The newly formed South Thames Colleges Group launched a combined Business Centre this week to help local businesses recruit apprentices, train new staff and upskill existing employees.
The Business Centre combines the expertise of the Group's colleges – Carshalton, Kingston, Merton and South Thames – which merged to form the South Thames Colleges Group on 1 August 2017.
The group supports thousands of apprentices and works with more than 1,000 employers, from individual businesses to multi-national organisations.
Local business leaders, councillors and MPs gathered at the Group’s Merton College Taste Restaurant on Tuesday, 5 December, for the official launch of the Business Centre and heard how beneficial taking on an apprentice can be.
Speaking on the evening, civil engineering apprentice Ellie Hurley-Simister, 22, said: “I would encourage any business to take on apprentice. We work hard and help companies build a diverse workforce.”
Jamie Stevenson, Director of the Group’s Business Centre, added: “The new Business Centre is a fantastic resource for organisations, as they are able to access the expertise of all colleges in the group via one central point.
“We can take all the hard work out of recruiting an apprentice, making sure the right individual is matched with the right company. We also help businesses with a range of tailored programmes, including training and upskilling staff and helping recruit hard-to-fill vacancies.”
Alongside helping businesses recruit apprentices, the Business Centre also offers advice to companies on the changes to apprenticeship funding, which were introduced in April 2017.
Mr Stevenson added: “We have found a lot of companies are unsure about the apprenticeship levy and what that means for their business.
“We can help explain how the changes will directly affect them and make sure they’re not missing out on the fantastic opportunities having an apprentice in your company creates.”
Following the sad news of his passing, South Thames College wishes to pay tribute to the dedicated and significant contribution made by Councillor Jim Maddan OBE to the life of the college and the achievements of the students, staff and governors.
Jim was a governor at the college for 9 years from 2007 to 2016 and was a key figure in leading and supporting its strategic development of the college. He played a leading role in supporting the redevelopment of the Wandsworth campus to provide the new facilities and investment in the heart of the borough.
As a councillor for the Thamesfield ward in Putney and a local politician dedicated to the community, Jim championed the role of further education, in reaching out to all groups in the community to ensure that local residents would have the best life chances through education and training.
Our deepest thoughts, sympathies and condolences go out to his family at this very sad time.
South Thames College, Carshalton College, Kingston College are pleased to announce that they formally merged today, 1, August 2017.
The three Colleges will form the South Thames Colleges Group – with Carshalton College, Kingston College and South Thames College all continuing with their existing names. This will allow the colleges to continue to build on their successful reputations.
South Thames College’s Merton Campus will formally become Merton College, meaning the new group has four distinct member colleges.
The merger will bring together the strengths of all the colleges, enhancing opportunities for current and future students and safeguarding the provision of further education to local businesses and across south west London.
Carshalton College is recognised for its strong local presence and its thriving vocational curriculum, especially in construction, media and engineering. Kingston will continue to deliver some of the best Further Education provision in the country across a very wide range of high-profile subjects, sending around 1000 students a year to university. South Thames College’s modern Wandsworth Campus is recognised for providing an industry-standard learning environment, whilst Merton College is home to the highly regarded Hospitality and Catering Academy.
Peter Mayhew-Smith, the current principal of Carshalton College and Kingston College, has been appointed as CEO and Group Principal. South Thames College’s Principal Sue Rimmer OBE, retired at the end of this academic year.
Mr Mayhew-Smith, said: “This merger provides a unique opportunity to enhance local provision by combining the expertise and world-class facilities of all organisations – creating a stronger, more resilient college group, which is better placed to serve our students.”
The merger will cause minimal disruption to current students and those who have applied to study at the colleges from this coming September.