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A #SoberingMoment as Northern Regional College students and PSNI collaborate on hard-hitting safety message

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Creative Media staff and students at Northern Regional College have collaborated with the PSNI to produce a hard-hitting road safety message.

The #SoberingMoment campaign aims to highlight the fact that drug driving is just as dangerous as drink driving. The initiative used the skills of the College’s students to promote safety and responsible decision-making amongst their peers.

Over the past year, Newtownabbey’s Interactive Media students and Ballymoney’s Creative Media students have been developing virtual reality and animated films looking at societal issues affecting young people.

Peter McMullan, Animation Course Co-ordinator, praised the students’ work: “By working in close collaboration with the PSNI, our Creative and Interactive Media students have produced a series of impactful videos emphasising the dangers of driving under the influence and its repercussions.

“It’s through our already strong working relationship with the PSNI that our students had the opportunity to work on the #SoberingMoment campaign. This is another example of how we, as a college, aim to provide our students with hands-on experience by working on real-time projects.”

Gemma Wray, lecturer at the College’s Ballymoney campus, said: “This project represents the combined work of Northern Regional College students and staff, along with the PSNI, over the past six months. It has been really great for us to work with the police as real-world clients and they have been very helpful, providing guidance and resources, which were critical to the projects.

“Project-based learning is a fabulous way for students to acquire the skills they need to compete in today’s media industry. Real-world projects provide a professional framework and sense of ownership that allow students and clients to really engage with one other. As well as teaching students the necessary soft skills, like good communication and working to deadlines, it also allows them to build a portfolio of work, which is invaluable when it comes to applying to university or for jobs.”

Michael Farrelly, Course Co-ordinator for Interactive Media at Newtownabbey, explained: “The students used 360-degree cameras alongside motion graphics created in After Effects & Adobe Premiere to create a narrative that highlighted the dangers of drug misuse and as well as the effect of peer pressure to use street drugs such as cannabis.

“The outcome was an immersive video that can be viewed on a VR headset such as the HTC Vive or Occulus Go. I am delighted with the quality of the work produced by the students and support we received from the PSNI during the production stage. This is a partnership we hope to continue in the coming academic year.”

The PSNI’s Inspector O’Brien added: “The overriding intention was for the students to provide a good quality product that we can use on our social media platforms to address issues and themes that are important to young people. It was great working with the students and getting their perspective on some of the issues and challenges that exist and I was delighted to see all their hard work being recognised at the awards event in Belfast. Keep an eye on our social media channels throughout the year to see how their hard work has paid off.”

Ryan Feeney, Head of Corporate Communications for PSNI, said: “This exciting initiative was devised and driven by my department as part of our role in Keeping People Safe. My team and officers from a number of policing districts and departments provided support to the young people during the creation and development of the films, animations and graphics, but credit must go to the students whose filming, production and design skills have very much come to the fore.

“This has been a valuable initiative for all involved with students gaining skills and expertise to help further their career ambitions, and police officers building strong relationships to help us deliver policing with the community for the future.”

College students who worked on the campaign were recognised by the PSNI at an event in The MAC, one of Belfast’s most renowned arts venues.

The creative industries sector is a key growth area for the local economy with many exciting employment opportunities for creative people with the right skills set. Northern Regional College offers a range of full time and part-time courses which are delivered by experienced industry professionals with their finger on the pulse of the latest innovations and current trends. For further information, visit www.nrc.ac.uk.

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