Weston College wins £8.7m to build skills and health centres

PUBLISHED: 13:25 29 June 2017

Weston College has been awarded £8.7million for two new developments, including a health and wellbeing centre (top).

Weston College has been awarded £8.7million for two new developments, including a health and wellbeing centre (top).

Archant

Two major new Weston College projects have today (Thursday) been awarded nearly £9million in fresh funding - and could help improve health and skills development across North Somerset and beyond.

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership’s joint committee has confirmed an award of £8.7million towards two massive college developments.

The first will see £3.3million spent to create an infrastructure construction skills centre, which is designed to equip people with the right talents to plug a regional skills gap, and to take advantage of opportunities arising from the Hinkley Point C power station development.

And the second will see £5.4million used to build a health and active skills centre, which has been described as a ‘community-focused’ project with the potential to improve health and wellbeing across Weston-super-Mare and the rest of North Somerset.

These latest ambitions will add to a growing college expansion which is already seeing extensive work taking place to remodel the Winter Gardens as a law and professional services academy.

Dr Paul Phillips, principal and chief executive of the Weston College Group, said: “This announcement confirms our intention to now enhance construction skills, health, wellbeing and fitness across North Somerset.

“Our facilities, including the Winter Gardens and university centre development, will provide state-of-the-art learning and resources across a range of qualification levels and sectors, meaning local people will benefit from unprecedented access to learning opportunities including degrees.

“These new centres will give us the complete resources to meet the growing demand for these skills across the region, particularly in terms of Hinkley Point C.”

The Local Enterprise Partnership’s interim chairman, professor Steve West, says the plans can have a positive impact across a wide area.

He said: “Approval for these projects show that we can work together to make the West an attractive option for business and industry.

“These are important steps in ensuring that we have the right skills in the right sectors coming through for the long term.”

And that view was echoed by West of England Mayor Tim Bowles.

He said: “Through the Local Growth Fund, the joint committee can approve projects that will deliver much-needed infrastructure.

“North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and the wider region will benefit from these projects approved today to improve skills in engineering, construction and health.”

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