The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP paid a special visit to North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire’s specialist campus for the automotive sector on Thursday 27 February 2020.
The education minister visited the MIRA Technology Institute (MTI), one of five campuses run by the college, to announce a £14 million package designed to boost leadership and governance in colleges across the country as part of the government’s commitment to building a skilled workforce. The package will support a College Collaboration Fund to enable FE providers to share best practice as well as professional development for the sector on strategy, finance and working with employers.
During his visit, Mr Williamson experienced at first hand the expert teaching at the MTI which is designed to deliver specialist skills for the automotive industry including the new disruptive technology areas of cybersecurity, electrification, and driverless cars.
The minister met the college’s Principal and Chief Executive, Marion Plant OBE FGCI, and senior college leaders and members of the college corporation to discuss the vital role of further education colleges in responding to the skills priority areas of local businesses. Mr Williamson heard about how the college is helping employers to deliver high quality apprenticeships and supporting young people to gain the employability skills they need to join the workforce once they have achieved their qualifications.
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College is a leading college group with five campuses, including the MTI, located across Leicestershire and Warwickshire. It sponsors the Midland Academies Trust, an independent charitable organisation designed to support local schools.
The MTI is a specialist facility engaged in training the next generation of engineers in the latest automotive technology. Since it first opened its doors in 2018, the MTI has welcomed over 8,000 students and delegates. This includes over 630 studying for accredited qualifications from a Level 1 Institute of the Motor Industry certificate up to Masters’ degrees, and nearly 250 following apprenticeships at all levels.
Marion Plant said, “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to the college this week and to hear about the government’s plans to invest in the further education sector. We are pleased that his visit provided an opportunity for our students to demonstrate their pride in the technical and professional skills that they are developing.
“The college benefited from being given a chance to showcase the enormous positive impact that further education has on the future workforce of Nuneaton and surrounding regions.”
Gavin Williamson has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for South Staffordshire since 2010 and was appointed Secretary of State for Education in July 2019. Before becoming an MP, he enjoyed a career in manufacturing, successfully turning around a struggling pottery firm in Staffordshire. He went on to become managing director of an architectural design firm which has been involved in the design of many schools, public sector and commercial buildings. He spent three years as co-chairman of the Parliamentary Group on Design, because of his interest in the manufacturing and design sector.
Mr Williamson said, “Good leadership and governance are vital if we want the further education sector to continue to thrive and grow. The FE sector is already doing amazing work to unlock talent and opportunity up and down the country. This multi-million pound investment will empower even more FE leaders and governors to drive up standards so more students receive the high quality education and training they deserve.”
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