More than 120 young people met to discuss the future of higher education on the Isle of Wight.

The Isle of Wight Regeneration Youth Conference saw students from five of the seven Island schools, and the Isle of Wight College, meet at Cowes Yacht Haven.

The Bay CE School and Christ the King College did not send any delegates.

Students were encouraged to design branding and marketing for a ‘higher education directory’, and to consider a design for student accommodation on the Isle of Wight.

The directory will be put together by the Island’s regeneration team and will list all the higher education opportunities available on the Isle of Wight.

Assistant director of regeneration, Reniera O’Donnell, organised the conference.

She said the regeneration team was looking at ways to create a ‘campus environment’ on the Isle of Wight, that could be used by all institutions offering higher education qualifications.

She said:

“They have all told us they could increase their student numbers if they had accommodation, but individually there is not the demand. But if we grouped them together, it’s something we are going to look into.”

Students were encouraged to design a marketing campaign to promote the Island.

Vicki Brodowska, 13, from the Island Free School, said:

“It’s been really fun and really informative finding out about the different institutions on the Island.”

Nathan Stubbings, 16, from Ryde School, said trying to promote the Island was easy:

“We have so much here, the beaches and towns.

“People shouldn’t have to leave if they want to pursue education.”

Jordan Bennett, 17, from Ryde School said:

“It’s great knowing there’s all these places that people can go if they want an education on the Island.”

Although there is no university on the Isle of Wight, cabinet member for education, Cllr Paul Brading said this was something that could be considered in the future.

Cllr Brading said:

“We want them to think about what they want for the future of the Island. They are the future, so they need to help shape the future.”

Businesses from across the Island attended the day, telling young people what skills they needed for employment.

Nora Clinton, higher education network manager at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation gave the first keynote speech to students.

She told students:

“Learning never stops.

“Keep asking yourself what makes you happy. That will lead you in the right direction.”

By Megan Baynes, Local Democracy Reporter