Chris Garcia Visits Somerset College

Chris Garcia, Chief Executive of the Heart of the South West LEP (HoSW LEP), visited Somerset College to see the Jet Provost MK 5 aeroplane which was delivered to the College last month following capital received from the LEP to develop Advanced Engineering provision.

Chris Garcia said “I started in this role three years ago, and this was one of the first projects to be approved. I am delighted to come to Somerset College and see the fruition of all the hard work and take real pleasure in seeing for myself that through collaboration, we are able to deliver projects that meet local employer needs and ensure that our young people are trained and industry ready.” Chris went on to say “This is one project from a £ ½ billion pound project pipeline and if this project is anything to go by, I feel sure that the HoSW LEP investments will make a difference to the South West’s economy.”

"One minute we are learning the theory and the next we putting it into practice"

Ben Hawkes, Level 3 Aeronautical Engineering student said, “It’s really exciting to have a plane on site that we can work on. To be able to transfer our learning from one environment to another so quickly enables our learning to be meaningful. One minute we are learning the theory and the next we are putting it into practice on an aeroplane.”

The students have also taken the opportunity to work closely with employers. “Our students have recently been on work placements with Flybe and JMC” said lecturer Ray Alderton-Par “In fact, there are a number of employers who are interested in offering them work placements over the summer and jobs on completion of the course. I feel sure that they all have great futures in the aeronautical industry ahead of them.”

"It is wonderful to see this project culminate in the delivery of the aicrcraft"

Chris took the opportunity to talk to the students not only about their studies, but also to encourage them in their extra-curricular activities, which include competitive rowing, drone flying and cycling.
A number of the group will also be participating in the 50:50 Cycle Ride on Sunday 15 May 2016, raising money for a variety of charities including Children's Hospice South West, supported by the Rotary Club of Taunton.

Rachel Davies Principal and CEO of Somerset College said, “It is wonderful to see this project culminate in the delivery of the aircraft. Without the funding the HoSW LEP, this project would not have been possible. The students have gained so much from being able to work both in the classroom on the theory and put it into practice. I am looking forward to watching these students flourish in their future careers.”