Business Secretary Vince Cable highlighted a visit to the furniture department at City of Oxford College in his speech to the Association of Colleges annual conference.

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills spent time at the National School of Furniture in February as he visited providers of further and higher education in the city.

In his speech to AoC members at the ICC in Birmingham, he said: “Since the last AoC conference, I’ve been gathering further direct evidence of the great contribution that colleges are making to our skills base, to the economy and to the lives of students who pass through your doors.


“At [City of Oxford College] I was shown around the National School of Furniture, meeting apprentices at various levels of experience in the process of becoming craftsmen and women.”

Dr Cable went on to celebrate innovation in FE and encourage the sector to work together to raise awareness of its expertise.

During his visit in February, Mr Cable toured the college’s workshops to see how furniture is designed and made and also discussed how partnerships with universities, such as Oxford Brookes and Bucks New University, are increasing access to higher education.

Following his visit he said: “Education and training are important for personal development and employment prospects. The college is a good example of how a closer relationship between education and employment can address this need.

“We believe that further education should be seen as an equal alternative to higher, but the college takes this a step further, by breaking down any misconceptions that the two are mutually exclusive.”