The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has announced a new Government-funded project to create a teaching and training centre for the construction sector.
Abingdon and Witney College’s Oxfordshire Construction Skills Academy will give young people and adults opportunities to develop the skills needed to secure employment in the county.
Oxfordshire’s innovation in low-carbon technologies is world-leading and Abingdon and Witney College’s curriculum will reflect this: including plumbing for renewable technology in addition to the most in-demand construction skills such as; electrical installation as well as carpentry and joinery.
It’s hoped that this shift in curriculum will also reflect Oxfordshire’s focus on capturing economic growth opportunities that emerge from the UK’s ambition to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The practical teaching spaces will include specialist technologies to ensure that the students are receiving the relevant skills. Within the first five years of operation, the Oxfordshire Construction Skills Academy will deliver 400 apprenticeships and serve 240 full-time students and 300 part-time students.
Abingdon and Witney College’s Oxfordshire Construction Skills Academy will comprise three sites. This project will focus on its new Bicester site, with more development to come on their Abingdon campus in due course; the Witney campus already exists.
This means that communities, employers and the Oxfordshire economy benefit from the project.
Video courtesy of Abingdon and Witney College
OxLEP is one of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England playing a key role in driving forward economic growth and – by 2021 – it’s expected that central Government will have invested over £12bn into the UK economy via the Local Growth Fund.
The Local Growth Fund investment aims to allow LEPs to use their local knowledge to promote growth in their individual regions. Analysis has shown that for every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested, £4.81 in benefits could be generated.
OxLEP secured £534,6110 of funding for the project via the government’s Local Growth Fund – the overall cost of the project is £1.1m.
Since its inception in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured over £650m-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen more than 50,000 new jobs created in the county to-date.
In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.
Nigel Tipple – OxLEP Chief Executive – said: “The confirmation of such a significant project – that will have a positive impact on skills development in Oxfordshire – is excellent news. As the local enterprise partnership for the county, we want to ensure Oxfordshire benefits from a landscape that is fit-for-purpose, supporting dynamic economic growth. We were delighted to have secured such a major Local Growth Fund allocation for this project and we are sure it can be real asset to Oxfordshire, as we continue to support our economy – something which is vital as we begin the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Jacqui Canton – Deputy Principal at Abingdon and Witney College – added: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to confirm that we have now started work on the Construction Skills Academy in Bicester. We know that our long track record of delivering Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ apprenticeship provision, while working closely in partnership with employers to develop the skills that their businesses need, will ensure that this centre quickly becomes an invaluable resource for the Oxfordshire construction sector. We can’t wait to open our doors to the first apprentices in February 2021.”