New Education Secretary praises Brunel’s outreach on first London university visit

The UK’s new Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi MP, has used his first London campus visit to laud Brunel University London for helping students from underrepresented communities.

Mr Zahawi’s visit follows the news that Brunel, which attracts over 80% of its undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds, is now ranked 6th in the UK for social mobility by The Institute for Fiscal Studies and Sutton Trust.

“It is a truly remarkable thing,” said Mr Zahawi, who was awarded the role in September after successfully overseeing the nation’s initial COVID vaccine roll-out programme.

“If there is a dream for a Secretary of State for Education as to how policy we are implementing should work, it is here, being delivered at Brunel University London.”


Mr Zahawi visited the new Simulation Skills Suite


The trip started with a presentation on the West London Institute of Technology (IoT), a joint collaboration between Brunel, HCUC (Harrow College and Uxbridge College), Fujitsu, Heathrow and West London Business, which aims to provide a wide range of qualifications designed to help young people find rewarding, well paid work with local employers.

Mr Zahawi was then given the opportunity to experience Brunel’s new Simulation Skills Suite, a cutting-edge healthcare training facility built for students studying on the university’s newly-launched nursing courses.

After visiting the Professional Development Centre to learn about the various programmes run at Brunel to prepare students for entering the workplace when they graduate, the Education Secretary met with a number of students, including some who had recently progressed to the university from the Institute of Technology.


“We were delighted to host the Education Secretary today to show him first-hand the impact we’re having at Brunel,” said Prof Julia Buckingham CBE, Vice Chancellor and President of Brunel.

We have a passionate commitment to and a strong track record in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, ensuring that they develop the skills they need for rewarding graduate jobs. With more than 80% of our undergraduates from underrepresented communities, and average graduate salaries in the top fifth of all universities, we are proud to help our students fulfil their potential.”

Andrew Dakers, CEO of West London Business, added: “We were delighted to be able to raise with the Secretary of State today the work that we must all do with parents and schools to raise the awareness of level 4 and 5 technical education pathways, underpinned by independent careers advice. Now we are getting to the other side of the pandemic we look forward to the ramp up of a national campaign to build recognition of the Institute of Technology brand.


Mr Zahawi and Prof Buckingham met with members of the Institute of Technology