Laying bricks and painting decorative panels were just two of the challenges Skills Minister Matthew Hancock took up from students at West Nottinghamshire College.
Mr Hancock met with some of the 580 students and apprentices based at the college’s Kirkby-in-Ashfield campus who are studying a range of construction trade programmes including brickwork, joinery, plumbing and painting and decorating.
He learnt more about the construction school’s link with local employers and how the college is playing a role in shaping the curriculum to provide learners with the right skills to take forward into the recovering construction industry which is seeing a boost in the East Midlands.
The Minister’s visit came on the day the government announced £20 million in additional funding for Traineeships, providing young people with the skills and experience for work.
He revealed that the national Traineeships scheme, which began in August and provides skills and experience to 16 to 23-year-olds to help them in the labour market, will receive the substantial financial boost for participants over 19 years old.
Mr Hancock also visited the college’s latest commercial training facilities at the Derby Road campus which included a tour of the new fine dining restaurant Refined and the Revive salons and spa where apprentices are learning their trades of the future as well as looking at the music, media and performance facilities at the college’s Create building.
Business leaders who work in partnership with the college, including representatives from The Aviation People, Mansfield District Council, Cilex Law School and Wates Group – one of the largest construction organisations in the UK – met with Mr Hancock at a round table employers’ forum.
Discussions centred around how these employers invest in skills and training, the new Traineeships and apprenticeships. Employers also shared their experiences of training with the Minister and discussed the innovative training models being developed in partnership with the college.
Matthew Hancock said: “West Nottinghamshire College is a high performing and enterprising institution which is offering local people the chance to learn new skills and trades across a diverse range of industries.
“Speaking to learners and experiencing first-hand the skills they are mastering it is obvious to me that the college is playing a vital role in developing local talent to the benefit of local businesses.”
Principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE, who is a D2N2 Boaard member, added: “It was an honour to welcome Mr Hancock to the college and show him the wide-range of skills and apprenticeships that our students are embracing.
“One of the things that he was particularly impressed with is the way we work with students to develop their employability skills alongside their qualifications which will give them that competitive edge in today’s challenging job market.”
Source: West Nottinghamshire College