Plans to transform East Kent College’s campus at Dover have been unveiled during a visit to the district by Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, accompanied by Charlie Elphicke, MP for the town.
The vision for the campus includes creating specialist vocational space for students studying engineering, logistics and hospitality – industries that are considered vital to the local visitor economy.
The Minister also took the opportunity to meet a small number of local businesses, including Dover Harbour Board, London Fancy Box, Meggar and Morgan Jones, and the Channel Chamber of Commerce. During the meeting the Minister got the businesses’ feedback on the redevelopment plans and heard first hand about skills issues facing the district and East Kent.
Minister for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock said: “East Kent College is driving efforts to build a bridge between education and the world of work in Dover. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to see first-hand the college’s strong bid for improved facilities and to have met local employers keen to engage with the college and its students.
“Supported by the tireless efforts of local MP Charlie Elphicke, youth unemployment has fallen in Dover by 30 per cent over the last year. There is still more to do to ensure that every young person can realise their potential but, as I have seen today, things are moving in the right direction.”
East Kent College formally takes over responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Dover campus on August 1, following the demerger of the Dover and Folkestone campuses from K College. The campus currently has 240 students but East Kent College plans to double that number to cater for 500 learners and apprentices in the future.
Charlie Elphicke MP commented: “It was a real battle to secure the future of the Dover campus, yet we succeeded. Now we need to make it a more modern campus that learners will be proud of. I will be taking these exciting plans to the Local Enterprise Partnership for funding. Dover is seeing a lot of investment – and investing in our future with a modern campus is a key part of that.”
Graham Razey, Principal of East Kent College, added: “It was great to share our exciting vision for the Dover campus with the Minister, local MP and business community, and explain what they mean for the local economy.
“We want to create a campus that Dover can be proud of, and where its young people want to train and develop their careers. Since the transfer of K College’s Dover and Folkestone campuses was agreed in February, our team has been focused on ensuring that the courses on offer match the needs of students and businesses.”
East Kent College recently announced that it is establishing a new centre at Discovery Park, which will see the science curriculum being taught at the Sandwich site, and will also be home to its 70 strong corporate services team.
The designs for the new developments at the Dover campus were created by leading further education designers, Tonbridge-based Richard Hopkinson Architects.