Doncaster College, part of DN Colleges Group, hosted a visit from Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart, to see the College’s excellent new facilities and speak with students about their studies. Before touring the College, the Minister met with the board of the of the South Yorkshire Skills Accelerator to share the DfE Trailblazers plans for reshaping the skills agenda across the sub-region. Mr Burghart’s role within the Department for Education is post-16 skills with a focus on technical education such as apprenticeships and the recently introduced ‘T-levels’; so, it is no surprise that he visited Doncaster College, who not only boast to be the 5th largest Further Education provider of apprenticeships in England, but they are also one of the few colleges in the region who are providing the brand-new T-Level qualification.
During his visit the Minister spoke with many groups of students and staff to get a feel for the vast range of opportunities available at Doncaster College. Mr Burghart spoke with Director of English and Maths, Robin Makey, who introduced a group of students gaining their English and Maths qualifications alongside their chosen courses; as well as taking a trip over to the newly refurbished T-level facilities to speak to a group of students on the Construction and the Build Environment T-level qualification. Mr Burghart took the time to listen to how the students were finding their course and if they could advise him on anything, they think the government should change with the qualification. The students spoke highly of their time at college which didn’t go unnoticed by the Minister who commented ‘It is really good to hear that the College has helped you stretch yourself.’
The Minister took time to visit a group of plumbing apprentices within the College and was able to explore into what could be changed to improve the qualification through a candid discussion with the students’ Plumbing assessor. Mr Burghart was keen to listen to the staff and students and delve into what they thought about the new qualifications introduced by the government.
The visit finished with two of Doncaster College’s World Skills Educators, Hospitality and Catering Tutor Simon Barton, and Engineering Tutor Jade Pinder. The pair spoke about what it meant to be a WorldSkills Educator and how their time with WorldSkills has helped them develop their teaching in a way that benefits the students to want to go above and beyond. With the many WorldSkills competitions that the College partakes in, including the Floristry competition in which a Doncaster College student has made the final, the encouragement for students to achieve the best they possibly can is clear. Mr Burghart proved impressed by the fantastic WorldSkills work happening in College, saying “How inspiring it is, really, for your students to see that and be part of that. Congratulations.”
Mick Lochran, DN Colleges Group CEO, said “It was great to meet the new Minister for Skills, show him around our new Construction T Level facilities and discuss how colleges are central to meeting the governments emerging skills agenda, which is central to underpin inclusive growth, with local people gaining high skilled, high paid employment”.