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On the day that funding for the Eden Project Morecambe was officially announced, students from Lancaster & Morecambe College (LMC) were invited to meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss the benefits the eco-tourism visitor attraction will bring to the local community.
Under crisp, blue skies, 4 learners studying on the Eden Land-Based and Animal Management course spent 10 minutes chatting with the Prime Minister, whilst a group of 5 electrical apprentices and construction students spoke with Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, about their hopes for the regeneration of the town. They then joined over 100 local residents, along with representatives of the national media, at the ‘PM Connect’ event at The Platform where Mr Sunak answered a wide range of questions, including 3 from the LMC contingent.
Animal Management student Emma Wright, 21, from Lancaster, was the first person to ask a question and she wanted to know how the Eden Project would link in with the local education offer and benefit students. Hannah James, 18, who also studies L3 Animal Management, asked the PM about the range of job opportunities Eden would bring for local people and Ryann Williams, Programme Manager for Construction, Energy & Engineering, asked about long-term government commitment for apprenticeships and skills development.
Victoria Carter, LMC’s Head of Engagement, accompanied the students to the event and was pleased that much of the focus of the day centred around how Eden would benefit the local education, training and employment offer.
“It was fantastic to see our learners engage so enthusiastically during the ‘PM Connect’ session and for them to have the opportunity to discuss their experiences of education, one-to-one, with the ministers. They were pleased to have had their opinions heard and to feel that they were listened to.”
Following the event, BBC North West interviewed both Emma and Hannah back in the familiar surroundings of the Animal Management workshop on campus, and spoke with LMC’s Vice Principal, Charlotte Rawes about what future prospects Eden Project Morecambe will offer.
“Eden will help raise the aspirations of young people across the whole district, in turn raising educational attainment and achievement. Having Eden on the doorstep will hopefully encourage people to want to live, work and study in the local area.”
LMC have been working in partnership with Eden since 2018, establishing an Eden Learning Hub on campus and helping to shape the innovative Morecambe Bay Curriculum, with local schools, colleges and universities across the region. This week’s announcement means that learners will continue to benefit from this partnership, creating exciting work-placement and training opportunities.
LMC’s Principal, Wes Johnson, has been working alongside the Eden Project team since plans were first revealed, and was thrilled that the funding had been approved.
“We are delighted to hear the news that the Government has approved funding for Eden Project North. The College is proud to have worked with Eden Project since 2018 and have co-created the Eden Land Based and Eden Traineeship provision for our community. As a founding partner of the Morecambe Bay Curriculum, the College should be proud to be pioneers in embedding sustainability and place-based environmental education right across the local education landscape. Eden Project North provides a fantastic opportunity for our community and the College will continue to play a central role in ensuring the inclusive and sustainable impact of this hugely significant development.”
Image credit: Eden Project North