The completion of a new, innovative green skills centre – one of several schemes to have benefitted from funding secured by OxLEP – has been announced, with its first intake of students already benefiting from the facility.
Abingdon and Witney College’s Green Construction Skills Centre – a new facility set to address a shortage of skills in Oxfordshire, as well as supporting a greener and cleaner future – is one of a number of projects in the county supported by the Government’s Getting Building Fund, set-up in 2020 to help kick-start the UK economy following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new centre – situated at the college’s Abingdon campus – is set to offer a variety of training programmes for young people in the county, including school engagement activities, full-time courses for 16-to-18 year olds (including T Levels), higher-level programmes and apprenticeships.
The new facility will also benefit workers already operating in the construction sector as well as those looking to enter it, with the college set to create a number of green-focused adult training programmes and a variety of short-term upskilling courses.
Courses have been designed with input from key employers and sector bodies – such as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) – as well as those with specialisms and an interest in green issues, with training focused on areas such as low or zero carbon technologies for both new build and retrofit construction projects.
OxLEP secured £2.68million of funding for the Green Construction Skills Centre via the Getting Building Fund, with the overall cost of the project totalling £3.85million.
The centre is set to celebrate its official opening later on this year.
Working alongside private and public sector partners from across the county – in the summer of 2020 – OxLEP secured a total of £8.4million-worth of investment for Oxfordshire, giving businesses and communities an all-important boost following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since its launch in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured around £1bn-worth of central government and European funds for Oxfordshire. In total – OxLEP oversees a £3.3bn growth programme for Oxfordshire.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “The completion of this new facility, set to make a significant impact on supporting a drive towards a zero carbon future, is excellent news.
“The provision set out by Abingdon and Witney College will also mean our construction workforce will be in a superior position to meet the demands of a greener future and even support the county to capitalise on the opportunities the green economy will present.
“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 will benefit the county for many years to come.”
Oxfordshire’s Getting Building Fund investment is set to support a number of clean energy projects in the county, creating hundreds of new jobs in the process.
Collectively, Oxfordshire-focused schemes supported by the Getting Building Fund are set to lead to the creation of 472 new jobs – as well as an additional 43 construction-focused roles – with the fund also ready to safeguard a further 324 jobs.