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Skill up and get media savvy
Two of Pip's students editing their work
Katie Boulders and Emma Ford
An award winning video producer is teaching adults with learning disabilities to make TV and radio programmes.

Pip Critten says the skills they learn in a production team can help them tackle the world of work with confidence.
Find out about Pip Critten's video work

More on Pip's current video project

Plymouth CFE teaches students about beer

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Plymouth College of Further Education

Courses for adults with learning disabilities

North Devon College

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Students learn video and radio production, and photography.

Teaching is geared to individuals' abilities, and students learn to work both individually and as a team.

The skills learned are transferable to a variety of posts in the world of work.

Some students go on to study media skills in more depth.

All students leave the course with a piece of work they can be proud of.

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Pip Critten wins awards for his documentaries. His latest two videos won silver diplomas at the Cotswold International Film Festival.

But he doesn't just spend his time behind the camera. He also teaches at the Plymouth College of Further Education, for a programme called "Skills for Working Life".

This helps students with learning disabilities to gain the skills they need to survive in the world of work. And Pip uses video production to help them.

"I do the filming, but they do everything else," explained Pip.

Pip advising one of his students
Pip Critten with student Tom Phillips

"The students decide what they want to make a film about, they research it, make all the arrangements for locations, and then they invite an audience to come and preview the film."

Pip says the students haven't fitted into the mainstream education system, and he's found making video and radio programmes give them skills that help them find work.

"It's a combination of individual and team work, and we don't just use video but also radio and photography.

"The resulting work is something they can be proud of. It often turns out better than work produced by mainstream students.

"These students are totally dedicated, and some of the work they've done has been commissioned and is being used as a teaching resource."

Today's class sees eight young adults focussed on their computer screens in the media suite at
the Goschen Centre. It's their second session with Pip, and they've been asked to take photographs on a number of themes.

Mark discusses his work
Mark Brown

Mark Brown is 18, and he enjoys media studies. He likes taking photographs and planning what he's going to do.

"We were told to take a picture of some stairs and make them interesting," he said, "so I tilted the camera a bit. I think it's worked."

They now have to decide which is their favourite image, and to explain which one they've chosen and why.

Pip's past students have organised filming at the Warner Village and at the MOD police HQ. The work is geared around the abilities of each individual.

Some of the videos produced by past groups have been used as marketing and teaching resources. "College Life" is used to show school pupils what life is like at the CFE - from the point of view of the students.

One ex-student of Pip's went on to take a GNVQ in media and is now in his second year of Advanced Vocational certificate in Education.

David hard at work
David Newby

"Skills for Working Life" uses courses like this one to help the students grow in confidence and to work both individually and as a team. They can also opt for painting and decorating, gardening and car mechanics.

Pip says he enjoys teaching his students. "It's such a buzz. They're so dedicated and they give everything to the course.

"I feel it's a bit selfish of me in a way, as (don't tell my boss) but I don't work. I enjoy myself for a living!"

Article written: 27th September 2004

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