Kent’s Three Colleges Open Exciting Strategic Development Funded Facilities

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Local Skills Improvement Plan
by Sarah Parrish

Lucy Druesne, Skills Programme Manager of the Kent & Medway Local Skills Improvement Plan, was delighted to attend the launch of three new and exciting facilities funded by the Strategic Development Fund at Mid Kent College, EKC Group at Canterbury College and North Kent College at Hadlow College.

The new Green Skills Factory at MidKent College’s Maidstone campus is part of a sustainable skills revolution for students and businesses across Kent.  Thanks to the government’s Strategic Development Fund, they’ve been able to invest in the Skills Factory as well as a Home Energy Centre providing hands on experience of renewable technologies.

Their courses focus on developing skills and knowledge to help construction staff and planners deliver energy efficiency, and to meet targets for buildings with low environmental impact.  They’ve designed a range of courses specifically to support the Construction and Building Services sectors as businesses strive to decarbonise the industry.

EKC Group’s new Green Engineering Centres at Ashford College and Canterbury College will help businesses of all sizes to recruit and re-train existing staff – and provide the perfect environment to develop and test new products and services too.  Both sites are equipped with the latest robotics and other technologies, providing a test facility for employers curious to learn how automation, robotics and other sustainable technologies can support or benefit their business. A third of UK businesses do not believe their workforce is equipped with the skills necessary to achieve net zero. Their mission is to change that view.

North Kent College’s Hadlow College Green Horticultural Centre will deliver a sustainable skills revolution and help businesses across Kent, the south-east region and across the UK adapt to a net zero world.

This Green Skills Accelerator at Hadlow, will support a range of new training courses focused on skills that support decarbonisation in the farming sector, and help rural land-based businesses to build their sustainable credentials.  Hadlow College, is the UK’s only rural and land-based college with the new facility providing a pipeline of talent and expertise as the transition to Net Zero gathers pace.

David Gleed, Chief Executive and Executive Principal, North Kent College, said: “We are thrilled to be a part of this sustainability project within Kent and as we progress, we will be looking to engage with as many businesses as we can and invite them to join us and our FE sector partners in devising new skills solutions that will support career opportunities now and in the future. The opening of our new Green Horticultural Centre at Hadlow College is just the start.”

After seeing the new facilities in Maidstone first hand Lucy said “It was lovely to be at the launch of the MidKent College learning Zone this week and see the outcome of a great collaboration and the start of the future of skills in decarbonisation in Construction and beyond.  We are thrilled to be able to facilitate this via the Kent & Medway Local Skills Improvement Plan and to demonstrate that employer engagement in the skills conversation can have a significant impact”.

Attending the launch of the new centre in Canterbury the following day Lucy added “Congratulations EKC Group on the successful launch of the new Learning Zone at Canterbury College. So great to see the amazing facilities that will support learners in Manufacturing & Engineering develop their skills for the technologies of the future”.

We wish all three innovative projects future success.  Kent Colleges are certainly leading the way in the drive for net zero and sustainability.