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Stansted Airport College celebrates official opening

Stansted Airport College has been officially opened at a ceremony led by Robert Halfon MP, Chair of Education Select Committee and London Stansted CEO Ken O’Toole.

First purpose-built on-site college at a major UK airport

The College, which has opened its doors to almost 300 students for its first term, is a brand-new £11 million technical skills facility, the first purpose-built on-site college at a major UK airport and the only Further Education centre in Uttlesford.

Constructed on a one-acre site on land made available by the airport the project received two separate £3.5 million grants from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Local Growth Fund and Essex County Council, £600,000 from Harlow College and was also supported by a £300,000 grant from Uttlesford District Council.

The opening was attended by South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Adam Bryan, Cllr Kevin Bentley of Essex County Council and Uttlesford District Council leader Howard Rolfe. Students and staff of the college and local schoolchildren from nearby Birchanger Primary School were also at the event.

Boosting STEM subjects and technical skills

A Stansted Airport College trainee with Ken O’Toole, CEO, London Stansted Airport.

The opening of this new centre is a key moment in the important fight to tackle skills shortages in the SELEP area. Creating clear and direct paths for local young people into vitally important engineering roles, this employer-led project directly tackles challenges identified in our own Skills Strategy earlier this year.

£7.9million in funding

The two-storey facility has been built on a one-acre site on land made available by the airport near the long-stay car park and Novotel Hotel. The project received two separate £3.5 million grants from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Local Growth Fund and Essex County Council, £600,000 from Harlow College and is also supported by a £300,000 grant from Uttlesford District Council.

That strategy highlighted challenges, including having nearly 180,000 young people in our area with no qualifications, and skills below the national average at GCSE and degree level. Stansted Airport and Harlow College are to be congratulated on this centre which shows what can be achieved when employers, education providers, local authorities and the LEP work together. It is a great example of what we look for in Local Growth Fund supported projects.
Christian Brodie, Chair of SELEP

The College is a demonstration of the power of a true partnership between the private and public sector, local authority and LEP, airport and community. As a rapidly growing and responsible airport, employing over 12,000 people, we are focused on building a sustainable future for our business that is based on a long-term career pathway for young people across the region.

The College is a model for development that we hope will provide the airport with the thousands of first-rate careers that we will need to support our growth over the next decade.
Ken O’ Toole, CEO of London Stansted Airport

This is a very proud day for Essex because this Airport College is a completely home-grown project and originally came from a conversation between ECC, Stansted Airport and SELEP. As a result, and after a great deal of hard work by many people, we now have this excellent College under the superb leadership of Harlow College. It will provide so many opportunities for young people which in turn will help grow the local economy.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Essex County Council

We are incredibly proud to have opened our new College at London Stansted Airport. The College really demonstrates how Education and Industry can work together to provide meaningful opportunities for young people.

The support we’ve had from employers has been second to none – they are helping shape the College, from the curriculum on offer, to offering work placements, providing professional talks and donating training resources. We can’t wait to see our first group of trainees graduate and move into amazing careers in aviation.
Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College and Stansted Airport College

Technical and Professional Skills Centre at Stansted Airport

Find out more about this project here.