13th April 2012 at 01:00

Construction students really dig college build

Times are tight for FE colleges. News of colleges obtaining substantial capital funding for building projects is about as rare as hen's teeth - or seeing a principal stepping off the dance floor at the Association of Colleges' annual conference party for an early night with a cup of tea and a good book. Kudos to Dudley College, then, for its crafty approach to constructing a multi-million-pound teaching facility.

Creating a 180-seat theatre, a hair and beauty salon, a fitness suite and a sports hall certainly ain't cheap. Free labour has been thin on the ground since the Abolition of Slavery Act came into force in 1833. But allowing construction students to gain valuable hands-on experience by helping out with a project? No problem at all, guv'nor.

So, 24 lucky bricklaying, plastering and carpentry students have been employed as apprentices to work alongside contractors on the site. This, principal Lowell Williams argues, will "give the apprentices plenty of opportunities to enhance their skills and get the valuable on-site experience which many prospective employees are looking for".

And save the college a few quid in the meantime, no doubt. Mr Williams, we salute you.

Former principal did no wrong - wink, wink

Following a lengthy employment tribunal involving claims of sexual harassment and unfair dismissal from an ex-employee, the Grimsby Institute's former principal, Daniel Khan, has been unequivocally cleared of any wrongdoing.

But the tribunal certainly made for some entertaining copy for the Grimsby Telegraph, which ran a series of stories recounting some of the more colourful exchanges from the legal proceedings.

But FErret is in no doubt about his favourite quote from Professor Khan. "I was never aware of rumours that I behaved inappropriately with staff," the former principal insisted, "but I was aware there were rumours that I employed young women, 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink'."

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