College welcomes Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills


Students have welcomed the government minister responsible for apprenticeships and skills to North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) on Thursday 17 June 2021. Gillian Keegan MP visited the college’s Wigston Campus to hear about its Skills for Next Steps programme which helps students to prepare for entry into employment including by participating in competitions such as WorldSkills UK, via industry placements and traineeships through to apprenticeships and further and higher education.

So far, over 440 students have benefited from the Skills for Next Steps programme. Sixty sessions took place over ten days earlier this month across each of the college’s campuses spanning every curriculum area. A further 30 sessions will be held over the next two weeks.

In addition, around 250 students took part in online employability sessions covering topics such as workplace etiquette, how to approach psychometric assessments, confidence building techniques, money management, tackling video interviews and speculative job search skills.

During her visit, the minister, who was accompanied by Neil O’Brien MP, enjoyed trying out some skills for herself including cake icing at the Foundation Learning bake-off, laying bricks in the college’s construction workshop, and trying her hand with a brush in the painting and decorating studio.

The minister also heard about the college’s involvement with the Leicester and Leicestershire bid for a new Institute of Technology based on skills for space, engineering, advanced manufacturing, and digital skills. The bid, which has been developed by a consortium of partners led by the University of Leicester, supports the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, which aims to secure 10 per cent of the global space economy by 2030.

As part of the visit, NWSLC demonstrated how it operates at the heart of its local community through its involvement in the Rocket Round Leicester project, an outdoor art trail due to launch next month that is enabling students to get live work experience while raising money for the LOROS Hospice charity.

Gillian Keegan MP, who is jointly responsible for post-16 education strategy alongside the minister of state for universities, also oversees the development of T Levels, due to be offered at NWSLC for the first time in 2022.

The minister met the college’s Principal and Chief Executive, Marion Plant, OBE FGCI, and senior college leaders to discuss the transformative role of further education colleges.

Marion Plant said, “We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills to our Wigston Campus and enjoyed outlining the work that we are doing to support young people and adults as part of the post-pandemic recovery.

“Many students have experienced a difficult year with fewer opportunities than before to gain experience of work. That’s why we are proud of the impact that our Skills for Next Steps programme is making to boost their confidence and help them to fully prepare as they move on with their education or into work.”

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said, “Thank you to North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College for inviting local MP Neil O’Brien and myself to their Wigston Campus. It was great see how the college is helping students to get vital construction skills, from bricklaying and carpentry to painting and decorating, which will be so important as we recover from the pandemic. Their training and support will be key to making sure businesses have the talent pipeline they need to thrive, not just for today but also in the future.”