Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies
“THERE’S A HUMILITY ABOUT US; A WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT THAT WE’VE NOT ALWAYS GOT ALL THE ANSWERS”: HOW YOUR VOICE IS DRIVING CHANGE AT CONFETTI
Flexible hours, wall work, and tasty veggie options – Head of Learning and Development Nat Goddard talks us through some of the student-led changes at Confetti.
I’m the Head of Learning and Development at Confetti. I’ve been here eleven and a half years, and I’ve seen a lot of changes in that time. It’s a far more responsive place now: we’re wise enough to know that we don’t always think and feel the same way our students do, and so we really want to hear their views and opinions. Equally, we also want to share our own, because we feel that collaborations are more useful than wish-lists.
There are lots of ways for students to feed back their thoughts to us. Day by day, it’s about having good relationships with their tutors and support staff, so that they can talk honestly about whatever’s on their mind. That’s why we always try to be as approachable and accessible as possible. More formally, we also have student and module surveys, and course committee meetings. Then there’s the termly student forum, where all the reps come together to talk about Confetti-wide issues that affect the whole community. Recently, we’ve started inviting managers from non-academic departments – the Hospitality and Tech teams, for example – so that our students have got direct access to those areas. That means they can often get their issues resolved straight away, which is great.
The student voice has influenced so much of what we do here – from the curriculum, right down to the look of Confetti HQ. We held a number of meetings after the new building opened, and the most common request was to get students’ work on the walls. That tallied with what we wanted to do – to put some colour and life into what was already an amazing building, and make it feel more like it belonged to the students. Seeing their work on public display creates a lot of pride, and it’s really empowering.
Similarly, it was the students’ voice that encouraged us to extend the opening hours in some of our facilities – especially in Metronome and Space 2. Because the request came FE and HE students alike, the uptake’s been phenomenal. We might look at extending the hours even further in the future. The students are delighted with the new arrangements – they know it’s going to benefit the quality of the work they produce by giving them that hands-on experience away from the classroom, which is part of Confetti’s ‘Do it for Real’ philosophy.
The students also helped to increase the menu options in our café – specifically, by expanding our vegan and vegetarian range. The feeling was that there weren’t enough options, so we made a couple of changes. Firstly, we recruited a new chef who’s a specialist in vegetarian cuisine, with a great track record. And secondly, we enhanced our “grab and go” options – things like sandwiches and salads – by moving to a new supplier. The quality’s improved, and we’re able to make orders in a way that’s more responsive to demand, which means less wasted food. The issue we’ve got now is that the veggie and vegan options are so good, the meat-eaters have started buying them – it’s a good problem to have, though!
In summary, we’re always listening. You can’t grow from 1100 students to 2000 in just a couple of years without doing that – without making sure people’s thoughts and feelings are being properly considered. There’s a humility about us, I think; a willingness to accept that we’ve not got all the answers, and that we’ll take the time and care to find them out.