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Sir Michael Barber, Chair of the Office for Students, visits South Devon College

South Devon College was delighted to welcome a visit from Sir Michael Barber, Chair of the Board for the Office for Students, at its main Vantage Point Campus in Paignton on Monday 9th March. The Office for Students is the independent regulator for higher education in England. Their aim is to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers.

South Devon College is a strong £30 million Further and Higher Education College at the heart of its local community, helping over 10,000 learners of all ages every year, including over 600 Higher Education students, achieve their ambitions and progress into employment, apprenticeships and continuing education.

During his visit, Sir Michael Barber toured the College’s TEF Gold rated dedicated University Centre, UCSD and was then given the opportunity to meet with higher education students at the College’s new leading edge £17m Hi Tech & Digital Centre which opened its doors at the start of September 2019.

Commenting on his visit, Sir Michael Barber, who is also a resident of Devon, said:

“Our universities and colleges can make a decisive contribution in securing greater social mobility for young people, and ensuring that all students have the opportunity to unlock their potential. Forging links with schools, employers, and other partners is essential to driving this change – this is why I was delighted to visit both the University of Plymouth and South Devon College. As always, it was helpful to meet with staff at both institutions and inspiring to hear from the hardworking and impressive students that I met.”

South Devon College Principal and CEO, Laurence Frewin, said:

“We are delighted that Sir Michael Barber was able to visit us in Torbay to see how we are working with employers and the community to stimulate local development and student opportunities. It was important to us to showcase our fantastic University Centre. The College is eager to continue to strengthen our role as an anchor institution to meet future skills needs, especially higher skills, and the Hi Tech & Digital Centre and University Centre South Devon are proof of our commitment to leading on this agenda. The next ambitious step for the College is to secure Bachelor Degree Awarding Powers.”

The visit was rounded off with a meeting between Sir Michael Barber and Laurence Frewin to share best practice and discuss key agendas for the future.