Construction opportunities in the West of England

West of England Metro mayor - Tim Bowles

West of England Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles

The West of England Combined Authority will work with colleges, councils and businesses to help the construction industry fill the estimated 82,500 jobs that will be created by 2036.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, will launch a new report into the construction sector following yesterday’s visit to Bath College’s new Somer Construction Centre in Radstock.

He said: “We were the first region to commission an in-depth look at skills needs of this sector and it shows that construction is a vital contributor to our economy. With 668 projects in the pipeline, valued in excess of £12.6bn, it’s clear that there are huge opportunities here.

“We will use the evidence this new report gives us to inform joint working with local colleges, councils and businesses to ensure that as a region we continue to provide the right skills to sustain the industry.

“This new Somer Construction Centre, funded through the West of England Joint Committee, is a great example how we are addressing the challenge. It will focus on full time courses and prepare young people, apprentices and higher education students for the construction sector from traditional trades to building services and electrical engineering.”

The purpose-built facility at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus, Westfield, was built with £2.73 million funding from the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership and opened in September.

New workshops are being used by 500 students and apprentices studying bricklaying, construction, carpentry and stonemasonry, as well as plumbing, electrical installation and refrigeration.

Bath College Principal, Laurel Penrose, said: “We’re proud of this new building, which is a fantastic facility and will allow students to get the very best out of their time studying with us.

“Students with construction skills are in high demand, and we work closely with local employers to help them find their future workforce.

“We offer expert training for many of the key trades mentioned in this report, as well as specialist trades like stonemasonry and refrigeration and air conditioning, courses which are unique to Bath College in this region.

“I’m pleased to see this new report recognising the valuable contribution further education colleges make to economic development and employment.”

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