The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has this week announced the completion of a Government-funded building to host a teaching and training centre for the construction sector.
Abingdon and Witney College’s Oxfordshire Construction Skills Academy in Bicester will give young people and adults opportunities to develop the skills needed to secure employment in the county. It will also offer existing professionals working in the sector the opportunity to further develop their skills and renew existing certificates.
The practical teaching spaces include specialist facilities to provide training in plumbing, gas engineering, electrical installation, carpentry and joinery and property maintenance.
The equipment will be fitted in the teaching spaces shortly with doors to the first apprentices set to open imminently.
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 comprises three sites – this project has focused on its new Bicester site.
More development on their Abingdon campus will follow where plans include training facilities targeted specifically at the green construction sector. The Witney campus construction skills centre already exists.
This means that communities, employers and the Oxfordshire economy as a whole will benefit from the project.
Take a look at the development, 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 £934,610 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 around £660m-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen more than 48,000 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 completion 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 Oxfordshire, we will continue to play a vitally important role for the county moving forward, securing investment that enables new opportunities that benefit the county’s businesses – and in this instance, particularly young people – for many years to come.
“We were delighted to have secured such a major Local Growth Fund allocation for this project and we are sure it can be a 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 – Principal at Abingdon and Witney College – said: “We are absolutely delighted to have made such good progress with building the new construction skills centre in Bicester.
“Given the challenges currently facing our economy, we know that people will be looking to retrain and learn new skills that could help them to start new careers in sectors that are still growing, like the construction industry in Oxfordshire.
“This centre is ready to support people in whatever way we can, particularly by working with employers to offer apprenticeships to adults and young people.”