New education secretary chooses 'outstanding' Walsall College for first FE visit

An ‘outstanding’ college was chosen by Justine Greening MP as her first FE institution for a visit since she became education secretary.

The new minister, who replaced Nicky Morgan earlier this month, was given a tour of Walsall College — which was the first to receive a grade one Ofsted rating under the inspectorate’s previous regime in March 2013.

She also led discussions with the executive team including principal Jatinder Sharma OBE, over the college’s key strengths and best practice lessons that could be implemented by other colleges.

Ms Greening said afterwards: “The Prime Minister has made clear this government will focus on making Britain a country that works for everybody — not just the privileged few. For me, that starts with education.

“It was tremendous to see first-hand the fantastic work Walsall College is doing to bridge the gap between education and industry and get more young people on to the career ladder.

“This is a place where people’s lives and prospects are ‎transformed for the better, and where there is a real drive to push standards ever higher.”

The minister was given a tour of the college’s £64m Wisemore campus and £11m business and sports hub, and shown training facilities including the new Microsoft IT academy, Job Shop for employers and apprentices, Littleton Restaurant and commercial hair and beauty salon.

Mr Sharma said: “We are honoured that Justine chose to visit the college and give us the opportunity to showcase our work in the sector.

“The college prides itself delivering world class vocational training that equips students with the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.

“Our main aim is to give students a head start in the workplace or prepare them for university, and in doing so, create growth in our economy.

“Over the last four years we have also grown our apprenticeship provision by 74 per cent and are working with over 500 employers to support their business objectives, making us one of the biggest providers of apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds in the West Midlands.”

Caption: Justine Greening with the Walsall College executive team