WEST THAMES COLLEGE BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES
West Thames College (initially known as Hounslow Borough College) came into existence in 1976 following the merger of Isleworth Polytechnic with part of Chiswick Polytechnic. Both parent colleges,
in various guises, enjoyed a long tradition of service to the community dating back to the 1890s.
The college is located at London Road, Isleworth, on a site occupied by the Victorian house of the Pears family, Spring Grove House. An earlier house of the same name on this site had been the home of Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who named Botany Bay with Captain Cook in 1770. Later he founded Kew Gardens.
Situated at the heart of West London, West Thames College is ideally placed to serve the training and education needs of local industry and local people. But its influence reaches much further than the immediate locality.
Under its former name, Hounslow Borough College, it had already established a regional, national and international reputation for excellence. In fact, about eight per cent of its students come from continental Europe and further afield, whilst a further 52 per cent are from outside the immediate area. Since 1 April 1993, when it became independent of the local authority and adopted its new title, West Thames College has continued to build on that first class reputation.
These days there is no such thing as a typical student. More than half of West Thames college’s 6000 students are over 19 years old. Some of these will be attending college part-time under their employers’ training schemes. Others will want to learn new skills purely out of interest, or out of a desire to improve their promotion chances, or they may want a change in career.
The college is also very popular with 16-18 year olds, who see it as a practical alternative to a further two years at school. They want to study in the more adult atmosphere the college provides. They can choose from a far wider range of subjects than it would be practical for a sixth form to offer. If they want to go straight into employment they can still study at college to gain qualifications relevant to the job, either on a day-release basis or through Network or the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.