Students at Leeds College of Building were treated to a show-stopping seminar this week through the unlikely medium of hip-hop music and beatboxing.
Testament, the acclaimed rapper, world-record-holding beatboxer, and writer, visited the College to promote the benefits of pursuing Higher Education. The event at the College’s packed North Street Campus lecture theatre was entitled ‘The Way Forward.’
Testament addressed an audience of nearly 100 construction students (in the lecture theatre and watching remotely) from across subject areas. The inspirational hip-hop artist spoke about his career path and how he faced and learnt from challenges along the way. Using rap and beatboxing, Testament told his story of self-improvement and belief, and how he progressed into higher education at university and built a successful career in the arts whilst living in Leeds.
Testament has since played at Glastonbury, received rave reviews in the press, met celebs, and worked on projects for Adidas, BBC 1xtra, and Netflix. He also used music to tell the story of how hip-hop music was first created.
“My own journey comes from one where not much was expected – but I ended up progressing through higher ed, Uni, and to a successful career in the arts. [This is my…] take to show what’s possible. The other key thing is also to show that as a young person, it can start with small steps, and often speaking up and talking to people is the starting point.”
Testament ended the event with a freestyle rap and reminded students to be kind to each other and to themselves.
The event was a result of funding from Uni Connect, a programme for the Office for Students inspiring young people with the confidence to find a path to higher education. This is delivered through the Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) consortium of Higher Education providers covering Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale, and Kirklees.
GHWY acts as a single point of contact for schools in the area and helps young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to aspire to Higher Education. The consortium works collaboratively with partners such as Leeds College of Building to engage young people through campus tours, residentials, workshops and community outreach.
Lisa Pannell, Careers Advisor at Leeds College of Building, said:
“We hope that this aspirational event was something a little different for our students to enjoy. This March is Careers Month at the College, and the talk by Testament is one of many sessions and employer activities organised by the Careers Team. We are giving students the chance to think about taking those next steps towards building their dream career. By offering guidance and tips through a range of events across the month, we are hoping to help students find the right path for them.”