Students at Dover Technical College with Rebecca Trankle from Discovery Park

Students at Dover Technical College with Rebecca Trankle from Discovery Park

Discovery Park and EKC Group join forces to boost STEM careers in Kent

A partnership has been forged between Discovery Park and EKC Group to inspire more of East Kent’s young people to experience a career in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Discovery Park, the 220-acre science and technology campus near Sandwich in East Kent, home to over 150 companies and employing more than 3,500 people has struck an alliance with EKC Group. The further education provider supports 15,000 students across six community colleges in Ashford, Dover, Canterbury, Folkestone, Swale and Thanet, plus EKC Training, which provides Apprenticeships, community learning, employability provision and prison education.

EKC Group recently became the first further education provider in the country to be graded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for all of its educational centres, achieving top marks across all the assessed categories.

Graham Razey OBE, Chief Executive Officer of EKC Group, said: “With many local employers saying they are struggling to fill critical positions in a range of key sector areas, this is a timely opportunity for EKC Group to work in closer collaboration with Discovery Park and engage them with our outstanding students. 

“It will also give young people across the East Kent area the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have developed within our family of colleges, with genuinely inspirational learning experiences across the park. As a leading life sciences hub, this partnership also offers a significant opportunity for science students who may well aspire to be the next crop of talent within Discovery Park. We have already seen Dover Technical College engineering students engaged in a real-life project for Discovery Park, and that gives them the opportunity to develop their skills in a way that ensures when they progress from us, they are ready to take the next step, whether that’s building their careers or progressing into higher education.”

Mayer Schreiber, Chief Executive Officer at Discovery Park added: “We’ve always seen EKC Group as one of the country’s most forward-thinking education providers and the outstanding Ofsted results confirm this. We’re delighted to have joined forces with them to help their students get practical hands-on experience in a professional work environment and to help them make connections with many of the companies on site here.”

The partnership’s first practical demonstration is an engineering project, where students used 3D printing to design and produce approximately 1,000 floorplate covers for use in Discovery Park’s offices and laboratories.

Mayer Schreiber added: “This first project is an excellent example of how we are all benefitting from collaboration.

“Our facilities team had identified a need and worked directly with the lecturers and students at EKC Group. Many of the floorplates covering our electrical sockets had come to the end of their lives, leading to health and safety issues. Thanks to the students, we have now a solution to a real-life issue and they have gained valuable, practical experience which will hopefully enhance their future job prospects and employability.”

EKC Group’s students will have the opportunity to work with companies on site at Discovery Park, which is one of the largest R&D facilities in Europe and one of just six Life Science Opportunity Zones established across the UK.

The new partnership will provide students with the opportunity to work with companies involved in life sciences and medtech, agritech and environmental sciences, engineering and professional services. 

Notes to Editors

About Discovery Park

Discovery Park is a thriving part of the South East’s life science community. The site offers high quality laboratory, office and manufacturing facilities, the space and support to expand, access to local finance, and a strong local scientific talent pool. The growing tenant community includes Pfizer, which built the site’s reputation as a centre for drug discovery and discovered some of the most famous drugs in the world here. 

Other tenants include Algaecytes, Canterbury Christ Church University, Concept Life Sciences, eXroid, Genea Biomedx, LGC, Viatris, Psyros Diagnostics, Salvensis, VisusNano and Wren Healthcare. Discovery Park is home to 160+ companies employing 3,500 employees in total. With easy connections to London, Europe and the world Discovery Park is a great place to build and grow your biotech, medtech or pharma business.

About EKC Group

EKC Group is an Ofsted Outstanding provider of technical and vocational education in East Kent, giving opportunities to more than 14,000 students. Building on the success of its six Colleges, the Group offers learning from nursery age through to Higher Education. 

With Colleges in Ashford, Broadstairs, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Sheppey, as well as an adult training unit, an award-winning hotel and a Multi Academy Trust, EKC Group is a major educational institution which serves the whole of the East Kent region. 

The Group seeks to make a practical and positive difference for the six districts in which it operates, celebrating the transformative power of education and skills for each student, their family, and the communities within which they live and work.

Firm believers in lifelong learning, EKC Group provides adult education and skills training as well as continuing professional development for companies. And, with more than 1,500 staff, it is also a key anchor organisation in East Kent, turning over circa £65m per annum.

Posted on 24/05/2023