Everything in the garden’s lovely for Kirklees College.
Representatives of local businesses and Kirklees Council joined college staff to celebrate progress on the college’s new process manufacturing centre by touring the new facility and opening a “partnership garden” at the site at Turnbridge.
The multi-million centre aims to tackle a looming skills shortage by providing the region’s chemical, pharmaceutical and food manufacturing sectors with the next generation of skilled workers to replace a generally ageing workforce.
The garden represents the partnership forged by the college, the council, process manufacturing businesses and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to bring the purpose-built training centre to life.
To mark the occasion, trees were planted by some of those involved, including Maariyah Rawat, Kirklees Apprenticeship Hub Apprentice of the Year 2016 with employer Ian Nunn from chemical company Syngenta.
The project was awarded £3.1m capital funding from the LEP – with contributions from local businesses in terms of plant, equipment, resources and advice bringing the total value to £5m.
Work on site got under way in July last year. The cente is set to take its first trainees in August,
In addition to the new facilities, Kirklees College has been chosen by the National Skill Academy for Food and Drink as approved provider of the Food and Drink Engineering Maintenance “Trailblazer” Apprenticeship – one of the first of the new employer-led training programmes under reforms announced by government.
The apprenticeship will combine training at the college’s engineering centre and the new process manufacturing centre. It has been designed in conjunction with employers including Nestle, Princes Foods and Haribo.
College principal Peter McCann said: “This event is a chance to celebrate our progress to date with some of the many supporters the project has attracted.
“With funding from the Leeds City Region LEP’s Growth Deal we have worked with the help of our industry specialist partners and Kirklees Council to bring this purpose built facility to life.
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“We are looking forward to opening our doors to trainees and apprentices from August and we’re excited by the opportunities that this specialist facility and the network of partners the project has established can explore in the future.”
Roger Marsh, who chairs the LEP, said manufacturing was vital to the Leeds City Region’s economy.
He said: “That is why we are delighted to support the Kirklees College process manufacturing centre alongside those local businesses that see the importance of this development to ensure we create opportunities for young people to learn new skills and forge a career on the latest industry equipment.