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Investing in Solihull: Solihull College

Solihull College and University Centre

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce to provide insight on the findings of our new publication Doing Business in Solihull: An Economic Snapshot.

Doing Business in Solihull: An Economic Snapshot is produced by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce policy team. It offers an introduction to the local economy and business community within Solihull. The report is sponsored by Prime Accountants Group, one of the West Midland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants, forensic accountants, business and financial advisors.

This post is featured in the full report here.

There’s never been a better time to be part of Solihull College & University Centre after a fantastic start to the academic year.

The college has two major campuses in Blossomfield Road and Auckland Drive and has a strong focus on vocational and technical education offering an alternative to those who do not want to study A levels.

The College was graded ‘Good’ across all areas of the College by Ofsted in November 2016 and we were  originally awarded a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Gold (currently Silver due to merger) for our higher education provision,  the only college in the West Midlands to achieve this.

We have been granted government approval to use the “University Centre” brand due to the fact we have over 900 students studying at level 4 and above and our breadth of our higher education offer.  We achieved top marks in a QAA review of our higher education provision. We have again been assessed as financially strong and resilient for the future with our funding body confirming our outstanding financial health.

We merged with Stratford-upon-Avon College in February 2018 and there are over 200 students with Solihull postcodes enrolled there. We continually plan and respond to industry need by growing our exciting and expanded new offer and we have plans to build upon many excellent areas of provision so there is a wider choice for our communities.

We continue to be at the forefront of innovation with investment in outstanding facilities for our students, with industry-standard science laboratories and virtual reality equipment recently introduced at Blossomfield Campus and the Centre for Advanced Aeronautical Provision featuring world-class flight simulators and a former Royal Navy Aircraft at Woodlands Campus. School leavers, apprentices, university level and adult learners can thrive in facilities unmatched in the region.

Our latest plans include upgrading our motor vehicle facilities to train our students to deal with new electric vehicle and driverless technologies and we are at an advanced stage of significantly expanding our construction provision with a high quality construction company here in Solihull. We have invested £6m in this new infrastructure and we are brilliantly supported by SMBC and the GBSLEP.  We are developing really positive links with the combined authority (WMCA) and look forward to working with them in addressing their priorities and the skill shortage areas.

We also have the HQ of Solihull Chamber of Commerce based at the College. This has been a huge benefit where the Chamber broker many of our employer links from work experience and expert inputs to offers of employment and apprenticeships for many of our students who have completed their studies.

Our key investments in Solihull enable us to work alongside our excellent universities and we offer courses from basic literacy and numeracy all the way up to Maters degree and all taught by Solihull College & University Centre staff.  Our focus on technical education can double your options in that they are recognised by nearly all universities and employers alike.

We aim to find a place for everyone, with courses offered from beginner right up to degree-level right here in Solihull. With strong links to top employers across a range of industries, we ensure our courses are tailored to continuously evolving industry needs. Our staff possess the expertise and drive to ensure students leave the College with the skills necessary to make their mark in their chosen industry or progress to the next level in their education – whether with us at our University Centre or at top universities across the country.

John Callaghan
Principal and chief executive
Solihull College and University Centre