New £1.8m Chelmsford College building will help meet the needs of construction industry

Plans are being prepared for 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 out-door 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.”

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

A statement added: “Chelmsford’s future growth is critical to the future success of Essex.

“Chelmsford City Council has a fully adopted local plan in place and is now planning for the period to 2036 and beyond.

“This will see a continued rapid expansion of the city at similar levels to those seen over recent years – 1,000 homes and 700 jobs per year.

“Alongside the construction of new homes and commercial development the city also has an ambitious programme of infrastructure delivery – including proposals for new schools, roads, a new rail station at Beaulieu Park and community facilities.

“Such growth will require the city to be able to produce a workforce that is equipped to support the construction sector.”

The statement said the current skills development and training facilities within central Essex are not sufficient to meet the demand and requirements to support the growth of the construction sector.

“Although Chelmsford College has an established successful track record for construction training and skills development the college needs to ensure that it can provide learners with the skills and innovation to apply new technologies and modern methods within the construction industry,” it added.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter