I joined staff, students and former students of Havering Sixth Form College today to celebrate Love Our Colleges week.
The week is part of a drive to ensure that sixth form and further education colleges are adequately funded to provide both academic and vocational training for young adults and those taking on new skills later in life.
I am passionate about this agenda, which I see as key not only to solving the UK's productivity problems and reliance on imported labour but in ensuring our education system is producing fulfilled, confident young people who are ready to join the work force and add their ideas and energy to UK businesses.
I heard from the students about their hopes and aspirations, and the incredible support given them by careers advice service, The Cube. I also listened to the stories of former students who have gone on to university or set up their own businesses.
It was an inspiring afternoon and I am grateful to Head Teacher, Paul Wakeling and his Deputy, Sue, for organising such a wonderful visit.