Principal Thoughts – October

Posted on: 27 October, 2015

Principal Thoughts

Welcome to the second monthly edition of ‘Principal Thoughts’ in which our CEM Principal, Ashley Wheaton, reveals the latest college updates and Built Environment industry news from October.

Welcome, Paul Basham

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to announce our new Vice Principal Finance and Resources, Paul Basham, who will be joining us on the 29th October. Paul was previously the Director of Finance at the Horticultural Trades Association and is also a chartered accountant – I know he’ll be a great asset to our college.

We give apprenticeships a good name                                             

In last week’s Times, The chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, commented, “The expansion of apprenticeships has been a disaster, with too many poor quality programmes that fail to give young people new skills or better chances of a job.” This is off the back of a recent – and highly critical – report from Ofsted who found that apprenticeships haven’t trained enough people for sectors with skills shortages, that smaller businesses aren’t being involved and that there aren’t enough advanced schemes leading to higher skills and wages. The report also found some apprentices weren’t aware that they were classed as such, while others didn’t receive any broader training or support such as English and Maths skills.

This is disappointing to hear but, luckily, it’s certainly not the case at CEM or necessarily in the Built Environment sector. We’re currently developing a series of academic programmes to support surveying apprenticeships – in conjunction with the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust. We think it’s important to assist young people, regardless of circumstance, to fulfill their potential – and we’re working hard to nurture and support the next generation of surveyors.

This is a truly exciting opportunity for our college to expand its provision of accessible, industry-relevant education – look out for more information and announcements very soon.

Pastures New

After 42 years based at the University of Reading Whiteknights campus, CEM is planning to move to a permanent new premises in July 2016. This move to the centre of Reading aligns strongly with our strategic aim of becoming a fully independent Higher Education institution.

During our recent enrollments – across all of our programmes – we welcomed a record number of over 750 new students; an intake growth of 30 per cent from last year. In light of this continual growth, our new home will provide the space and working environment needed for the further development of the college.

The University of Reading provided a perfect home for CEM for a long time but our move will provide a much-improved and fit-for-purpose working space for our staff, and a relevant environment for our students. It also provides the opportunity to create a fully independent identity and brand, all as part of our vision to become the leading, vocational, online university.