Minister for skills visits SGS College
By Sarah Wood
South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College recently hosted a visit from the minister for skills, Alex Burghart and MP for Stroud, Siobhan Baillie.
Both MPs had the opportunity to view the college's Stroud campus and speak to a cross-section of vocational learners, apprentices and staff about their experiences of further education.
SGS supports over 1,000 employers a year within their apprenticeship programmes, recruits over 600 new apprentices annually and teaches 4,000 16-19 year olds, across all campuses.
During the visit, Mr Burghart and Mrs Baillie took the time to visit lessons and hold discussions with learners and staff about their course provision, what made them choose to study at a college, how the provision is helping set them up for future employment and what they enjoyed about SGS.
It was also a great opportunity for senior leaders at SGS to discuss the ongoing challenges facing the further education sector post-pandemic and how Government support is required to ensure objectives set out in the Skills for Jobs for Lifelong Learning white paper can be achieved.
Sara-Jane Watkins, SGS College principal, said: "This week was the college's 10th anniversary - since SGS was created between the merger of Stroud and Filton Colleges.
"The visit has been a great opportunity to showcase some of our achievements over the last decade. It presented the minister with the opportunity to meet both staff and learners, to understand the impact of the pandemic on their learning and delivery, as well as our hopes and needs for further education in the future.
"For many young people, college is their stable place and safe haven, and it's so important for those in Government to recognise the significant impact further education makes on the lives of millions every year, and how we are supporting the economy to deliver the skilled workforce of the future."
Alex Burghart, minister for skills, said: "I was delighted to visit SGS College and see first-hand the brilliant work being done there by apprentices and young people, in everything from game design to animal care.
"The dedication of the staff helping them to get the skills and experience they need, now, and throughout the pandemic, was really impressive and it was fantastic to speak directly with them and their students."
Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud, said: "I am incredibly proud to have SGS in my constituency. I love seeing the students who are taking their first steps towards rewarding and skilled careers in such safe and nurturing surroundings.
"I did not go to university, so I am a passionate advocate for everybody having a range of choices available in Stroud. I know that choosing good quality further education, like the courses offered at SGS, will help people into the world of work.
"I was also proud to accompany the skills minister, so he could see what an outstanding place of learning we have here. He met with students and talked to teachers about their views to inform how the Government can further improve further education."
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