creative way. They feel free to express themselves in their work, and enjoy the learning process.
“Art has a wealth of benefits for people with autism: it can improve their communication skills, develop their tolerance to unpleasant stimuli and boost their self-esteem. We are incredibly proud of the work our students have produced.”
The materials used by the students were funded by The Arts Society, which provided the students with a Young Art grant. Over the past few decades, The Arts Society has awarded millions of pounds to support programmes that seek to further the development and training of skills in the arts, crafts and heritage.
Plans are now being made to auction off some of the larger pieces, with the proceeds being put back into The Arts Society fund that the students are currently using to buy more materials.
Donna Westlake, a learning support assistant who worked with the students, said: “It is a joy to see how much our students progress through being creative. The pieces they have created have gone above and beyond our expectations, which were already very high. The students should all be very pleased with what they have achieved.”
Also contributing to the exhibition were students enrolled on the Monterey House programme, which provides a more bespoke programme of learning based on the needs of the student.
The Vocational Access and Employability Skills programme is designed to support young people with mild to moderate learning difficulties who are not yet ready to undertake a full vocational study programme.
For more information about the different opportunities offered by the College for people with learning difficulties, visit the website www.cityplym.ac.uk/ or call 01752 305300.