Chelmsford College gets £1.3m pledge for new construction teaching facility

An agreement has been made towards a £1.8million investment in Chelmsford College to improve education provision for construction sector students.

The project to replace existing temporary buildings with a two-storey purpose built modern facility will ensure it has sufficient capacity ahead of the implementation of T-Levels in both construction and engineering from September 2020.

The college says the increase of contact hours from 540 to 900 per learner, as a result of the T-level courses, will also increase demand for limited practical and classroom space to support these qualifications and this is why the new building is needed.

T-levels are new courses which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to three A-levels.

These two-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work. They offer a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on the job’ experience.

A statement associated with a report to South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), which is planning to allocate £1.3million to the project, said: “The project will replace existing temporary buildings to enable a two-storey framed structure, with a canopy connected to existing buildings which will provide two multi-skilled workshops in new curriculum areas, two classrooms and a light craft workshop, toilets on both floors, a canopy linked to main building to allow for roofing skills and other outdoor trades.

“The new construction centre will enable the college to provide purpose-built accommodation to better prepare learners for employment in the construction sector, specifically in multi-construction.”

Another £505,000 is being provided by the college, leaving a £100,000 gap that will need to be filled, along with planning permission, before the SELEP money is released

Work on the planning application is underway and expected to be submitted in late summer, with a decision coming forward in early autumn.

A further decision will be sought from the strategic board to determine how the funding should be directed if only part of the final third of Local Growth Fund, allocated to SELEP in 2020/21, is confirmed by central government.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter