Coventry North West MP Taiwo Owatemi has gone back to college to see how the city’s next generation are preparing for the world of work.
Coventry College invited the Labour politician to its Henley campus to meet staff and students as part of Colleges Week, which took place between 19 and 23 October.
Colleges Week is a Further Education initiative that celebrates the role that UK colleges play in their wider communities.
The Member of Parliament was taken on a tour to meet the College’s Forensic Science learners, and helped them to deconstruct a mock crime scene that they were analysing.
A visit was also paid to the College’s Rugby Academy to find out more about the professional lifestyle that learners lead whilst on the course ranging from recording their calorie intake and analysing training sessions, through to practising attack versus defence drills.
Taiwo Owatemi MP rounded off her visit at Henley’s Brasserie, a public restaurant based at the College and run by Hospitality & Catering learners – to sample freshly-prepared treats.
Ash Boon – a former Coventry College learner and apprentice is now a full-time Involvement & Engagement Coach at Coventry College, which involves supporting learners alongside their studies with enrichment activities and student ambassador duties.
Ash, 26, played a key role in taking Taiwo Owatemi MP around the campus which included a talk around the role that the College is playing in promoting Black History Month and outlined the significance of parliamentary visits to the city’s leading Further Education provider.
He said: “I’ve been studying and working at both of the College’s campuses for around ten years and I know first-hand the great variety of courses that we offer, and it’s important that influential figures such as Taiwo are made aware of the vital role that we play as a college in the community both in terms of keeping young people safe while providing them with skills for successful careers.
“The best way of doing that is by inviting figures such as Taiwo in to see this first hand in just one building we have upcoming rugby athletes; chefs, waitresses and waiters, as well as forensic investigators – the opportunities we provide to learners is huge.
“When I look back on my own career path, Further Education has underpinned my progression, and it’s encouraging to hear that MPs such as Taiwo recognise how important it is that colleges such as ours, and the wider Further Education sector, continue to receive financial support so we can continue helping learners in reaching their potential.”
Taiwo Owatemi MP said: “I am delighted to have joined Coventry College to celebrate Colleges Week. During my visit, I saw in action what I already know: colleges are vital for enriching lives and creating opportunities for our local community.
“Coventry College is exemplary of how students and staff, from every background, can work together to create positive change within their own lives, campuses and beyond in the wider community.
“The diversity of courses enable local talent to flourish, undoubtedly enhancing Coventry’s future prospects in every sector. Needless to say, I’m proud to give them my full support. I have written to the Secretary of State for Education insisting Coventry College receives the financial support it needs to thrive.”