Investing in skills infrastructure to support key business sectors
Friday, January 27th, 2017
Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) are delighted with the progress of new facilities being constructed at Amersham & Wycombe College’s Flackwell Heath campus to expand the colleges construction facilities, following a visit by Andrew M. Smith, Chairman of BTVLEP on 26th January.
Part of BTVLEP’s £2.69m Local Growth Funding being invested in Amersham & Wycombe College is to provide a new technical and construction trades facility at the Flackwell Heath campus to enable the college to develop courses in electrical engineering, carpentry, plumbing and bricklaying. Further funding has already been used to support the development of sporting facilities at the Flackwell Heath site and is also being used to deliver improved classroom and sporting facilities at the college’s Amersham site.
Andrew M. Smith, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The further education sector is vital in delivering the skills needed to keep the economy of Buckinghamshire buoyant. Investment into Amersham & Wycombe College reinforces our Strategic Economic Plan to support and develop key business sectors such as construction and adds a further catalyst for economic development.”
Andrew added: “These new facilities will provide Amersham & Wycombe College’s students with outstanding opportunities to develop their learning experience whilst delivering our skills objectives.”
The Construction Industry is a key sector of the UK economy and has been hit hard by the recession of 2009 to 2013. As the sector has started to grow again, key skills shortages have emerged and hard-to-recruit trades have become potential obstacles to growth in the sector. Of the top ten occupations where recruitment difficulties have been experienced the college has existing provision for training in four trades: carpentry, bricklaying, plastering and plumbing. In addition, the college will be offering courses in electronic engineering from September 2017, which is another key growth business sector for the county.
The much needed expansion of the Flackwell Heath campus will meet both demand from learners and assist in meeting the skills shortages that the sector is reporting.
The college campus based in Flackwell Heath is subject to ongoing investment. The campus underwent redevelopment and opened with a new construction skills centre, remodelled classrooms and reception in 2013, while more recent developments include The Future Life Centre, giving young people with learning and support needs a chance to learn life and work skills. Opening in 2016 with Football Association investment was a full-sized 3G football pitch for sports students and regarded by many as the best all weather facility in the region.
Jackie Watt, the Interim Principal for the college, stated: “Students of all ages and backgrounds can study at Amersham & Wycombe College – from school leavers to adults looking to retrain or enhance their job prospects by gaining new skills. The college has strong links with industry ensuring where possible that students are work-ready on completion of their studies. The support given by BTVLEP and the Football Association enhances the opportunities we can offer to our students.”
Inclusive and forward thinking, the college provides an environment and support system that helps students make the most of themselves, whatever their backgrounds while developing their knowledge and skills and inspiring them to achieve their highest potential.
Amersham and Wycombe College has helped educate and train well over half a million school leavers and adults in the region with a range of study programmes from entry to degree level, as well as a wide range of apprenticeships.
Buckinghamshire is the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain where, for well over a decade, more businesses have started here than anywhere else in the UK. This is borne of the heartbeat of enterprise, which is manifest in a propensity to act; and a propensity to successfully exploit new ideas. It is no accident that we are the Birthplace of the Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville, the creative film engine for James Bond and Star Wars at Pinewood Studios, and the joint home of the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.