University Technical Colleges

Department for Education written question – answered on 15 September 2023.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to (a) improve the training and (b) increase the funding provided to technical colleges in (i) Romford, (ii) London borough of Havering and (iii) Essex.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Minister of State (Education)

The government is committed to creating a world leading skills system which is employer-focused, high-quality and fit for the future. The department’s reforms are strengthening higher and further education to help more people get good jobs and upskill and retrain throughout their lives, and to improve national productivity and economic growth. The reforms are backed with an additional investment of £3.8 billion over the course of this Parliament to strengthen higher and further education.

This additional funding will help providers such as those in Romford, Havering and Essex to deliver high-quality education and training.

  • New City College at the Havering Campus offers a wide range of vocational courses for people of all ages. In 2020, it opened a new £15 million Construction Trades Skill Centre. It has received Capital funding of £2.2 million through the Strategic Development Fund, £6.5 million through the further education (FE) Capital Transformation and £625,000 for T Levels.
  • Barking and Dagenham College offers a wide range of vocational courses for people of all ages including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, construction and digital skills. The East London Institute of Technology (IoT) is based at the College and offers a range of science and technology, construction and infrastructure, advanced engineering and robotics courses. It has received Capital funding of £2.95 million for the IoT, £1.2 million through the FE Capital Transformation Fund and £1.05 million for T Levels.
  • Havering Adult College in Romford and Barking and Dagenham Adult Colleges offer a wide range of vocational qualifications.
  • USP College (Unified Seevic and Palmers), based in Benfleet and Grays in Essex, has a wide-ranging post-16 vocational offer. In 2023, it opened a state of the art digital and creative media training centre. It has received Capital Funding of £2.4 million through the FE Capital Transformation Fund and £785,000 for T Levels.
  • Colchester Institute offers a wide range of vocational provision. It has received Capital Funding of £1.26 million through the FE Capital Transformation Fund and £246,000 for T Levels.
  • South Essex College in Basildon, offers a full range of FE provision. South Essex IoT is also based at the College. It has received Capital Funding of £1.61 million through the FE Capital Transformation Fund, £1.14 million for T Levels and £3.25 million for the IoT.

Apprenticeships are crucial in driving growth and social mobility; they boost skills across the economy and improve people's earnings and career opportunities nationwide. Since 2010, there have been 130,790 apprenticeship starts in Essex, 22,390 in London Borough of Havering and 9,080 in Romford constituency, and the department wants to ensure that this number continues to grow. To support this, the government is increasing its investment in apprenticeships to £2.7 billion by 2024/25, encouraging more employers across the country to recruit new apprentices.

The department is implementing major reforms to technical education to equip people with the technical skills that employers demand.

The department has introduced T Levels which will equip more young people with the skills, knowledge and experience to access skilled employment or further study. They represent a real shift in the quality of technical education and the department has invested heavily to support providers in their implementation. From September 2023, 18 T Levels will be available, being delivered through nearly 300 providers across all regions of the country. T Levels are being delivered widely by providers in Romford, Havering and Essex in subjects such as Engineering & Manufacturing, Digital, health and science.

The department plans to invest approximately £300 million to establish 21 IoTs across the country. The 21 IoTs include the East London IoT and the South East IoT. IoTs are partnerships between FE colleges, higher education and employers and provide access to industry standard facilities. They focus on the technical training needs of employers and learners in their local areas.

The department has introduced the Free Courses for Jobs scheme which enables eligible adults to gain a qualification for free. Residents in Romford, Havering and Essex can access provision that is delivered through colleges and training providers in the area across a range of sector subject areas. In addition, the department has also introduced Skills Bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer.

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