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Work begins on new training centre

Shrewsbury Colleges Group has broken ground on what is set to become a new centre for the teaching of motor vehicle and engineering courses.

The centre, costing around £500k, will provide new purpose-built facilities to enable future training in the key sectors of automotive engineering and advanced manufacturing engineering.

The college successfully bid for funding for the project from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership Skills Infrastructure Capital Development Fund and was awarded £200k towards the project. The college, along with RMT Garage Equipment Ltd, the building partners, are meeting the remainder of the costs.

Building work on the centre at the college’s London Road campus has begun, with representatives from the College, RMT Garage Equipment, and the LEP present.

Family-run Shropshire-based RMT Garage Equipment won the tender to complete the build and have also sponsored the project by donating some of the automotive industries’ latest equipment for training students, apprentices, and upskilling the regions automotive technicians.

The new bespoke automotive engineering training centre, complete with three classrooms and staff room, should be ready to open in time for the new academic year.

Andy Lee, director of employer engagement and curriculum leader for engineering and motor vehicle, said: “As part of our application for funding this project we had to evidence the development of the new centre and expansion of our current manufacturing engineering workshops was needed to meet the region’s training needs, both now and in the future.

“The project will see more than 700m2 created with the new centre and a further improvement to 400m2 to our existing facilities. Moreover, we have proved this project will enable us to expand and enhance the capacity to deliver accessible and relevant training in the core economic sectors of advanced manufacturing engineering and automotive for the region.

“We will be able to offer more students and businesses the training they need to get ahead in these sectors in emerging areas and technologies, such as electric vehicles, advanced diagnostics, ADAS, master technician, and further develop our MOT and mechanical engineering capacity.”

James Staniforth, principal at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said: “I am delighted the College has been able to secure this funding and develop our facilities and provision in this crucial sector.

"The additional training we can offer through these facilities will further enhance the engineering and automotive facilities we already have, allow local residents to fill high-value job opportunities, support economic growth within the region and, enable those people already employed within them to upskill.

“We are very grateful for the LEP and RMT Garage Equipment in supporting us financially and technically to enable this much-needed expansion and re-development to take place in these areas.”

Co-director of RMT Garage Equipment, Darren Thompstone, said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Shrewsbury Colleges Group and the Marches LEP on delivering this project. It’s very exciting to have been awarded the contract.

"The advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) equipment we will be donating, is the most up-to-date system available, using digital technologies which are fitted to the latest vehicles being sold today.

"The new purpose-built workshops will be fitted out with the latest equipment including 3D wheel alignment, a complete MOT bay, along with lifts for cars and commercials to give the students the chance to train and work on a large range of vehicles," said co-director Nick Thompstone. 

"We are pleased to be able to help with the project, by providing technical support as well as sponsoring the ADAS and diagnostic equipment. This will make it one of the most up-to-date training facilities in the West Midlands and beyond."

Gill Hamer, chief executive of the LEP, said: “This training centre will ensure that students, residents, and employers within the Marches LEP area have the skills required to compete locally, nationally and internationally in this highly competitive and evolving market, where being able to train in cutting edge facilities with the highest of teaching standards will make all the difference.

“The LEP is pleased to be able to provide funding to assist with this project, which will make Shrewsbury Colleges Group a leading hub for automotive training.”

Students can apply now for A levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships starting in September 2020. The full-time 16-19 and higher education prospectuses can be viewed here.


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