Colleges merge

Two higher education colleges say they are now better equipped to train engineering and construction students after joining forces in a merger.

South Essex College and Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT) merged in early February, and will combine their courses to maximise resources and improve quality of teaching.

Angela O’Donoghue, principal and chief executive of South Essex College, said the move will allow the college to more effectively meet the skill needs of the engineering and construction industries across the Thames Gateway.

She added: “This forward thinking merger will allow us to enhance our construction, engineering, and motor vehicle provision by bringing together high quality expertise and resources.

“The merger presents truly exciting times for all as we strive to better meet the technical skills needed in these key sectors, particularly at higher levels and it will enhance our partnerships with employers in the relevant industries.”

The merger has created a new specialist motor vehicle and construction centre at Stephenson Road, near Progress Road in Southend.

It will extend the colleges’ curriculum to offer motorcycle, MOT and HGV provision, and increase building services and higher level construction programmes.

David Sherlock, outgoing PROCAT chairman, said: “The merger will enable us to achieve the vision of creating a technical university for South Essex. We are confident that this merger will provide larger scale learning and excellence, establishing a powerhouse of technical creativity in South Essex.”

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