MP and Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell opened Cornwall College’s Skills Centre on 7 November.
The purpose-built facility in St Austell offers training in subjects ranging from construction and engineering to automotive technology, and includes features such as specialist welding booths and a large workshop for students studying building trades. The building has been part funded by the Learning and Skills Council and the Objective One Partnership.
It is the last of the three specialist centres planned for Cornwall; the first was opened at the Camborne campus in April 2004, and the second at the Saltash campus in September this year.
Mr Rammell said: “I am genuinely delighted to open this superb facility. The governments overriding need is to keep this country productive and competitive. By investing in estates and providing a better environment you get better outcomes, it’s not rocket science.
“Our priority in funding learning is to close the nations skills gaps and give people the foundation and technical skills they need for their jobs; centres like this are vital.”
John Latham, principal of Cornwall College, said: “The Skills Centre is just part of a £25 million investment and the College’s long term strategy to invest in high quality facilities for skills training in response to local industry needs.
“We are working closely with employers, and this new Skills Centre will enable access to more high quality vocational and work-based learning that will open doors to real career opportunities for its students.”The new facilities will also benefit the Construction Young Apprenticeship scheme run by the college. The course provides local school children, interested in careers in the construction industry, with a route into the sector and has seen 36 new apprentices start in September.
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership said; “The new building is the next phase of a significant investment programme in the development of Cornwall College and its contribution to the growth of businesses in Cornwall. Skilled, creative, productive people are the essential building blocks of a successful economy.”
Mr Latham welcomed the MP’s visit and said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to the College and our students were given the opportunity to take part in the debate around higher education and finance. It was also a valuable opportunity for the Minister to hear first hand from students about the contribution the whole College makes to the young people, adults and employers in Cornwall and to see our fantastic new Skills Centre.”
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