Opening event as first students start courses at Nelson College Allen on former uni campus in Broadstairs

Principal Professor Geoffrey Alderman declaring Nelson College Allen open Photo Matt McArdle

Fifty students are now taking HND Business courses at the Nelson College Allen campus – formerly belonging to Canterbury Christ Church University – with 50 Hospitality Management students due to join in January.

The Christ Church Broadstairs campus was created in 2000 to provide access to higher education for local people.

It had over 800 students from the area studying there at the start of 2018 but was  closed to students from September that year as the university gradually relocated courses to Canterbury as part of its 10 to 15-year Estate Master Plan and £150million investment in new buildings and facilities in the city.

In September 2021 Nelson College London made an offer for the Allen & Carey Buildings and Northwood Court student accommodation.

The site is now open Photo Matt McArdle

The purchase was completed in May 2022 and NCL has spent the intervening months completely refurbishing the Allen site and carrying out other works.

In May this year Ramsgate bakers Roostys, run by Andy and Hanna Roost, moved on to the site to open their second venue. This has a function room, parking and a bar as well as café and kitchens.

Now the education purpose of the buildings has been resumed with 14 staff and the first cohort of students.

Recruitment officer John Karicka is a former student and also a Margate resident. He suggested taking on the former Christ Church site to bring NCL courses to Thanet.

John, who has lived in Margate since he was eight years old, says the plan is to expand by using the opposite Carey building. The Northwood Court site will also be offered to NCL students.

Recruitment officer John Karicka, director Nazim Uddin and recruitment manager Shamshar Rahman

John said: “We have managed to completely refurbish the (Allen) building and have recruited 50 HND business students starting now with 50 hospitality management students to start in January.

“It has taken about 18 months to get everything in order with painting, carpeting, air conditioning etc so the Allen building is ready and we will expand to the Carey building.

“This was my project three years ago to start a small office and from that it has advanced.

“It is such a privilege to gain that experience to help set up a campus and I think it is something that will be with me all my life.

“We are very driven and it keeps me motivated as the campus grows and we recruit students. It is such a good feeling to bring this opportunity to Thanet.

Photo Matt McArdle

“Thanet has the highest unemployment percentage in Kent, as soon as someone becomes our student we make sure they are successful. We have lots of programmes to get them into work after studying. We have a welfare officer and staff  for mentoring and guidance.

“We have a welfare room where students can be comfortable and gain confidence and engage.

“We have meditation, massage, games room, we very much prioritise each individual to make sure they are well and successful.”

John says students will also bring money into the Thanet economy.

The aim is to grow the student population, starting by doubling the intake in September 2023/January 2024.

Recruitment manager Shamshar Rahman said the first tranche of recruitment went so well NCL was “overwhelmed with applications.”

He added: “Our first cohort target was 50 students and we had 103 applications. Given the fact that we had only just started creating awareness the number was something we were not expecting.

“We are now doing promotions and people have the opportunity for the upcoming intake in January.

“We will slowly grow numbers as we see demand increase and next year plan to double numbers to 100 students for each course.”

Nelson College team Photo Matt McArdle

NCL marked the start of courses with a grand opening event yesterday (September 19) attended by councillors and representatives from schools and businesses.

Among the guests was Broadstairs & St Peter’s deputy mayor Cllr Mike Garner, who said: “I was especially pleased to be invited along to the opening of the new Broadstairs Campus of Nelson College and, on behalf of the Town Council, to welcome them to Broadstairs & St Peter’s.

“The campus has been empty for a few years since Canterbury Christ Church left and I’m happy it’s going to be used again as a place of learning for students from Thanet and the surrounding area.

“It was good to hear from the college principal, Professor Geoffrey Alderman, and others that they intend to build links with the town and I look forward to working with them as they become part of our expanding community.”

Photo Matt McArdle

Nelson College London was founded in 2009 and began operating in the London Borough of Redbridge.

Currently, the College offers teaching for Pearson Higher National Diplomas in Business and in Hospitality Management, as well as Foundation Degrees, BA (Hons) one-year “Top-Up”, and MA degrees in International Business and Hospitality Management courses validated by London Metropolitan University.

Nelson College London has two other campus locations in Ilford and Gants Hill.

Courses are more flexible to access than many other higher education sites. The HND courses are level 3 but for those who may not have level 2 – or indeed any – qualifications, having two years of work experience instead will help them enrol.

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To find out about the HND courses, or about available space for businesses at the campus, contact John Karicka by emailing [email protected] or call 07960870478.


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