Government Ministers attended a virtual tour of Exeter College as part of their plans to continue the gradual reopening of schools and colleges in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan MP joined the College’s students, staff and leaders to discuss how the College adapted to online teaching and learning during the lockdown, how the College has further opened to more students from the 15th June 2020 and how the College is looking forward to welcoming students in September.
The Ministers also heard directly from current College students and Apprentices about their experience and future plans.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP said, “It was a pleasure to virtually visit Exeter College and meet their students and staff. It was great to see how by working in partnership with local schools, universities and employers, they are making sure young people get the skills and experience they need to have rewarding careers.
“I was impressed and inspired by the passion and enthusiasm shown by their students who have continued to receive the best education and training possible during Covid-19.
“Now, more than ever, it’s vital young people have access to high quality technical education. Exeter College offers our new T Levels as well as high quality Apprenticeships and by being a part of the wider South West Institute of Technology ensures students have the skills and support they need to succeed. I wish them all the best and look forward to hearing more about their brilliant work.”
The College also provided an update on the ongoing developments at the College, including the construction of a range of new facilities which will be ready for September to support the introduction of T Levels. In one group session the College shared its approach to partnerships and the delivery of Apprenticeships, which was recognised this year by being shortlisted in the coveted Beacon Awards.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan MP said, “It was a pleasure to virtually visit Exeter College and hear about the fantastic work they are doing to make sure more young people get the skills they need to reach their full potential.
“It was great to talk to students and staff, and find out more about how the College is preparing to deliver our exciting T Levels from September, and their new state-of-the-art Digital and Data Centre which will help more young people learn a range of important skills.
“I wish them all the best and look forward to hearing more about their great work.”
College leaders also spoke on the ongoing construction of a new £10m Digital and Data Centre as part of the South West Institute of Technology, which will help to revolutionise digital and data training within Exeter, and engineering and manufacturing technology education across the wider region. The building is set to be completed in early 2021 and will play a core part in making the South West a leading area for technical education in the country.
Exeter College Principal and Chief Executive John Laramy said, “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome the Ministers today, albeit virtually. The College was able to talk about its reaction to the challenges of the lockdown, but also able to share how brilliantly staff and students quickly adapted to working in a different way.
“We were able to outline our College’s contribution to the City of Exeter, as a key civic partner that works closely with the University of Exeter and schools to create a clear and successful education eco-system.”
The College was also able to share its ambitious plans for the future and outline how colleges, such as Exeter, can play a key part in economic recovery. In addition, the College spoke about the new Future Skills Centre, which is a new partnership with Devon County Council, to support SMART Aviation, technical education and adult retraining, based at Exeter International Airport.
Find out about T Levels with Exeter College.
View the video flythrough of the new Digital and Data Centre, set to be completed early 2021.