The first new further education college in more than 20 years opened its doors this week.
Prospects College of Advanced Technology in Basildon will provide cutting-edge technical education including the latest industry-standard apprenticeships and workforce skills training.
It will serve more than 2,000 students and apprentices and will work in partnership with some of the UK’s leading employers in the engineering and construction industries.
Nick Boles made his first college visit as skills minister to open the institution.
He said: “The launch of the first college in over twenty years demonstrates the increase in demand for technical education facilities by both learners and employers.
“The college is using state-of-the-art technology to give students the best education possible and enable them to become the next generation of engineers and skilled construction workers, which will in turn benefit the economy in the future.”
Neil Bates, chief executive of Prospects College said: “Working hand-in-hand with employers, we will train the next generation of technician engineers, aerospace engineers, project managers, building service engineers and skilled construction workers. We aspire to be world class and nothing less will do.”
Earlier this year Mr Bates revealed the Prospects Learning Foundation charity had pursued incorporation in a bid to achieve greater financial security.
He told TES that the different funding rules for colleges would allow Prospects to “confidently” plan for the future and reduce the amount of subcontracted funding taken by its partners.
Prospects is the first of what has been dubbed a “new generation” of FE colleges.
The government has also announced the establishment of national colleges for advanced manufacturing, high speed rail and the nuclear industries.
Welcome to colleges: the next generation – May 2014