Skills Minister fantastic Gosport visit!

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, was delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Skills at the Department of Education to Gosport yesterday to see the innovative and unique skills training in the Constituency.

Starting at the OFSTED 'Outstanding' rated Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training 'CEMAST', the Minister was shown the automotive, marine and aeronautical engineering apprenticeships on offer and met some of the 1300 students who train there each week.

She was then given a tour of the exciting new CETC - Civil Engineering Training Centre (Digger School!) where she met a number of apprentices, including Annalise – the first female apprentice at CTEC. CTEC is an innovative collaboration between construction business and Fareham College and offers practical training which means apprentices are 'work ready' after an intensive 20 week course. The college is the brainchild of local businessman Mark Wells.

CTEC are benefitting from £2.8m Local Growth Fund investment from the Solent LEP and is the second flagship investment in skills awarded to Fareham College by the Solent LEP. Over 1,665 apprentices will be trained at this centre between 2018 and 2023. The purpose-built facility will offer first class training facilities which are designed to meet the future workforce requirements for civil engineering and construction businesses in the South.

A number of local businesses, CEMAST, CTEC, the Solent LEP, Caroline Dinenage MP and the Skills Minister then had a roundtable to discuss apprenticeship misconceptions, investment into skills locally and the importance of careers advice.

Both of these centres are located at the multi million pound Solent Enterprise Zone, Daedalus which local MP, Caroline Dinenage, was instrumental in creating.

After the visit Caroline Dinenage said:

"It was fantastic to bring the Minister to CEMAST and Digger School. I invited Mark Wells to meet her in Parliament last year to explain this unique training model, she was so impressed that she wanted to visit herself!

This is a unique solution to the national shortage of the construction and groundworks skills needed to fulfil the country's infrastructure investment needs."

The Rt Hon Anne Milton said:

"The enthusiasm here to train up young apprentices as well as older apprentices is absolutely fantastic."

The Minister also visited Gomer Junior School to see first-hand their award nominated approach towards STEM and digital. STEM is fully integrated into the school's curriculum and their after-school gSTEM club is really popular, with girls making up over half of the members!

The Minister saw first-hand the pupils making model glider planes and testing their aerodynamic qualities and making the necessary changes to their models to make them fly better. The pupils were testing the models for air flow, gravity, force and lift and the Minister was impressed with what she saw the pupils producing.

Caroline said

"It is great that the Minister had the opportunity to learn more about the exciting and unique ways we are embedding skills in our children from a young age.

I've been blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm from both pupils and staff during my own visits and I'm delighted that the Minister was able to see this for herself. It would be fantastic to see if this can be replicated in other training programmes."