Sir Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, received a warm welcome at Birkbeck, University of London where he met staff and students from across the college community.
The Labour MP, elected in May 2015, visited the University on Friday, 23 October and had discussions with Professor David Latchman, Master of the college about a range of topics including Birkbeck’s advocacy for the societal and economic benefits of combining work and study.
Recent Birkbeck initiatives include a joint submission with the Open University to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, calling for policy changes to help stimulate part-time study, and Parliamentary briefings on the decline in part-time students and the opportunities apprenticeships present for expanding university study and widening participation.
Sir Keir also met a group of students who shared their stories of the difference studying at an institution dedicated to providing degree-level education in the evening has made to their lives.
One of these students, Michael Peltier, who has successfully completed Birkbeck’s three-year degree in BSc Accounting and is studying for a Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance at the college, said:
“I am already seeing the fantastic benefits of studying and working simultaneously – I’m now employed in a role which otherwise would have required me to have years of experience, so studying at Birkbeck has definitely given me the edge. I’ve already learnt that employers really value Birkbeck students because balancing work and study shows you can deal with the demands of a career.”
Also in attendance was Birkbeck student Alicia Caley, who earlier this year successfully completed a BA Global Politics and International Relations (full-time) at the college, and who has now commenced studies on the MSc Government, Policy and Politics (part-time).
Alicia said: “Having the opportunity to study in the evenings has really opened up opportunities for me over the past three years. I have been able to gain invaluable experience of full time work whilst being able to gain a degree in the evenings over three years. Now I am studying for a Masters at Birkbeck that compliments my career perfectly. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the flexibility that comes with the structure of evening learning at Birkbeck.”
Sir Keir also toured the Birkbeck’s Bloomsbury campus to find out more about our world-class facilities in the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter.
Speaking after the meeting, Professor Latchman, Master of Birkbeck, said:
“It has been an honour to welcome Sir Keir onto campus and to introduce him to Birkbeck’s work and the key role we play in enabling Londoners to combine work with study to gain new skills and knowledge.”
Article written and originally published by the Birkbeck External Relations Team, reprinted with their permission