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Serving up skills

Fri 11 November 2016, 1:10 pm

Boasting a pioneering hospitality college and great links with local employers, Bromley College’s ambitious plans are bearing fruit, finds Lucy Purdy

Channel 4 series Kitchen Impossible starring Michel Roux Jr was filmed at a Bromley College campus

The current employmnet is a tough one to crack but enthusiasm, an impressive CV and a proven aptitude for the job in hand will always put candidates in a strong position. Bromley College’s belief in skills provides the perfect opportunity for students to step onto the career ladder. 

Bromley College and Bexley College merged on 1 August 2016 in a move both boards of governors promise will further boost education and training opportunities in the region. It comes after the merger of Bromley College and Greenwich Community College in January 2016, and signals the emergence of an important force in education in the area. Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich Colleges, which had a combined turnover of £48 million, will retain their commitment to each community they serve and operate under the new banner of Bromley College Group London, to be known as BCGL.

The merged college is led by the former Bromley principal, Sam Parrett OBE, and provision offered across the colleges includes a 14-16 academy, a broad work-related and vocational skills programme, apprenticeships, higher education and professional qualifications across a wide range of subjects and industries. 

The merger will strengthen further education provision across the region, says Parrett. “It will ensure we can continue to offer communities in Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich a wide range of courses and qualifications, with excellent facilities, teaching and outcomes. 

“Each college will maintain its own brand and identity, under the BCGL umbrella. We focus on providing all our students with ‘real skills for the real world’ – equipping them with the skills that they need to succeed. Each college has close links with both local and national employers, which will be maintained and indeed strengthened as a result of the planned merger.”

Bromley’s Hospitality, Food and Enterprise Career College, which opened in September 2014, is the first of its kind in London and provides one example of this skills-led approach. Here, year 10 students can learn the practical skills they need for employment in the hospitality and catering industry, alongside GCSEs at college. Students aged 16 and over can study a fast-track course to gain their professional catering qualifications, along with English and maths skills. TV chefs, Chris and James Tanner are celebrity patrons.

Gary Farrelly is head of the hospitality college and explains how it fits in: “Our pioneering Career College provides 14 to 19 year-olds with employer-led training in our industry-standard facilities. The Career College is part of a national network, which aims to ensure young people are prepared for work. The curriculum of each Career College is designed and delivered in part by employers, to ensure that students gain both qualifications and the practical skills they need to succeed in a specific industry.

 “The hospitality industry is booming and there are many career opportunities opening up. Our students will have a fantastic advantage, having been trained by industry experts. Our board of advisers includes representatives from major hospitality employers including the Hilton, Hyatt and Springboard groups. They have helped to ensure the curriculum we offer is relevant to the industry as well as offering our students excellent work experience and shadowing opportunities.

 “We are hugely grateful for the support we continue to receive from our employer advisory group and are very excited about the opportunities we can offer our students.”

A longer version of this article appears in the latest edition of Invest Bromley

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