Students from a variety of vocational areas including public services, computing and Prince’s Trust shared their experiences of learning in the latest lockdown with the Portsmouth South parliamentary member.
The visit also included a whistle-stop tour of departments including hairdressing, automotive and animal care where Stephen met the colleges latest recruit, Chewbacca the guinea pig.
Commenting on the visit Stephen said: "It’s been fantastic to be back in College to see the breadth of courses that are available for learners in our city. I just loved seeing the diversity, from hairdressing to public services, and what really struck me was the confidence in the young people I met in their learning and what fantastic facilities we have here to bring about real positive benefits to the people of Portsmouth."
Ahead of the planned merger with Stephen’s former sixth form, Portsmouth College Principal Simon Barrable was amongst the dignitaries on hand to highlight how the partnership will benefit Portsmouth residents and those travelling from further afield.
Stephen added: "It’s been a really difficult year, certainly for sixth form colleges and the further education sector and I think there’s strength in numbers. I think the partnership between Portsmouth College and Highbury is absolutely the right decision for Portsmouth. My test is, how will that improve learning and outcomes for people in our city, and from all the signs that I’ve seen we are definitely going in the right direction."
Interim Principal and CEO of Highbury College Penny Wycherley said: "After so many months of virtual visits, it was fantastic for our students to chat to Stephen face to face, to hear about his journey into politics and his passion for our richly diverse community. We look forward to welcoming Stephen back very soon to meet more of our wonderful students."