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Public Services RAF Trip 8RAF Brize-Norton played host to Uxbridge College students who got a rare chance to board an official plane recently returned from peacekeeping operations.

The students from Uniformed Public Services and Travel and Tourism courses explored one of the RAF’s 8 C-17 Globemaster III including sitting in the cockpit and visiting the cargo hold; this allowed them to meet the pilots, engineers and other aircrew.

They also went to the Air Traffic Control tower, as well as discovering what life for service personnel living on the base was like, including visiting accommodation and seeing facilities such as bars and cafes, sports centre and pitches, and a swimming pool.

The site in Oxfordshire is the RAF’s largest station in the UK and home to approximately 5,800 Service Personnel, 1,200 contractors and 300 civilian staff.

Public Services student Julia Laskowska said: “All of us have really enjoyed this trip and everyone found an interest of their own in particular work placements at the RAF.”

Public Services students, whose courses involve developing skills in areas including leadership, team building, fitness drills and discipline, may go on to careers with services including the police, armed forces, fire, ambulance and prison services, or progress to university and other higher education courses. Travel and Tourism students work in a range of careers in the industry including as cabin crew, overseas holiday representatives, and management positions.

John McDonnellLocal MP John McDonnell put his support behind increased funding for Uxbridge College during Colleges Week.

John McDonnell, for Hayes & Harlington (Lab) - also the Shadow Chancellor - visited Hayes Campus on the final day of Colleges Week, which ran from 15-19 October.

Colleges Week was part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign and included a national lobby of Parliament on 17 October for increased funding.

John McDonnell, who supported the call for increased funding, said: “Uxbridge College is at the heart of a community so it is a huge resource, and the underfunding of colleges is worrying. Lack of funding for colleges is denying people the opportunity for a second chance at education and training, and it is also an issue because we’re entering the 4th industrial revolution where there is such a big challenge for skills.”

Laraine Smith OBE, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: “We would like to say a massive thank you to our MPs for their support and for their visits in advance of and during Colleges Week. Uxbridge College is incredibly proud of the work it does and we certainly feel extra finance would add significant value to both the lives of young people and adults and to businesses and the economy at every level.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Uxbridge College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”

‘Love Our Colleges’ has called on government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years to combat the reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.

The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

DSC 0083Uxbridge & South Ruislip MP Boris Johnson has dubbed Uxbridge College “brilliant” following his tour of engineering, plumbing and building services workshops.

Re-tweeting our photo of him meeting staff and students in the plumbing workshops he said: “Thank you for the tour! Great to have such a brilliant college in Uxbridge and delighted to hear so much positive news today @uxbridgecollege - keep up the fantastic work!”

Laraine Smith OBE, Principal, who showed the Conservative MP around the college, said: “It’s always a great privilege to have our local representatives on site and Boris Johnson’s tour was no exception. It’s great to have his support and to have a chance for someone at a senior policy level see what amazing work we do and what a difference it makes to young people, business and the economy alike.”

During the tour, part of the MP’s regular visits to organisations in the constituency, he congratulated Uxbridge College on their ‘hat trick’ of successes along with Harrow College as part of the Harrow College Uxbridge College merger - success as local partners in the Institute of Technology process, being chosen to provide the new T Level (Tech Level) qualifications, and attaining the Mayor of London’s kitemark in training for the Construction industry.

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