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The Corporation

Posted: 17/10/12

Duke of York visits college construction academy

The Duke of York, KG, has visited West Nottinghamshire College’s Construction and Logistics Skills Academy as part of his on-going effort to recognise and promote excellence in technical education and apprenticeships across the UK.

His Royal Highness took part in a round-table discussion with college principal Asha Khemka OBE, employers and business leaders on the subject of re-engaging and creating jobs for young people.

As part of this discussion Sir John Peace, Lord Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire, provided an update on the progress of Working for Youth – the employer-led effort to tackle youth unemployment.

The Duke of York was then given a tour of the £7.2m construction academy in Kirkby-in-Ashfield by Mrs Khemka, meeting staff, students, apprentices and employer links during the visit yesterday (Tuesday 16 October).

In a speech after the tour, His Royal Highness said: “The purpose of an institution like this is to bring together work, training, business and life skills. 

“It is only right that an organisation like this should be here to enable you to make the most of whatever skills, whatever learning, you have.  So I would like to congratulate Asha on what is going on here and encourage staff to continue with the outstanding work they are providing to young people here at West Nottinghamshire College. 

“I’d like to wish the young people who are currently studying here every success in their chosen path.  Just remember, you have every opportunity to achieve greatness.”

Mrs Khemka said: “It was an honour to show His Royal Highness how we’re developing the next generation of skilled tradespeople through high-quality vocational training and forging strong links with employers.”

Students were delighted to have the opportunity to meet His Royal Highness.

Apprentice plumber Joe Gibson, said: “The Duke of York asked me about what I do on site and also at college. It was nice to hear that he was interested.

“I’m enjoying my studies at the Station Park campus where I’m in my second year. The tutors are great.  

“I want to be plumber and I have about three or four more years of training ahead of me.  I now work for a local company and the college helped me to get the interview.

“I’d advise anyone to come to college and learn all the theory and get on site and put it all into practice. Apprenticeships are the way forward for businesses and young people. It’s the future.”

Painting and decorating student Rachael Guise-Mein demonstrated the technique of oak graining to His Royal Highness.

She said: “Prince Andrew was very interested in our work and wanted to know about the tools we use.  It was an honour to meet him and he asked me what I was planning to do in the future. 

“I’m very passionate about what I do and enhance my skills in the trade and my dream is to teach one day.

“It’s important there’s a place like this to learn.  It gives people the opportunity to train in a craft regardless of their age or sex.  It’s a jewel in the crown for further education and I’m very lucky to be here.

“The college has great networks with employers and they can be assured that students are getting high-quality training.”

The construction and logistics skills academy provides training to over 1,300 students on a wide range of vocational courses including bricklaying, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, plastering, painting and decorating, gas-fitting and rail engineering.

Boasting extensive workshop space and the latest industry-approved machinery and equipment, it has forged a reputation as one of the sector’s leading construction training centres.