Milton Keynes shows minister the model partnership

Sat 27 Apr 2013

Senior figures from Milton Keynes College, local industry and the council have held a meeting in Parliament with Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, to explain how cooperation is producing a young workforce with more of the knowledge and training needed to grow the economy.

Both the city’s MPs, Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster were also there to lend their weight to the argument that Milton Keynes can be a model for the rest of the country for close working between business and educators.

Deputy Principal at Milton Keynes College, Nick Isles, says, “Here in Milton Keynes we’re trying to create a skills system which is second-to-none.  I think the minister was impressed by the way we talk to employers so that vocational courses like Higher Apprenticeships can be honed and refined to provide a workforce with precisely the attitudes and abilities needed by local business.  Colleges can be engines for growth on a local scale and it’s local growth which will drive national recovery.”

Matthew Hancock was particularly interested to hear how the College is operating its £37 million OLASS (Offender Learning and Skills Services) contract.  Under its provisions the College provides a wide range of education in thirty-five institutions including adult men’s and women’s prisons from open to high security facilities and Young Offender Institutions.  Studies have shown that reoffending rates can be cut dramatically through education.  The scheme is partly funded by Mr Willett’s department.

The meeting was sponsored by Milton Keynes South MP, Iain Stewart, who says, “I was very pleased to sponsor this event; the work MK College is doing is really important in getting young people the right skills to succeed in life. I hope the minister was suitably impressed by the initiative taken by MK College and hopefully he will see it as a model that is worth promoting in other parts of the country.”

Also taking part were representatives from a number of city businesses, David Hill and Andrew Geary, Chief Executive and Leader of MK Council and Dr Ann Limb who chairs SEMLEP, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.

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