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SWAT students tour Parliament with MP

29 June 2018

A group of Gloucestershire College students visited Parliament last week and had a one-to-one ‘board meeting’ with Richard Graham, as part of their SWAT (Serious about Work And Training) course with Betaris. 

The 11 students grilled the Gloucester MP on everything from apprenticeships to how to get a job in politics, and one was even asked to send her CV to Richard’s office to apply for work experience. The visit was supported by Fair Shares Community Time Banks and sponsored by Richard Graham. 

Alongside their visit, the students also enjoyed a historic tour of Parliament, including the House of Lords and House of Commons, followed by a walking tour of sights such as the River Thames, London Eye, London Dungeons and Buckingham Palace. 

18-year-old Jacob Bernard, from Gloucester, said: “It was a great day and a mind-blowing experience to meet an MP in Parliament – plus we saw Buckingham Palace and you can’t get better than that!” 

17-year-old Jenny Lewis from Cheltenham added: “I had a really good experience and learnt a lot.” 

Fair Shares Community Time Banks said: “It was a really eye-opening and interesting experience and, as one of the students said, ‘very informative and inspiring.’ A huge thanks to Richard for sponsoring the trip and taking time out of his busy schedule to spend with us.” 

The SWAT course is a holistic course for students who have barriers to learning; focusing on developing a transferable skill set for the future, with maths and English as the core learning aim. It’s ideal for those who are undecided about their future; whether they want to undertake an apprenticeship or study further education, or need nurturing in their next steps. 

Alongside their course, the students have been learning about being good citizens; volunteering in the community with Fair Shares, which organises neighbourhood help, exchange of skills, resources and services, and community activities. 

At their graduation celebration this week, 17-year-old Kindy Sylla, from Gloucester, spoke of her experience and how it had changed her. When she arrived in the country a year ago, Kindy could barely speak English. Not only did she pass all of her academic qualifications but she is now pursuing her interest in politics. Her personal highlight was the trip to Parliament, meeting the Gloucester MP and arranging work experience with him. 

For more information on the SWAT course with Betaris, please visit or call 01452 751004.

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