MAJOR plans for a new state-of-the-art engineering centre at Kendal College have been revealed.
The £1.89m two-storey centre is due to open in September and will see engineering learners increase four-fold to more than 230 students.
It will include a science laboratory, a sustainable energy workshop, two engineering workshops, three general classrooms, a materials store and changing facilities.
“We have some world class manufacturers in the area and our new innovative Engineering Centre will specialise in courses to meet industry needs and ensure that students develop the confidence and skills to walk straight into a career in manufacturing,” said principal Graham Wilkinson.
The centre will specialise in the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects including specialist manufacturing, technology and sustainability courses, and the sciences.
Hi-tech engineering equipment installed by global machine tool manufacturer, Haas Automation will give the college a leading edge in attracting local companies, apprentices and students from Cumbria and surrounding areas.
“This is an exciting period of development for Kendal College and an opportune time to be investing in STEM education on the back of the recent Government scheme to boost the numbers of people participating in STEM subjects and careers,” added Mr Wilkinson.
Engineering was re-introduced to the college in 2009 following a 16 year hiatus when a previous management had closed the engineering facility during the economic downturn in the nineties.
Since 2009, the engineering building has been at the rear of the campus with just one open plan teaching space and general classroom.
The investment of £2.3m, including equipment, is being funded 50 per cent by the Skills Funding Agency with the remainder being met by the college.
South Lakes MP Tim Farron said the plans look ‘brilliant’.
“Technician-level programmes and apprenticeships will be offered in applied science, sustainable technology and engineering to degree level,” he said.
“It is a vital part of our campaign to bring well paid jobs and investment to our community.
“It was a real team effort and I want to pay tribute to the college and principal Graham Wilkinson for the fantastic bid they put together.”
A new head of school will be appointed for engineering and will also cover motor vehicle, construction and computing.
Three new full time equivalent posts will also be creates making a team of seven members of staff, which is also likely to double in the next 18 months.