As Colchester continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, so does the demand for new skills especially within the Construction, Engineering and Healthcare Sectors. With an estimated 44,000 new recruits likely to be needed in construction-related roles across Essex by 2021, our College has recently taken delivery of new facilities aligned to the traditional crafts of plumbing, electrical installations, carpentry and brickwork, alongside planning, design and engineering.

In our continued bid to support local businesses and develop new curricula, our College, in partnership with the Skills Funding Agency, who co-funded the project are delighted to showcase our brand new £10m South Wing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) centre at our Sheepen Road campus.

The facilities will enable us to train hundreds more adults and young people for careers in construction, science and engineering. In our state-of-the-art workshops, laboratories and classrooms, students will gain skills in disciplines such as advanced manufacturing and design, robotics, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical installations. It will also be the home for many employer focused, short and continuous professional development courses run by CI Business Solutions – our business arm who specialise in meeting workforce skills training and development needs including apprenticeships.

On the first floor a new library provides workspace and access to vital resources to support practical learning. Industry standard equipment will ensure that students receive the vital practical training – as well as the right qualifications to start successful careers. Such qualifications will include traditional City and Guilds, BTECs, honours degrees and a wide range of apprenticeships. Adult students already employed in relevant industries will benefit from the facilities through training organised for employers which in the past they may have had to travel some distance to access.

Will Quince, Conservative MP for Colchester officially launched our new STEM Centre. He comments:

This centre is a hugely impressive asset for Colchester and surrounding areas. It’s absolutely amazing to have this sort of facility in this town. It’s going to provide and contribute significantly to the education of thousands of young and adult students in full and part-time education and apprenticeships from across Colchester and the region. We all know and recognise the importance of vocational training and this new facility is going to be very key to it.