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Royalty rolls into Witney to open local campus

30th May 2017

A visit from HRH The Duke of Gloucester, cousin to the Queen, has marked the official opening of Abingdon & Witney College’s Witney Campus.

The Duke toured the recently refurbished campus to see the now cutting-edge facilities, and also speak to the students who use them.

The first stop was the Construction Skills Centre, open since early 2016. Here students learn about plumbing, carpentry, and other trade skills in a large workshop area, and the Duke was keen to see soldering and other techniques in action.

Rob [surname needed from DT], a 17 year-old student from Wantage who is studying Level 1 Plumbing, said: “I felt very privileged to meet the Duke. We showed him soldering and other pipework skills and he seemed impressed by the [Construction Skills] Centre.”

When asked about his future plans, he said: “I’m looking to do Level 2 Plumbing, with the hope of going on to do an apprenticeship afterwards to get on-the-job training.”

Having paid a visit to the Media & Make-up course, where he found students in the middle of creating colourful designs, he witnessed an exciting range of scientific experiments in the on-site laboratory, including DNA testing.

Earlier, upon arrival at the campus, the Duke was filmed by Level 2 Media students to showcase how they would piece together footage and edit it into a short film. By the time the Duke had reached the media suite some 40 minutes later, the students had created an engaging short film to show back to him.

Harry Jones, a student on the Level 3 Media course, also showed him one of his recent short film projects:

“The film I have just finished putting together is more character- than plot-driven, and it centres around a heist.

Since starting the [Level 3] course, I I have worked on five different media projects, so I get the whole scope of the industry I want to work in. For a career, I would love to work in the editing side of filmmaking.”

Principal Di Batchelor joined the Duke to officially unveil the plaque that will now adorn the Courthouse Building. Upon reflecting on the campus’ history, Di said: “Previously, this campus was regarded as one of the worst in the country – now it is undoubtedly one of the best having seen so much redevelopment in recent years.

“We are honoured to have his Royal Highness officially open this campus,” she continued, “in the presence of the people who helped design it, fund it, build it, and continue to help create a community around it.”

The Witney campus now hosts a range of exciting vocational courses, from Art & Design to Life Sciences and much more.