Central Sussex College welcomed Lord David Blunkett to open its new Advanced Technical Centre.
The centre, at the Crawley campus, in College Road, took around five months to build and saw the transformation of an underused building on the site into a area that will provide an additional 770 places for students.
The opening today (Thursday May 19) coincided with the college’s annual HNC/HND engineering exhibition and Lord Blunkett was able to meet with staff, students and local employers.
The students, studying subjects such as manufacturing, electronics and specialist areas of environmental technology, displayed their end-of-year project to visitors, speaking enthusiastically about their work and their plans for the future.
After touring the centre, Lord Blunkett delivered a speech about education and his own battle to make his way in a world which often did not treat blind children and young adults with the respect they deserved.
He ended his speech with the following statement: “There are ups and downs in life. You get great joy sometimes from what you’re doing and then things go drastically wrong.
“The measure of who we are is the way in which we deal with those terrible moments as well as the way in which we grasp and enjoy life at its best.
“If you know that you can brush yourself down and pick yourself up again and get on with it again, you’ll succeed.”
Given the problems faced by Central Sussex College in the past few weeks, they were words which must have struck true with the staff and students.
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