Press release

First new further education college for 20 years opens in Essex

Prospects College of Advanced Technology in Basildon becomes the first new further education college for more than 20 years.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT) in Basildon has become the first new further education college to open its doors for more than 20 years.

The college, based in the South Essex Thames Gateway, will provide cutting-edge technical education through partnerships with the engineering and construction industries, including some of the UK’s leading employers. By working with employers at the forefront of these sectors, the new college will provide the very latest industry standard apprenticeships and workforce skills training.

Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable said:

Prospects College of Advanced Technology will offer high-level specialist vocational provision with employer ownership at the core. I welcome the establishment of new colleges, which will drive up quality, help learners make the vital transition from education to employment and support economic growth.

The new college will serve more than 2,000 students and apprentices. It will provide high quality training through innovative approaches to learning in order to meet the skills needs of the local economy and in direct support of the government’s industrial strategy.

Speaking at the opening of the college, Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

I am delighted that the first college visit I am making as Skills Minister is to PROCAT in order to mark this milestone opening. The launch of the first college in over 20 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.

The government is committed to driving up quality and flexibility in the further education sector and has already announced the establishment of national colleges for advanced manufacturing, high speed rail and nuclear. Supporting the establishment of new colleges will enable the UK to compete at the cutting edge of vocational skills development – making the country a more attractive location for investment, and providing greater scope to export our educational expertise.

Notes to Editors

  1. Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable has powers to incorporate further education colleges.
  2. Since 1992 these powers have not been used to create a brand new further education college outside of a merger process.
  3. The government has ensured that the process leading up to the announcement of the intention to incorporate Prospects was robust, open and transparent, in line with the criteria set out in the Structure and Prospects Appraisal process, and subject to appropriate consultation.
  4. The government’s long-term plan is to build a strong, more competitive economy and a fairer society. Industrial Strategy gives impetus to the plan for growth by providing businesses, investors and the public with clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel. The first achievements and future priorities of the industrial strategy have been published and can be found at Industrial strategy: early successes and future priorities
Published 28 August 2014