Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education officially opened Morley College London’s North Kensington Centre for Skills (NKC) today after a £13.5 million Department for Education (DfE)-funded renovation project.
The centre, which became part of Morley College London in February 2020, is the only Further Education college in North Kensington and was saved as a learning space by community activism after the tragedy of Grenfell. It has been totally refurbished and redeveloped to increase its capacity and facilities, being fitted out with the latest technology and equipment to provide a much enhanced learning experience for the whole North Kensington community.
Mr Halfon was joined by ministerial counterparts from eight other countries on the visit where they were welcomed by Dr Andrew Gower, Principal and CEO of Morley College London, Craig Hanlon-Smith, North Kensington Centre Principal and Leisha Fullick, Chair of Governors, before enjoying a tour of the new facilities and taking the opportunity to chat with students and staff.
Craig Hanlon-Smith, North Kensington Centre Principal, commented:
‘’We’re thrilled to officially open our North Kensington Centre and welcome the local community into these inspiring new facilities. Our focus is on making Morley College London the best place to learn, and we are delighted that this renovation will help us deliver an ambitious programme inspired by the diversity and resilience of our local communities.
“The building has been fully refurbished with new-build extensions to offer all in the area the very best environment and student experience available in London.
“With a wide range of courses on offer, from 16–18 qualifications to specialist courses in ceramics and glassmaking, essential skills, ESOL, digital skills, health and social care, psychology, humanities and more, we’re excited for the future.
“I am looking forward to working closely with our students, staff and partners to create a truly unique centre of education where local people can access the tailored support and skills they need to make positive changes in their lives and the wider community.”
Sitting at the heart of one of the most diverse communities in London, Morley College London’s NKC offers a wide range of qualifications for 16–18 year-olds, short courses and innovative adult education classes that have been designed in partnership with local employers to help local people improve their lives through academic, technical and vocational education. Formerly a Victorian school, then Wornington College, it will shortly celebrate its 150th anniversary as a site of education in the community.
UK Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said:
“Morley College London really does represent the best of London education, serving the needs of a hugely diverse community and enabling people to climb onto the capital’s ladder of opportunity.
“It was a pleasure to meet students and teachers at this inspiring college alongside some of the UK’s international counterparts, showcasing our ongoing skills revolution and how we prepare the workforce of the future.”
Morley College London’s Principal and CEO, Dr Andrew Gower, commented:
“The official opening of the North Kensington Centre for Skills is a significant moment for post-16 education in North Kensington. As a college we encourage lifelong learning for all, with the renovated centre offering an exciting and expanding range of learning opportunities for every age and stage of learning.”
Situated on Wornington Road, W10, the refurbished NKC offers a raft of new facilities, including
- A community skills and pathways advice centre delivered in partnership with Portobello Business Centre
- New multi-use community and performance hall to develop performing arts opportunities
- Refurbished crèche (free to students), supporting inclusive study for all
- Accessible entrance and reception area
- State-of-the-art science labs, classrooms and studios to support creative courses in glassmaking, jewellery, design and ceramics
- Sound-proofed music studios, radio production and digital gaming suites
- Re-instatement of Morley Heart Gardens and landscaping
- Additional secure bicycle storage
The redevelopment was funded by the Department for Education (DfE), designed by LSI Architects and delivered by Morgan Sindall. It has been nominated for two categories in the Education Estates Awards.
The official opening marks the start of a three-day festival of activities focussed on students and local communities to celebrate the formal opening. For further details, visit www.morleycollege.ac.uk/north-kensington-centre