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Kingston University and South Thames Colleges Group sign strategic partnership to boost opportunities for students, paving way to higher education and employment

Posted Wednesday 14 July 2021

Kingston University and South Thames Colleges Group sign strategic partnership to boost opportunities for students, paving way to higher education and employment (Left to right) South Thames Colleges Group Principal and CEO Peter Mayhew-Smith and Kingston University Vice-Chancellor Steven Spier (photo credit: Peter Langdown)

Kingston University and the South Thames Colleges Group have forged a new strategic partnership agreement to maximise learning and career opportunities for students and improve access to higher education.

The agreement has been signed by Kingston University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier and Chief Executive of South Thames Colleges Group Peter Mayhew-Smith, with the milestone marked at a special event this week. It provides a framework for both organisations to fulfil their shared objectives more effectively, as well as to explore and develop new areas of mutual interest and joint activities that will benefit students, employers, and the local community.  

The agreement was signed in person on Thursday 8 July, on the roof terrace of Kingston University's landmark Town House Building, which opened in January 2020.

Shared goals include improving pathways through education, enabling more seamless progress from further to higher education, as well as increasing student numbers on A-level, apprenticeships and other higher-level courses and providing greater opportunities for international students.

The agreement also aims to enrich the borough's social and cultural development by providing accessible learning opportunities. It will be pivotal in encouraging employers, public and third sector organisations in south west London and Surrey to develop higher level skills training. 

The strategic partnership builds on long-standing links between the University and South Thames Colleges Group. Both institutions, in partnership with Kingston Council, formed the Kingston Educational Trust which set-up The Kingston Academy, an Ofsted rated  ‘Outstanding' secondary school in the borough which opened its doors in September 2015. The Kingston Academy Head Teacher, Sophie Cavanagh and Kingston Educational Trust Chair, Graham Willett, both attended the partnership signing.

The new agreement would strengthen the relationship, providing a blueprint to explore and implement further co-operation and collaboration, Professor Spier said.

"This is a substantial agreement that will provide exciting opportunities to improve the learning and career prospects of students," he said. "It is a particularly important step, coming at a time when the pandemic has given us renewed impetus to collaborate even more closely with our partners in Kingston to improve access to education and career development for the benefit of students, employers and the wider community.

"The University and the College play a vital role in the wider Kingston community, and we're delighted to be formalising our relationship in this way."

It is anticipated the agreement will lead to pathways and programmes to enhance academic and skills provision, including a renewed focus on subjects and skills workshops to help students progress to higher education and scholarships to help aspiring university students with fees.  

The two institutions will explore possibilities for academic and course development, together with the delivery of foundation courses and apprenticeships. They also intend to collaborate on projects with employers, such as continuing professional development schemes and job recruitment fairs.

Kingston University is a vital strategic partner for the South Thames Colleges Group, which operates four colleges across south west London and Surrey including Kingston College, Mr Mayhew-Smith said.

"We share so many local and regional interests, with many of our students progressing on to Kingston University. Holding such a number of values in common, it makes perfect sense for us to forge a strong alliance to help shape our collaborative work now and into the future.

"This partnership is fit for the future and for the people of Kingston to benefit from. Serving the community is key in this partnership. The university has such an energetic philosophy, and we look forward to many years of successful partnership."

Categories: On campus, Staff, Students

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