Former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King CBE has officially opened the £12m redevelopment of the Royal Leamington Spa College at a celebratory event with students, staff and businesses on Tuesday.
Guests were treated to a student skills showcase from across the college, including games art, hair and beauty, furniture crafts and music, before Mr King officially unveiled a plaque and cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Mr King also hosted a Q&A session with students and invited guests where he was grilled by students on subjects including tax, the living wage, the Eurozone, business ethics and entrepreneurialism.
Mr King, who lives in Warwickshire, has been at the forefront of retail for over 25 years, becoming chief executive of Sainsbury’s in March 2004 before stepping down in July this year.
Last month he was awarded The Daily Telegraph Award for a Decade of Excellence in Business at the National Business Awards.
In his speech, Mr King said, “I’m a great believer in education with a purpose. I went to a further education college myself, so I have always believed there are many paths in education. The students I’ve been speaking to today are clear that they’ve made the right choice for the career they want to pursue, which is good to see.
“Great buildings are nothing unless you do great things inside them, and from what I’ve seen and heard today, the college is doing great things so I’m delighted to declare the building officially open.”
Sue Georgious, the interim principal of Warwickshire College Group, said: “Today is a really proud day for the college – this redevelopment has been two and a half years in the making but it has all been worth it.
“Our students deserve this. The college’s mission is to deliver the highest quality education to our students so they can all reach their potential, and investments like this are all about giving our students the best chance of success.
“We were delighted to welcome Justin to officially open the redevelopment. He inspired all of us with his speech, and did a great job tackling the tough questions our students threw at him in the Q&A.”