Apprenticeships were the hot topic for Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristram Hunt, when he visited Nelson and Colne College.

College Principal Amanda Melton and Student Governor and A Level student James Goodall were on hand to greet the MP on his visit to Pendle along with County Councillor Azhar Ali. James, 16, volunteers with the Pendle Labour Party and plans to progress to university to study politics.

During a roundtable discussion, Mr Hunt MP discussed Labour’s plans for apprenticeships as well as other education policies, including giving all students access to independent advice and guidance and ensuring they are all supported in achieving maths qualifications.

“Tristram gave us an insight into policies Labour will be pushing as part of their election campaign,” said College Principal Amanda Melton. “He was very interested in hearing about the importance we place on students leaving us with essential maths qualifications as well as the information and guidance service we offer to all of our students to ensure they leave College knowing what their options are and how to achieve their dream careers.

“Tristram also learned about our strong partnership with local employers and how the apprentices we place with them are helping their companies to grow and succeed.

“We are third in the country for apprenticeship success amongst 16 – 18 year olds and this is something we want to grow.

“Tristram’s pledge for all young people who achieve the right grades to be awarded an apprenticeship is really positive and can only help to encourage more young people to take the apprenticeship route.”

Following the roundtable discussion, Tristram met employers and apprentices from a wide range of sectors. They included Pendle Leisure Trust employees Luke Parkinson and Amy Hindman who have both been awarded full-time employment following the successful completion of their apprenticeships.

Also there was Innova Solutions’ apprentice Max Foxcroft, who said: “It was fantastic to meet Tristram Hunt at the College. The guarantees he gave about the future of apprenticeships were really reassuring and it was good to learn that he wants apprentices to be given the opportunity to go on and develop successful careers with their employers at the end of their training.”

Tristram’s visit to the College concluded with a speedy sponge making and Easter egg decorating challenge in Farringtons restaurant. Tristram was challenged to make a 15 second chocolate sponge in the microwave as well as decorating an Easter egg – something he managed with professional looking results!