A £9m training centre for the construction industry has begun to take shape, after City of Bristol College broke ground on the new development on Friday.
The Advanced Construction Skills Centre will become part of the college’s South Bristol Skills Academy, and is expected to be up and running by September 2021.
Midas Construction began work on the project this week, following a turf-cutting ceremony attended by college leaders and major South West figures from industry and politics.
The state-of-the-art centre is designed to meet the needs of the construction sector by delivering apprenticeships and training courses in trades like wood, brick and plaster.
The aim is not only to help produce a pipeline of young talent for the sector, but also help upskill professionals already working in the field.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles believes the centre will fill a vital need for the industry.
He said: “Construction is one of our region’s anchor sectors and we need to provide the new skills to help the industry grow in the future.
“We also need to make sure that growth is inclusive and that everyone in our community can access those opportunities. That’s why I have 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.
“City of Bristol College’s new Advanced Construction Skills Centre is a great example of how we are addressing that challenge. It will help prepare young people, apprentices and higher education students from the West of England and beyond for successful careers in the construction sector.”
The scheme includes a new 2,800sqm construction centre, alongside the 750sqm refurbishment of an existing building and a construction yard, plus parking and cycle spaces.
Andy Forbes, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Bristol College, said: “The development of our new Advanced Construction Skills Centre is a start of a new exciting phase for our construction curriculum.
“These state-of-the-art facilities will provide an industry-standard training environment to students and apprentices of all ages, supporting the anticipated growth in the construction sector employment opportunities.
“The new centre will support us in making our students even more job-ready and ambitious in their career-related goals.”
The development is due to introduce 180 new apprenticeships at Level 3 and above in the first year and provide a sustainable pipeline for higher apprenticeships for the future to create additional training opportunities for local communities, supporting their wellbeing and the growth of the local economy.
The total cost of the project is £9m, with £6m coming from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
Chair of the West of England LEP, Professor Steve West, said: “We’re really pleased to support the fantastic new Advanced Construction Skills Centre at City of Bristol 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.”
Midas – one of the UK’s largest independent construction and property service providers – secured the work through the South West Construction Framework (SCF), a £5.25bn framework delivering public sector projects over the next four years.
Since being appointed to SCF in 2015, Midas has won 30 projects with a total value of more than £151m.
Steve Hindley, Chairman at Midas Group, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside City of Bristol College on this prestigious project.
“Supporting emerging talent to build on their knowledge and expertise will have a longstanding impact for the future of our industry and we are pleased to be a part of that.”