This week plans were unveiled by Barking & Dagenham College and Havering College of Further & Higher Education (HCFHE), announcing their commitment to enhancing, intensifying and strengthening their work in a strategic alliance. East Londoners who are keen to access higher level technical and professional training, to better equip them to compete in the Capital’s global job market, are at the heart of plans.

The east London boroughs have experienced the UK’s biggest population growth over the last decade, with over 1.7 million people living in the area. As London advances east, both Corporation Boards recognise that the time is right to create streamlined and innovative solutions to the delivery of the skills system to ensure it better meets the training needs of Londoners and the demands of London’s employers now and in the future.

Both Colleges will continue to offer entry to employment programmes locally and intend to combine and streamline their technical specialisms within their training facilities. Their combined provision puts them at the forefront of London’s skills system, creating the single largest provider of higher level skills in the Capital.

Each College brings its own areas of expertise to the partnership. Barking & Dagenham College:

  • has attracted national awards in recognition of its work as an entrepreneurial college and business, and most recently holds the title of Enterprising College of the Year 2015
  • is renowned for its employer engagement as one of the leading providers of intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship training in London, working with around 300 employers each year
  • is the UK’s only authorised Siemens engineering partner for the delivery of the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Programme (SMSCP), is a London specialist provider of Engineering, Construction, Health & Social Care training
  • has specialist facilities for STEM, including advanced engineering, forensic science digital and creative training and is London’s first Digital & Creative Career College.

Whilst Havering College of Further & Higher Education:

  • has extensive business links ranging from multinational companies to small local businesses, working with over 300 employers each year including Crossrail.
  • is the largest provider of higher education in further education in London, offering foundation, Bachelor and Masters degrees that lead directly to employment including engineering, teacher education, social work and policy, health and social care, construction, IT and the creative arts.
  • is currently developing a new technology campus in the south east of the borough.
  • is nationally recognised as a highly effective training provider for learners with special educational needs and disabilities

A strategy group, formed by governors from both organisations, will lead the discussions and with recommendations implemented for September 2016.

Rob Whiteman, Chair of Governors at Barking & Dagenham College said: “Opportunities for a strategic partnership between two highly successful London colleges makes sound business sense. The working age population of London will grow by more than any other city in the UK and the Capital’s training and skills system has to adapt accordingly. There is a wealth of talent and knowledge in both our organisations and if we can align our skills delivery system, then the potential benefits for east Londoners and our employers, are significant.”

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham & Rainham commented: “This is a very positive move for the young people in the area, helping to streamline the opportunities available across Barking & Dagenham and in Havering. The alliance is a step in the right direction of delivering educational excellence in East London.

“In the past year I have visited both facilities and have witnessed first-hand the fantastic and innovative work of Barking & Dagenham College and Havering College – the apprenticeship schemes and educational standard are exceptional and I hope this new relationship will build on that, helping to provide young people with the skills that they need to compete in London.”