Tony Blair opened the newly-created Central Sussex college this week, telling students and staff that the UK has "a lot to be proud of" in its vocational education, writes Press Association reporter Matt Adams.
The institution was formed by a merger of Crawley and Haywards Heath colleges, in Sussex.
Mr Blair confessed to his own limited DIY skills when a student (pictured above) showed him how to fix a tap. "I am always looking to learn but I am definitely not trying that," he said.
The college has nearly 1,000 staff and more than 3,000 full-time and 15,000 part-time students.
Russell Strutt, the principal, said: "It is wonderful for him to see at first-hand our newly formed college and our ambitious plans for the future."
Mr Blair said: "We have to recognise the importance of vocational skills for our future - education, training and skills are key. I wanted to come here to use this as a symbol of what we are trying to achieve countrywide."