From education to employment

Local MP opens new University Centre and helps celebrate outstanding employers

London South East Colleges’ new University Centre has been officially opened by Orpington MP, Gareth Bacon.  

The facility at the College’s Orpington Campus offers a wide range of higher level and professional qualifications, including access courses and foundation degrees through to HNCs/HNDs and BA Honours. All degrees are validated by either the University of Greenwich or Canterbury Christ Church University.   

The purpose-built centre offers students high-quality equipment and teaching spaces, including interactive displays in six classrooms, where students and teachers can collaborate. New state-of-the-art digital classrooms are being built on the ground floor in partnership with Clevertouch (due in Spring), as a showcase for the classroom of the future.   

Employers and stakeholders attended the opening event, with Gareth Bacon, MP for Orpington, unveiling a special plaque to mark the occasion. He said:  

“Having attended this college myself some years ago, I am delighted to be involved with the opening of this fantastic learning environment.  

“London South East Colleges’ University Centre is providing our local community with accessible pathways into higher education and the many opportunities that this then brings.” 

The contribution made by some outstanding employers to the college and its students was also recognised at the event. Awards were presented to seven employers* for their support for skills and training development.  

In addition, a College Fellowship was conferred on Helen McIntosh, President of the South East London Chamber of Commerce. Helen has been a long-standing supporter and advocate of the college, supporting our role as a strategic partner of the Chamber. Helen has always ensured that the College is well-placed to engage with, shape and influence local agendas across SE London.   

The College launched its Fellowship programme last month, with eight fellows being conferred to date*. This honour reflects the robust, strategic and meaningful connection that Fellows have to our College values, and the work and support they provide to the college and its students.   

Overseeing the opening of the University Centre and presenting the employer awards and fellowships was Dr Sam Parrett CBE, Group Principal and CEO of London & South East Education Group. She said:  

“It is fantastic to officially launch our University Centre, here in the heart of Orpington. We are delighted that Gareth was able to join us.  

“As an education provider, we strive to ensure our learners are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to help them achieve career success. To do this, we need guidance and insight from employers to ensure every curriculum is relevant and will meet the future needs of industry.

“This is why we are so grateful to our partner universities, employers and individuals who are so committed to supporting our college and our students – and we have recognised this with our employer awards and fellowships.  

“Together, we are ensuring that everyone in our community has access to high-quality education – which will help sustain and secure the skills needed to support our local, regional and national economy both now and in the future.”  

If you are an employer and are interested in supporting the college and its students, please contact [email protected] 

For more information about the wide range of FE and HE provision on offer at London South East Colleges, visit:

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