With students across the country going back to school this month, Local Growth Minister, Penny Mordaunt, has announced a new plan. This plan aims to get extra support for 900 young people trying to pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing at a new dedicated campus in the Solent at Daedalus enterprise zone.
On a visit to the college, Mordaunt saw first-hand how more than £9 million of public funding supported the construction of a new state of the art learning campus at Fareham College. Work on the site, which began last year, included the help of engineering apprentices from the college. Enterprise zones across the country are trying to invest in further education to equip young people with the vocational skills they need to compete in the job market.
As the new campus prepares to welcome its first cohort of students, the Centre of Excellence in Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training aims to offer apprenticeship programmes in automotive, manufacturing and engineering; with blue chip companies such as BAE Systems, GE Aviation and Virgin Atlantic. The course curriculum was created in partnership with local industry leaders and aims to give students a choice of careers and a vocational course to suit them. It may also help the wider development of the zone by attracting companies seeking to relocate on site and potentially providing new jobs for students when they graduate.
Local Growth Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “It is essential that we invest in young people now and equip them with the skills that they and British businesses need to thrive. The new college will allow students to pursue their wanted careers and become future business leaders. This specially designed vocational course, created in partnership with the industry and enterprise zone, will support local young people in reaching their potential. Furthermore, compete in a competitive job market, as well as bringing widespread benefits to the local area.”
The news comes as the council approved planning permission for a new Built Environment, Skills and Enterprise Centre College in the Mersey Waters enterprise zone. The £10.5 million project aims to be part funded, with a £2.5 million donation from the government’s Homes and Communities Agency. The college aims to be completed in autumn 2015, when it hopes to welcome circa 4,000 students. The industry is collaborating with the college to ensure courses are aligned to the workforce needs of the Mersey Waters enterprise zone and the surrounding local area; offering courses in the renewable energy, engineering and construction sectors.
Peter Marsh, Deputy Principal of Fareham College said: “Fareham College is committed to supporting young people and adults develop the skills and experience to further their careers. The creation of the new Centre for Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training has offered us the chance to work with employers to design both the curriculum and the facilities that truly meet their needs in the key growth sectors of aeronautical, marine, electronics, composites, automotive and manufacturing engineering.”
There have also been other collaborations between education and the work force. Colleges of further education have joined forces with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce to provide a link between business and academia. The Skills Hub, which has been launched by Lord Heseltine in Birmingham this week, is aiming to give employers a single point of access when searching for courses suitable for their employees. Furthermore, the ‘Bridge to Employment’ is an initiative devised by Johnson & Johnson to provide a supported pathway designed to help close the gap in unemployment for young people. Whilst building partnerships between businesses, schools, colleges, the community and parents.
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