John Hayes Ministerial Visit

Apprenticeships Week 2011

Senior Government Minister Visits Kensington And Chelsea College

John Hayes, the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, endorsed the work of Kensington and Chelsea College during a recent high-profile visit.

The visit formed part of the college’s celebrations for National Apprenticeship Week (February 7-11) and gave the senior minister an opportunity to find out about some of the college’s successes and achievements.

During a tour of the Wornington Campus Mr Hayes met with staff and students, including those on the college Apprenticeship Programme. He also gave a short talk to students taking part in an employment workshop and praised the college’s role in helping the jobless back in to work.

Mr Hayes said: ‘I was delighted to meet the learners and staff at Kensington and Chelsea College and discuss their experiences and thoughts on the Further Education system. I was especially pleased to see they share this Government’s commitment to delivering high quality Apprenticeships. It was also great to see first-hand the important work they are doing to meet the skills needs of jobseekers and local employers.’

The college runs several projects in conjunction with Jobcentre Plus, to help give unemployed people the skills and confidence needed to enter the jobs market.

Tutor Gary Johnson, who led the workshop visited by Mr Hayes, said: ‘It’s not often you get an opportunity to receive 1-2-1 advice from the Skills Minister. The students found his visit really inspiring, and seemed to take on board Mr Hayes’ advice about always striving to develop and improve oneself. He offered students some great words of encouragement.’

Mr Hayes completed his tour with a trip to the college’s commercial salon, where he received a crash course in styling from hairdressing student Laura Louise-Czerniszewska.

Laura said: ‘I really enjoyed meeting the minister. He told me whenever he goes into a salon everybody always looks like they’re having fun and that when he’s leaving he always feels better about himself!’

The college salon is the training ground for hair and beauty students, providing them with invaluable experience of working in a fully functioning salon with paying clients.

The visit also paved the way for discussions with Mr Hayes about the college’s lead role in providing education and training within the community and to all nine London Prisons.

Principal Mike Jutsum said: ‘Mr Hayes visit was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the great work Kensington and Chelsea College delivers in the community and in all 9 London Prisons. Education is often the driving force for change, which is why our work in educating offenders is particularly important.’

‘Through training and learning we have the chance to help reduce the risk of re-offending. By combining this with employability training, and college support in getting and keeping actual jobs, we provide prisoners with the skills to integrate back into society on completing their sentence.’

One of the college’s most celebrated success stories of 2010 was ex-offender John Costi. John, 22, turned his life around after enrolling on the college’s HNC Fine Art course whilst completing a custodial sentence.

He finished the course on his release from prison and is now studying for a Fine Art Degree at the internationally revered Central Saint Martins.

John previously said: ‘Being at college has helped get my life back on track and I feel like I have more options and opportunities in front of me now. My paintings often reflect my experiences. A lot of my work is about street life and trying to pass on the message that you can change your ways and your life.’

The ministerial visit also engaged Mr Hayes in discussions with senior college staff on the need to continue embedding basic literacy and numeracy skills into vocational courses, and providing affordable training to those who most need it.

Principal Mike Jutsum, who led the discussions, said: ‘The visit gave us an opportunity to really spell out the importance of ensuring starter foundation level courses remain fees free.’

See the gallery of photos from John Hayes Visit