West Cheshire College

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Coordinates: 53°10′44″N 2°53′20″W / 53.179°N 2.889°W / 53.179; -2.889

west cheshire college
West Cheshire College logo L Colour.png

1963 (As Chester College of Further Education)

Chief Executive and Principal Nigel Davies

pe=Vocational college
Location Chester (Handbridge) and Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom
Website West Cheshire College

West Cheshire College is a vocational college in the North West of England. It has over 20,000 students at its two main campuses in Ellesmere Port and Chester as well as in workplaces and community venues.


West Cheshire College's origins can be traced back to the early 19th Century when a number of scientific, literary and philosophical societies were formed in Chester to promote and encourage learning and the expansion of knowledge.[citation needed]

From the formation of these societies further education in the area expanded rapidly with lectures taking place at The Grosvenor Museum in Chester from 1886. Demand forced lessons and workshops to be taught at a number of community centres throughout the area. This decentralised approach to Further Education lasted throughout the first half of the 20th century until the Handbridge site was purchased in 1948 and plans for the Chester College of Further Education were officially drawn up. Since the official opening of the College buildings in 1963 it has developed and expanded with campuses at Blacon and Greenbank being used from the 1980s until 2001 and 2004 respectively. The Grange Centre was used from 1986. Capenhurst Technology Campus became part of West Cheshire College in 1999 when Engineering and Motor Vehicle departments were relocated from Handbridge. The present West Cheshire College campuses are at Chester and Ellesmere Port.[citation needed]

In March 2008 research was undertaken by international leader in economic modelling, EMSI, on behalf of West Cheshire College. Key outcomes highlighted[1] in the report highlight the impact the College has on the economy.[vague]


It offers full and part-time vocational courses in a range of subjects and disciplines to adults[2] and 14 to 19-year olds.[3]

Courses offered cover the following areas:

  • Art & Design
  • Building & Construction Services
  • Business
  • Childcare
  • Computing & IT
  • Engineering & Motor Vehicle
  • Fashion, Promotion & Retail
  • Forensics, Applied & Medical Science
  • Hairdressing, Beauty & Complementary Therapies
  • Health and Social Care
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Media & Games Development
  • Performing Arts & Music
  • Public Services
  • Sport
  • Travel and Tourism

The College also offers Access to Higher Education courses, Foundation Degrees and courses leading to recognised professional qualifications (such as CMI, CIPD, ILEX, AAT, IAB and ICM). The College has also launched a new range of Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNC/Ds) to help students gain up to degree-level qualifications.

In addition, the College offers Apprenticeships across different job sectors including accountancy, active leisure and learning, beauty therapy, brickwork, construction, business administration, carpentry and joinery, cleaning and support services, contact centre, creative and digital media, customer service, engineering, hairdressing, health and social care, hospitality and catering, IT, painting and decorating, pharmacy, retail, supply chain management, vehicle maintenance and warehousing and storage. The College currently has over 500 Apprentices working within these job sectors.

West Cheshire College delivers training for the Cheshire Oaks Retail Academy (CORA) training individuals as well as internationally recognised brands.

The College's "Business Solutions" team also provides training to employers[4] across the region providing bespoke training. The College currently works with large multi-nationals such as Vauxhall, Unilever and Bank of America as well as SMEs throughout the region. The College's "Business Solutions" team was presented with Unionlearn's Quality Award for the success of their employer Apprenticeship programmes. Unionlearn is part of the TUC and works with TUC affiliate unions and employers on learning, skills and workforce development. The award was presented to the team for their work with Aintree University Hospitals Trust in Liverpool.

In West Cheshire College's latest Ofsted report in 2010, the College was awarded 14 Outstanding grades including quality of provision, capacity to improve and for its overall effectiveness with employers[5]

West Cheshire College has undergone a £65 million new build[6] project with new developments in both Chester and Ellesmere Port. The new science and technologies Campus in Chester opened March 2011 and the new Ellesmere Port creative and services industries Campus opened in September 2011. Both developments aim to bring world-class vocational facilities and training to the region making students work-ready and employable.

In February 2014, West Cheshire College received the Investors in People Silver Standard award. In June 2014 it was reported in the Chester Chronicle the college had fallen on hard financial times and thus was looking to cut more than 100 jobs and close its Chester campus to save more than £3 million.


West Cheshire College provides a range of facilities[7] and services to its students and the wider community. These include a hairdressing salon, fine dining restaurant, theatre, dance studio, health centre, conference facilities, gym, business lounge and creche. Also, the College has recently launched a unique new lean manufacturing line training facility at its Chester Campus.