The Role of a Government Minister

I was delighted to welcome Dr Phillip Lee MP back to the College recently to talk to our students about his new role as a Government Minister in the Ministry of Justice.

As always Phillip spoke with conviction and answered our Students’ questions honestly and with good humour. “Life is there to be lived, it’s important to participate in society” and “get stuck into it” were messages that went down well – and with which I fully concur!

I was delighted to be able to introduce Phillip to our recently elected Students’ Association President, Cameron Moreton.

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A chance encounter!

In Birmingham this week for the Association of Colleges’ annual conference.

My taxi driver from Birmingham New Street station to the hotel was this delightful gentleman who is studying air conditioning at South and City College Birmingham.

He has an exam tomorrow and had been revising from his course notes prior to taking my fare.

Good luck to him!

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Remembrance Day Service

The College played a major role ‘In the Heart of the Community’ on Friday when the massed ranks of the Uniformed Public Services students, very ably led by Dan Bell and Hollie Penfold, provided the Guard at the Bracknell War Memorial Service of Remembrance.

I was honoured to be invited to participate and shifted back into rig to lay a wreath on behalf of the College’s Staff, Students and Governors.

The poignancy and enduring relevance of Remembrance Day was brought sharply into focus following the death in military service only a couple of weeks ago of a close family member of one of our staff.

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Celebrating Apprenticeship Success

I was delighted last week to be invited to present the BTEC Certificate for completion of his Level 2 Diploma to Kye Penn, one of the College’s own Apprentices.

Kye works within our Apprentices and Workforce Development Team as a Systems Leader for Workforce and Employment Skills.

I think we can fairly record that Kye was not expecting it! For those of you of a certain vintage, the presentation had overtones of Eamon Andrews and ‘This is Your Life’.

Well done Kye!

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Halloween Sunset over Bracknell

I thought you might like to see this lovely photograph taken yesterday by one of our Marketing Staff, Paige Harvey.

Paige is a former Photography student at Bracknell & Wokingham College who then went on to study Journalism at Southampton Solent University and joined our Marketing Team in June this year.

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In the Heart of the Community – The Bracknell Lecture

On Friday night as part of our vision to be ‘In the Heart of the Community’ and in partnership with the IET (Surrey Branch) we staged the Bracknell Lecture where our guest speaker was Charles Devereux, formerly Head of Rail Operations, Crossrail.

Charles delivered an excellent lecture on the massive Crossrail project and concentrated especially on the lessons learned – such as ‘Plan Early!’

Crossrail will be known from next summer as the Elizabeth Line and it will open officially in 2019. It will operate 24 trains per hour (similar to the Bakerloo Line) but it is designed to take up to 30 trains per hour. Stretching over 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the Elizabeth line will stop at 40 stations – 10 newly built and 30 newly upgraded – and serve approximately 200 million people each year.

It will therefore have a major impact on our region.

In the audience were Councillors Chris Turrell and Diana Henfrey. We discussed how our students could take part in focus groups to help with the town’s long term planning.

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Playing our part in PREVENT

The College continues to play its full part in combating extremism of all sorts. As I briefed staff at the recent Cross College presentation, Bracknell & Wokingham are relatively low risk areas and indeed over the last few years what threat there has been has come from far right extremists. However, the risk is higher in Reading and Slough and we do draw learners in from these areas.

We recently organised some very effective PREVENT Train the Trainer training from Bracknell Forest Council’s Justin Whitlock which we will cascade through the College. Summing up his training package he suggested that the 3 key words for all of us to remember and act upon are: Notice, Check, Share.

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