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News & Press

WLB 2019 Awards 367West Met Skills apprentices from Uxbridge College and Harrow College are celebrating after winning Highly Commended awards in the prestigious West London Business Awards 2019.

Mohammad Umar Ahmed, Thomas Gillet and Connor Williams received their awards at a gala ceremony and dinner for the sixth annual West London Business Awards, held at Twickenham Stadium and hosted by Sky Sports presenter Alex Payne - pictured far left. Uxbridge College Performing Arts students also provided entertainment with a dance performance.

The three apprentices come under the umbrella of West Met Skills, which provides apprenticeships, CPD, bespoke training, and statutory qualifications to west London employers through the two colleges.

Mohammad Umar Ahmed (pictured third from right) - Laboratory Technician Level 3 - University of Westminster (Harrow College). Described as exceptionally conscientious and diligent, Mohammad gained excellent technical skills by learning from the chemistry and medical microbiology technicians, and made significant improvements across the workplace. He re-organised the glass store so it could be used appropriately and efficiently, and decluttered throughout, increasing lab capacities by 50-60% and freeing up seating for an extra 82 students in the labs. Staff, PhD students and researchers all compliment him on his work.

Thomas Gillet (pictured second right) - Infrastructure Technician Level 3 - One Care iT Limited IT and web support (Uxbridge College). Thomas is a fantastic communicator and teamworker with excellent initiative who has always gone the extra mile for clients. He is great at solving problems under pressure and helps meet business goals, including signing up new clients at Hillingdon Expo and conducting a ‘GDPR-gap’ survey to identify client needs and create solutions.

Connor Williams (pictured third left) - Mechanical Engineering Level 3 - John Guest plumbing systems (Uxbridge College). An excellent role model with great technical skills, Connor ensures he understands all technical terms thoroughly and helps other apprentices learn too. He has very good communication skills and creates innovative engineering solutions which integrate with existing systems and improve efficiency.

Jo Withers, Executive Director Employer Services and Partnerships, said: “West Met Skills, Harrow College and Uxbridge College are all extremely proud to have three apprentices chosen for Highly Commended Awards in 2019’s West London Business Awards - congratulations to them all! With the colleges’ excellent track record of delivering training for over 50 years, it stands to reason that the West Met Skills collaboration is proving to be a major success and these awards underscore just how effective its training and support packages are.”

West Met Skills grew out of the long-standing and successful Employer Services teams at Uxbridge College and Harrow College following the legal merger of the two colleges to create HCUC (Harrow College Uxbridge College). As well as providing a full range of apprenticeships and other skills-based training, the organisation matches trainees and candidates to existing vacancies. West Met Skills works with over 700 apprentices and 1200 employers at any given time.

Uxbridge College and its partner employers and apprentices have previously been successful in the West London Business Awards in 2017, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

For more information about West Met Skills go to

DSC 0060Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton MP praised Uxbridge College’s “brilliant work” and shared her passionate support for further education with students and staff during a recent high profile visit.

The Minister toured computing and engineering facilities, and saw hands-on skills such as mechanical engineering and motor vehicle maintenance being taught in the college’s workshops, as well as cutting-edge creative technologies at work with computing students.

The Minister said: “It was fantastic to visit Uxbridge College and to meet the staff and students. They are doing some brilliant work to make sure people of all ages and backgrounds gain the skills they need to get a good job and career.

“We are transforming technical education in this country and T Levels are a once in a generation opportunity. I’m thrilled Uxbridge College will be offering our gold standard T Levels in Education and Digital from September 2020.

“I congratulate the college on their amazing work, and I look forward to hearing more about the progress they make."

Laraine Smith OBE, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: “Like Anne Milton our Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, everyone at Uxbridge College is passionate about providing the best possible training and education to young people.

“We are proud to be involved in offering the new T Level qualifications and have also got our fingers crossed that our success so far in moving forward towards becoming an Institute of Technology will continue. We would like to say a big thank you to Anne for her visit and her obvious commitment to supporting further education.”

The forthcoming ‘T Level’ - Technical Level - qualifications are equivalent to 3 A Levels and will be launched nationally in 2020, with Uxbridge College offering Early Years Education and Digital programmes.

During the visit Anne met with Principal Laraine Smith and Vice Principal Darrell DeSouza to discuss key concerns around post-16 education, including creating the best quality opportunities for young people to learn technical and practical skills needed by employers.

For more photos from the visit go to:

Korean Delegates VisitPrincipals from more than 25 South Korean high schools and colleges travelled over 5,000 miles to find out more about how students are taught in the UK.

The delegation from vocational high schools and colleges looked at Uxbridge College’s workshops and classrooms, learned more about teaching methods and activities, and talked to staff and students about life at college.

Former Uxbridge College A Level student Adam Pepin-Hall, who went on to study International Relations at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) University of London, came back as guest speaker - giving his presentation in Korean - and met with the group. Adam specialised in Korea during his studies and spent a year studying there, and is about to return to the country to embark on an MSc studied in Korean.

Dr Darrell DeSouza, Vice Principal - Curriculum & Standards, said: “It was a real privilege to be sharing expertise with our South Korean delegation and the visit was a great success. We were also very proud to have Adam Pepin-Hall back talking about his time in Korea and his studies, and to see how much he has achieved after studying at Uxbridge College.”

The aim of the visit was for the Principals to implement some of the College’s practices and policies in their schools and colleges in South Korea.


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