About Us

Our History

Our story in education and skills began almost 200 years ago.

We can trace our history back to the very start of Sunday school education and the foundation of St. John’s Sunday School in Manchester in 1827.

We’ve been progressive thinkers and innovators in education ever since and, by 1921, Byron Street was one of the first day continuation schools in England, taking up residency in the old school premises at St. John’s Parish.

By the 1950s, we were pioneering the way in technical education, with hundreds of young civil servants and post offices workers attending St John’s, and Openshaw Technical College opening its doors for the first time.

To meet the ever-changing needs of the education community, Openshaw and St. John’s merged to form The Central College Manchester, and later, The Manchester College of Arts (MANCAT). Over in south Manchester, Fielden Park, Arden and Wythenshawe were merging to form City College Manchester.

These two colleges merged in 2008, to form The Manchester College, and we’ve continued to expand our offering and invest in our communities, opening new campuses and Centres of Excellence, to become one of the largest providers of further education in the UK.

In 2017, we identified a need for an alternative higher education provider to meet the skills and training priorities of Greater Manchester, and launched UCEN Manchester. With a clear focus on equipping students of all ages with the technical and professional higher skills they need for their career, and a more flexible learning offer, this new higher education organisation is the next step in our journey to supporting students across Greater Manchester and beyond.

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