Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP, was given a warm welcome by staff and students when she arrived at NSCG Stafford College on the 30 March to visit their brand new Skills and Innovation Centre.
Orchestrated with the help of Conservative MP for Stafford, Theo Clarke, the Education Minister was given a tour of the campus and its facilities and was updated on the progress of the College’s new build. The £28M scheme will be ready to welcome new and existing students when the doors open officially this September, though dignitaries were able to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour and were shown the construction and engineering workshops, hybrid vehicle technology facilities and 300-seat auditorium as they discussed the opportunities for education institutions to develop digital and manufacturing skills in the region.
Additionally, with NSCG working in partnership with a consortium of education providers and key employers on the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology (IoT), the Secretary of State was keen to find out how this innovative collaboration will play a role in closing the skills gaps in important STEM-led industries.
Commenting on the visit, the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP said: “It was wonderful to visit Stafford college with their fantastic local MP, Theo Clarke, to see how the new Skills and Innovation Centre is progressing, as well as, speak to students benefiting from their fantastic facilities.
“It’s vital that young people and adults from across the region can continue to access high quality technical education and the new building will make sure that is happening for generations to come. It is a brilliant addition to Stafford town centre and will ensure learners gain the skills that are super valuable in the workplace.”
Theo Clarke MP added: “I’m really pleased the Secretary of State has come to Stafford yesterday to see this major investment in our young people’s education. I am proud I was able to work with the government and the College to secure the £28 million needed to build this new centre – soon to be open for business.
“Thank you to the college for all it is doing to help train young people in the skills they need for well-paid careers. I invited the Education Secretary so she could see this good work in action and speak to young people whose lives are improved by this government’s focus on further education.”
During the visit, students were also given the opportunity to take part in a question and answer session with the Ministers who were eager to hear more about life at NSCG and find out about the range of courses and pathways available to students.
A Level student at NSCG Stafford College, Beckie Jones, took part in the session. She said: “It was a really incredible experience meeting the Minister. As the Secretary of State for Education I wasn’t expecting her to be so down to earth. She asked us questions about what we are studying and was interested in finding out about college life.”
Beckie, who is studying Film Studies, History and Psychology, continued: “I have received an offer to study history at the University of Lancaster and though I’m really looking forward to my next steps, I have enjoyed my time at NSCG and I always encourage younger friends and relatives to attend an open event so they can see how great it is for themselves.”
NSCG Principal and Chief Executive, Craig Hodgson said: “We were delighted to welcome Secretary of State Gillian Keegan to NSCG Stafford College. It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the progress we are making on our new state-of-the-art Skills and Innovation Centre and demonstrate the positive impact government funding will have on our facilities, and ultimately our learners.
“We are pleased that the visit provided an opportunity for the Secretary of State to tour our campus and meet talented students from a range of course pathways.
“As ever, our learners did us proud, discussing how studying at NSCG has opened up opportunities and impacted their future. I am sure she took away the importance of having a balanced, sustainable curriculum that promotes learner choice and supports progression to further study and employment.”