Plans have been revealed to build a world-class Civil Engineering Training Centre at Lakes College.
The facility would be built on land opposite the college’s entrance on Hallwood Road, Lillyhall.
It is envisaged that it will attract employers and pump investment into the region. The development will have an indoor practical area with teaching spaces and outdoor areas for civils training and for heavy machinery and plant operations. It will provide training for a variety of trades, including scaffolders, steel fixers and plant operatives.
The multi-million pound scheme will be the latest addition in the college’s impressive campus. As well as the main building, there is also the Construction Skills Centre, built in 2012 and the National College for Nuclear which opened its doors in 2018.
Lakes College principal Chris Nattress said the Civils centre would service west Cumbria, Cumbria and the North West.
“It will have an excellent range of resources and equipment to support employment in civil engineering, large-scale construction, road, rail and infrastructure projects and developments,” he said.
Work has been going on behind the scenes for six years, and is now at a stage where a planning application has been submitted to the council. The application states the facility will form a ‘world-class’, integrated training and skills environment for all aspects of the nuclear and civil engineering supply chain.
Employers and the civil engineering industry will be fully involved in the design and range of training offered from the outset.
Mr Nattress added: “It will provide opportunities for west Cumbrian residents to engage in training, qualification and skills development to secure employment and develop careers in civil engineering and construction.
“We’re really excited to move our plans for the Civil Engineering Training Centre into the next phase. All being well and once approved, this will be a very high quality training facility with a national profile that will be a tremendous asset for the area.”
The centre will offer a comprehensive, broad and deep range of training, education and skills in heavy construction from opening during 2021, including apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.
From September 2021, Lakes College will offer T Level programmes in four areas – the only college in Cumbria to do so. The areas will be digital; construction; education and childcare; and health and science.
Studying on a T Level programme is the equivalent to three A Levels, and the construction T Levels will be incorporated in the new Civil Engineering Training Centre.
From it’s Lillyhall base, Lakes College offers further and higher education courses for people living in Allerdale and Copeland.
The news has been welcomed by Copeland’s elected mayor Mike Starkie. He said: “It’s fantastic to see a specialist facility like this in the heart of west Cumbria. Access to top class training for the industries that require it is key to our economic journey, and it is something we excel at. I look forward to seeing the training centre in action, and turning out world-class recruits for the nuclear sector and its supporting industries.”
Workington MP Mark Jenkinson said: “I welcome the development of a Heavy Civils Training Facility at Lakes College. Having a bespoke, world class training and skills centre on our doorstep provides even more opportunities for young people and those who are retraining for a career in nuclear or civil engineering.
“Businesses within the Workington constituency will undoubtedly benefit from a local skilled workforce and such a facility would be welcomed to increase the practical skills and training opportunities for our local area.”