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Number 1 College Goes to Number 10

Burnley College and Themis Apprenticeship representatives were invited to a special Skills Champion reception at 10 Downing St.

Themis Apprentice Grace Francis was invited by Gillian Keegan, Secretary of State for Education to celebrate the success and achievements on a wide scale.

The Mechanical Engineering Themis Degree Apprentice, 24 from Bradford works at Aerospace company HycAero.


I was ecstatic when I received the invitation to the Local Skills Champion Reception at 10 Downing Street. Being recognised in this field is something that fills me with pride, although this would not have been attainable without the valuable experience gained as Themis apprentice.

Grace Francis

Mechanical Engineering Themis Degree Apprentice at HycAero

HycAero Operations Director Stephen Kelly who went with Grace expressed his enthusiasm:

‘’I am proud that our amazing HycAero Apprentice has been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit 10 Downing Street and play her part in the debate over skills development across the country.”

‘’As a leading supplier in the thriving aerospace industry, HycAero has worked closely with Themis over many years to develop a motivated and highly skilled workforce – and the leaders of tomorrow. Grace certainly fits that description and taken everything in her stride!’’

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham put Grace forward after recognising her utilising her skills and going above and beyond in her job role. He said:

‘’I’ve seen first-hand just how transformative apprenticeships are and it’s why I’m such as big advocate for them.

“I’m working with the college, businesses and Government to see even more of them in our area.

“The event at Number 10 was a brilliant opportunity to speak with the Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan.

“Of course, we couldn’t let her get away without promising to come up to Burnley to see the new Institute of Technology taking shape at the College.”

Director of Skills and Innovation at Burnley College, Neil Burrows, who accompanied Grace and Stephen on the visit added:


We pride ourselves on our strong links with industry, so it was a privilege to be invited to No 10 Downing Street for the Skills Champion reception. Being a former apprentice nearly 40 years ago, I agree wholeheartedly the importance for businesses to continue investing in apprenticeships at all levels.

Neil Burrows

Director of Skills and Innovation at Burnley College

“Inside No 10, Gillian Keegan spoke passionately about the importance of apprenticeships and skills.

“Gillian even made a promise to visit Burnley College to see the amazing investments we have made to support technical skills in education.’’

The reception provided the opportunity for Grace and Neil to discuss apprenticeships in depth with leaders and industry professionals, ensuring growth is on an upward trajectory. Apprentices like Grace and her success provide useful motivation for future apprentices.

Themis at Burnley College is at the forefront of innovation, providing opportunities for driven young people to earn while they learn, working with industry professionals gaining key transferable skills in a relevant workplace environment.

Themis apprenticeships are created in collaboration with industry professionals to broaden students’ knowledge, skills and abilities, ensuring they fulfil industry demands on their journey to become a future boss.

Themis work with key employers throughout the region – if you are interested in launching your career as a Themis Apprentice or are an employer keen to find out how an apprentice can enrich your business, you can learn more at burnley.ac.uk.