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Shadow Health Secretary inspired by workforce of the future in Bradford College visit

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has praised Bradford College and the power of further education to transform people’s lives as “inspirational”.

Mr Ashworth visited the college on Tuesday 27 April to meet with students and staff. While there, he discussed some of the challenges currently facing the further education sector.

Chief Executive Chris Webb, Chair of Governors Cath Orange and Vice Principal Dawn Leak spoke about proposals around funding for adult education and the need to develop the ‘green’ workforce for the future.

Future Technologies Centre for ‘green’ jobs

Among the initiatives Bradford College has developed to train people for this growing sector is the Future Technologies Centre. This is a new and developing future curriculum researched and developed by the college, its strategic partners and employer sponsors.  The curriculum will support skills development and jobs in the growth of the green, digital and low carbon sectors.

“We need more people to go into nursing”

Mr Ashworth heard from Progression to Learning and Work students about their own studies and hopes for the future. When one student said she hoped to go into nursing, Mr Ashworth said: “We need more people to go into nursing. Nurses have been brilliant throughout the Covid crisis.”

Head of Education, Creative Industries & Art Nathan Kelly discussed the opportunities and challenges for the creative industries. The Bradford School of Art, part of the Bradford College family, is a founding member of the Connected Campus for Colleges group. Screen Yorkshire has set up this initiative to make the creative industries more accessible to young people.

Mr Ashworth speaks to CEO Chris Webb

How we train healthcare workforce

Proceeding on to the college’s Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC), Mr Ashworth toured the college’s hub for courses in computing, ophthalmic dispensing, business and law. It is also home to the state-of-the-art Northern Dental Education Centre (NORDEC). This training centre includes a classroom set up as a dental surgery and a theatre of realistic manikins allowing learners to practise in real-life conditions.

Dentistry tutor Laura Marshall demonstrated how students used the ‘phantom heads’ in NORDEC as part of their training.

Mr Ashworth practises his skills at NORDEC

A community-driven curriculum

Mr Webb also detailed how the college works closely with partners to train people for the healthcare sector. They include the University of Bolton and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He said: “We really want Bradford College to be a community college. Everything we do is to transform the lives of our students, so we are really focused on regional skills needs. We are working closely with local employers to provide them with the skilled people they need.”

Mr Ashworth said: “I’ve been so impressed at what I’ve seen at Bradford College today. You can sense there is a real feeling of inspiration across this college. The young people I’ve been speaking to really value the education they get at the college. I’ve been so impressed by the professionalism of staff I’ve met, and I’ve got a real passion for the development and education of the next generation of health and social care workers.

“I’m really proud to stand as a champion for further education. I hope I can return to Bradford in the future.”


Published: 28th April 2021


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