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The Student President and 3 students from Sussex Coast College Hastings were invited to the Department of Education in London earlier this month.

(2 minute read)

The students, who study catering and construction courses, met with the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening, for a ‘Question Time’ style panel discussion. The topic included education, career aspirations, and how the government can help young people in Hastings achieve their goals.

The discussion took place in front of 50 other member of the Department of Education so that they can hear about the students’ plans after college, what opportunities there are to progress onto university, what opportunities there are for employment, and what opportunities there are for apprenticeships.

Hastings is ranked as the 13th most deprived town in England according to the 2015 English Indices of Deprivation study, and the Department of Education has been inviting students from deprived areas in the country to give their feedback and opinions about their towns.

Emile Tambeh, leader of Hastings Youth Council, helped to arrange the trip and was joined by students Brandon Ellis, Danielle Russell, Ben Hobson, and Student President, Lucy Head.

The panel of four were sent questions before their visit so that they had time to prepare answers to some of the key things that the Minister was keen to find out about.

In response to a question about the student’s career ambitions, the panel spoke about the lack of perceived jobs and apprenticeship vacancies, but said that jobs and careers fairs were a good way to help promote opportunities.

Tuition fees at university, the proposed increase in interest on student loans, and the scrapping of the NHS bursary were all things that the students said were holding them back from achieving their ambitions.

Better job prospects, making vacancies more visible, and the introduction of the high speed rail from Hastings to London would all help to increase opportunities and aspirations in the eyes of the young people.

Lucy Head, Student President at Sussex Coast College Hastings, said: “It was such an interesting and enjoyable morning at the Department of Education. It was a great opportunity for us to talk about our futures and get our opinions heard by people who can actually do something about the barriers we face.”

“As the Student President at the college, students talk to me all the time about how we can make the college better, or the rising costs of going to university, or if they stay in Hastings, the lack of opportunities they have, so this was a fantastic chance for me to raise their concerns and get their voices heard.”

“Hopefully Justine Greening and the other MPs will find our points and answers useful and be able act upon some of the issues we’ve raised.”

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