Press release

Government to establish first new Further Education college in 20 years

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

Government publish intention to enable Prospects College of Advanced Technology to become the first further education college for 20 years.

The government will tomorrow (1 May 2014) publish its intention to enable Prospects College of Advanced Technology to become the first new further education college for more than 20 years.

The college, based in the South Essex Thames Gateway, will provide cutting-edge technical education with 3 specialist apprentice skills training centres for engineering (including rail), building services and aviation and a post-16 campus. It is expected to be operational from 1 September 2014.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

Prospects College of Advanced Technology will offer high-level specialist vocational provision with employer ownership at the heart of its mission. 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 over 2,000 students and apprentices. It will provide high quality training through innovative approaches to learning in order to meet the skills needs of local economy and in direct support of the government’s industrial strategy.

Neil Bates, Chief Executive of Prospects College and Principal Designate of the new college said:

Prospects has a proud history spanning 45 years during which time we have trained thousands of people for careers in the Engineering and Construction industry. Incorporation represents the start of a new era. Working hand in hand with our 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 announcement, which follows a full public consultation, will allow Prospects to become 1 of the largest and most successful employer-led Group Training Associations in the country.

David Sherlock CBE, who will be the first chairman of the corporation at the new college said:

This is a very important day. The new college will be dedicated to the provision of high quality specialist technical training and apprenticeships supporting employers in sectors which are crucial to the national and regional economy.

The government is committed to driving up quality and flexibility in the FE 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 us 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 FE colleges.

  2. Since 1992 these powers have not been used to create a brand new FE 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 Secretary of State is now following the statutory process to establish a corporate body under section 16 (1)(a) of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The draft order has been published, as prescribed by The Further Education Corporations (publication of proposals) Regulations 2012. SI no. 1157.

  5. The draft order must be published for at least 4 months before it can come into force and has therefore been published today (30 April 2014) in line with the proposed incorporation date of 1 September 2014.

  6. The draft order has be published in local and national newspapers and sent to a list of stakeholders (as prescribed by legislation) including local MPs, local providers and local authorities. The final order, which is made by negative resolution, can be signed 2 months after the draft is published and must be laid for at least 21 days before coming into force.

  7. 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 here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/industrial-strategy-early-successes-and-future-priorities.