MPs Open new College Campus
Wakefield College’s iconic new skillsXchange was officially opened today by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and MP for Normanton, accompanied by his wife, Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
From left to right; Councilor Peter Box, Chair of Governors Cath Orange, Ed Balls MP, Yvette Cooper MP and College Principal Sue Griffiths.
The Secretary of State offered congratulations to the College on producing such an exciting and iconic building, which, he said, was meeting the requirements of today’s changing economy. “There are few jobs these days that don’t require skills and qualifications. Providing training in the skills that employers need, where and when they need it, is a big challenge, but essential in today’s economic climate, and this is exactly what Wakefield College is doing - the College is taking a lead in the new world of education, which is good to see.
“We would now like to see the second phase of the College’s ambitious plans - the redevelopment of its City Centre Campus - happen. My fellow MPs and I support this wholeheartedly. We know that if we want an education system that delivers excellence and the opportunity to succeed to everyone, we must keep investing in our schools and colleges in the years to come,” said the Minister.
Yvette Cooper MP, who has been a staunch supporter of the skillsXchange development throughout, and indeed cut its first turf almost two years ago, said how wonderful it was now to see the building in reality. ”These beautiful surroundings are about investing in our future, because here, you could not possibly ever think that vocational qualifications were secondary to academic ones, and that is something we should really be very proud of,” she said.
College Principal, Sue Griffiths, as Project Champion has been heavily involved in the development of the skillsXchange since its planning stages, some six years ago, when, in consultation with teachers from across the District, it was agreed that young people in the North East of the Wakefield District should have the opportunity to pursue whatever skills road they wanted to follow. “And now here it is, raising aspirations amongst those who pass by, thinking that they want to be part of the training that goes on inside,” said Ms Griffiths.
Located at Junction 32 of the M62 between Castleford and Pontefract, Glasshoughton, the £30million new build opened its doors to students in February, and is now home to more than 2,500 full and part-time students as well as 300 members of staff.
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DATE: 3rd April, 2009