King of Confidence

Whether heading off into employment, taking your first steps into university life or simply having the courage to send something back in a restaurant, confidence is a trait we all need but too few possess.

Students from Truro College and Callywith College were given the opportunity recently to build their confidence through workshops led by Edward Rowe, aka The Kernow King, who is a renowned Cornish comedian, actor and festival headliner.

The Kernow King and Truro College students

The workshops were sponsored by Next Steps South West (SW) to help students learn transferable skills that will benefit them in the future. The focus of the sessions was on improving communication skills, boosting confidence and learning to work together in a team - skills that are vital for any student progressing onto higher education. 

Heather Venables, Outreach Officer for Next Steps SW commented: "Edward admitted to the students that he used to be shy when he was younger, but he has overcome that and has a truly successful career as a performer."

"He is passionate about giving back to the local community and working with students, and as such, he is a great role model and inspiring to the students. The workshops helped to boost the confidence of students, and watching some of them transform was a real privilege. One student started the session by whispering his name and trying to avoid eye contact, and at the end of the two hours, he gave a stellar performance in front of the group."

Kernow King and a Truro College student

Ed worked with the students to improve their self-confidence and communication skills

Callywith Drama Lecturer Clare Underwood, who was also involved in the workshops, said: "Drama can be a really useful tool for students who've not opted for the subject at A Level. Transferable skills such as public speaking and creative solution solving are all skills that can be developed through role play and group work."

"Students were able to understand that some employers include role play situations in interviews. The tasks they participated in enabled them to work as a team and develop leadership in group work settings. Watching students become more open to drama activities and perform at the end of the session was fantastic to observe."

The key thing we learnt today was to not let anxiety hold us back and that being more open to new opportunities is fun!

Callywith students
Truro College students
Students in the Kernow King's workshop

Callywith Assistant Principal Lucy Maggs, who leads on the student experience at Callywith College said: "We always want to give the students the opportunity to experience new things and develop further skills so as to feel more confident and be more successful in the future. We were so pleased to welcome Kernow King and Next Steps SW to the Colege and the student feedback has been absolutely fantastic."

Next Steps SW is part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England, which offers support to certain students in Year 9 to 13. The programme aims to raise aspirations, achievement, awareness and access to higher education, including degree apprenticeships. The consortium consists of thirteen higher education institutions across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, namely: City College Plymouth, Exeter College, Falmouth University, Petroc, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth Marjon University, Plymouth University, Strode College, The Cornwall College Group, Truro and Penwith College, University Centre Somerset, University Centre South Devon, and University of Exeter.