A MAJOR new state-of-the-art engineering centre at Kendal College is close to completion.
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 lab-oratory, a sustainable energy workshop, two engineering workshops, three general class-rooms, a materials store and changing facilities.
“We have some world class manufacturers in the area and our new centre will specialise in courses to meet industry needs and ensure that students develop the confidence and skills to walk into a career,” said principal Graham Wilkinson.
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The centre will specialise in the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects including specialist manufacturing, technology and sustainability courses.
Hi-tech equipment installed by global machine tool maker Haas Automation will give the college a leading edge in attracting local companies, apprentices and students from across the region.
“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,” said Mr Wilkinson.
Engineering was re-introduced to the college in 2009 following a 16-year hiatus after the previous engineering facility was closed during the economic downturn of 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 rest being met by the college.
South Lakes MP Tim Farron said the plans looked ‘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 area.
“It was a real team effort and I want to pay tribute to the college 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 created, making a team of seven – which is also likely to double in the next 18 months.