College Hosts Discussion With Former Secretary Of State

FORMER Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sir Vince Cable has met with college students to learn more about the paths young people take to further education. Sir Vince headed a round table discussion with around 20 students from The City of Liverpool College with the National Union of Students (NUS) Vice President for Further Education Shakira Martin. The students were from a range of courses, such as mechanical engineering, sports, computing and IT, health and social care, games and costume, apprenticeships and HND courses. The event was organised by The City of Liverpool College’s Students’ Union to help Sir Vince and Shakira continue their joint research project Students Shaping Further Education. The initiative aims to collect information from students from all over the UK in further education about the issues they face making the most out of their careers, from accessibility to teaching. At the end of the project, NUS will present a report with learners at the heart of recommendations to the government who have recently announced a wave of changes to further education, including what Prime Minister Theresa May called ‘credible alternatives’ to universities. Shakira Martin, NUS Vice President Further Education, said: “I’m delighted we had the opportunity to speak with learners from The City of Liverpool College today. “Liverpool is a vibrant and diverse city which the college clearly plays a large role in. “The work we are undertaking with Sir Vince Cable aims to put the views of learners’ right at the heart of further education reforms nationally and we really appreciate them taking the time out of their studies to talk to us about what matters to them in their education.” “Many of those at today’s round table talked about how they had been let down by a lack of good careers information, advice and guidance. Learners believe that careers advice should start from year 7 to help make informed choices throughout their education. “With the imminent launch of the government’s careers strategy, it is vital politicians listen to the experiences of young people on this topic.” This year, the college will expand its higher education provision to offer full degree courses for the first time. The number of higher education students it teaches is expected to increase as it offers students the chance to take full degrees in courses in Popular Music, Sports Coaching and Development , Game Design, 3D Character for Games, Early Years,  Dental Technology and Computing in 2017, and from 2018 in Applied Sciences, Physics and Mathematics, Preforming Arts and Art and Design. Existing students will be able to progress onto the full degree courses from their existing studies, while the college will also be accepting new entrants who specifically want to undertake a degree. The college, which has a student population of 22,000 and a turnover of £65m, wants to meet demand for skills development across the city region’s growth sectors. The college currently has 600 HE students and are hoping that number increases to approximately 1,000 by 2019. There are seven new Open University degree courses under validation this year and four more will hopefully be added in 2018. Principal of The City of Liverpool College Elaine Bowker said: “I would like to thank Sir Vince Cable and Shakira Martin for coming to learn from our students about their choices for further education. “The NUS research project is so valuable in letting young people’s voices be heard and they are helping to make a difference to the education and life of the next generation.”