The start of a new era of education in Castleford was marked as Yvette Cooper, Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, officiated the launch of Castleford College at a celebratory ceremony on Friday 18th November, 2022.
Yvette Cooper unveiled the plaque to declare Castleford College officially open after it was granted College status in March 2022, following the formation of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group.
Alongside Yvette, staff of the Group were joined by key partners and stakeholders including Councillor David Dagger of Wakefield Council and Claire Sutherley of We are Wakefield, to celebrate the momentous occasion.
Yvette said: “Ever since the Castleford, Normanton and District Mining and Technical Institute opened its doors in 1930, the local College has had a hugely important role – providing skills for our towns and the region for nearly 100 years now. In 2007 I had the honour of cutting the first turf of grass on the current site which has become a cutting-edge hub for skills-based courses across the district.
“15 years on, I’m delighted that the Castleford campus has been officially granted College status, marking a new and exciting era for education and skills in our towns. I’m really looking forward to working with the college to ensure we have the skills and jobs we need to enable our area to thrive so that every young person in our towns has the chance to get on and do well,” added Yvette.
Speeches were also delivered by the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’s Chair of Governors, Andrew McConnell OBE; Principal and Chief Executive, Sam Wright; Chair of the Castleford Local College Board, Martyn Shaw and Local College Director for Castleford, Steve Harrison.
Sam said: “Our College has a longstanding presence and reputation in the district, with generations of learners carrying out their vocational qualifications with us. We take great pride in providing an expansive skills-based offer which encompasses everything from Automotive to Construction and Engineering, to Hair and Beauty and Health and Social Care, providing our learners with realistic working environments.
“Whilst the College has evolved over time to become a state-of-the-art training facility, our commitment and determination to enabling our learners in developing hands-on, practical skills, which are sought by employers has remained the same. Today encompasses many years of hard work by colleagues, including College Governors, to deliver our vision for the College and I’m incredibly pleased that it’s getting the status it rightly deserves,” added Sam.
This comes following the appointment of Steve Harrison as the Local College Director for Castleford College in September 2022.
Steve said: “I’m delighted to be starting in my role at such an exciting time for Castleford College, as we look to expand our curriculum to focus on the sustainability agenda and future skills demands, including retrofitting, sustainable construction and engineering programmes and electric and hybrid vehicle courses. This reinforces our position as a leading training provider in the district, as we continue to work closely with schools, employers and local governing bodies to educate the community and bridge skills gaps.”
Wakefield College’s Whitwood Campus closed its doors in February 2009, following a £24 million investment in its brand-new, state-of-the-art campus known as the skillsXchange.
The building was later renamed in 2009 as Wakefield College’s Castleford campus, before becoming Castleford College in March 2022.
Today, the College provides a variety of T Levels, Vocational courses, Apprenticeships and part-time adult and professional courses across a range of subjects, including Childcare, Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, Health and Social Care, Motor Vehicle and more.
It also provides degree-level Engineering and Construction programmes as part of the University Centre at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, which has been delivering a variety of degree-level programmes in partnership with leading award bodies and universities for more than 20 years.
Castleford College is one of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’s Colleges, which are based along the M62 corridor in Castleford, Selby and Wakefield.