Graham Razey

Graham Razey, group principal and chief executive of the EKC Group

Kent colleges agree to merge

East Kent College and Canterbury College have merged, creating the seventh largest Further Education (FE) college group in the UK.

Following a successful period working closely in partnership and with the support of stakeholders and local communities, East Kent College and Canterbury College merged on 1 Feb to become the EKC Group.

The new group brings together two of the largest colleges in Kent, creating the seventh biggest Further Education (FE) college group in the UK.

With a turnover of approximately £55m, more than 1,000 staff and 15,000 students, the merger enables the new EKC Group to systematically plan for skills requirements in Kent better than ever before, while delivering the best possible student experience and outcome for all of its learners.

The new group includes a family of five Colleges covering the East Kent region and ensures local educational provision in the Canterbury, Dover, Shepway, Swale and Thanet communities. The group will also enable the delivery of relevant and high-quality training for businesses, including apprenticeships.

Graham Razey, group principal and chief executive of the EKC Group, 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.”

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.

Geoff Miles, chair of the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership and vice chair of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership said: “KMEP and The South East Local Enterprise Partnership are highly supportive of the new EKC Group. The group is helping to ensure the East Kent economy will have the skills required to continue to grow and flourish in the future.”

Jo James, chief executive, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce 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.”