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Under The Bridge



SEATS Press Release
10th July 2023 - ASELA REF: PR8116

Coventry University Group secured for new South Essex Advanced Technical Skills (SEATS) training brokerage Release issued on behalf of the Association of South Essex Local Authorities. Private sector led SEATS project will increase the skills of local residents by introducing new employer-led work-based training opportunities. A collaboration between DP World, Ford Motor Company, London Southend Airport and the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) has secured the first higher education collaborator for a new advanced technical skills training matchmaking organisation. The South Essex Advanced Technical Skills (SEATS) project will grow the workforce of the future by providing new specialist training - in engineering, managerial development, logistics and digital - skills which are much needed by businesses and employers in South Essex. SEATS has secured its first service contract for higher education provision with Coventry University, which will allow its first learners to start their work-based training this autumn. It has been designed as a collective, industry-based training collaboration. It will act as a matchmaker, bringing together employers in order to capitalise on their collective training requirements and offer a bespoke presence in South Essex. By joining forces with other locally based companies, ASELA and the founding organisations of SEATS have been able to share resources and scale their ambition to bring University partners to South Essex, ultimately leading to a higher skilled workforce and more prosperous communities. SEATS’ three founding Directors are Ford Motor Company, DP World and London Southend Airport, with ASELA providing practical support. More businesses are also joining the growing training body. John Tabor, Business Operations Manager at Ford Motor Company and Chair of SEATS Board, said: “Securing a contract with Coventry University is a significant milestone for SEATS, allowing training to get underway this year and therefore helping to meet the requirements of local businesses and close long-standing skills gaps in South Essex. “We are extremely grateful to ASELA for funding to initiate the project and administering the creation of this innovative bespoke training matchmaking service and would also thank Thames Freeport for its support and providing a grant to support the first year of training for Essex residents.” Rt Hon Ruth Kelly, Chair, Thames Freeport Governing Board, said: “A key objective for Thames Freeport is creating employment opportunities for local people. I am delighted that this initiative, with its focus on technical skills for the future, is underway.” Coventry University Provost Ian Dunn said: “We are delighted to join this project in order to help address the skills gaps in South Essex. “Coventry University Group is already educating students from the north to the south of the country, as well as in more than 40 countries around the world. We passionately believe our high-quality education can deliver a real impact for communities and businesses in South Essex.” Led by the private sector, SEATS will support businesses to improve their productivity through reskilling and upskilling their workforce. Once operational, it will provide a pipeline of local skilled labour to facilitate business growth and new inward investment into South Essex, spreading opportunities and supporting the levelling up of the area. SEATS will work to promote these local career opportunities in schools, colleges and with other providers, ensuring long term viability and growth. The creation of an advanced technical skills body is a pioneer project of the ASELA Growth and Recovery Prospectus. Scott Logan, ASELA CEO Lead, said: “I am extremely proud that this unique concept, first put forward by ASELA in 2019, has achieved this important milestone, and pleased that Coventry University has recognised the importance of the challenge we face here in South Essex. “It is testament to the dedication of public and private sector partners working together – building strong relationships over the last four years to create something truly innovative to tackle the regional skills gap together. By doing so we have been able to bring forward new opportunities that will benefit the people of South Essex for generations to come. “I am grateful to the organisations involved for their support and their ongoing commitment to South Essex.” Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council and ASELA Lead for Economy, Skills and Jobs, said: “The SEATS project will help transform the higher education offer in South Essex, boosting local residents’ skills and enabling employers to deliver training within Essex, rather than relying on outside universities and providers. “This collective approach to training is innovative and will support the economic prosperity of the area. “We hope to increase the level of funding and the opportunities to influence how we invest in skills provision further by securing a devolution deal for Greater Essex, which will in turn allow us to launch innovative skills programmes that are tailor made for the needs of the county.” The SEATS project is now live and eager to engage with businesses in the region. Find out more SEATS and how you can access technical training at ENDS Notes to editors: Courses are set to start from autumn 2023 initially focussed on degree and higher level apprenticeships, with an expansion into intermediate and advantaged apprenticeships, degrees and short course Continuing Professional Development opportunities expected at a later date. Up to 100 in-work learners are set to be in place from September, with this being scaled up as the project grows. These learners will be employed by one of the main sponsor employers, which have already identified their training requirements. About ASELA: The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) is a partnership of the councils of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock and Essex County. Through ASELA the councils are working to deliver improved prosperity and wellbeing in the region by: tackling problems that members councils can’t solve individually creating collective scale and impact providing the place leadership to promote South Essex. Each partner council contributes resources to the ASELA programmes and together they work to win new investment for the region from central government, the private sector and public partners.



