University boss on ‘fantastic’ first two years in Dagenham

Andy Ginn, associate pro-vice chancellor of CU London, outside the Dagenham campus. Picture: Paul Ta

Andy Ginn, associate pro-vice chancellor of CU London, outside the Dagenham campus. Picture: Paul Tanner - Credit: Paul Tanner

Opening a new university campus in Dagenham’s former civic centre was never going to be an easy task.

But two years on, the man in charge of CU London is delighted with the progress being made.

"We have had a fantastic first two years," said associate pro-vice chancellor Andy Ginn.

"We've been really getting to know the people of Barking and Dagenham, working jointly on all sorts of exciting ventures as well as building up our student base and opening lots of opportunities wherever we can more widely too.

"We always intended to be at the heart of the community we serve and to do our very best for those people wishing to improve their skills, knowledge and qualifications."

The campus - which offers degrees accredited by Coventry University - opened in September 2017 after a multi-million pound transformation.

It aims to welcome 2,500 students a year by 2024 and is introducing a wide range of new courses, including in policing, psychology, education and health and care. Other options include degree apprenticeships, allowing people the chance to study and work at the same time.

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Mr Ginn said: "We are expecting more than 1,000 students from September, and are equally excited to be welcoming lots of new staff into the CU London team.

"For all our students, our location can be a much cheaper and convenient option and our timetables are designed to fit around busy lives.

"Well over half our student and staff cohort is from this or nearby boroughs, and our average age remains around 31 years, so we really do have a broad appeal to school or college leavers and mid-career adults alike."

The campus has set up partnerships with schools, colleges and employers, as well as community organisations, in a bid to create "new and lasting opportunities" for the borough.

Community involvement has extended to organising a staff vs students charity football match, as well as hosting and participating in the annual Run4Life charity 5k event.

Mr Ginn added: "The first two years here have been amazing and we believe the impact CU London can bring to this area will only increase into year three and beyond."