On 23rd October, Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, visited Hadlow College and West Kent College to meet with students and Principals of both colleges. The visit was part of the Association of College’s annual Colleges Week, celebrating the work colleges do to build communities, boost businesses and support individuals.

At Hadlow College, Mr Tugendhat met with Principal Dr. Lindsay Pamphilon before visiting the College’s Animal Management Unit (AMU), home to over 200 species including reptiles, amphibians, fish, small mammals, invertebrates and birds.

He joined a group of Level 3 Extended Diploma Animal Management students carrying out duties, supervised by lecturer Sophie Dixon. He chatted to staff and students about how the college and their curriculum area had responded to the challenges brought about by COVID-19, and spoke at length to student Sean Soper, who had gone above and beyond to care for animals at the college during lockdown.

Dr Lindsay Pamphilon said: “It was fantastic to welcome Tom into the College to see our excellent facilities and the enthusiasm of our students and teaching staff. He has been a staunch supporter of Hadlow College and the important role it plays in training and up skilling the current and future employees of the rural sectors”.

“College’s Week allows the FE sector to highlight how closely we work with the young people and adults in Kent & Sussex, as well as the regional and national employers, to offer the necessary training and retraining for their workforce. It also allows us to underline the importance of colleges such as ours in supporting the rural economy, particularly at this time”.

“We thank Tom for all his support and look forward to working with him in the years to come.”

 At West Kent College, Mr. Tugendhat met with Principal Dr. Jim Mawby and then engaged in a lively classroom discussion with a group of A-level Politics students.

This was an opportunity for the students to return to some of the discussions they had initiated with Mr. Tugendhat in February, when they had met, and put questions to him, in a workshop debate during a visit to Parliament.

He answered a series of questions related to their studies and about issues that were important to them, including the recent vote on free school meals, freedom of speech, the US Presidential race, post-Brexit trade deals and China's sphere of influence and the Royal Navy presence in the South China Sea. 

Principal Dr. Jim Mawby said “We were very pleased to welcome Tom to West Kent College, giving us an opportunity to showcase some of our wide curriculum offer and allowing him to engage directly with our students. He has taken a keen interest in the development and future of the College, and remains very supportive of the work we do.

“Tom’s visit coincides with the AoC’s College’s week, and it was a good opportunity to discuss the key role that Colleges will play in the government’s economic recovery plan, in the future careers and aspirations of young people, and in the further education of adult students; from our Entry level courses to our Higher Education offer.

“We would like to thank Tom for taking the time to visit with us and our students, and for his ongoing support.”

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