Planning permission has been granted for The Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS). Due to open in 2022, it is expected to transform how NHS workforces are trained in the UK, alleviate staffing pressures and result in an improved level of care.

The granting of the planning permission is a major milestone for the new College, which will train a new generation of health and social care professionals. Once open, it will give people a direct route into health and social care employment, and provide unrivalled training opportunities for existing hospital staff to upskill and further their careers.

BCMS is understood to be the first of its kind in the UK, due to its new model of partnership, a unique teaching and learning environment, and combination of training provision across disciplines, professions and agencies. It is expected BCMS will become a blueprint for other NHS foundation trusts.

The new state-of-the-art vocational and professional skills and training facility in Bolton is a joint venture between the University of Bolton, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton Council, and Bolton College. It will focus on learning within a healthcare culture, with practical training within simulated hospital environments. It will be able to teach 3,000 students a year, with around 1,000 apprentices in a range of health and social care roles.

At Thursday’s planning committee in Bolton, Councillors gave the go-ahead for the designs, which include a teaching and learning space, café, an associated staff and service space, and a dedicated multi-story car park. The new facilities will utilise the latest medical technology, with simulation suites and surgical and acute care environments. The 7,600sqm site is located at the Bolton NHS Trust hospital site in Farnworth.

The development will incorporate two separate buildings: a part four/part five-storey education building for the College, and a three/four-storey car park to serve the BCMS learners, teaching and support staff, and any visitors to the facility. The plans also detail an attractive outdoor recreational space with planting, benches and cycle parking.

The overall project cost is £30m. When open, the facility is expected to bring £150m to the local economy. Greater Manchester Combined Authority has granted £10m through its Skills Capital Fund, supported by the University of Bolton Group, in partnership with Bolton Council and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

A tendering process will now begin for contractors and construction partners on the development. The construction phase of the site is expected to create 150 full-time equivalent jobs. Once open, it is expected to create an additional 25,000 jobs, including apprenticeships, in its first 20 years.

Bill Webster, Principal of Bolton College, said:

“This is an incredibly important milestone for Bolton College of Medical Science, allowing us to move forward with this innovative project. Our health and social care courses are the largest fastest growing part of our curriculum and this marks a new era of healthcare skills and training. BCMS will benefit people locally and beyond, through improving healthcare provision and helping to combat pressures on the NHS workforce. We would like to thank everyone that has supported us in reaching this point, and we look forward to working closely with our partners again as we now focus our efforts towards construction work starting on site.”

Trish Armstrong-Child, Director of Nursing & Deputy Chief Executive, at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said,

“We’re absolutely delighted that Bolton College of Medical Sciences will go ahead, and we are looking forward to working with our partners to bringing this fantastic facility to Bolton.

“Being able to train the future workforce right here on the site of the Royal Bolton Hospital is such a positive move for this area. We’re excited to see the plans become a reality.”

Kondal Reddy Kandadi, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said, “We are grateful to Bolton Council for supporting and approving this strategically important planning application for building the Bolton College of Medical Sciences.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Farnworth, Bolton and the whole of Greater Manchester. This will truly transform Health Education in the region by integrating Further and Higher Education and providing holistic progression routes for students. 

“This collaboration between the university, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council will provide a state of the art infrastructure and learning experience for students in pre-degree and degree programmes in Health.

“There is an urgent skills gap nationally in Health disciplines and this project will dramatically increase capacity and capability in that area, which is absolutely crucial for developing a sustainable workforce.”

Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Martyn Cox, said: “This unique centre will deliver a huge boost to the borough, creating local jobs and providing vocational and technical training at all levels.

“It will help us to grow a highly skilled work force, enabling our residents to work their way up through the healthcare, medical and clinical professions.”

Councillor Sean Fielding, GMCA lead for employment, skills and apprenticeships commented,

“We are delighted to hear the fantastic news that the Bolton College of Medical Sciences has been granted planning permission. The GMCA committed £10million from the Local Growth Fund to the project as it will bring skills, employment and improvement to care provision in Greater Manchester. We now look forward to seeing this state-of-the art facility take shape.”

BCMS will sit along Bolton Council’s new masterplan for Farnworth town centre, set to launch this summer. It will also form a key part of the council’s ambitious “Bolton 2030” vision, which has a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of local residents, and economic prosperity.

The strategic brief was developed by Just Ask Scarlett, design plans were by Associated Architects, Avison Young acted as planning consultant with Box Clever Consulting as project manager.

BCMS is expected to welcome its first intake of learners in 2022.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 hours 28 minutes ago

Latest #FENews updates for today 10/20/2020 -
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page