Coventry University Group selected as a training provider for new technical skills programme in South Essex

A student using engineering equipment.
Campus news / University Group news

Wednesday 19 July 2023

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CU London will play a major role in a new training matchmaking organisation to help grow the workforce of the future in South Essex.

Coventry University has been chosen as the provider of work-based training learning in a collaboration alongside DP World, Ford Motor Company, London Southend Airport and the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA).

The South Essex Advanced Technical Skills (SEATS) project will provide new specialist training in areas such as engineering, managerial development, logistics and digital, with over 100 new learners studying at CU London’s Dagenham base and the first of those starting this autumn.

SEATS has been designed as a collective, industry-based training collaboration. It will act as a matchmaker, bringing together employers in order to capitalise on their collective training requirements and offer a bespoke presence in South Essex.

By joining forces with other locally based companies, ASELA and the founding organisations of SEATS have been able to share resources and scale their ambition to bring University partners to South Essex, ultimately leading to a higher skilled workforce and more prosperous communities.

SEATS’ three founding Directors are Ford Motor Company, DP World and London Southend Airport, with ASELA providing practical support. More businesses are also joining the growing training body.

The team at CU London are very much looking forward to welcoming the first of our new trainees this Autumn. This is a truly innovative collaboration that connects key organisations, employers and their representative bodies with carefully tailored, higher level training in support of the growth in opportunity, skills and prosperity South Essex needs.

The industrial history and heritage of the region makes it particularly exciting to deliver this training from the CU London Dagenham campus, which thanks to this important initiative, has yet another amazing opportunity to serve its diverse communities as only a modern, forward-thinking and entrepreneurial higher education provider can.

Andy Ginn, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor of CU London

Securing a contract with Coventry University is a significant milestone for SEATS, allowing training to get underway this year and therefore helping to meet the requirements of local businesses and close long-standing skills gaps in South Essex.

We are extremely grateful to ASELA for funding to initiate the project and administering the creation of this innovative bespoke training matchmaking service and would also thank Thames Freeport for its support and providing a grant to support the first year of training for Essex residents.

John Tabor, Business Operations Manager at Ford Motor Company and Chair of SEATS Board

A key objective for Thames Freeport is creating employment opportunities for local people. I am delighted that this initiative, with its focus on technical skills for the future, is underway.

Rt Hon Ruth Kelly, Chair, Thames Freeport Governing Board

We are delighted to join this project in order to help address the skills gaps in South Essex.

Coventry University Group is already educating students from the north to the south of the country, as well as in more than 40 countries around the world. We passionately believe our high-quality education can deliver a real impact for communities and businesses in South Essex.

Ian Dunn, Coventry University Provost

Led by the private sector, SEATS will support businesses to improve their productivity through reskilling and upskilling their workforce.

Once operational, it will provide a pipeline of local skilled labour to facilitate business growth and new inward investment into South Essex, spreading opportunities and supporting the levelling up of the area. SEATS will work to promote these local career opportunities in schools, colleges and with other providers, ensuring long term viability and growth.

The creation of an advanced technical skills body is a pioneer project of the ASELA Growth and Recovery Prospectus.

Scott Logan, ASELA CEO Lead, said: “I am extremely proud that this unique concept, first put forward by ASELA in 2019, has achieved this important milestone, and pleased that Coventry University has recognised the importance of the challenge we face here in South Essex.

“It is testament to the dedication of public and private sector partners working together – building strong relationships over the last four years to create something truly innovative to tackle the regional skills gap together. By doing so we have been able to bring forward new opportunities that will benefit the people of South Essex for generations to come.

“I am grateful to the organisations involved for their support and their ongoing commitment to South Essex.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council and ASELA Lead for Economy, Skills and Jobs, said: “The SEATS project will help transform the higher education offer in South Essex, boosting local residents’ skills and enabling employers to deliver training within Essex, rather than relying on outside universities and providers.

“This collective approach to training is innovative and will support the economic prosperity of the area. We hope to increase the level of funding and the opportunities to influence how we invest in skills provision further by securing a devolution deal for Greater Essex, which will in turn allow us to launch innovative skills programmes that are tailor made for the needs of the county.”

The SEATS project is now live and eager to engage with businesses in the region. Find out more about the SEATS project.