South Thames College / Flickr (Bisgovuk)


History: There has been an educational establishment at the college's Wandsworth site for more than a century. Started life as Wandsworth Technical Institute in 1895, designed to maximise the potential of those looking for skilled work in carpentry, brickwork, plumbing and hygiene. The college's present buildings on Wandsworth High Street were completed in 1926 and were later awarded a Grade II listing. The new millennium marked the opening of the brand new Tooting High Street Centre, and the opening of the refurbished Roehampton centre. 2009 saw the college merging with the nearby Merton College and the opening of a reveloped site in Wandsworth.

Address: Five sites – at Wandsworth, Merton, Balham, Roehampton and Tooting.

Ambience: A diverse, multicultural learning environment is assured. Students benefit from a support network that includes personal tutoring, and a varied programme of extra-curricular activities and events. Educational and careers advice is also available from an award-winning team of student advisers, on hand to help with everything from fees advice and university applications to preparing for interviews.

Who's the boss? Sue Rimmer is principal, and has worked in the London FE sector for more than 20 years.

Prospectus: 020 8918 7777; build your personal prospectus here.

what you need to know

Easy to get into? Varies by course. Most HE programmes require some kind of Level 3 qualification, and the foundation degree in early years asks for three years relevant work experience.

Foundation Degrees: Early years; IT for E-business; pharmaceutical and chemical sciences.

Vital statistics: It is one of London's 'Big 7' colleges, attracting more than 21,000 students to more than 2,000 further, higher and adult education courses. Specialises in vocational training, and provides opportunities to study recognised courses in a number of subject areas ranging from part time leisure courses through to HE courses run in partnership with Kingston University, London South Bank University and Canterbury Christ Church University. The college has more than 2,000 students in the 16-18 year old age bracket: three times as many as the average sixth-form college.

Added value: A £100m redevelopment of the Wandsworth Campus opened in September 2009 – including a campus-style building around a central courtyard, new health and social care wing, industry standard hair and beauty salons, gym and aerobics area, learning resource centre with internet café, music and television recording studio and a photography studio and darkrooms. A performance theatre for dance and drama opened in 2010. The college is also a major training provider for local businesses, with a dedicated business development unit that delivers practical training solutions tailored to meet the needs of employers. Students also benefit from the college's learning resource centres, which offer IT and library services and childcare provision.

Transport links: All the centres of South Thames College are located in the borough of Wandsworth, the largest of the inner London boroughs. Central London is easily accessible and you can get into the centre in less than half an hour.

Fees: Vary by course. Foundation degrees are £6,000 per year as of 2012. Other courses can be around £2,500.

Bursaries: None offered by the college. Students are advised to contact Student Finance England to discuss funding.

the fun stuff

Nightlife: There are plenty of shopping and entertainment centres in Wandsworth, all within walking distance from the college centres. With central London just a hop on a train away, you'll be seldom bored.

Sporting reputation: There is a gym, apparently of Sport England standard.