In a major boost for the scheme, the Department for Education awarded £1.4million for the project. This will be added to £900,000 from Cumbria LEP’s Growth Deal fund, and £550,000 of college funds.
The centre, being built on land opposite the college’s main entrance at Lillyhall, Workington, is due to open its doors to the first students next September – the same time the college launches its new T Level courses, which are the equivalent to three A Levels.
College principal Chris Nattress said: “I’m thrilled that we are commencing the construction of our Civil Engineering Training Centre, and have appointed a local contractor in Story Contracting to work with us.
“Once open for training, this Centre will provide a fantastic facility here in West Cumbria to support individuals, communities and employers throughout the region train for skilled employment, apprenticeships and careers in construction and civil engineering.
“We know how important a pipeline of talent is for the civil engineering sector, in support of a multitude of build projects and infrastructure across the North. We can’t wait to get started now and develop a very impressive asset for Cumbria and beyond.”
The facility will form a ‘world-class’, integrated training and skills environment for all aspects of the nuclear and civil engineering supply chain, aligned to skills challenges set out in the LEP Sector Skills plan for Construction.
Mike Smith, MBE, Board Member and Chair of the People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Cumbria LEP is proud to support the investment in a high quality civil construction skills facility at Lakes College. This facility will enhance the skills offer across Cumbria, providing our construction sector with a range of support to build their workforce of the future and develop the talent needed to address the challenges of future.
“Cumbria LEP is committed to supporting our high quality, responsive skills system in meeting the skills needs of our unique economy.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “By supporting the Civil Engineering Training Centre at Lakes College with a £900,000 Local Growth Fund investment, we’re helping the community develop skills for the future.
“The centre will nurture the next generation of engineering talent in the North West, allowing them to move on to well paid, high quality jobs.
“We’re investing in further education across the country so that more young people can benefit from fantastic opportunities like this.”
The centre will have an indoor practical area with teaching spaces and outdoor areas for civils training and for heavy machinery and plant operations. It will provide training for a variety of trades, including scaffolders, steel fixers and plant operatives. Employers and the civil engineering industry has been fully involved in the design and range of training offered from the outset and employers have welcomed the news.
From September 2021, Lakes College will offer T Levels in four areas – digital; construction; education and childcare; and health and science.
T Levels are part of the range of technical education programmes that support growth sector of the economy. The new construction T Levels will be incorporated in the new Civil Engineering Training Centre.