Open for business
New £30m college welcomes first students to town
Students have signed up for their courses after a multi-million pound college campus opened its doors in the town centre.
Ashford College, run by the Hadlow Group, has opened its new campus in Elwick Road after selling its site in Jemmett Road in a £30 million deal.
It is set to provide courses for more than 1,000 students and will provide employment to 100 staff members from the site.
Facilities include a multimedia learning resource centre, live music production, photography and art studios, teaching kitchens, and a hair and beauty salon.
Last week Ashford MP Damian Green toured the college along with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jo James.
Mr Green said: “It’s great to look round the new building and see not only the great modern facilities that are here for the extensive range of courses, but also to see how beneficial it will be for the town and community.
“Its location ensures it will be a beacon to show the opportunities provided for the people of Ashford, improving the educational offer we can give young people in the town and in other parts of Kent.
“It also presents great opportunities for local businesses, who will find a pool of skilled people training to do the jobs of the future, people that we will need to fill vacancies as the town’s economy expands and prospers.”
The building is the first of the council’s “big eight” projects to be completed, and will offer youngsters courses in subjects including health and social care, construction, electrical engineering, early years care, music, fashion, catering and hospitality, hairdressing and more.
Mrs James said: “The courses on offer satisfy the needs of local businesses and I think the college will work closely with the business community to help with local economic growth and employment.”
Hadlow group’s deputy chief executive Mark Lumsdon-Taylor said: “We are delighted to be enrolling our first intake of students. The college is a symbol for the significant regeneration of the town.
“I’d like to praise the co-operation, help, advice and support received from the council. It has been a superb example of sectors working together effectively to fulfil a much-needed project.”
Chloe Day, 17, and Talia Scaysbrook, 16, signing up for business studies, with Shinnai Gayle, who will be studying on a beauty course; the CAD suite; Ashford MP Damian Green and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jo James visit the college; inset left and right, students fill out the enrolment forms
Ceri-Anne Jenkins, with her mum Emma, enrolling on the business studies course
Staff on hand to help and advise