Carol Hunter joined the Fife College Students’ Association (FCSA) in summer 2017 as a Women's Officer. Carol is care experienced and worked alongside our President for Welfare and Equality, Jen Anderson, to create a remit for Care Experienced Officers, which was subsequently approved by our Student Council. Carol herself then became our first Care Experienced Officer, and also helped to recruit and mentor two other students for this remit, too.
Additionally, Carol also volunteered as one of the Fife College HEROES. During this project Carol acted as a mentor for care experienced school pupils who were worried about taking the next step to college. This involved Carol completing a 20 hour training course as well as giving up her time for numerous mentoring sessions throughout the year.
As well as this, Carol is an active member of the College's Corporate Parent Action Group, the Fife College Board, and the FCSA Executive, all on top of being a full-time student and mum of three young boys.
A dedicated student
Carol has just completed HND: Social Sciences after returning to education as a mature student. Carol volunteered to be a Class Representative, a member of the Student Council, and a FCSA Voluntary Officer. Carol’s classmates were keen to point out that Carol had been a great source of support and leadership for them this year and has helped them to complete their course and stay focused during difficult parts of their journey.
Care Experienced Officer
Being care experienced Carol was well aware of, and recognised the need for, the FCSA to introduce a remit for Care Experienced Officers to our Equality Officer portfolio. After gaining approval from the FCSA Student Council, Carol worked with Jen Anderson to create a remit which would benefit the care experienced students of Fife College.
As part of the early stages in her new role, Carol supported and mentored two other care experienced students to become Care Experienced Officers, and encouraged them both to become more active members of the FCSA, benefiting care experienced students at the College and the student body as a whole.
It is clear for everyone involved in the FCSA to see how much Carol's influence has helped both of these students to adapt to, and become more engaged with, the College. These students previously struggled with attendance however they both now regularly help out with FCSA events on top of their classwork and studies, including acting as guides at the most recent College Open Events.
Corporate Parent Action Group
As a Care Experienced Officer, Carol has also worked extensively with the College’s Corporate Parent Action Group, providing valuable insight and direction, and ensuring the work that they do meets the needs of the students it is intended to help.
Carol worked with her fellow Care Experienced Officers to create ‘The KEV Project’ – a microsite within the FCSA’s online site which care experienced students can use to meet and talk to each other – an important communication tool which allows them to share ideas and support each other.
The Corporate Parent Action Group is now working on the development of an app which will be easier and offer more functionality for our care experienced students.
As part of her work as a Care Experienced Officer, Carol also devised and ran a creative writing competition for our students called ‘Turning Point’. This competition was open to all students at Fife College, and it was agreed that any submissions from students who had declared themselves care experienced would automatically be submitted to the judge of the competition.
Carol organised for Jenni Fagan, a professional author who is also care experienced, to be the judge for the competition. We received 43 entries in total, with 10 being shortlisted (including three entries from care experienced students). Jenni chose Fay Rizo as the winner, who received a £40 Waterstone’s gift card as a prize.
Representing students at Board level
Following the departure of one of the two FCSA Presidents this year, the FCSA needed a second student Board representative. Carol stood for this position and was elected by her fellow Executive Officers to take up the position. Carol brings a voice which is too rarely heard at Board and Executive levels across Scotland. Her determination and willingness to share her views and experiences as well as her opinions on various student issues at Board meetings and Strategy Days is making sure that students who have shared her experiences are being heard and considered in the work of both the College and the FCSA.
Adam Smith Foundation
Carol also serves as a board member for the Adam Smith Foundation, which provides scholarships for students.
Fife College provides a range of scholarships every year via the Adam Smith Foundation (ASF). Recently the foundation has noticed a decrease in engagement and applications for many of the scholarships.
Carol is currently volunteering with the ASF, helping to raise awareness of the fantastic opportunities on offer to our students. Carol has visited classes and held numerous meetings/drop-in sessions with students to raise awareness of the scholarship programme, and to identify any barriers that students may feel get in the way of their ability to apply.
The work Carol has been doing to raise awareness of the ASF and the benefits of its scholarships has led to an increase in the total number of applications in the second half of this academic year. This means that more of our students have been able to benefit financially as a direct result of Carol’s dedication and willingness to volunteer for the good of her fellow students.
Other voluntary work
Carol has amassed a total of 215 voluntary hours this academic year, which is remarkable given the demands of her full-time course. On top of this, she has three young sons aged six, five, and one.
Carol has been a recognisable presence at all of the FCSA’s events this year, helping to promote our health and wellbeing work, supporting our class reps and voluntary officers, and helping the FCSA to engage with more students and become more prominent throughout the College and our local communities throughout Fife.
Overall, we think Carol is pretty awesome! Not only has she shown dedication, drive and passion in her roles as Women’s Officer, Care Experienced Officer, and volunteer with the FCSA, but she has also shown the same resolve and energy in her work with the Boards of both Fife College and the Adam Smith Foundation.