Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills did a virtual visit to North Herts College in Hitchin today with Bim Afolami MP to hold a Q&A with students at the college and to take part in a roundtable discussion with leading figures on apprenticeships in Hertfordshire.

Bim Afolami MP, Member of Parliament for Hitchin & Harpenden said: “It was fantastic for the Minister to virtually visit North Herts College today. The students asked great questions during the Q&A. The roundtable discussion brought together North Herts College, Hertfordshire LEP and local businesses to talk with the Minister about apprenticeships locally.

"This Government is committed to rolling out wider opportunities for young people through apprenticeships and it was a good opportunity to talk to the Minister about the amazing progress in Hertfordshire.”

Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills commented: “Thank you to my colleague, Bim Afolami MP for inviting me to visit North Herts College. It was a real privilege to virtually meet a fantastic group of childcare students and hear about their experiences of studying during lockdown, catching up and their excitement for future careers in a range of professions including nursing, childcare and teaching.

"Apprenticeships are an excellent way to get into a wide range of valuable and exciting careers, so it was fantastic to speak also to local leaders and businesses, including Amazing Apprenticeships and Hertfordshire LEP, about how they are championing them in the county.”

Adrian Hawkins, Chairman of the Skills & Employment Board from the Hertfordshire LEP said: “We greatly enjoyed meeting Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan MP this morning where we discussed the great work being carried out by Hertfordshire FE colleges, the University and the critical role local skills portals, such as HOP, play in helping SMEs, residents and young people navigate their way through the myriad of skills programmes.

"The Minister showed great understanding of the current COVID-related issues and we are most grateful for her insight into what this might mean for future apprenticeship schemes. With huge thanks to Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin & Harpenden, who organized this roundtable and for his continuing support.”

Kit Davies, Principal of North Herts College stated: “Our students really enjoyed speaking to the Minister and did themselves proud. It was a great opportunity for them to share their thoughts on their studies, their next steps and their career aspirations. They shared their exciting plans about what they are going to do once they leave college including nursing apprenticeships, teaching degrees, and other university programmes.

“The roundtable discussion with the Minister was also a fantastic opportunity for businesses and training providers to share thoughts and suggestions on a wide range of skills and apprenticeships themes.”