Bristol MP, Karin Smyth holding a bouquet of flowers with Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive
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Bristol MP Karin Smyth sampled the culinary skills of the College

City of Bristol College students served a buffet lunch to Bristol South MP Karin Smyth on Friday 19 January. The lunch was made by third years studying our Level 1 courses in Culinary Skills and Professional Food and Beverage Service at the South Bristol Skills Academy.

She met with students, lecturers, support staff and the College’s principal, Lee Probert, at a meeting organised by the National Education Union to highlight the role of further education colleges and the challenges they face.

Karin Smyth heard about the role FE colleges can play in skilling young people and adults. As the largest education provider in the region with around 15,000 students based across four sites, City of Bristol College, has a key role to play in the area.

The National Education Union has written to all MPs in England inviting them to visit members in colleges across the country to find out whether their colleges are ready to deliver the skills to meet the needs of a twenty-first century economy and the UK post-Brexit.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “FE colleges have an important role in developing a skilled workforce for the post-Brexit economy. Yet, for too long FE colleges have been the Cinderellas in education, paid little attention by Government and starved of funding.

“FE colleges have faced huge challenges because of funding cuts, area reviews, college mergers, apprenticeship reform and the Skills Plan. The technical levels (T-levels) reforms pose another huge challenge as colleges will have to find employers willing to take all T-level students for a 45- to 60-day placement connected to their curriculum, which will be difficult in many areas of England.

“Further education colleges need the resources to provide the education and training needed to train our future chefs, restaurant and hotel staff, nurses, engineers and construction workers. To achieve this, colleges now need the funding and staff to meet the challenge.

“The National Education Union is running an EFFECTIVE EDUCATION project to help FE staff achieve sustainable workloads and to campaign for better funding for the FE sector. This aims to raise awareness of the important work FE colleges do in educating 62% of 16-18 year olds and the large numbers of adults who are upskilling and reskilling.”

To find out more about the College’s catering and hospitality courses, click here. For more information, please call 0117 312 5000

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