Skills Minister tours educational first at city college

Elaine Bowker, left, and Gillian Keegan
X The Business Desk

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Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, visited The City of Liverpool College’s Arts Centre campus this week, home to the UK’s first further education Creative and Digital Academy.

The minister was interested to see the college’s newly refurbished premises, following recent investment of £3m, £2.5m of which was awarded by government following a successful capital bid in 2019.

The investment has been used as part of the college’s mission to continuously innovate and provide world class facilities for its students, ensuring they leave college ‘work ready’ with specialist skills relevant to thriving and emerging sectors.

In her role, Gillian is jointly responsible for post-16 education strategy alongside the Minister of State for Universities, and oversees the development of T-Levels, which are due to be offered at The City of Liverpool College for the first time in September 2022.

During her visit, the minister met with students from the college’s prestigious Royal Academy of Culinary Arts apprenticeship programme as well as several health and social care cadets who have spent time on care work placements during the COVID pandemic, before taking a tour of the centre’s state-of-the-art facilities.

The tour took her to the performance theatre, to meet some of the college’s rising stars, and to the new TV studio, where students demonstrated live event broadcasting and showcased footage of construction and engineering practical work filmed at the college’s Vauxhall Road campus, dedicated to technical and enterprise course provision.

The final part of the visit took place in the college’s brand new motion capture suite, where students demonstrated the latest in cutting-edge digital, computing and games design technologies.

The Arts Centre has established itself as the leading arts teaching and learning institution on Merseyside, providing state-of-the-art resources to equip learners with the skills needed to be successful in an ever-evolving digital economy.

The minister, who grew up in Knowsley, Merseyside, attended St Augustine of Canterbury Secondary School in Huyton as a child, which has since been renamed St Thomas Becket Catholic High School.

She started her career aged 16 as an apprentice at a car factory in Kirkby and is now the MP for Chichester, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Apprenticeships and Skills, the first former apprentice to hold the role.

Gillian Keegan, said: “It was such a pleasure to visit the City of Liverpool College. With state-of-the-art virtual reality technology and access to high tech industry standard media facilities, it was amazing to see how the college is working with local businesses to train the talented and highly skilled workforce of the future.

“The students’ passion for where their skills will take them was truly inspiring to hear, whether on stage, behind the screen or designing the video games of tomorrow.”

Elaine Bowker, principal and chief executive at The City of Liverpool College, said: “We welcome every opportunity to showcase our outstanding campuses and the fantastic work our students are doing, particularly after a year of so many challenges.

“Our students were pleased to speak to the Minister about their experiences and aspirations, and we are grateful to the Minister for spending so much time with each of them during a very enjoyable visit.”

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