DAGENHAM and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has spoken of the key role the Havering College Rainham Campus Construction Centre will play in the social and economic development of the region over the next 25 years.
The MP has toured the specialist training facility in New Road, Rainham, where Havering College of Further and Higher Education plans further expansion to create a centre of excellence for construction, engineering and technology.
The vision has taken an important leap forward with the college launching its new Construction Degree to upskill the construction workforce in the Thames Gateway.
The new higher level qualification will mean that students will be able to start on basic Construction courses and graduate with a degree.
College Principal and Chief Executive Maria Thompson told the MP, Havering Mayor Cllr Linda Trew, Havering Council leader Cllr Roger Ramsey and key regional employers: "What we are doing here is building futures for this area of Havering and the Rainham area in particular.
"Having a construction centre, an engineering and technology centre on this site would be such a catalyst for change, for social mobility and prosperity in this area."
Mr Cruddas said: "This campus sits at the centre of the Thames Gateway. The Thames Gateway has been developing over the past ten years and we are now talking about new river crossings to make sure house building can really go ahead, so this is going to be the centre of gravity for a lot of economic development over the next 25 years."
The MP chatted to students, apprentices and staff at the event on Friday, October 17th. He tried his hand at carpentry, bricklaying and painting and decorating before revealing that his own working life had started in the construction industry.
He said: "I found it fantastic that someone could come in to this college, start on basic bricklaying and could end up doing a degree. It is all about giving people life opportunities.
"I really like the way the college is aligned with local employers' needs and trying to create that curriculum to make sure they can employ local people."
The new Honours degree – the BSc (Hons) Construction Management for Sustainability and Regeneration of the Built Environment - is validated by the Open University.