They’ll be a place that’ll welcome people in Northampton’s construction, beckoning them to learn more here and there, as work begins on a multi-million training centre to train the city’s next builders, plumbers and decorators.
The new Advanced Construction Engineering (ACE) Centre, costing £4.75m, is now under development at Northampton College’s Booth Lane campus in order to train the next generation of people in the construction industry, from around the city and the region.
The staff will be teaching techniques to the students in order to ensure that the workforce of future generations will be latest skills that the industry would demand.
According to Principal Pat Brennan-Barrett, who first struck earth with a spade in order to officially begin the start of development, the courses the new training centre will provide aims to ensure that the highly skilled, high quality students that seek to learn more here and there, will have the technical skills needed to fill the skill gaps that currently exist in the industry. He says that this will provide a sustainable, long term and, more importantly, updated and modern workforce to the construction industry and its related services.
The centre has, among other facilities, a Digital Lab equipped with a Virtual Reality classroom, 3D printing capabilities, as well as an industry-standard workshop equipment and should be completed by September of 2019, should the schedule hold.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, believes that the centre will likely have a long lasting impact on the construction and engineering sectors in Northampton and across the region.
Fifteen major companies that operate in the region, like Kier, and Bowmer & Kirkland, have already submitted written pledges to the centre’s staff, throwing their support behind the ACE Centre as industry-based partners.
Part of the funding that went into the centre came from SEMLEP’s Skills Capital Fund. SEMLEP Director of Programmes and Governance at SEMLEP, Judith Barker, says that addressing the skills gap and ageing workforce is a top priority for the major construction companies and that it’s reassuring to see local employers in the area throw their support behind the ACE Centre.