From education to employment

College trail blazes new hub connecting premiership winners, Chelsea Football Club, with other businesses to provide the skills for London’s future workforce

Ray Shilling, Executive Director, Business and Planning, Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College

The doors closing on Stamford Bridge marks a new start for west London’s future

Ealing Hammersmith and West London’s College is celebrating the formation of a new skills development hub to help ensure the future growth of west London’s economy.

Some of the area’s top employers – Heathrow Airport, Berkley Group, Thames Tideway and premiership winners, Chelsea Football Club – have joined the hub, along with key education institutions. The aim of the hub is to provide a forum to discuss what skills local students need to meet the future requirements of this vibrant region’s employers.

Just before the bulldozers were called in as part of the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge football stadium, the hub’s members finalised the arrangements that will ensure regular planning meetings take place to discuss the area’s employment opportunities. This will include looking at what changes to skills courses might be needed to ensure students are immediately employable when they leave further education.

Hub members also laid plans for the creation of a central contact number where employers can call to discover which of the local training institutions could best fulfil their staff and apprenticeship training needs.

By directly cooperating with companies via the hub, Ealing Hammersmith and West London’s College can help to ensure its students have excellent opportunities, as their courses are directly aligned to plug any existing or future skills gaps.

Garry Phillips, CEO at Ealing Hammersmith and West London’s College, says: “Our aims are to be employer responsive, student led and locally focused. We want to deliver the business and technical acumen our students need to be ready for the world of work or go on to higher education.

Through the hub, the college has already discovered that there is a shortage of construction plant operatives within London, for example. As a result, they are now in discussion with JCB and other major companies about the possibility of opening a digger school to fulfil this need.

The hub has already received the backing of the Department for Education, which has granted funds of £50,000 to back the venture and ensure its continued success.

Garry Phillips says: “As London’s leading career college, the hub gives us the opportunity to work with companies that together employ over 100,000 people to offer them the specialisms they need.

“It’s exciting to lead this transformation – we’re forging real and lasting connections between students and the employers of the future and ensuring west London’s vibrant economy for years to come.”

The news of the hub comes shortly after Ealing Hammersmith and West London’s College announced its intention to merge with Kensington and Chelsea College, another move designed to further boost employment opportunities for learners in the region.

About Ealing, Hammersmith and West London’s College: Located across four main sites, Ealing, Hammersmith & West London’s College is the leading college in west London. A further and higher education college offering both part-time and full-time courses, it educates around 20,000 students. It is rated good by Ofsted and recently won a national TES FE Award for outstanding use of technology to improve teaching, learning and assessment.

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