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East Londoners who are keen to access higher level technical and professional training, to better equip them compete in the Capital's global job market, are at the heart of plans announced today by Barking & Dagenham College and Havering College of Further & Higher Education (HCFHE). Both colleges announced their commitment to enhancing, intensifying and strengthening their work in a strategic alliance.

The east London boroughs have experienced the UK's biggest population growth over the last decade, with over 1.7 million people living in the area. As London advances east, both Corporation Boards recognise that the time is right to create streamlined and innovative solutions to the delivery of the skills system to ensure it better meets the training needs of Londoners and the demands of London's employers now and in the future.

Financially robust, similar in size and performance, Good and Outstanding Ofsted-rated kite marks for various aspects of their provision, and jointly delivering the greatest volume of higher level, technical and professional training pan-London, the strategic partnership is already established, built upon successful and joint delivery of training for the Ford Motor Company.

Both Colleges will continue to offer entry to employment programmes locally and intend to combine and streamline their technical specialisms within their industry standard training facilities. Their combined provision puts them at the forefront of London's skills system, creating the single largest provider of higher level skills in the Capital.

Each College brings its own areas of expertise to the partnership. Barking & Dagenham College:

• has attracted national awards in recognition of its work as an entrepreneurial college and business, and most recently holds the title of Enterprising College of the Year 2015

• has a 50-year heritage in delivering high level skills and training, and has expanded its operation across five specialist sites offering both a further education and higher education
(degree and post-graduate) programme The quality of this provision was endorsed by Ofsted in 2013 and the higher education Quality Assurance Agency in their June 2015 Review

• is renowned for its employer engagement as one of the leading providers of intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship training in London, working with around 300 employers each year

• is the UK's only authorised Siemens engineering partner for the delivery of the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Programme (SMSCP), is a London specialist provider of Engineering, Construction, Health & Social Care training

• has specialist facilities for STEM, including advanced engineering, forensic science digital and creative training and is London's first Digital & Creative Career College.

Whilst Havering College of Further & Higher Education:

• has extensive business links ranging from multinational companies to small local businesses, working with over 300 employers each year including Crossrail

• is the largest provider of higher education in further education in London, offering foundation, Bachelor and Masters degrees that lead directly to employment including engineering, teacher education, social work and policy, health and social care, construction, IT and the creative arts. The quality of this provision was endorsed by the higher education Quality Assurance Agency in their June 2014 Review

• is currently developing a new technology campus in the south east of the borough

• offers training in a wide range of skills sectors from foundation level to postgraduate

• is nationally recognised as a highly effective training provider for learners with special educational needs and disabilities

A strategy group, formed by governors from both organisations, will lead the discussions and with recommendations implemented for September 2016.

Rob Whiteman, Chair of Governors at Barking & Dagenham College said, "Opportunities for a strategic partnership between two highly successful London colleges makes sound business sense. The working age population of London will grow by more than any other city in the UK and the Capital's training and skills system has to adapt accordingly. There is a wealth of talent and knowledge in both our organisations and if we can align our skills delivery system, then the potential benefits for east Londoners and our employers, are significant."

Stan Rose, Chair of Governors at Havering College of Further & Higher Education said, "This is an exciting opportunity for both colleges. By building on and enhancing our current manifold strengths we are better placed to respond to the developing skills need of employers, students and our communities. We are looking forward to jointly expanding the provision with a resilient and robust curriculum offer, designed to support economic potential."

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