Skills minister praises Blackpool and The Fylde College

Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) has had its outstanding, career-focused vocational training and education recognised by Minister of State for Skills and Equalities, Nick Boles MP.

The Minister visited B&FC's Fleetwood Nautical Campus to hear how the College works with national, regional and local employers to develop high-quality honours degrees which lead to professional employment for its graduates.

He noted the college’s quality assured STEM provision and excellent graduate to employment record, particularly across engineering. B&FC is one of two colleges nationally to be judged outstanding by Ofsted for its Engineering provision, has STEM assured status and consistently places more than 90% of its engineering graduates into relevant employment.

The college’s honours degree in Project Management, which accepts career minded individuals as well as offering tailored training for businesses, was praised for addressing a significant skills shortage across the UK. The Minister was interested to learn that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be sending staff directly onto the programme from September 2015, while acknowledging that B&FC works closely with leading employers including BAE Systems and Rolls Royce to provide Project Managers with the technical skills required by industry.

Bev Robinson, principal and chief executive at Blackpool and The Fylde College said: “We were delighted the Minster took the time to visit B&FC and recognise the outstanding outcomes we achieve working in partnership with employers, head teachers and other stakeholders in the community.”

During his visit, the minister toured Fleetwood Nautical Campus and was shown the industry standard facilities and equipment used to train merchant navy cadets and the offshore industry, including a, ship-bridge simulator, engine room simulator and training pool. He also took time to talk to current students from Carnival Cruises, Shell, BP and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary about their experiences training at the internationally renowned campus.

The minister was accompanied during his visit by Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood and Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, both of whom champion the work of B&FC in securing long term investment in the area through skills development and training. Eric Ollerenshaw said: “It is great to have the Minister for skills, Nick Boles MP, looking at Fleetwood's international centre for maritime skills. The purpose of course is to demonstrate that past government investment in our nautical college has been effective and hopefully will lead to continued further investment in the future.”