STUDENTS from Ayrshire College have presented innovative ideas to tackle sectarianism, as part of Nil By Mouth’s Pitch Perfect contest.
Pitch Perfect is a marketing competition that asks students to create and design an anti-sectarian awareness campaign.
Nil By Mouth challenged Ayrshire College’s 24/7 Plus students from Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning to take part in the competition, and all three teams presented impressive ideas to the panel of judges.
The Ayr group designed an educational app that explained what sectarianism is and the law around it, in a bid to raise awareness of the issue amongst fellow students.
The Kilwinning group proposed an awareness campaign featuring one-off workshops at each campus specifically focusing on asking students to think before they post messages on social media channels.
While the Kilmarnock group also designed an app urging football supporters to ‘Take Back the Game’ and report instances of sectarian abuse to ensure the sole focus at football matches is football.
Tasked with the difficult decision of picking an overall winner were Rebecca Jones of Glasgow Women’s Library and three representatives from Ayrshire College: Marla Baird, Equality and Inclusion manager, Martin Currie, marketing officer, and Michael McHugh, director of Quality Enhancement.
In the end, the Ayr team’s presentation was crowned the winner. Judges were impressed with the level of research that had gone into developing the content for the app, and it was clear that the students had taken their target market – students at college – into account.
Nil By Mouth will now work with the students to roll out a version of the winning product across all campuses at Ayrshire College.
24/7 Plus is a bespoke course at Ayrshire College which focuses on preparing young people for their next steps. It aims to develop essential skills, motivation and self-confidence in an innovative and engaging way.
Emma Alexander, Engagement Officer at Nil By Mouth, said: “It was fabulous to see the 24/7 Plus students present their ideas, and it was clear they had put a lot of thought into them.
“It was the first time many of them had taken part in a programme like this and they all gave an excellent account of themselves. Not only have they learned a lot about the harmful impact of sectarianism on our society but they have also came up with their own campaigns to create positive change.”
Rebecca Jones, project assistant (Mixing The Colours) at Glasgow Women’s Library, said: “I found the presentations interesting, encouraging and illuminating, and I congratulate each and every one of the students from all three of the groups on their original ideas.
“The students approached Pitch Perfect in really unique, creative ways, and it was great to see that they had used the task they were presented with as an opportunity to think specifically about sectarianism as an issue – the fact that they had taken the time to research it was apparent in the work they produced.
“All three groups came forward with some really strong ideas, and there were aspects of each pitch that I thought had real mileage. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the Pitch Perfect panel!”
Marla Baird, Equality and Inclusion manager at Ayrshire College, said: “We believe that young people can make a positive change, and indeed lead the way, to tackle sectarianism in our communities.
“The Pitch Perfect competition with Nil by Mouth was an excellent example of this. Young people worked together to look at ways that they could influence wider society.
“I was so impressed by their ideas and their enthusiasm and would like to congratulate all the teams taking part. I am now looking forward to working with the students and Nil by Mouth to see these ideas implemented across the college.”
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