London South East Colleges showcased its pioneering Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College today, hosting a visit by the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, the Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP.
The Minister was taken on a tour of the Career College to see the facilities and talk to students about their experiences. Afternoon tea was then prepared and served by the 14-19-year-old students in BR6 Restaurant - the centrepiece of the Career College - giving them the chance to showcase their skills.
During the event, the Minister was invited to unveil a plaque, commemorating his visit and marking the site of the new BR6 Bakehouse, which is currently under construction and due to open later this year.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Robert Halfon said:
“It is fantastic to have met such motivated and talented young people today who have been benefiting from the great opportunities and state of the art facilities on offer here at London South East Colleges’ Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College.
“The outstanding work of this Career College ensures that students get jobs or apprenticeships after their technical courses finish. It provides significant support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to get onto the ladder of opportunity and gain the skills they need for future careers.
“I congratulate the Principal, staff and students of London South East Colleges and the team from the Career Colleges Trust on the work being done here, which is also a vital part of the regeneration of Orpington town centre. This is another fantastic example of how important Further Education is for skills, jobs and community”
The Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College, led by London South East Colleges*, opened in September 2014 and was the first of its kind in London.
It is part of a national network of Career Colleges, offering an innovative curriculum which is part-designed and delivered by leading employers. Vocational and technical elements are underpinned by high-quality academic teaching, ensuring a well-rounded education for students and equipping them with the skills they need to be ‘work-ready’.
Based at London South East Colleges’ Orpington site, the Career College is part of the town’s regeneration programme, contributing to the local growing economy.
Speaking at the event, Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges, Sam Parrett, said:
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to host the Minister today and show him the work we are doing. Since opening our Career College, it is going from strength to strength and we are very proud of what our students are achieving here.
“BR6 Restaurant has recently been featured in the Top Ten restaurants in Kent and is number one on Trip Advisor out of all the restaurants in Orpington. We are proud of this and I thank all the staff and students who are working so hard to achieve this success.
“We are hugely grateful to both the GLA and the Career Colleges Trust. With their support we have been able to expand this innovative, strategic development and are looking forward to the opening of Phase 2 of BR6 – our new Bakehouse and café-style premises. This will offer our students even more opportunity to showcase their skills and provide the local community with another wonderful place to come and eat.”
There are currently 60 14-16-year-olds studying at the Career College and around 150 post-16 students – which will expand to 300 next year.
Also attending the event, CEO of the Career Colleges Trust, Ruth Gilbert added:
“As one of our Career College pioneers, London South East Colleges is a shining example of the excellent work being done. The Trust’s aim is to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills they need to have a successful career – within industries that offer many, exciting job opportunities.
“Our employer-led concept bridges the gap between education and employment and our emphasis on English, maths and digital skills prepares students for work in the expanding digital economy.”
Employer partners include the Hilton, Hyatt and Dorchester groups, with representatives sitting on the Career College’s advisory board. These employers help to design the curriculum, ensuring students are being taught skills wholly relevant to the industry’s needs.
Phase 2 of the £6m BR6 development is expected to be completed in the spring. The College received £850k towards the work from the London Economic Action Partnership's (LEAP) Further Education Capital Investment Fund, which is facilitated by the Greater London Authority.
Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said:
“The Mayor and I are determined to support the workforce of the future and ensure everything is being done to equip young people with the skills they need to get on the jobs ladder. I’m really encouraged by the refurbishment and expansion taking place at the Career College, which will benefit students, the community and the local economy.”
London South East Colleges offers a wide range of courses at its Career College, to suit a range of ages and abilities. To find out more, please visit: www.lsec.ac.uk/career-college.
To find out more about the Career Colleges Trust, please visit: www.careercolleges.org.uk