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Cardiff and Vale College Business and Computing learners go to California

A group of 20 Level 3 Business and Level 3 Computing learners from Cardiff and Vale College have been on a once in a lifetime trip visiting the high-tech companies and cultural highlights of Silicon Valley and San Francisco in California, USA.

The trip, which was funded by the Turing Project and gained some sponsored by IT company Trusted Data Solutions for branded clothing, saw the diverse group of learners – some of whom had never flown before – go on a 17-day adventure around California. They visited Sunnyvale, San Jose and attended a Stanford University seminar on lithium shortages and the use of AI to find it.

The learners also met with Stanford University alumni who told them about education in the United States, opening their eyes to the possibility of studying abroad.

In San Jose, the learners went to the ice hockey to get of a taste of the American lifestyle and approach to sport. They also visited the Computer History Museum and Intel Museum where the Computing learners focused on the technology relevant to their course modules and the Business learners were able to gain experience of marketing and development in the tech sector.

The learners also visited the Google Discovery Centre, where they saw how Google employees interact and also had the opportunity to ride Google Bikes, before taking the Caltrain to San Francisco.

On the second week of their visit the learners visited the city’s Fisherman’s Wharf and Lombard Street, watched a baseball match with the San Francisco Giants. They also went on a trip to Alcatraz and visited the headquarters of educational technology company Padlet.

At the British Consulate in San Francisco the learners met with Rebecca Harvey, Online Harms and Trust and Safety, illustrating that their course could lead to a career in the Civil Service with travel.

Cardiff and Vale College Head of Business, Computing and Esports Fiona Tierney said:“The learners loved the experience. Each of them has grown in confidence and taken something different from it, from time management to networking – all transferrable skills.”

“The visit to Stanford University really broadened their horizons, and looking at different companies and businesses has given them the inspiration to look a little bit further and realise that anything is possible.”

“On the San Francisco trip I learnt how business operate physically and internationally, as well as how the economy works in America,” Business Marketing learner Bobby Martin said. “I’ve also learnt through Google and Intel what employees would do and lastly I’ve gained more social interaction skills through talking to new people. Going on the San Francisco trip has made me want to do well therefore I could live somewhere else other than the UK and has made me want to achieve.”

Computing with Cyber Security learner Lloyd Thelwall said: “I learnt through the talk with Stanford students and faculty that they honed in on their passion for their careers, they had a general drive to go into a field but through university and research projects they stumbled upon what made them especially passionate about their subject.

“Furthermore, it was interesting to see the opportunities British citizens have abroad when working for the government. When talking to the representative at the British consulate in San Francisco it was interesting to see not only how to go into a field such as theirs but the opportunities the government offers for their diplomats.”

Computing with Cyber Security learner Rosaria Bowes said: “The trip to San Francisco gave me an insight into how technology has grown and how it is used in different job sectors.

“I found it most beneficial when speaking to Rebecca at the British Consulate, I was able to gain knowledge of how to enter work within the government for cyber security and what opportunities it could give me, which has helped me have a clearer future career plan for myself – I am intending to do a Cyber Security Degree Apprenticeship through the government and hopefully work abroad within the government and progress my career further.”

Cardiff and Vale College Principal Sharon James-Evans said: “At CAVC we like to offer an experience that is more than just a classroom and this amazing trip has done just that. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to fly to America and explore Silicon Valley – so we’d like to say a huge thank you to the sponsors Trusted Data Solutions for their contribution to the branded clothing.

“I’m so pleased the learners enjoyed themselves while gaining a first-hand insight into the world of work at the very top end of high-tech business, and the fact that it has helped inspire one of them to seek a career in the civil service is fantastic. Well done to the learners and a huge thank you to all of the College staff who were involved in organising the trip and supporting the learners throughout it.”