For the past twelve months, Richmond upon Thames College, Richmond Council, Haymarket Media Group, Harlequins and Clarendon School have been working together to design a Campus which would include new College buildings, a new Secondary School, purpose-built accommodation for Clarendon Special Needs School's Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils and a base for Haymarket Media Group.
The proposed Campus will bring together education and enterprise, ensuring innovative curricula that exploit the latest technologies. The Campus specialisms will be creative arts and media, digital technology, engineering and construction and sport. It will offer young people unparalleled opportunities to develop skills and pursue employment with a successful global company and other local businesses.
The original plans proposed that Haymarket would move their global HQ to the site. However, as planning and design has progressed, it is now proposed to place the technical aspects of Haymarket's business – a 'tech hub' – on the Campus, with the majority of its office space being based elsewhere in the borough.
The 'tech hub' would include digital labs for the company's new technology and product development, state-of-the-art photographic studios, a photographic archive, digital editing suite, listening rooms for its consumer electronics brands and a gallery space showcasing design and photographic work and a media incubator. Around 20 of Haymarket's creative and digital experts would be based there full-time.
The 'tech hub' would be open to Campus students through the Haymarket Skills Academy; students and staff would be able to access industry standard technology and have the opportunity to work with media experts who would be on hand to provide 'master classes' and help shape curriculum content.
It would also be the home to a new digital media incubator, which would see Haymarket provide space, seed funding equity investment to the brightest young media entrepreneurs and tech start-ups. The media incubator would also provide access to the hub's state-of-the-art facilities and mentoring from Haymarket's creative and digital experts.
Kevin Costello, Chief Executive of Haymarket said:
"This exciting new proposal will expand upon Haymarket's offering to Campus students through the development of state-of-the-art facilities next to Richmond College, with a new media incubator providing further opportunities for talented young people from within the borough."
"The plans for the Campus are still at a conceptual stage and our thinking has evolved. By separating our offices from the tech hub we can relocate within the borough at an earlier date, whilst allowing the Campus plans more flexibility in responding to consultation feedback."
Cathy Bird, Chair of Governors, Richmond upon Thames College said:
"The tech hub brings to life the opportunity of our partnership with Haymarket and will offer College students and staff access to cutting edge facilities and expertise as well as access to industry standard technology and the opportunity to work with established professionals.
"Enterprise is an important element of how we equip our students with the skills they need for the future. Students have great business ideas and will benefit from seeing how this can work in practice for business start-ups."
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
"This is very positive news. Few issues are as important to our borough as education and this new hub could provide young people and the wider community with direct access to experts, funding and indeed the state-of-the-art equipment they need to really immerse themselves in the digital and business world.
"This project is a priority for the Council, and we are committing £10m to ensuring that it is delivered. I now look forward to working with the other partners, to continue to build on these plans and create a Campus which focuses on high quality all-round education, delivering young people with excellent skills and a real focus on community."