History of South Essex College

The College was founded in 1899 as an art school and was renamed later as the Junior Day Technical School. It was then restructured to include commercial and industrial provision such as plumbing. The College became South East Essex College of Arts and Technology (SEECAT) in 1991.

In 2004, the College relocated to the campus in the centre of Southend. On 1 January 2010, the College formally merged with Basildon and Thurrock College and was renamed South Essex College of Further and Higher Education.

In 2013 The Forum Southend-on-Sea opened which has an area dedicated to South Essex on the third floor. This area accommodates our Higher Education provision.

In 2014 our Thurrock campus relocated to a new building in the centre of Grays.

In 2019 the College opened a new campus in Stephenson Road, Southend, which specialises in engineering and construction.

In February 2019 the College merged with PROCAT, a specialist engineering and construction provider based in Basildon, Canvey Island and Ilford.



PROCAT was established in 1969 by a group of local engineering employers who wanted a training facility to provide the first year-off-the-job training for their craft and technician apprentices. The Engineering Industry Training Board (EITB) provided funding to build an engineering training centre and then invited the employers to appoint the Board of Trustees/Directors to run the centre. In total over 150 were set up across England and they were called Group Training Associations or GTAs. Today there are fewer than 40 GTAs of which PROCAT was the second largest.

In 2014 Prospects College of Advanced Technology became the first new college to be incorporated in 22 years.

PROCAT today and for the future

PROCAT no longer exists in its own right but now forms part of the specialist engineering and construction area of the college. This offer has been established  to meet the workforce development needs of businesses which operate in sectors that are critical to the UK economy. This includes advanced apprenticeships to secure a pipeline of new talent, higher and degree apprenticeships to support advanced engineering capability and bespoke training solutions to develop the expertise and skills of the existing workforce. We follow the STEM model, leading the way in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.