HRUC announces groundbreaking agreement with MIT in landmark move for the FE Sector


College also unveils new national competition open to further education students from across the UK giving them the chance to visit MIT.

In a pioneering development for the Further Education (FE) sector, Harrow, Richmond, and Uxbridge Colleges (HRUC) are to join the Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The membership between MIT ILP and HRUC (which includes its West London Institute of Technology, offering higher-level technical skills development specialising in engineering, computing, and construction), provides a range of important benefits including access to MIT’s researchers, widely recognised to be among the best in the world.

This development will provide the ambitious HRUC college group (London’s newest college group which supports 16,000+ learners) with access to MIT's cutting-edge technologies and management expertise, enabling staff to enrich the curriculum. HRUC will also be able to drive educational technologies and innovation through access to MIT ILP’s webinars and its network of start-ups created by its students, alumni, and faculty members.

Other benefits include:

  • tailored sessions with research scientists and faculty members to identify potential specific co-development efforts,
  • an annual private seminar for senior leaders,
  • information about MIT’s emerging technologies,
  • and access to its library and reports.

There will also be real-time monitoring of emerging technologies, access to research and management resources, and information sharing to enrich the student experience.

National innovation competition for FE students across the UK

HRUC has also announced the launch of a new national innovation competition for FE students across the UK. This new national competition will provide students with an opportunity to showcase their vision and thinking for solutions to address the future industry solutions and innovations. HRUC will sponsor the group of winning students to receive a life-changing opportunity to visit and collaborate with students and staff at MIT.

The national competition will give students an unprecedented opportunity to learn from industry experts, gain new academic experiences, work across borders, and develop new international networks. It will also shine a spotlight on the best thinking and innovations ideas from across our country putting further education in the place it deserves as the centre of innovation and technology.

Praxis Performing Arts Students on stage performing at HRUC MIT launch.Speaking at the launch event at Richmond upon Thames College, Keith Smith, HRUC Chief Executive, said, “This is a significant step for HRUC and underscores the potential for cross-sector collaboration between educational institutions and industry leaders. It sets a precedent for future endeavours within and beyond the FE sector. This agreement also highlights the shared commitment of MIT’s ILP and HRUC to explore innovative solutions to enrich the experience of our extraordinary students and staff.”

Dr Gayathri Srinivasan, Executive Director MIT Corporate Relations, said, “I am delighted to welcome HRUC as one of over 200 esteemed global members of the MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP). HRUC’s involvement with MIT through membership in the MIT Industrial Liaison Program and MIT Startup Exchange builds on both institutions' deep commitment to education, impact and the student experience, and the long and varied tradition of transatlantic collaboration that MIT has enjoyed for many years.”

Further information

Harrow, Richmond, and Uxbridge Colleges (HRUC) are London's newest further education college group offering courses, training and apprenticeships. Each of the vibrant colleges has its own distinguished history and is serving local communities and employers across west and south London with distinction. The HRUC portfolio also includes the West London Institute of Technology, providing higher technical STEM qualifications, and HRUC Apprenticeships and Skills – which provides a range of apprenticeships and support for businesses to develop their workforce.

Published 22 April 2024.

Colleges Week: Deputy Mayor for London explores innovation and technology at Uxbridge College

The Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE and Keith Smith, HRUC CEO, at Uxbridge College.

The Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE visited Uxbridge College on 27 February 2024, to meet aspiring engineers and electronic mechanics, and explore the outstanding facilities, technologies, and teaching at the college.

The visit forms part of Love Our Colleges, a national campaign by the Association of Colleges to promote the good work that colleges do across the country. Uxbridge College is part of the Harrow, Richmond, and Uxbridge Colleges (HRUC) group - one of the largest Further Education (FE) colleges in England, supporting a vibrant community of 16,000 learners.

Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE with staff and students from Uxbridge College immersing himself in interactive activities.During the tour, the Deputy Mayor (responsible for Planning, Regeneration and Skills), took the time to immerse himself in interactive activities, witness the applications of a 3D scanner, and engage with apprentices working on electric vehicle technology. The Deputy Mayor also met with students with special needs and disabilities, highlighting the college's commitment to inclusive education.

Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe looking at the Uxbridge College facilities and engaging with apprentices working on electric vehicle technology.Uxbridge College's dedication to providing a forward-thinking and inclusive education aligns with the Deputy Mayor's vision for a cleaner, greener, and smarter city. The Deputy Mayor is working on key priorities for the Mayor of London, which include the implementation of the London Plan, spearheading major and community-led regeneration projects across the capital, building a skills system that addresses the needs of Londoners and the economy, and ensuring that London's infrastructure supports sustainable growth and meets the needs of its communities.

Jules Pipe said: “It was inspiring to visit Uxbridge College and tour its outstanding facilities as part of Colleges Week. Colleges across the capital play a vital part in providing learning opportunities, building partnerships with communities and local employers, and encouraging growth – and Uxbridge College is helping to transform the lives of its students.

Dylan McTaggart (Group Principal and Deputy CEO), Keith Smith (HRUC CEO) and Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE visiting Uxbridge College.
Dylan McTaggart (Group Principal and Deputy CEO), Keith Smith (HRUC CEO) and Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE visiting Uxbridge College.

Its focus on innovation, sustainability and inclusion is admirable and reflects the Mayor’s ambition to build a better, greener, and fairer London for all.”

