The construction of a new facility at Runshaw College’s Euxton Lane campus in Chorley is nearing completion.
The £6.2m Science Engineering Innovation Centre’s (SEIC) external structure has been finalised and the ‘first fix’ of internal works, such as plastering and electrics, is now ongoing.
The state-of-the-art facility, due for handover in March 2016, will host cutting edge laboratories and workshops, accommodating up to 400 new students across a wide range of engineering and science programmes.
Through the delivery of university qualifications and Apprenticeship programmes, Runshaw aims to transform science and engineering skills training locally, in terms of both volume and quality through this new development. Once operational, the SEIC will facilitate and support the College’s aim to revolutionise the employability of students in the region.
Made a reality through £4.3m funding from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the SEIC forms part of the LEP’s ‘Hub and Spoke’ programme, providing educational centres of excellence with new industry-focused facilities.
Runshaw College’s Principal, Simon Partington, recently welcomed representatives from stakeholder organisations for a tour of the site.
Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, Director, Lancashire Skills Hub, said: “The LEP has £30m overall to invest in creating hundreds of extra training and apprenticeship places for local young people across Lancashire.
“The new centre at Runshaw College is only one of a number of new facilities and programmes supported by the LEP's funding that will be opening over the next few months and years, with the aim of ensuring Lancashire’s workforce has the skills employers will need in the future.
“A highly skilled workforce is an essential part of the LEP’s ambitious multi-million pound strategic economic growth programme to grow the local economy significantly and create tens of thousands of new jobs.”
Overall, the LEP aims to create 50,000 jobs, build 40,000 new homes and support the delivery of the infrastructure needed for this ambitious growth. In total, it will boost the local economy by £3bn by 2025.
Principal, Simon Partington, believes the new centre will boost the local economy and transform the employability of those studying science and engineering programmes at Runshaw.
Simon said: “We’re delighted to see such progress on the site and are looking forward to the handover. The Science & Engineering Innovation Centre is vital for our area, as Lancashire has the largest concentration of aerospace production and high technology manufacturing in the UK and these sectors are anticipated to grow over the next few years. Similarly, the need for qualified science professionals is predicted to increase, with demand in particular in pharmacology, physiology, biotechnology, drug metabolism, toxicology and pathology.”
“The SEIC has been designed to support growth in these sectors and to enhance our current partnerships with local businesses. We aim to deliver real business benefits through the provision of innovative education and training programmes, working collaboratively with employers to ensure the creation of a highly skilled workforce for the future.”
The 2150m2 two storey extension to the campus’ existing building will play a key part in the provision of training for the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal. City Deal will see an investment of £434 million to expand transport infrastructure in the area at an unprecedented rate, driving the creation of around 20,000 new jobs and generating the development of more than 17,000 new homes over the next ten years.
The SEIC development has been supported by both Chorley Council and South Ribble Borough Council.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Chorley Council leader, said: “This will be a fantastic facility which will help local people get the skills they need to get better paid jobs in one of Lancashire’s top growth sectors.
“Boosting the local economy is one of our main priorities and one way we can make that happen is to help our residents find work, which is why we work closely with Runshaw College on our apprenticeship programme.”
Councillor Phil Smith, South Ribble Borough Council cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and leisure said: “It is fantastic to see the Science Engineering Innovation Centre near completion.
“The new centre at Runshaw College will provide students with the very best technology and resources to help them in their careers.
“South Ribble Borough Council are extremely proud to have supported this facility and it will prove crucial to the borough, especially with such strong automotive and aerospace roots which will continue to thrive and grow with the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.
“To see students using this excellent, state-of-the-art facility is fantastic and the SEIC will encourage more students to take up these subjects which, in turn, will encourage the growth of these key sectors.
“The skills and trades which will be taught here will help them to become the future of South Ribble and Lancashire.”
Dr Michele Lawty-Jones - Director, Lancashire Skills Hub
Cllr Phil Smith - Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Leisure, South Ribble Borough Council
Cllr Alistair Bradley – Leader, Chorley Council
Claire Foreman - Deputy Principal, Runshaw College
Simon Partington - Principal, Runshaw College
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