'Vision and leadership' brings new University Centre to Harlow

Published: 28 February 2006 at 16:14

On 24 February, Harlow College and Anglia Ruskin University confirmed that they will be entering into an enterprising joint venture partnership to create a new 'University Centre' for Harlow. It will be known as the Anglia Ruskin University Centre with Harlow College.

It is intended that the partnership, fully backed by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), will bring university expertise and resources closer to business and industry and help further improve and regenerate certain sectors of the Essex economy.

The new partnership marks a change in the arrangements whereby higher education courses at local further education (FE) colleges are accredited by universities in the region. As part of the new structure - promoted and supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Harlow District Council - Anglia Ruskin University will be consolidating its relationship with the college to increase participation in honours and foundation degree courses to be offered by the college.

This initiative will spearhead a major investment in HE development in response to the planned growth of higher education services for the area. This will be funded through the HEFCE Strategic Development Fund which aims to increase access to HE

Harlow MP Bill Rammell, also the Education Minister with responsibility for Further and Higher Education, gave his personal backing to the new partnership and commended the 'vision and leadership' of the heads of the two institutions when he participated in the launch briefing at the College. A leading exponent of the Government's policy to expand and widen higher education participation targets towards 50% of the 18-30 population, he is 'delighted' that the partnership will provide additional facilities and a greater number of spaces for what is expected to be an extra 900 students initially rising to 3,000-4,000 as the Centre develops.

Speaking about the joint venture, he said:

"This is a superb day for Harlow - one that will be seen as a key point in its history.”

"This kind of initiative is exactly the kind of partnership working between the FE and HE sector that I want to see across the country. We need more graduates to compete globally and economically with other countries which already educate more people to degree level than we do. Here in Harlow we're showing how by being innovative and flexible in the way that higher education provision is delivered, we can provide chances for young people who otherwise might not have the opportunity to go to university.”

"This relationship between the College and Anglia Ruskin will only strengthen the educational opportunities available to constituents of every age in Harlow who want to continue to learn and develop their skills. It's great news for the local community."

The joint venture partnership will build on the high reputation achieved by the college in FE and its developing HE areas. The college offers sixth form & vocational, adult learning and business development programmes alongside its highly acclaimed courses in journalism. It is currently completing its £24 million investment plan in new buildings and improved facilities which include the addition of a construction centre, science laboratories, lecture theatre, business development centre and beauty therapy and IT training rooms, training restaurant and kitchens, student and staff restaurants, performance theatre, dance and rehearsal studios and classrooms.

Commenting on the new partnership, Harlow College Principal, David Ellerby, said:

"This is very important to the development of Harlow as a major regional centre for employment, innovation and regeneration. We have seen tremendous improvements in educational standards in Harlow in the past few years, with record levels of achievements in schools and in the college's 16-19 Sixth Form & Vocational Centre. Our 16-19 student numbers have increased by 20% in the past two years, and our success rates are amongst the highest in the country.”

"Harlow College is widely recognised as one of the region's most successful and ambitious colleges. We are delighted to be working with Anglia Ruskin University. Like us, they have a strong commitment to partnerships which benefit the community, employers and students from all backgrounds."

Anglia Ruskin University's Vice Chancellor, Professor David Tidmarsh added:

"This is excellent news for Harlow. With this new joint venture partnership in place we are confident that we can build the best possible teaching and learning environment for students and members of the wider businesses community.”

"We are looking forward to strengthening links with our education and business partners, and to raising the aspirations of students, parents, employers and others in order to increase the level of career and growth opportunities available to people from the area.”

"It is our vision that at some point in the future we will be able to create a self-sustaining University campus for the town around which a reinvigorated business infrastructure can thrive."

Anyone who has any questions about courses under the new joint venture partnership are invited to contact Harlow College on 01279 868100 with their enquiries.