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The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester officially open state-of-the-art technical education facilities in East Manchester

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New facilities for construction, health and social care, childhood studies and sport at The Manchester College opened by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham

The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester have officially opened their new, state-of-the-art £25m facilities for construction and engineering, health and social care, childhood studies and sport at Openshaw Campus in East Manchester.

To mark the opening Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham unveiled an inspirational new nine metre high mural that recognises the resilience shown by young people across the region through the pandemic and inspires hope for an aspirational post-pandemic future as the city region embarks on its post-pandemic recovery.

The mural, created by artist Zoe Power and produced by Alex Zawadski of Uncultured Creatives, has been shaped by students in the College’s Centre of Excellence for Visual Arts who were involved in creating the design brief for the mural and supported the artist selection panel in their important decision. 

The new industry-standard facilities, which are now being used by students for the first time include:

  • a six-court multi-discipline sports hall with viewing gallery together with a media suite with match analysis capability for the College’s Centre of Excellence for Sport. A new 3G outdoor pitch with spectator area will open in 2022
  • a state-of-the-art hospital suite including a mock hospital ward with infectious disease area for students in the College’s Industry Excellence Academy for Health and Social Care
  • specialist facilities for carpentry, joinery, brickwork and plastering for students in the Industry Excellence Academy for Construction and Engineering
  • a mock nursery setting for students studying in the Industry Excellence Academy for Childhood Studies.  

The new Openshaw Campus facilities are a key part of The Manchester College’s estate’s transformation project, where the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) contributed a £25m grant towards £139m total project costs. Local Growth Fund (LGF) is granted to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS) by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and LEPs play a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country. The Greater Manchester LEP administers LGF in conjunction with the GMCA*.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, commented: “Young people have suffered a great deal in the pandemic. However as we come out of the pandemic, we can rebuild Greater Manchester and there are many opportunities out there for young people that we want to help them take advantage of. And I want to send a clear message to young people that we believe you and are backing you to succeed.

“We are a young city region and we have big ambitions in the digital and the green economy. To achieve these ambitions, it is essential that we invest in young people and they need to be our priority for investment. This means giving people access to technical qualifications to learn skills that will make them highly employable in the Manchester economy.

“This also means connecting young people with businesses. We want young people to have skills that are relevant in the real world so the closer colleges get to businesses the better. This is all about bringing young people through who are ready to work and know what to expect in the workplace and I think the College is an exemplar for doing this with businesses.”

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The Mayor was joined at the opening by Olympian and Chair of Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force Diane Modahl (MBE) who toured the new sport facilities.

The opening event, which was attended by local councillors and MPs, featured an exhibition match between College students and members of the Manchester Magic basketball team in the new sports hall.

Lisa O’Loughlin, Principal of The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester, commented: “We are delighted to have reached the first milestone in our estates transformation project with the completion of these amazing facilities in East Manchester.

“The new facilities closely mirror those that you would expect to find in the world of work and will provide the perfect learning environment for young people to acquire all the skills they require to become the next generation of industry excellence. 

“The investment in these facilities is strategically aligned with the needs of Greater Manchester in terms of skills and economic growth, giving students the best possible opportunity to receive a high-quality technical education that will lead into an aspirational and rewarding career that will ultimately enable them to achieve their full potential.

“Over the past few weeks, it has been fantastic to see students’ excitement as they have started their educational journey in these facilities and it has been amazing to see them proudly showing off both the new facilities and their skills to the Mayor this evening.”

The opening of the new facilities at Openshaw comes less than 12 months before The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester will open their brand new £95m four-story campus right in the heart of Manchester next door to the AO Arena.

City Campus Manchester will be home to the College’s Industry Excellence Academies for Computing & Digital and Creative and Digital Media, while also providing new facilities for the Industry Excellence Academy for Hospitality & Catering and its Centre of Excellence for Performing Arts. In addition, the campus will also be home to UCEN Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre and Manchester Film School as well as the higher education providers Creative and Digital provision.

City Campus Manchester will benefit one million Mancunians over the buildings’ lifetime, providing students of all ages with state-of-the-art, industry standard facilities from which a high-quality technical education can be delivered.

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