A PARTNERSHIP between South Essex College and the University of Northampton will bring to Thurrock specialised further and higher education courses, designed to prepare local people for high technology jobs planned for Thames Enterprise Park.
The University of Northampton has been chosen as a well-established centre of excellence, in the UK and internationally, in the field of sustainable waste management.
A formal Memorandum of Understanding between South Essex College and University of Northampton enables the college to use the resources of the university’s Centre for Sustainable Waste Management to teach new modules from September 2014. Those modules will be taught at the college’s new campus in Grays.
The partnership will create a seamless pathway for students from applied science and environmental sustainability programmes at level three, equivalent to A-level, to specialised honours degrees in Wastes Management.
The relationship between the college and university was facilitated by Thurrock Council and Thames Enterprise Park, which are working together to create a 400-acre industrial park on the site of the former Coryton Refinery. Focusing on the growth areas of energy and environmental technology, Thames Enterprise Park looks set to provide in the region of 2,000 jobs when fully-developed.
Thurrock Council is commissioning an analysis of the skilled workforce likely to be needed by employers on the site with a view to planning appropriate further and higher education provision. The first employers are currently expected to be operational from 2017, allowing courses started this year to be completed in time for new opportunities with the likes of British Airways’ previously-announced GreenSky facility.
Thurrock Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Andy Smith, hailed the partnership as another milestone in the development of Thames Enterprise Park and South Essex College’s presence in the borough: “It will provide a real boost to the education and career prospects of local people”, he said. “With the new Thurrock Campus of South Essex College opening its doors to students in just a few weeks, the partnership with the University of Northampton, an internationally acknowledged industry leader in wastes management research and technology, could hardly be better timed. Sited within reach of jobs at the enterprise park, South Essex College and its university partner will play a vital role in delivering our promise that local people and their children will benefit from this and other exciting local regeneration projects.”
Head of Business Development for Thames Enterprise Park, Graham Alexander, said: “This is all about planning ahead to ensure that we have a local skills base to match the range of opportunities in the pipeline. There is already high demand from companies active in the energy and environmental technology sectors. They will be looking for people who understand and can design, operate or manage the latest high tech processes. It is in everyone’s interests that they find those skills in the existing population in and around Thurrock.”
Wendy Barnes, Assistant Principal at South Essex College, said: “This partnership is an important step for the college to address a significant need for new skills at the Thames Enterprise Park. Thurrock Council, Thames Enterprise Park and the college are absolutely determined that local people should have the first and best opportunity to access the fantastic jobs that will be available at this wonderful new facility.
“Along with our brand new logistics course, in addition to specialist construction and engineering programmes, the new £45 million Thurrock Campus on Grays high street is offering a package of courses that will lead to outstanding careers for our young people.”
The new courses will be aimed at a broad range of people in Thurrock and the south Essex area, from school leavers to career changers and people already in the waste management industry who are looking to make a step change in their skills.
Head of Environment Science Nigel Freestone from the University of Northampton, says: “The university provides wastes management education in different formats including distance learning by utilising state of the art