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Robots, animation and a gourmet lunch: Secretary of State finds about digital skills at New City College Hackney

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, visited New City College's Hackney campus during a day exploring digital and tech education: his first official visit to a general further education college since taking up his role in January.

He was impressed by computing students who showed him how they've learnt to programme robots to dance, and saw wide-ranging examples of games design students' 2d and 3d animation. He also viewed a film created by a 16 year-old media student, which has been shown on Channel 4's Random Acts show and enjoyed lunch prepared and served by hospitality students.

The Minister took the time to discuss what the students have been learning at the college, from cyber security to networking, and also, their route into their chosen course at college and what they intend to progress to. He wished them all every success in their next step, whether an apprenticeship, further study or their future career.

The Secretary of State was presented with a framed print of a TfL Elizabeth Line advert designed by graphic design students from the college's Redbridge campus, which is currently displayed on TfL Rail carriages across London.

The Minister said that it was "Amazing to see the skills being taught at New City College's Hackney campus. Students are making films and programming robots. Special thanks to the catering students for showing off their culinary skills and preparing an amazing lunch."

New City College's Group Principal and CEO Gerry McDonald said: "We are delighted that the Minister came to New City College for his first official FE college visit in his role as Secretary of State for Education. Like Mr Hinds, we are passionate about providing students with the very best opportunities to progress to strong careers and we are encouraged that FE is high on his agenda. We are grateful to the Minister for taking the time to see such a good range of our students' excellent work, and to hear from them about their studies and ambitions."

The Secretary of State combined his visit on the Hackney campus with a visit to Emerge Education, a seed investor and edtech network dedicated to ed-tech startups. Emerge operates Edspace, a shared workspace for edtech start-up companies, on the college campus.

Note: New City College was created by the mergers of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Redbridge colleges in 2016 and 2017. It supports around 20,000 students each year across the region, and has a turnover of around £65m.

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