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Praise for a ‘life-changing’ Public Services department

West Yorkshire's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, visiting Leeds City College

“Keep up the great work!”

That was the message from West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE, when Leeds City College welcomed her to its Quarry Hill campus.

The visit was an opportunity to show how the Public Services department is preparing students, from all kinds of backgrounds, for rewarding careers in the uniformed services.

The deputy mayor learnt how the college’s courses are transforming lives by opening up progression routes, often for students facing disadvantages, into the police, ambulance service, army and more.

She also took the time to drop in on some classes to chat to students and staff about their goals.

Ms Lowe was welcomed by campus Principal Suzy Gallagher, Head of Public Services Tom Griffiths, Executive Principal Bill Jones and Interim Assistant Principal of the School of Social Science, Sheila Lucciarini.

Life-changing work that is boosting diversity

Suzy explained how important the work being carried out by the college, which is one of the largest providers of uniformed service courses in the country, was. She said: “We change lives, that’s what we do.

“There are around 10,000 young people in England and Wales on public services courses; here we’ve around 350 students and it’s really successful.”

Stressing the community-focus of the courses, Tom highlighted how the college’s contribution was helping make the police and other services more diverse – with 33% of its students coming from ethnically diverse communities.

The visit was also an opportunity for the college to share concerns about government plans to phase out public services courses nationally, as part of a wider switch to T Levels.

Bill told Alison: “We’ve currently got an amazing service that helps a lot of students who come from all parts of Leeds, including deprived parts and from non-traditional backgrounds, get into good, really worthwhile jobs.

“The government’s planning on turning off the funding for it before there’s an alternative in place, which would be terrible.”

The deputy mayor, thanking her hosts for the tour, agreed to look into the issue further.

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