New £5m Northampton College facility will be home to the next generation of construction staff
A new state-of-the-art learning facility has opened to tackle a severe skills shortage and build a better future for the construction industry in Northamptonshire.
Northampton College's £4.75 million Advanced Construction Engineering (ACE) Centre, built at Booth Lane campus, was unveiled today (Friday) at an official opening.
It will help to train the next generation of construction professionals including builders, plumbers, carpenters and decorators and teach new techniques aimed at equipping the workforce of the future with the very latest skills.
Before today, the college was teaching construction in temporary workshops but the ACE Centre has made space for future tradespeople to now learn other trades including bricklaying and plastering, too.
Alongside courses, which focus on craft skills there will also be courses at Level 3 for those looking for supervisory, technician or management careers, such as civil engineering or project management.
The centre features a 'digital lab' with a Virtual Reality classroom, 3D printing facilities and industry-standard workshop equipment - which aims to provide a pipeline of 'work-ready' staff for local employers.
Principal Pat Brennan-Barrett said: "The ACE Centre is a commitment to providing the very best educational facilities for our young people, an investment in the next generation of workers and the business leaders of tomorrow.
"It is the perfect place to ensure a pipeline of highly-skilled, high-quality students, with the technical abilities required to fill the skills gap that currently exists; providing a sustainable, long-term and modern workforce to the construction industry and related services."
The building, which took 17,200 bricks to build over 194 days, was part-funded through external funding from South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership's Skill's capital fund.
Andrea Leadsom, Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, said: "The new ACE Centre with its state-of-the-art new facilities is sure to have a lasting impact on the construction and engineering sectors of Northampton and beyond."
Prospective students can apply online now for courses at the ACE Centre, including plumbing and heating, painting, decorating and interior design, carpentry, joinery/film set production.