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News & Press

Gavin Williamson 276Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson met students, staff and employers and toured the facilities at West London Institute of Technology and Uxbridge College.

The visit was part of celebrations on 8 July of the national Institutes of Technology (IoTs), innovative collaborations between further education (FE) providers, universities and employers. IoTs specialise in delivering higher technical education and apprenticeships with a focus on STEM subjects, such as engineering, digital and construction.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “It was fantastic to meet some of the pioneering staff, students and apprentices at the West London Institute of Technology and see their top-of-the-range technical facilities in action.

“Institutes of Technology are the pinnacle of technical education, helping to develop the highly-skilled talent pipeline employers will need for the future. It was brilliant to see first-hand how West London Institute of Technology are responding to the skills needs of the local area, particularly in the vital STEM sector, helping to plug shortages and create the workforce of tomorrow.”

Mr Williamson met with Motor Vehicle apprentices and had a look around some of the facilities and equipment they use, including the brand-new Mini Electric and Lucas Nulle Car Train electric vehicle simulator.

He also joined Higher Education students in Electronics who were working with a DC Motor in the Power Lab, and a wind turbine in the Project Room, as well as viewing a VFX showreel of work by students aiming to enter the film and gaming industries, or progress to university education.

A round table discussion with staff and employer partners then looked at the needs of employers and workers in and around west London and strategies for ensuring the right people were gaining the right skills.

The West London IoT virtual celebrations were kicked off with a video from Boris Johnson recorded for the event in his capacity as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and also included videos from successful IoT students demonstrating high tech kit.

Dr Darrell DeSouza, Group Principal of the merged college group HCUC, the umbrella organisation for Uxbridge College and WLIoT, said: “It was a tremendous opportunity to have Gavin Williamson on site at West London Institute of Technology and Uxbridge College to see how things were looking on the ground, and have a chance to talk through the achievements so far and challenges ahead.

“We were also very pleased to have this chance to highlight the strength of our employer partnerships, with Heathrow, Fujitsu, HS2, West London Business, Jisc and Flannery Plant Hire represented in the round table discussions with Mr Williamson.

“Increasing choice and access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths education and training has always been a priority for us and we are proud to bring our decades of experience to bear going forward.”

The IoT Celebration was a formal launch of the 12 ‘wave 1’ IoTs and aimed to raise awareness of IoTs both locally and nationally, among key stakeholders and the public. Wave 2 IoTs will be announced later this year.

It also coincides with the anniversary of the government’s Plan for Jobs. IoTs play a pivotal role in delivering the technical skills employers need to thrive and to create secure, high-quality roles. They also provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities for adults, helping to fill local skills gaps and building the foundations for future prosperity in an area.

For more images go to:

IMG 5966Students from across Uxbridge College’s ESOL young learner courses joined forces to paint over old graffiti and replace it with creative new designs in Hayes’ Golden Park.

The young learners are part of the large English Language department at the college’s Hayes Campus, which is next to the park in College Way, off Coldharbour Lane, which also teaches adult learners part-time.

The Park is both part of the college and open to local communities, and the students - a total of around 180 from nine classes - also blitzed the discarded rubbish in a major litter pick.

The project was part of Work Experience activities over three weeks, and involved a raft of skills including project management, maths, teamwork and design. Some of the designs were inspired by the graffiti artist Banksy, whilst others were inspired by events in the UK during Covid-19, and the students’ countries of origins.

Claire Beale, Section Manager for ESOL young learners, said: “This was a lovely opportunity for students who have mainly worked over video link during the year to get together in person and reconnect.

“It was quite a logistically challenging project due to the number of students involved but it was a real success in terms of creativity and collaboration. They also had to work really hard - some of the fence panels needed six coats to cover up the old graffiti!

“The designs on the panels really showcase the different cultures, whilst the commitment to the local community is a perfect example of British Values in practice.”

The students also made the most of the spruced-up park by holding their end of term sports day there.

Students come from countries including Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Moldova, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Romania and China.

ESOL learners study at pre-entry and Level 1, and a high number go on to study vocational or academic subjects at a higher level once they have completed their ESOL courses.

For adult learners, courses focus on practical skills in language and understanding for employability and citizenship in the UK - these courses are free to people earning less than the annual London Living Wage. Learners of all ages are also supported in Maths and IT skills,

* For more information about adult and young learner courses for English for Speakers of Other Languages go to: English Language Courses - ESOL - Courses for International Students in English Language - Uxbridge College | Top London College

L2 foodbankFoundation students learning skills for life, work, literacy and numeracy, are completing another successful year of volunteering and charity collections with the Hillingdon Foodbank.

For the past three years, the students have been collecting donations to the foodbank from college students and staff - food and drink items such as squash and biscuits, but also other basics like toilet roll and shower gel - and working with the charity to help distribute items to families in need.

They also learned more about the charity from volunteer Joash, who came into college to talk about his role, which he does in addition to his day job. He explained how working as a volunteer has helped him expand his general knowledge and skills, and given him the opportunity to network with others.

Organiser Amar Phagura, Employment Coach Foundation Studies at Uxbridge College, said: “We only started collecting in March this year due to lockdown and it’s been a huge success - I’ve dropped off five collections and the boot of my car and the back seats were full. This is a wonderful project for the students to learn a range of practical skills, as well as more about what’s going on in their communities, and how little things like donating a tin of beans can make a big difference. It has been such a success we plan to keep going next year as well.”

The students have collected items worth around £400 this year, and Uxbridge College’s Hair and Beauty team - based in Distinction Hair & Beauty salons at Hayes campus - donated £100 won by a member of staff in the Staff Star awards. The donation meant 85 essential food items could be purchased.

The foodbank works by a voucher referral system where organisations such as Social Services allocate vouchers to those who need it. Hillingdon Foodbank, based on Oxford Road, Denham, is supported by the Trussell Trust. It also had collection points at various supermarkets.

* Find out more at


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