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Angela Rayner Visits MK College

Our college campuses are once again busy and bustling as students and teaching staff have returned after a well-deserved break. And starting the new term has made me reflect on what we’ve done as a college over the year so far, and what’s still to come.

I’ve also been reflecting on our Fairer Futures strategy, which launched last year. It’s easy to complete a strategy like this and put it to one side, but Fairer Futures is more than just words on a page for us here at Milton Keynes College Group; our students and staff live our aims, objectives and values every day.

Earlier this month, I saw one of these objectives truly come to life when we hosted Angela Rayner MP at our Chaffron Way campus:

“Deliver the skills needed by employers to aid productivity”

Angela visited us in her capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Future Work and it was an action-packed couple of hours! After a brief introduction to the college, we took Angela to meet some of our Media students, who interviewed her on camera and asked challenging questions on topics ranging from the costs of higher education to knife crime, diversity and migration. We then moved on to the Engineering and Construction departments, where Angela met some of our apprentices and students and got to see the kind of hands-on learning experience we provide.

We finished the visit by introducing Angela to one of our employer partners, construction firm Careys. It was a fantastic conversation, where we talked about the importance of apprenticeships and T levels in filling gaps in the workforce, the need to overcome misconceptions about Further Education and the value of partnerships between employers and colleges.

I have no doubt that Angela left the college with a clear sense that we’re fully committed to delivering the skills employers need for a thriving and productive business. From providing students with the facilities and resources needed to prepare for the world of work, to partnering with employers to ensure that our courses are rooted in what’s really needed for learners to be productive members of the work force.

Of course, this isn’t just a one-off example. Our recent partnership with the Lions Barber Collective means that our barbering students and apprentices will now qualify with additional training in mental health support and suicide prevention, while our new Business Centre – opening in May – will help us to form even closer relationships with employers and ultimately benefit our students’ learning experiences and future career prospects.

All of us at Milton Keyness College Group work hard every day to live our values and objectives, and I’m immensely proud that this is easy for visitors to see too.