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Education Secretary sees skills revolution in action at Truro and Penwith College

It’s been inspiring to meet so many fantastic young people getting the skills they need for the future.

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Published Monday 22 April 2024

The Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan was welcomed to Truro and Penwith College this week (18-19 April) to see the phenomenal impact of investment in skills for Cornwall’s students firsthand.

The Education Secretary visited Truro and Penwith College’s three campuses in Penzance, Truro and Bodmin, meeting staff, students and apprentices in dynamic sectors including digital technology, engineering, healthcare and construction.

The education secretary attended a roundtable in Penwith with local employers and education providers to understand skills needs in Cornwall and how the government can support businesses to get the workers they need to thrive.

She also formally opened the college’s new STEM and Health skills centre on the Bodmin campus, which has been backed by £3.78 million from the government Local Enterprise Partnerships. 

The new centre will enable young people in Cornwall to break into the industries of the future, and has partnered with Imerys, a world-leading mineral company, to recruit 12 apprentices to do their Level Three Engineering Technician apprenticeship at the centre. 

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

“Cornwall has such a proud history of enterprise, hard work and innovation and it’s been inspiring to meet so many fantastic young people getting the skills they need for the future.

“I’ve been working with my colleagues across the South West to deliver skills and opportunity. Truro and Penwith college shows that when employers work together with education providers, they can really power growth and public services in an area, and these new facilities are transformative for North Cornwall.”

Students, staff and dignitaries at STEM Centre opening.

Truro and Penwith College Principal Martin Tucker said:

“We were delighted to welcome Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan to our three campuses, spanning the length and breadth of Cornwall. As well as an exciting opportunity to meet and chat with our students and staff, the two-day visit was also provided a forum for education and business leaders  to sit with the Secretary of State and have an open conversation about the future of education and training  in Cornwall, something that was welcomed by all who attended.

“We were especially thrilled that the Education Secretary, along with North Cornwall MP Scott Mann, officially opened our new Bodmin STEM and Health Skills Centre in front of a delighted audience of students, staff and members of the North East Cornwall business community.

“The visit highlighted the very real impact our continued investment in future skills is having in Cornwall and was a great opportunity to collectively celebrate all that has been achieved so far.”

The Education Secretary talking to Engineering students at the STEM Centre

The Education Secretary also visited Truro College to meet young people studying T Levels, the government’s new, career focussed qualification which combines classroom learning with hands-on work experience for 16-19 year olds.

The College is receiving T Level capital investment of £773,700 and currently has over 100 T Level students in-learning across their campuses. The College is also receiving £2.5 million through the Local Skills Improvement Fund, to help build skills in modern methods of construction and retrofit; and creating three Green Skills learning Hubs that focus on Marine, Engineering and mechatronics.

Truro and Penwith has been an early pioneer of these new qualifications offered in 18 subjects, including Construction and Health which are available in Truro.

The College is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and is partnered with the South West Institute of Technology, which was established with around £14 million of capital investment from the government. This funding has contributed to the construction of the new Valency building in Truro, which houses some of the college’s University Centre and 19+ Career and Development offer.

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