Matthew Hancock MP recently visited Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form, to see how College Capital Investment Fund money is helping the College to improve its facilities for its students.

Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, was welcomed to the College by Principal Amanda Melton, who showed him work currently taking place to improve the College’s sporting facilities and learning environments.

Following a tour of the College’s Engineering workshops, which will benefit from CCIF investment, Mr Hancock and Andrew Stephenson MP participated in a revision class with A Level students. Students at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form achieve the best A Level results in the area and are the 4th highest performing in the country.

Local employers and apprentices then joined Mr Hancock for a round table discussion about how small businesses will be affected by planned changes to Apprenticeships. Steve Kelly, Operations Director at Hycrome, James Bolland, Director at Optimill, and Taylor Jane Fox, Business Development Manager at Graham Engineering, questioned Mr Hancock about funding reforms for Apprenticeships and how these would affect their businesses.

Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form Principal Amanda Melton said: “We are delighted that we had the opportunity to showcase our outstanding A Level students and Apprentices to the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise.  We are the best college in the area for A Level and vocational grades and the third highest performing in the country for young apprenticeship success.

“It was important for us to show Mr Hancock the difference funding can make to our College and students, but also to discuss how the deficit we will face next year due to changes made by the Government will affect the College and our local community.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of young people applying for Apprenticeships and this could be affected if small businesses feel they can no longer afford to take on Apprentices. Mr Hancock was impressed by how well we as a College respond to employers’ needs and understands the impact that Apprentices have on businesses operating in Pendle and Pennine Lancashire. Hopefully by taking our concerns back to Parliament, we will be able to continue working with local businesses to train exceptional Apprentices.”