James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, visited the Southend Campus of the University of Essex and has said that he was “incredibly impressed” with what he saw, calling it a “great opportunity” for Southend.

James went along to the campus on Elmer Approach to meet up with teaching and administrative staff and learn about the facilities available to students. As part of his packed agenda, he was shown around the Business Hub, East 15 Acting School and the Dental Skills Lab.

As a graduate of the University of Essex himself – having achieved a BA (Hons) in Government and Politics in the early 1990s – James was especially interested to hear about developments at the University. However, his primary interest lay in the opportunities that the campus is bringing to current students and to the town as a whole.

James said:

“I was incredibly impressed with the Southend campus and was grateful for the opportunity to really get to know the staff and the facilities.

“The University is taking an innovative approach to teaching that will benefit the whole of Southend. For example, the dentistry school will be providing free treatment to local residents.

“The Business Hub is particularly exciting for the community. The ‘incubator units’ are there to help local start-up businesses to get off the ground, and there’s also an ‘i-Lab’ where individuals can go along and use the software to help develop their business skills.

“This is a great opportunity for Southend and will make a huge contribution to the town.”

Christine Bartram, Campus Manager at the University, said:

“Our variety of academic courses, business services and the health centre will not only be of direct benefit to the local community, but by attracting students from across the country and the rest of the world, we will continue to contribute to the ongoing regeneration of the town.”

19 February 2008