Business Secretary meets furniture makers of the future at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College

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Business Secretary Vince Cable met staff and students at the National School of Furniture, part of Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, as he toured higher education and further education providers in Oxford last February 13.

Furniture lecturer Drew Smith showcases students' work to Vinc Cable MP

Mr Cable said: “Education and training are important for personal development and employment prospects. The college is a good example of how a closer relationship between education and employment can address this need."

Business Secretary Vince Cable met furniture makers of the future as he visited Oxford & Cherwell Valley College on Wednesday (13 February).

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills met students at the National School of Furniture, part of OCVC, as he visited providers of further and higher education in the city.

Mr Cable toured the workshops to see how furniture is designed and made and also discussed how the college’s partnerships with universities, such as Oxford Brookes and Bucks New University, are increasing access to higher education.

He also met with college principal, Sally Dicketts, to find out how students are being made ready for employment. Sally explained how OCVC is developing a more commercial approach to education through the setting up of learning companies, and by helping students to develop the enterprise-related skills and behaviours demanded by today’s employers.

Mr Cable said: “Education and training are important for personal development and employment prospects. The college is a good example of how a closer relationship between education and employment can address this need.

“We believe that further education should be seen as an equal alternative to higher, but OCVC takes this a step further, by breaking down any misconceptions that the two are mutually exclusive.”

Whilst at OCVC Mr Cable also met staff and students from higher education courses in policing and health and social care, which are offered in partnership with Oxford Brookes University.

Sally Dicketts said: “We were delighted that Mr Cable could visit our Oxford campus and meet staff and students at the National School of Furniture. It was a real opportunity to show how further education providers can provide a bridge between education and employment, and how the principles of enterprise can help students to develop the skills and behaviours required by today’s employers. Mr Cable was interested to hear how we are working with businesses and other like-minded colleges, through the Gazelle Group, to lead a more commercial and entrepreneurial approach to education and training.

“We were also able to show how partnerships with universities are enabling more people to progress into higher education while remaining within the FE college environment. For many this can offer a more cost effective and convenient route to achieving a higher level qualification.”

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Jonathan Goode
Oxford & Cherwell Valley College
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