Education Secretary Justine Greening was given a tour of the ‘outstanding’ Walsall College in her first official visit (Thursday 21 July) since being appointed to the role.
The Secretary of State discussed issues affecting the further education (FE) sector and lessons that could be learnt from Walsall College’s experience with the college’s executive team, including Principal Jatinder Sharma OBE.
The visit included a tour of the college’s £64 million Wisemore campus and £11 million business and sports hub, along with the industry training facilities, Microsoft IT academy, and job shop for employers and apprentices.
Justine Greening said:
The Prime Minister has made clear that this government will focus on making Britain a country that works for everybody - not just the privileged few. For me, that starts with education.
It was tremendous to see first-hand the fantastic work Walsall College is doing to bridge the gap between education and industry and get more young people on to the career ladder.
This is a place where people’s lives and prospects are transformed for the better, and where there is a real drive to push standards ever higher.
Principal and Chief Executive of Walsall College, Jatinder Sharma OBE, said:
We are honoured that Justine chose to visit the college and give us the opportunity to showcase our work in the sector. The college prides itself on delivering world-class vocational training that equips students with the skills and knowledge employers are looking for. Our main aim is to give students a head start in the workplace or prepare them for university, and in doing so, create growth in our economy.
Over the last 4 years, we have also grown our apprenticeship provision by 74% and are working with over 500 employers to support their business objectives, making us one of the biggest providers of apprenticeships for 16- to 18-year-olds in the West Midlands.