Keith Smith, HRUC CEO, said, "We’re delighted to welcome the Deputy Mayor, particularly as HRUC stands as a cornerstone in serving the vibrant communities and forward-thinking employers across west and south London. 'Love Our Colleges' is our rallying call to celebrate the remarkable contributions colleges like ours make daily—building communities, fostering business growth, and empowering individuals.”

Dylan McTaggart, Group Principal and Deputy CEO, said, "Our College is a beacon of innovation and inclusivity, providing a transformative learning environment for thousands of learners. The Deputy Mayor’s visit underscores our commitment to shaping a brighter, more sustainable future for London.”

Published 28 February 2024.

New Skills, New Careers: Secretary of State for Education joins students, staff, and employers at Uxbridge College

Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP with staff and students from Uxbridge College

The Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP, has visited aspiring engineers and electronic mechanics on a visit to Uxbridge College - where she explored its outstanding facilities, technologies, and teaching.

The College (which has recently launched its new strategy) is part of Harrow, Richmond, and Uxbridge Colleges (HRUC) London's newest college group, supporting 16,000 learners. HRUC is one of the largest FE colleges in England.

The ministerial visit took place in the lead up to National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), 5-11 February, a celebration that brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP with staff and students from Uxbridge CollegeAmbitious apprentices, T Level students and employers discussed a range of courses, emerging workplace skills and new opportunities. Students spent time showing the Minister the College’s outstanding work in areas such as engineering and formula one car design, 3D workshops, electric vehicles, and wind turbine use. Carl Holmes and apprentices from Martin Baker, who have worked with the College for many years to train their apprentices, also demonstrated their skills in the workshop using tools and machinery to produce mobile phone holders.

The Secretary of State for Education was joined by local MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Steve Tuckwell. Together, they also saw new plans to revitalise Uxbridge College’s teaching and learning spaces, and its Institute of Technology - through a multi-million-pound investment initiative: Project Ambition – which will transform the site.

Dylan McTaggart (Group Principal and Deputy CEO), Gillian Keegan MP, Keith Smith (HRUC CEO), Steve Tuckwell (local MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip)
Dylan McTaggart (Group Principal and Deputy CEO), Gillian Keegan MP (Secretary of State for Education), Keith Smith (HRUC CEO), Steve Tuckwell (local MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip).

Keith Smith, HRUC CEO, said, "The Secretary of State for Education saw first-hand some of the fantastic facilities, outstanding opportunities, and extraordinary students we have here at Uxbridge College and across the HRUC group. We are pleased to work in tandem with government and our partners to ensure we continue to build on the work of our colleges and their vital contribution to London’s prosperity and prospects.”

Dylan McTaggart, Group Principal and Deputy CEO, said, “I am delighted that the Secretary of State took the opportunity to meet our staff, who are working tirelessly to create an environment where all our students feel happy, supported, and inspired. We have a shared recognition of the important role colleges like ours play in driving the skills system to meet the current and future needs of learners and employers.”

Further information:

Uxbridge College is home to the West London Institute of Technology (WLIOT). The College partners with a range of employers both locally and nationally to offer a curriculum to students that brings education and business closer together, encourages collaboration between the colleges and business, and delivers world class technical education.

Published 5 February 2024.

Former College Group Principal and CEO, Dr. Darrell DeSouza, Awarded OBE in
New Year’s Honours List

Dr Darrell DeSouza at Desk

The exceptional contributions of Dr. Darrell DeSouza, the former Principal of Uxbridge College, and (HCUC, now) Harrow, Richmond, and Uxbridge Colleges, have been officially recognised in the prestigious New Year's Honours List, confirmed today. Dr. DeSouza has been conferred with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by His Majesty King Charles III for his outstanding achievements and dedicated service in the field of education.

Dr. DeSouza, who retired in November 2022 after an illustrious 20-year career at Uxbridge College and HCUC, has played a pivotal role in shaping the educational landscape. His journey began in August 2019 when he assumed the position of Principal at Uxbridge College and CEO for the HCUC College group, having previously served as Vice Principal - Curriculum and Standards since August 2007.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. DeSouza grew up and received his education at St. Clement Danes grammar school in West London. He earned a BSc Hons from Kings College - Chelsea, London, and later completed a PhD in Applied Genetics at Birmingham University. His commitment to education led him to obtain a PGCE from Garnett College, Roehampton University, and he amassed considerable experience in the Further Education (FE) sector as a science lecturer, curriculum and support service manager, and senior manager.

Under Dr. DeSouza's leadership, Uxbridge College achieved an impressive 'Outstanding' rating during the 2008 Ofsted Inspection. His dedication to maintaining high standards extended beyond the College, as he chaired the Association of London (AOC) Quality Forum until July 2019. Through this role and previous engagements in other London forums, Dr. DeSouza actively contributed to and led various FE projects and initiatives in the capital.

A key aspect of Dr. DeSouza's legacy is his emphasis on driving high performance.

HRUC CEO Keith Smith said. “The OBE awarded to Darrell is a testament to his significant impact on education and the positive influence he has had on countless students and colleagues throughout his distinguished career. I am delighted that his legacy at this College, and achievements across the sector have been acknowledged in this way.”

On hearing the exciting news, Darrell said “I am humbled and extremely grateful to those who thought sufficiently highly of me to submit this nomination. I would like to thank all the students, staff, and Governors that I have worked with over the years and in particular, those at Uxbridge College and Harrow College where we enjoyed much success.  It is as much their award as mine.”

Published 30 December 2023.