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Croydon College group played a leading role in the Develop Croydon Conference on Monday 8 November.

The Conference, titled Live/Work Croydon, returned to the Fairfield Halls for the first time in two years and shone the spotlight on education in Croydon, and how pioneering partnerships can deliver essential talent for the future.

The Careers not Courses session, sponsored by the Croydon College Group, explored the role of Higher Education in creating employment opportunities for students.

Fadia Clarke, Vice Principal of Croydon College, joined the panel discussion which was chaired by Sarah Sturrock, Director of the South London Partnership and also featured Carol Squires, Head of Economy and Employment at Croydon Council, Vanessa Clark, Founder of Sinclair Clark and Alex Elkins, Director of South Bank Innovation.

Fadia Clarke opened the session, saying: “It is important for us to make sure the education we give is based on the need to do specific jobs. We use the motto careers not courses across all the departments in the College as well as our University Centre and it is very important for us.

“As a college we pride ourselves on being an anchor to the community. We can only be an anchor when the courses we provide lead to jobs.”

The College Group also took part in a conversation about supporting Croydon’s young people outside of the town centre in the huburbs session, which explored what Croydon’s suburbs have to offer in the wake of the pandemic, and what makes a neighbourhood dynamic.

The Principal of Coulsdon Sixth Form College Odette Carew joined the panel discussion, which was chaired by UK Regeneration’s Chief Operating Officer Jackie Sadek and also included Barnabas Shelbourne, Chief Executive of Youth Legacy Zone, Joe Garner, Co-Founder of NewPlace and Steve Dennington, Croydon Council’s Head of Spatial Planning.

Odette Carew said: “My key passion is about making sure young people are ready with their skills for the future. You don’t direct what those skills should be specifically – we work with what they want, what the community wants and hearing what Croydon needs. And I feel the pandemic has made people think about what is available closer to home and I hope with employers we can work out what is needed and how we can provide that.”

The College also had a presence in the foyer with a stand featuring prospectuses, the latest Croydon Education Matters newsletter and more available for delegates to pick up and take home with them.

Full write-ups of all of the sessions will be available this week on www.developcroydonconference.co.uk

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