New generations of students are set to benefit from the opening of two flagship facilities at Weston College.
A £13 million Health and Active Living Skills Centre, based at the college’s Loxton Campus and will welcome its first students this September – providing learners with knowledge of the healthcare and sport sectors as well as vital industry skills.
The centre will bring together the College’s health and social care, sports therapy and active living courses into one facility, which will benefit students, businesses and the wider community. It features a state-of-the-art training hospital ward, two full size football pitches (3G and grassed), a multi-gym and a sports hall.
The college is also set to play a lead role in tackling the construction skills shortage by opening a multi-million pound training centre. The Weston College Construction Training Centre, completed by Midas Construction, opens in May and aims to offer training in seven key areas of training – plant, health and safety, scaffolding, highway and groundworks, warehousing (e.g. forklift training) and apprenticeships.
The state-of-the-art training centre has been created in response to the growing demand for a trained and skills construction workforce in the region. The industry-specific training it provides has been designed with employers’ needs in mind, and will be available on request, rather than fitting into the traditional academic year.
The Construction Training Centre has been made possible by the College match-funding a successful bid for £3.3m funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “Construction is a key contributor to our region’s growing economy. It’s clear that there are huge opportunities here and we need to continue to provide the right skills to sustain the industry. The West of England Combined Authority has committed to working with colleges, councils and businesses to help the construction industry fill the estimated 82,500 jobs that will be created by 2036. The new Construction Training Centre at Weston College is a great example how we are addressing that challenge. It will help prepare young people, apprentices and higher education students for successful careers in the construction sector.”
Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “We’re really pleased to support the fantastic new Construction Training Centre at Weston College. This will help to equip our current and future construction workforce with the skills they need to drive forward the building of new homes, business premises and infrastructure as our region grows. It will also help them to secure better career prospects and make the most of the opportunities available right here in the West of England.”
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group said: “The Construction Training Centre is a big step into commercial training and starts an exciting chapter for us.
“Over the last ten years, we’ve built strong relationships with employers to develop our apprenticeship provision. But we’ve recognised, more and more, the need to deliver training at the point of need – not only for school leavers during the academic year.
“The Construction Training Centre means employers can come to us at any time for short courses, top-up courses, and to up-skill staff who are taking on new roles.”
For the Health and Active Living Skills Centre, the College match-funded a successful bid for £5.4m funding from the West of England LEP through the Local Growth Fund, administered by WECA.
Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “We’re pleased to support the new Health and Active Living Skills Centre to deliver important investment in skills for health and social care professionals working in our region. It will also give young people the skills they need to progress further in their education and secure better career prospects right here in the West of England.
“We need to train more people for future careers in our hospitals and community services – this will improve the quality of care and improve people’s lives. With more highly qualified professionals, and with people trained in a wider range of disciplines, people will be better cared for.”
Dr Paul Phillips, CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, added: “This outstanding new training centre is the latest step in our drive to provide students with the very best learning facilities and resources. We have worked with key business partners to ensure that the Health and Active Living Centre will tackle the current skills shortage in the sector and address the longer-term issues that affect our health service and the health of the local population.”
James Rimmer, Chief Executive of Weston Area Health Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for partnership working between Weston College and Weston General Hospital. This demonstrates the investment we are both making to support the learning and development of students. We hope it will also help the recruitment and retention of staff as well as supporting the increased demand on healthcare locally.”