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University centre a step closer

Posted onPosted on 7th Jul
University centre a step closer

West Nottinghamshire College has moved a step closer to realising its ambition of bringing a new, flagship university centre to Mansfield.

It follows the announcement that the college is set to receive £2.6 million from the Government’s multi-million pound Local Growth Fund aimed at revitalising local economies.

The funding will kick-start a project to create a £7.8 million flagship centre on the college’s Derby Road campus to expand its already-successful higher education (HE) provision.

The proposed new Vision University Centre will provide inspirational teaching and learning space over three floors, with its state-of-the-art facilities including a learning resource centre, lecture theatre, seminar room, IT suites, study rooms, classrooms and meeting rooms.

Spread over 3,213 sq. m of floor space, it will accommodate around 600 additional HE students during its first three years including an additional 100 Higher Apprenticeships per year. The centre will also provide a range of Access to Higher Education courses along with higher-level and post-graduate qualifications.

The project will specifically focus on providing the higher-level skills needed to support the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership’s plan for economic growth and job creation.

Vocational subjects taught in the new building will include business and management, sports and leisure, electrical and mechanical engineering, creative and digital media, education and early years, and construction.

The facility – which is subject to planning permission – will be built alongside the college’s existing university centre, which is limited in size and scope and, while providing a base for HE students, does not provide any teaching space.

College chiefs say a larger centre is needed to help more local people and employers gain the higher-level skills they need, while addressing the low rates of young people from the area progressing to university.

Principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka said: “This funding is wonderful news for our local communities and is a measure of the Government’s confidence in the college to deliver on major projects to support skills, jobs and growth.

“The new Vision University Centre will be an inspirational facility for the teaching of the higher-level skills that local people need to compete in an increasingly-competitive jobs market.

“As well as significantly enhancing our degree-level provision, it will boost the number of higher and advanced apprenticeships that we’re able to provide, along with our range of post-graduate qualifications.

“This is about raising people’s aspirations by making higher education more accessible to the local communities of Mansfield and Ashfield, and providing employers with the vocational skills and talent pool to grow their business.

“Employers increasingly need graduate-level skills and the college is ideally-placed to deliver these, right here on people’s doorsteps.”

The college will now continue to put together the remainder of the funding package needed to deliver the project.

The money has been awarded by the Government under the Local Growth Deal following a successful bid by the Local Enterprise Partnership – D2N2 – a group of local authorities and businesses in Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, Derbyshire and Derby working together to drive business growth.

The fund includes a six-year, £60 million investment in new roads, training and housing developments to boost the county’s economy and has also been welcomed by the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Coun Alan Rhodes.

Coun Rhodes, a member of D2N2 board, the Local Enterprise Partnership which shaped the Local Growth Deal bid, said: “This announcement is the culmination of months of hard work lobbying and negotiating to get a fair share of Government funding to support the much needed growth we want to see in our local economy.

“The transport and training projects will bring £60m of new investment to the county, helping to create thousands of new jobs and fresh opportunities. This is very welcome news for hard working families across the county who want to see more investment to open up new opportunities for better paid jobs.”