Weston College is set to play a lead role in tackling the construction industry skills shortage by opening a state-of-the-art industry focused training centre.
The Weston College Construction Training Centre, based just off Junction 21 of the M5, will open in spring 2019 and represents a £3.8 million investment.
It will offer training in three key construction areas – plant operations, scaffolding, and groundworks.
Courses have been selected and designed with employers’ needs in mind and in response to the growing demand for a trained and skilled construction workforce in the region.
Training will be available as required by employers and individuals, rather than fitting into the traditional academic year.
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group said: “The Construction Training Centre is a natural step into commercial training and starts an exciting chapter for us.
“Over the last ten years, we’ve built strong relationships with employers to develop our apprenticeship provision.
“But we’ve recognised, more and more, the need to deliver training at the point of need – not only for school leavers during the academic year.
“The Construction Training Centre means employers can come to us at any time for short courses, top-up courses, and to up-skill staff who are taking on new roles. We’ll also provide apprenticeships in these new areas to train the next generation of this industry’s workforce.”
The new centre has been designed to equip industry with the workforce it needs now and into the future.
Dr Paul Phillips said: “It’s a direct response to the skills shortage in the three areas.
The ability for the centre to offer plant training for all major site plant will be a significant development for the South West, whether that is with 360 excavators, dumper trucks or telehandlers, the centre will offer easily accessible training, key to meeting industry demand.
The College has commissioned Midas Construction to build the centre.
Dr Paul Phillips said: “We have a long-running relationship with Midas. They understand the College, our priorities and how to provide the learning environment that students need.”
Weston College will team up with national leader for scaffolding, safety experts Simian, to provide outstanding scaffolding training.
This training centre has been made possible through the efforts of Weston College in partnership with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and North Somerset Council.
The financial investment has been provided by the College match-funding a successful bid for funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority.
Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “We’re really pleased to support the fantastic new Construction Training Centre at Weston 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.”
Derek Quinn, Executive Director for Midas Construction, said: “We are delighted to be continuing the strong framework partnership between Weston College and Midas. As a regionally-based business we are active in promoting opportunities for careers within construction and so we are particularly proud to be involved in bringing forward this new facility which will help develop a skilled and highly-trained workforce for the future.”