Labour leader praises 'inspirational' Burnley College and Themis students

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Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer has praised “inspirational“ Burnley College students for their ambition and commitment – and the college for its facilities and unrivalled support of industry.

Sir Keir made Burnley College his base for a packed day in East Lancashire as he met students, apprentices, business-leaders and party members – accompanied by Lisa Nandy, Shadow Secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities.

Sir Keir spent the morning at Altham business What More UK, leading plastics manufacture, where he met some Themis apprentices.

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Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy with Burnley College studentsSir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy with Burnley College students
Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy with Burnley College students

“My dad was a toolmaker and worked in manufacturing all his life. That’s very important to me because I saw how hard that work is, and the pride and dignity that it brought," he revealed.

“One of the great things we saw looking at the manufacturers and the businesses here, was seeing toolmakers – some of whom were here at Burnley College starting their own apprenticeships – doing the modern version of what my dad used to do.

“It was a real trip through memory lane, and a fantastic example of what this College is able to produce to continue that tradition of skilled manufacturing.”

The day culminated with a 'Town Hall' style meeting in the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Excellence where a wide-range of members of the local community were invited to join the discussion.

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As the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir also spent half an hour in discussion with law students about his career:

“It’s been fantastic to be with the students here today. Some have come in even though it’s half-term to have discussions with me.

“We just had a half an hour session with some of the students doing law. There was a whole variety of questions that were really probing and intelligent.

“It was brilliant and inspirational to see. I met students who are in here doing their studies and out there in businesses around Burnley. I’ve seen almost the whole journey.”

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He was also impressed with the college's facilities, adding: "You are the future and therefore we have facilities which match your ambition as students.

“Across Burnley you get a sense of that ambition. You don’t have to look far for it.”

Principal of Burnley College Karen Buchanan said: "At Burnley College we pride ourselves on our links to industry and our drive to ensure every student is given the opportunity to excel and pursue their career ambitions.

“To be able to show the people of Westminster our passion and our commitment to the highest levels of education, to unrivalled connections to industry and our exceptional facilities is fantastic."