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Canterbury College and East Kent College have merged to meet growing skills demands

By Gerry Warren

Canterbury College and East Kent College have completed a merger with the aim of boosting technical skills training across the region.

The move creates the seventh biggest Further Education college group in the UK, catering for 15,000 students and employing more than 15,000 staff.

Although the colleges will keep their separate identities, they now form the EKC Group and bring together a family of five campuses across east Kent providing further education in Canterbury, Dover, Shepway, Swale and Thanet.

East Kent College and Canterbury College principal Graham Razey
East Kent College and Canterbury College principal Graham Razey

The group's principal and chief executive, Graham Razey said: "This merger will enable our colleges to deliver the finest technical and vocational education across the whole of East Kent.

"It’s great news for the many students we teach who now have unparalleled flexibility to progress through our range of provision, as well as the communities we serve which I hope will benefit from the skills training and services we deliver.

"I'm pleased to announce that now we have merged, our new strategic plan has also been launched. This important document sets out our vision for a better technical education system in east Kent which will help unlock prosperity for all of our communities in the years to come."

East Kent College in Folkestone
East Kent College in Folkestone

The new strategic plan sets out the mission, vision, values and strategic goals and objectives of the Group. It has been widely supported by the county’s business leaders, with key organisations feeding into its delivery.

Chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Jo James said: "The EKC Group places employment at the heart of its strategy. The group is active in working to address skills gaps, strengthening the talent pipeline for east Kent business through high quality skills and Ofsted ‘outstanding’ apprenticeship provision."

The Group’s new Chair, Charles Buchanan, said: "It fills me with real pride that after a huge amount of hard work, the two colleges have now merged to form this new group.

"I would like to thank senior leaders, and all of the colleges’ staff for their hard work to make this a reality. There’s no doubt it has not been easy, but it’s illustrative of the fortitude and character of those working through our colleges that we have now become the EKC Group, and it makes me incredibly excited for the future of technical education in the South East.”

The Group has unveiled its new branding. Its logo highlights the aspirational work within each of the colleges, illustrating its visionary approach to growing and developing the communities it serves. The Group has also launched its corporate website which can be found at www.ekcgroup.ac.uk.

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