New private sector led advanced technical skills body created for South Essex to support growth and levelling up

Exciting plans to create a new advanced technical skills provider for South Essex have moved forward, with its first learners expected to start in September.

The South Essex Advanced Technical Skills (SEATS) has been established to transform the current higher education offer in the region, strengthen employer-led work-based learning and increase the skills of local residents to meet the existing and emerging needs of businesses. The creation of an advanced technical skills body is a pioneer project of the ASELA Growth and Recovery Prospectus.

Led by the private sector, SEATS will support south Essex businesses to improve their productivity through reskilling and upskilling their workforce as well as provide a pipeline of local talent and skilled labour needed to facilitate business growth and new inward investment into South Essex.

The three founding Directors of SEATS are Ford Motor Company, DP World and Southend Airport, with Leonardo and TEVVA Motors also supporting employers. Procurement for the higher education provider partner is currently underway, with this process expected to be completed in April.

John Tabor, Business Operations Manager at Ford Motor Company and Chair of SEATS Board, said: “Ford of Britain has a proud history of supporting local upskilling through its longstanding investment in technical and business-related apprenticeships. The SEATS partnership builds on this foundation, meeting the needs of local industry, increasing accessibility to learners and employers, and raising the overall level of skills and capability in the region.”

Charmain Browning, Head of People at DP World in the UK, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the establishment of the SEATS project, which will help develop and strengthen the critical skills Essex and the wider UK economy needs to enable the creation of new and exciting businesses in the region and wider economy. With plans to invest £1bn into the UK over the next decade, including the new £350m fourth berth at London Gateway, which is currently under construction, DP World is creating many high-skilled jobs and will also invest and support the creation of those key local and regional skills. We are working to facilitate and grow the international connectivity of Essex and this new local partnership helps us to do this.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council and ASELA Lead for Economy, Skills and Jobs, said: “The South Essex Advance Technical Skills project is an exciting and ambitious programme, which will bring benefits to residents and businesses of South Essex.

“Once up and running, it will provide residents with a clear route into skilled employment whilst supporting businesses to secure the skills they need, now and into the future.

“The creation of the new operating board and the procurement of a higher education provider are two exciting milestones which show this important project is really gathering pace and we look forward to welcoming the first learners later this year.”

Scott Logan, ASELA CEO Lead, said: “We want South Essex to prosper and grow. The creation of SEATS, supported by both the public and private sectors is a key part of helping to deliver the growth ambitions we have for the region, facilitating business growth and new investment such as Thames Freeport, enabling and growing the future workforce and levelling up areas in need.”

To engage South Essex businesses in the project, a new Business Supporters Group will be established. This will help identify the training and development needs of firm’s employee, look to grow the provision locally and develop the curriculum.

Find out more about the SEATS project at