Opportunities for young people are top of the agenda in Whitehill & Bordon this week as the town’s brand new Future Skills Centre has been ‘topped out’ with a roof, and final completion of the building is on the horizon.
Marking the topping out of the building, on Tuesday 14 March, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar said: “As the building of this impressive new centre nears completion, we are looking ahead to the technical training opportunities that it will soon offer to young people in Whitehill & Bordon, and beyond. Finishing the roof is just the beginning - courses at the new centre will start in September and are already open to applications.
“This flagship facility will offer young people, employers and the wider community the skills necessary for the jobs that will be created by the regeneration, and improve the area’s economic prosperity. We’re proud to have the scale, capacity, experience and expertise to deliver key infrastructure projects like these, and ultimately to bring new opportunities to the community.”
The Future Skills Centre is located in the former Louisburg Barracks site, north of the new town centre and being brought forward by the Homes and Communities Agency. The centre will deliver a comprehensive range of construction courses, delivered by the County Council’s operating partner, Basingstoke College of Technology.
The College is already recruiting students to start on courses in September, including carpentry, brickwork, plumbing and the built environment, and will include full time and part time study options as well as apprenticeships.
The core curriculum reflects the skills needed in the area, which have been identified by the Construction Industry Training Board, and confirmed by consultation with developers and contractors involved in the regeneration project.
Although the focus will be on training for the construction sector, the centre will be a new local hub for technical training and will host a broad adult and community learning programme for the wider community.
Anthony Bravo, Principal of Basingstoke College of Technology said: “We have already received applications for our courses starting in September, and from our work with local schools and employers we know the Future Skills Centre will be a great success.”
The Home and Communities Agency secured an award of £3.8 million to fund the project, through the Local Growth Fund Grant from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, and then selected the County Council as the best organisation to build the new facility and identify an operator. The County Council also put £250,000 towards the building costs for the new centre.
Geoff French CBE, Chair of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The development of Whitehill & Bordon is gathering pace, and I am delighted to see the Future Skills Centre reaching an inaugural stage. With the significant investment into the Whitehill & Bordon area, it is critical we have a skilled workforce to ensure economic growth for the area. The skills centre will play a vital part in the lives of young people and the wider community to gain technical construction skills to support the new development of the town. We look forward to seeing the centre open to the new students in September.”
The new centre is one part of the master plan to extend and regenerate the town following the departure of the Army training facilities in 2015 and closure of the Bordon Army Garrison - the principal employer in the area. The County Council is actively involved in the provision of the new infrastructure, vital to support the town, including constructing a £20 million relief road that will tie in with the A325 to the north and south of Whitehill & Bordon, and improving school facilities.
Kevin Bourner, General Manager at the Homes and Communities Agency said: “The Future Skills Centre is another great example of collaboration between partners. As well as providing much needed homes for Whitehill & Bordon, it is important that we also strengthen the local community by providing the opportunity for jobs and training.
“The Future Skills Centre will do this by offering valuable training and construction related employment opportunities in the area.”
To find out more about Bordon Future Skills Centre, including what courses will be on offer there in September, visit www.bcot.ac.uk/bordon-fsc/future-skills-centre or follow @BordonFSC on Twitter.