The College was founded in 1899 as an art school and was renamed later as the Junior Day Technical School. It was then restructured to include commercial and industrial provision such as plumbing. The College became South East Essex College of Arts and Technology (SEECAT) in 1991.
In 2004, the College relocated to the campus in the centre of Southend. On 1 January 2010, the College formally merged with Basildon and Thurrock College and was renamed South Essex College of Further and Higher Education.
In 2013 The Forum Southend-on-Sea opened which has an area dedicated to South Essex on the third floor. This area accommodates our Higher Education provision.
In 2014 our Thurrock campus relocated to a new building in the centre of Grays.
In 2019 the College opened a new campus in Stephenson Road, Southend, which specialises in engineering and construction.
In February 2019 the College merged with PROCAT, a specialist engineering and construction provider based in Basildon, Canvey Island and Ilford.