College gets green light on £20m plans
A Teesside college was today given the green light to plough ahead with its plans to create a £20m Centre of Engineering Excellence.
Staff at Middlesbrough College celebrated after hearing the Skills Funding Agency had approved their application for a £6.5m grant towards the cost of the £20m STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Centre.
The centre will meet the needs of employers across a wide range of sectors and produce a highly-skilled workforce for the future.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “I’m delighted to announce £6.5m in Government funding for Middlesbrough College to help transform their campus and improve teaching and learning locally.
“The Government is helping to create specialist facilities that will ensure thousands of students get the best possible learning experience and inspire them to reach their potential, while addressing local skills shortages.
“We are making the skills system more rigorous and responsive to the needs of employers, and this funding will help do that.”
Mike Hopkins, Middlesbrough College principal and chief executive, said: “This is fantastic news for Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley.
“The college is determined to do everything in its power to play a key role in generating jobs, opportunities and prosperity across Teesside.
“The college is ambitious for its employers, students, communities and its staff and we will do everything possible to make a positive difference.”
Dr Stan Higgins, Chief Executive Officer at NEPIC - North East of England Process Industries Cluster – welcomed the announcement, saying it was “great news”.
He added: “The STEM Centre of Excellence will address a huge skills gap in both scientific and engineering personnel – a gap that’s developed due to a lack of investment in technical skills over the last 20 years in the UK.
“The £3bn of investments in our sector since 2005, and the £5bn of potential investments in the next five to ten years, will require about 8,000 new technical staff, so the College’s major investment in STEM industries will play a key role in delivering that workforce.”
The grant approval follows the announcement on Monday that the college will deliver the “Pre-Apprenticeship” element of the Sembcorp Skills Development Programme (SSDP), launched by UK Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable in May.
The £20m STEM Centre will further strengthen the College’s delivery of high-quality training, giving apprentices a head start in the jobs race and helping to meet the needs of employers across the country.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Martin Walker .