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Croydon University Centre’s Head of Higher Education Miemie Neethling-Taylor joined leading education figures for a discussion on South London’s knowledge economy at a virtual development conference this week.

The Real Estate Live UK session South London’s Knowledge Economy, held in partnership with Develop Croydon, looked at what the region could do to continue to be developed, bring in new institutions and ensure local people can obtain the skills they need to excel in their careers at a Higher Education provider closer to home.

Miemie spoke alongside Cllr Oliver Lewis, Cabinet Member for Culture and Regeneration at Croydon Council, Professor Patrick Bailey from London South Bank University, Paul Kirkbright, Head of Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships at South London Partnership and Richard Hoey, Director of Communications and Policy, Institute of Cancer Research. The session was chaired by Lalage Clay, Director of Education & Talent at London & Partners.

Miemie said: “I think – despite the pandemic – it’s a really, really exciting time for higher education and training providers at the moment. Our provision aligns really well with the current needs of the residents.”

She added 96% of students were from the Croydon area, and market research meant the University Centre was able to provide the upskilling opportunities required in the borough, with courses in healthcare, public health nursing, business, construction and engineering, where Miemie reported a “growing demand” in the market.

“As Croydon University Centre we’re looking to continuously grow our provision, but also to target exactly where that skills needs exists. And now is really a really great opportunity for collaboration and working together to ensure all of us can provide this relevant training and education and upskilling Croydon residents and the people from within the area.

“But we want to make sure they put that back into businesses and don’t have ‘brain draining’ occur, where people would be trained here and sending them off elsewhere.”

Miemie also spoke about the economic benefits the University Centre and College, with its town centre location, provide for the borough and its regeneration ambitions – with around 5,000 people attending every day before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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