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Skills Minister visits former College

June 20, 2013

West Cheshire College proudly welcomed Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP to its state-of-the-art Chester Campus on Friday 10 May.

(L-R) West Cheshire College Principal Nigel Davies, Vice Principal Helen Nellist, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock and Vice Principal Julie McGinn

The Minister, who studied at West Cheshire College in the 90s, spent the afternoon at the science and technologies Campus meeting students, Apprentices, staff and employers.

As part of the visit, the College discussed the Government’s plans for vocational education, including the recently announced Traineeships - designed to help young people develop the skills and workplace experience that employers require - as well as the new Technical Baccalaureate which is intended to reinforce the value of technical and vocational training in gaining parity with A Levels.

Nigel Davies, Principal at West Cheshire College, said: “We support the Government’s plans for Traineeships which are to be launched from August 2013. As a vocational college with excellent links with employers we are well-placed to ensure high quality Traineeships for young people. We also look forward to hearing more about the Government’s plans for TechBacc which will reinforce first-class vocational education.”

The Minister also learnt more about the College’s innovative Jobcentre Plus partnership. The pioneering development - which sees the first Jobcentre Plus co-location in the country - delivers training programmes that meet employer needs and helps get unemployed people back to work.

The Minister then saw first-hand some of the unique facilities that make the College an inspirational place to learn and train – the double-height Project Court workspace for large scale construction projects; the Lean Manufacturing Line where students and Apprentices run real-life commercial production lines as well as the College’s support of traineeships in heritage skills through its stone masonry training.

Nigel added: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase our exceptional vocational facilities at Chester but also discuss the College’s  successful innovative projects, such as  Jobcentre Plus. 

“We pride ourselves on responding to employers’ requirements by developing training that meet their needs but also transforms individual learners in their preparation for employment.”

Some of the region’s biggest employers that the College has long standing partnerships with including Vauxhall and Countess of Chester, also met with the Minister to discuss the benefits and added value of Apprenticeships and training.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "It was quite moving to come back to my old college and see how it has changed beyond recognition.

"The investment in the estate at both Chester and Ellesmere Port is a great example of what high quality and motivational facilities do in contributing to unlocking every learner's potential."

For further information on West Cheshire College visit or contact the College hotline on 01244 656 555.

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