Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn visited Blackburn College to learn how the college goes to great lengths to equip students with the skills to succeed in a changing job market.
Mr Corbyn was given a tour of the £5.5million state-of-the-art Regional Automotive Technology Hub within Blackburn College’s £65million pound campus.
During his visit, Mr Corbyn was delighted to hear about the strong links and employment and apprentice opportunities with local businesses such as Bowker BMW, Chorley Nissan, and Moffatts Motor Accessories adding that it was vital to prepare people for the possible impact of Brexit on employment opportunities. He said:
“I’ve had a great day meeting the staff and apprentices at Blackburn College.
“The car manufacturing industry is vital to the North West and it’s so important that colleges like this get the support they need to continue creating highly skilled workers.
“The College is excellent and is inspiring students into engineering. I was very impressed with the college’s grasp of and commitment to the local community.”
Mr Corbyn chatted with students, recalling fond memories of tinkering with his first vehicle – an Austin A35 van.
The visit followed the announcement that Nissan will build both the new Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV at its Sunderland plant and a 0.5% growth in the economy following the Brexit vote.
Tracy Stuart, Vice Principal of Curriculum and Quality at Blackburn College, said: “As well as enjoying a world-class campus with excellent resources, Blackburn College delivers a curriculum from entry level up to Masters – which supports students to enter and exit their qualification pathway at intervals during their lives.
“We know this approach best equips our students because 9/10 of students who leave the University Centre at Blackburn College are in work or further study within six months for the past four years in a row.
“We focus on delivering not just the academic or technical qualifications themselves but the skills and work readiness that employers are looking for. We deliver this through our highly qualified and experienced teaching staff and through the expert support staff who provide wraparound care and study skills development to ensure students stay and succeed in their studies.”
Blackburn College prides itself on the range of courses offered, links to local, regional and national employers and priorities.
Phil Watson CBE, Chair of Corporation Board at Blackburn College, said: “Having Jeremy Corbyn visit the College helps to showcase our facilities. This particular visit focused on the apprenticeship side, but we also work closely with the employers – who not only offer placements for the students, but have also helped to design the automotive centre and the training programme.”
During the visit he spoke to students including Kristine Rutkovska, 19, studying Motor Vehicle Level 2, and Molly Reeves, 16, studying Level 1 Light Vehicle Maintenance while she was changing a wheel. He also spoke to Harley Clough, 17, studying Level 3 Motor Vehicle, about how to service an engine.