Charlie Derry interviews the new student representative of Cornwall to get to know who’s listening to our voices.
From a small town in Wales, Toby Hale has come a long way; not only in distance, but in knowledge and experience as well. Now representing 72,500 students, Toby has a firm grip on his ambitions, he has plans set out for his future and is doing all he can to make sure that he gets there.
Toby came to Falmouth in September 2009 to study at the Marine School as it was the only college which taught Boat Design and Production. On his course, Toby has to analyse boats, design new ones and build and test them to examine their characteristics.
The role of student representative itself is to provide a link between the student voice of Cornwall College and the University of Plymouth. Toby feels that this is his biggest achievement at college so far. He is required to work 8-20 hours a week on top of his full-time course and attends as many student representative meetings as possible.
Toby’s job is to hear the views of students and to find out what they want. He appeared very affectionate towards others and positive that he could do a good job. He says, “I want to make a difference for all the people who are hoping to progress to Plymouth university,” which includes himself.
“I really wanted to be able to get my voice heard and to have it on my CV would be pretty impressive,” he says. “I crossed my fingers, and spoke to as many people at the colleges as possible. When I got the email saying, ‘Would you like to take on the role?’ I was thrilled.”
Toby has many water-related hobbies such as fishing, kayaking, sailing, and coast-steering. His favourite sport is waterskiing. He also loves taking engines apart and rebuilding them to make them more powerful.
Before Toby came to Falmouth, he bought a 17ft jet boat which he hopes to start work on over the summer. He bought his first boat from a local plumber when he was 14 years old. With the help of his Dad, he re-built the engine with parts off Ebay. “When the boat rose out the water for the first time, it was amazing. That’s when I realized my passion lied within boats and engines,” he says looking proud.
With spending most of his time in the water, it’s easy to presume that Toby must have had at least one accident or bad experience. He first answered that he once stood on a weaver fish. Ouch! He laughed with a wide grin and went on to explain that he once fell off doing a ‘hard pull’ whilst water skiing. “I was going so fast that when I hit the water I bounced twice before smashing through the surface,” he says.
Apart from becoming student representative, Toby said that his biggest achievement is entering college a year early due to doing exceedingly well in his previous marine engineering course. He is now also running for the position as chairman of the student union at Falmouth Marine School.
After college, Toby wants to set up his own aluminium boat building business back in his hometown of Pembrokeshire, hoping that his course will give him the necessary skills to do so. “We have already started building the new workshop and by the end of my second year at Falmouth I hope to have a prototype vessel built and ready for testing,” he says.
Toby’s organisation and dedication is genuinely impressive and the fact that he already has his plans set for the future is admiring. “On top of all of this, I want to pass my course with flying colours. That would be nice. Whether I can do all of this is a challenge and aim in itself,” he says.