From education to employment

Labour Leader Praises England’s Number 1 College

Burnley College is leading the charge in ‘investing in our future’, says Sir Keir Starmer, after spending a day at the Number 1 College in England.

The Leader of the Labour Party heaped praise upon Burnley College during a round-table discussion at the leading academic institution last week.

Opposition Leader Sir Keir spent last Monday exploring the extensive campus at the East Lancashire college, alongside Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Lisa Nandy.

The pair also took part in a round-table discussion in one of the college’s state-of-the-art engineering classrooms, with members of staff, students and local business leaders.

Sir Keir made Burnley College his base for a packed day in East Lancashire as he met students, apprentices, business-leaders and party members.

He visited Padiham business What More UK, leading plastics manufacture, where he met some Themis Apprentices from Burnley College.

He said: “My dad was a toolmaker and worked in manufacturing all his life and that’s very important to me because I saw how hard that work is but also the pride and dignity it brought.

“One of the great things we saw looking at the manufacturers and the business here and seeing toolmakers – some of whom were here at Burnley College to start their own Apprenticeships – doing the modern version of what my dad used to do.

“It was a real trip through memory lane, and a fantastic example of what this college is able to produce and continue that tradition of skilled manufacturing.”

The day culminated with a ‘Town Hall’ meeting where a wide-range of members of the local community were invited to join the discussion.

Principal of Burnley College Karen Buchanan said it was an incredible day for the college, and the pupils lucky enough to meet one of Britain’s top politicians.

She said: “At Burnley College we pride ourselves on our links to industry and our drive to ensure every student is given the opportunity to excel and pursue their career ambitions.

“To be able to show the people of Westminster our passion and our commitment to the highest levels of education, to unrivalled connections to industry and our exceptional facilities is fantastic.

“It’s been an amazing day and I’d like to thank everyone involved, from Sir Keir through to the students who gave up their half terms to join him today.”

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Keir also spent half an hour in discussion with Law students about his career in one of the legal classrooms at the college.

He said: “It’s been fantastic to be with the students here. Some have come in even though it’s half-term to have discussions with me.

“We just had a half an hour session with some of the students doing law. There was a whole variety of questions – really probing and pushing.

“It was just brilliant and inspirational to see.

“I had the advantage to see students who are in here doing their studies – but also out there in the businesses around Burnley that point back here and say this is where it all started for them – so I’ve seen almost the whole journey. It’s been really really incredible.”

Burnley College boasts industry-standard facilities to help educate their students, including the almost 1,000 learners going through apprenticeships at the college.

He added: “The facilities here are fantastic. I think that sends a very powerful message to students which is ‘We are investing in you.’

“They are the future and therefore we have facilities which match their ambition as students and that’s a very important message.

“Across Burnley you get a sense of that ambition. You don’t have to look far for it.”

Burnley College boasts enviable ties to industry in Lancashire, including a number of apprentices at aerospace engineering firm Saffran, and Oscar-winning, world-renowned sound engineering company AMS Neve, and have just landed international brewing giant Budweiser.

Their latest Themis careers event brought in 35 employers from across the region to meet 400 young people and their parents.

Burnley College has also announced that 2022 will be their Year of the Themis Apprentice, thanks to their determination to support outstanding young people to find their place in industry.

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