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New decade, new college, new beginnings

Monday 2 March 2020

2020 symbolises the start of a new decade and for Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) it is also the year in which the college, students and staff move into a brand new building and start an exciting next chapter in the history of the college.

Diane Dimond, Interim Principal and CEO at RuTC, says, “This new campus will bring together education, enterprise and the local community to deliver innovative curricula that utilises the latest technologies. We are excited to move into this exceptional building with our students, giving them the best learning experience and helping them realise their potential to take a first step towards their future careers.”

Originally, Twickenham Technical College opened its doors to hundreds of students in 1937. In 1962, the college changed its name to Twickenham College of Technology, focusing on the field of engineering. Finally, Richmond upon Thames College was created in 1977 as the college merged with local sixth form colleges. Today, RuTC offers a broad curriculum for post 16 study, including A Levels and an extensive range of vocational and technical qualifications and apprenticeships.

2017 marked a significant milestone in the history of RuTC - it celebrated its 80th anniversary and at the same time laid the first foundations for a brand new £80 million state of the art campus. The breaking ground ceremony marked phase one of the new college campus and was followed by a topping out ceremony in May 2019. In February 2020 RuTC received the keys for the brand new building and students and staff will move in during March and April. Phase two comprises the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) Centre and a new sports hall due for completion in 2021. The grand opening ceremony will take place in June 2020.

Peter Garvey, Music teacher at RuTC, says, “I have very fond memories of the college’s old building over the last 21 years I have been here. Richmond upon Thames College has a long history of producing entertaining music concerts and has many outstanding music alumni. I am pleased that we are able to take the college’s grand piano into the new building, where it will have a home in the atrium.”

The innovative new learning environment is located within the grounds of the current college site, adjacent to the A316 in Twickenham. It features a dedicated sixth form centre, a brilliant theatre with seating for 160 people, as well as a live performance stage and dance studio. The campus will also boast an advanced STEM centre, art gallery, business lounge, TV and robotics studio, gym and sports centre and more. One distinctive highlight is the college’s training restaurant, The View, located on the new building’s top floor, facing Twickenham Rugby Stadium with a breathtaking view across London that should not be missed.

Sanjay Shah, Computing teacher at RuTC, says, “The new building will integrate some of the latest digital technologies. We will be able to utilise state of the art equipment and work on projects such as cyber security, AI (artificial intelligence), robotics and VR (virtual reality). This will also open up many new opportunities for innovative course development and programmes with industry partners and increase the employability skills of our students.”

Over the past few months, staff and students have visited the new building and a number of students from construction crafts, engineering, business, catering and supported learning had the opportunity to contribute to the building process by doing work experience and placements with the site’s construction company, ISG.

Hasti Rezvan, RuTC A Level student, Students’ Union Vice President and one of the work experience students, says, “Richmond upon Thames College’s current old building is full of great memories for thousands of past and present students, all the class rooms, corridors and especially the canteen will be missed. However, we are all very excited to move into the new building because the new building will bring students closer to each other and will offer many benefits.”

Anna Dobbin, Employer Engagement & Apprenticeship Levy Adviser, says, “Richmond upon Thames College’s new building will strengthen relationships with businesses by being a hub for local companies, especially with the Chamber of Commerce being based in the building and working closely together with Haymarket Media Group and Harlequins. This will offer unique advantages to our apprentices and work experience students.”

Prospective students will have the opportunity to visit the new building at the college’s Open Events on 10, 21 and 25 March, 22 April and 23 June.

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