Visit to Bracknell and Wokingham College


 Today I visited the College. I held discussions with the Principal and his Deputy responsible for teaching and quality.

I wanted to see how the College could help educate local young people to take advantage of the many jobs in construction likely to materialise as the Wokingham Town Centre redevelopment takes place, and as the rate of new housebuilding picks up.

I also saw students training to be plumbers, carpenters and car mechanics, and talked to them about their courses and aspirations.


  1. Debbie Taylor
    September 27, 2013

    My son has just started Bracknell and Wokingham college. I notice that you visited there recently. I am very concerned as thought it was the governments plan that all children that didn’t reach Grade C and GCSE English and Maths have the opportunity to repeat this. Bracknell and Wokingham are now telling me that they have too many that didn’t achieve this and therefore they do not have the staff to be able to cope, so Matthew who gained D in both has been told he has to do functional skills. This I would not have thought, is going to help him in the future and also he was hoping to continue on the Public Services course to Level 3 next year, but in order to do this you need English and Maths. I am feeling very let down by the system and will be taking this further

    Reply If you wish me to help please send me the details with your address to the House of Commons SW1A 0AA

  2. alan jutson
    October 10, 2013


    Does the College carry out any aptitude type tests on prospective students to help them choose what students may be suitable for certain Courses. ?

    Even a student with very poor grades can become an excellent skilled tradesman, providing they have the interest of course.

    Going back to my days as an indentured engineering apprentice, some 50 years ago, our Company took on 12 apprentices a year, and the group as a whole had a very, very varied school exam track record, but because they selected new recruits on their own aptitude test results, taken as part of the interview process, we never had a single failure in the 5 years of my training, in any of the years, thus no failure out of 60 people.
    All apprentices did 1 year in house at the apprentice school within the factory, before completing 3 months in many departments, such as toolroom, press shop, welding, maintenance, drawing room, demonstration ground, lorry body building, print room, production line, plating shop, stores, auto line, etc etc, all undertaken with day release and night School at college for either City and Guilds Craft Practice, Group Technical Certificate, HNC, or HND.

    As well as the above we visited as a group, other factories and locations and were given a guided tour of their operations.

    London Airport (Heathrow) Technical Engineering Block, Firestone Tyres, Ford at Dagenham, Vauxhall at Luton, Enfield Rolling Mills, Alfred Herbert Machine Tools, Battersea Power Station, and a host of many other huge organisations.

    During the last year, two of the 5th year apprentices were chosen to be put in charge of overseeing the First year apprentices training, they themselves being overseen as well, which also gave them some man management training as well.

    The information and experienced gained, made us all think beyond our own little world, and tought us to think about the WHOLE PROCESS of Production from start to finish and how one part of the process interacted with others.

    Unfortunately today it would seem most so called skilled people only think of their own trade, and not those that have to follow along behind !

    At the time I thought along with many other fellow apprentices I was being used as cheap labour, but I soon learnt that I had, had an excellent grounding for future years.

    Reply Thanks for the informative post. The College as I understand it reviews a candidates past achievements and assesses suitability for a course without specific additional formal tests.

    1. alan jutson
      October 10, 2013


      What a shame !

      They will miss out completely on the late developers, and those who have an aptitude and liking for perhaps design and craft skills.

      The whole point of aptitude tests along with perception tests, is to test non acedemic knowledge and suitability for a skilled trade.
      Once you have gained their interest they then become more focused on acedemic work although perhaps at different levels, (NVQ, City & Guilds, HNC HND or equiv) that is relevent to that trade.

      Looks like we have acedemics setting acedemic standard entry for students without looking at the whole and bigger picture.

      Reply There are entry level qualifications young people can do at the College before going on to achieve more difficult technical qualifications. I don’t agree their system excludes people.

      1. alan jutson
        October 10, 2013

        reply – reply

        Then let us hope that Debbies son will not be put off by even more acedemia before doing what he really wants to do, and that the studies he needs to do to gain entry, are relevent to his needs and aspirations.

        My fear would be that once again we would have a historical judgement on peoples future ability, and he perhaps may not have the chance you suggest.

        I hope I am wrong.

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