South Essex College
South Essex College of Further and Higher Education is a further education college located over three main sites in Basildon, Southend-on-Sea and Grays in Essex, England. The college provides courses for students of all ages, from 14- to 19-year-olds to undergraduates, adults and businesses.
The college was founded in 1899 as an art school and was renamed later as the Junior Day Technical School, then being restructured to include in its teaching commercial and industrial skills for education in courses like plumbing. The college became South East Essex College of Arts and Technology in 1991.
In 2004, the college relocated to a £52m campus in the centre of Southend, close to main public transport routes, right next to the High Street and mainline railway station. The college formally merged with Thurrock and Basildon College on 1 January 2010, and was renamed South Essex College. The college is seeking to relocate its Thurrock and Basildon campuses to the town centres of Grays and Basildon in the future.
The college today
South Essex College has one of the largest higher education provisions in a further education centre in the country, with around 1,300 students. Programmes are primarily validated by the University of Essex but the college also has some courses validated by the University of East London. The college also offers services to business through its Business Development Team, and leads The NOVA Partnership for Apprenticeships and Skills, consisting of 13 education and training providers. This is the fifth largest training provider partnership in the country, offering a range of apprenticeship programmes.
The college was inspected by Ofsted in 2008 and recognised as a good college with a number of outstanding features. The responsiveness to meeting the needs and interests of students, employer engagement, equality and diversity, partnership working, governance and financial management were among the areas graded outstanding.
Located in the heart of Southend Town Centre, next to Southend Central Rail Station, the Southend Campus offers a range of academic and vocational courses for school leavers. Facilities include a Sony-approved high-definition television studio, a radio studio, a fully equipped Nikon photographic studio with digital SLR cameras as well as art areas and science labs.
The college’s building in Southend is recognised as providing one of the most innovative and exciting learning and working environments in the country and was featured in the Learning and Skills Council publication 'World Class Buildings – Design Quality in Further Education' in March 2005 and ‘Better Buildings, Better Design, Better Education’ published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It also won a Structural Steel Award  and was a finalist in the RIBA/LSC Further Education Awards in 2006.
It has 26,500 sq. metres of space with an atrium accommodating a 250 seat auditorium within the ‘Performance Pod’, dining decks, viewing balconies and social, meeting and event areas.
Beauty Therapy students are taught at the Beauty Academy in Queens Road, a few minutes walk from the main campus. It also offers reasonably priced treatments to the general public. The College also offers purpose-built sports facilities at Wellstead Gardens in Westcliff-on-Sea, with a gym and playing fields for team sports.
The Basildon Campus is situated in spacious grounds just outside of Basildon Town Centre. It specialises in vocational courses ranging from childcare, education, hairdressing, beauty therapy, motor vehicle, health and social care, public services and sport.
The Campus offers realistic work environments such as motor vehicle workshops and a trainee hairdressing salons which is a Wella Centre of Excellence, an award which is only given to institutions that provide the highest level of training and links with industry. For those studying animal care, an animal-management centre is on-campus.
Located just outside of Grays, the Thurrock Campus offers courses in business, catering, childcare, construction, engineering, games development and ICT. It also houses specialist training facilities for beauty therapy, hairdressing and theatrical make-up. There are spacious art studios on-site and for those on performing arts courses the College maintains close links with the Royal Opera House Production Park in Purfleet.
The Campus also has a purpose-built fortlift truck training centre on site. There is also an on-campus restaurant, Waves, staffed by the college's catering students which is open to the public and allows students to learn catering and front of house roles in a real working environment.
In 2010, the Thurrock Campus underwent a programme of extensive refurbishment and redecoration with a particular focus on the students Refectory and Library.
- Alison Moyet – Singer
- About Us. Southessex.ac.uk (28 April 2003). Retrieved on 21 April 2011.
- South East Essex College – A-Z Unis & Colleges, Getting Into University. The Independent (5 August 2010). Retrieved on 21 April 2011.