A senior government advisor called on businesses to employ more local graduates when he visited students at Barnet College.

John Hayes, the former Minister for Education and current advisor to David Cameron, spoke to vocational studies students at the Colindale campus yesterday during a visit with Hendon MP Matthew Offord.

The Conservative politician visited departments in hairdressing and construction to learn more about how the college works with local businesses to provide jobs for graduates.

Mr Hayes, the MP for South Holland and the Deepings, approved the merger of Barnet and Southgate Colleges during his time as a minister.

He said: “It is very nice to come back. As a member of the Government it is important we look at what we’re doing and get a feel for how things are working in real life.

“We’re placing a big emphasis on skills – the future success of the economy relies on people having them.

“There is always more to be done and we’re not complacent but we have made progress in getting young people in to apprenticeships.”

College staff spoke to Mr Hayes about relationships they are building with various businesses in the Colindale area.

The politicians had earlier visited Mill Hill cosmetics firm Barry M, which is looking to take on young apprentices.

Hendon’s parliamentary representative Matthew Offord said: “These visits are important as we can identify ways the government can help businesses in the way they trade and getting graduates into jobs.

“It is about encouraging a marriage between employers who are looking for recruits and the colleges that are producing a skilled workforce.”