SEATS is an employer led not for profit company limited by guarantee, and is supported by several major employers across Essex and the local authorities in South Essex.  


It aims to establish a prestigious and high-quality solution that enables delivery of higher level technical education programmes for employers, through our university providers, whilst also providing South Essex residents with a clear and improving route to high skilled employment.


This innovative initiative is intended to build a strong collaboration between employers and further and higher education providers, that harnesses the teaching and research expertise of education and the industry knowledge and expertise of employers.


To grow the delivery of exceptional, employer-led technical vocational higher-level education for local business and residents in South Essex, and beyond.


To aggregate business demand for higher-level, technical vocational skills, inspire more individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds to pursue higher-level, technical vocational career pathways and put in place exceptional, innovative education solutions to address both current and future skills challenges in South Essex.


  • The advancement of education and training in higher level technical skills for the benefit of the public in the South Essex region by: facilitating the provision of training opportunities for local people to secure skilled jobs;  

  • Supporting local firms to identify, develop and secure the necessary skills in their workforces to enable growth, resulting in increased and enhanced employment opportunities in the region;  

  • Facilitating the provision of skills programmes tailored to support employed learners, new career entrants and learners needing to re-skill; and 

  • Supporting the retention and attraction of high quality firms to the region by providing access to a trained and skilled workforce. 


SEATS Services & New Apprenticeship Solutions

SEATS provides a range of services:
  • Working with regional employers to identify their skills needs and related training requirements.
  • Engaging with local authorities to ensure local employment opportunities for their communities improve and are enhanced in terms of skill levels.
  • Linking employers to education and skills providers that will be able to meet their training requirements.
  • Improving the accessibility and flexibility of education and skills delivery by working with provider partners to extend responsive and effective remote and blended learning solutions.
  • Procurement of education and training solutions identified by SEATS employer partners
  • SEATS engaged Coventry University in July 2023, as its first and primary delivery partner.
  • The current apprenticeship offer can be seen here: SEATS / Coventry University Provision Menu.Contact us for information on fees / band rates.
  • Apprenticeship solutions for employers via Coventry University can be adapted to specific needs with options for campus linked delivery at the university's Dagenham, Greenwich or Liverpool Street Campus sites.
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Supporting Info


The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA), of which Essex County Council is a member, aims to establish a new generation Technical University in South Essex, to transform the current higher education offering in the sub-region through innovative work-based learning. This will be designed and delivered with local businesses and focused on increasing local skills levels to meet existing and emerging economic needs. Ahead of this longer term ambition for South Essex, SEATS has been established to provide, through selected education and training provider partners, apprenticeship and degree apprenticeship solutions for local employers, that meet training needs across a range of identified key industry routes.

Click on the boxes below to find additional supporting information about SEATS and for our ITT rounds.



A key characteristic of SEATS is its significant partnership base. This includes all the South Essex local authorities and Essex County Council, which under the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) have engaged and worked with several of the county's most prominent employers, to establish SEATS as a vehicle to take forward the ambition to develop relevant and sustainable, high level advanced technical education solutions, that meet the needs of the economy and local communities.

The employers below include formal SEATS Ltd Board member organisations and advisory partners.


What is ASELA?

Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA)

The Association of South Essex Local Authorities is a partnership of neighbouring councils that have come together to promote growth and prosperity in the region.

Get in touch

01375 652035

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