College’s centre of excellence plan gets £500k boost

Plans for a new centre of excellence at a Derbyshire college focusing on modern construction and digital technologies has received a £500,000 boost from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

Chesterfield College has been awarded the grant, which supports the LEP’s vision of greener homes and technology, along with more energy-efficient public buildings.

The project is one of ten across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire which has received funding from D2N2’s £44 million share of the government’s £900 million Getting Building Fund.

Elizabeth Fagan CBE, D2N2 chairman, said: “Through the Getting Building Fund, D2N2 is investing in projects that will drive the regeneration of our regional economy, adapt to new opportunities, and create a more resilient economy for everyone.

“I’m pleased D2N2 has been able to invest in this Centre of Excellence at Chesterfield College. Ensuring our workforce has the skills to take advantage of ever more sophisticated and greener construction methods is an essential part of our vision for a cleaner and more sustainable economy.”

The funding award will allow Chesterfield College to create a new centre where students will be able to learn state-of-the-art techniques, such as building information modelling and virtual and augmented reality.

The new centre, which will be housed in pre-existing premises owned by the college, will complement the current curriculum being delivered to teach advanced manufacturing and building techniques.

It will offer learners the opportunity to develop the skills which employers need to meet current and future demands in their sector.

The facility will also support the growing demand from employers for a workforce well versed in new technologies and construction methods.

With funding for the £875,000 facility now secured, work will begin on the site ready to accept learners by April.

David Malone, deputy principal of the Chesterfield College Group, said: “This funding will allow us to give local people the chance to develop the skills they need to be competitive in the job market as demands of the construction and engineering sector change.

“The Centre of Excellence will allow us to enhance what we already offer students and apprentices and ensure employers have access to a talent pool of people with the skills they need. We are excited to be able to bring together expertise in digital technology with modern construction in one purpose-built facility and we look forward to welcoming the first students through the doors in 2021.”

The college’s Centre of Excellence is just the latest capital investment D2N2 has made in Chesterfield and follows recent investments into the construction of the Hollis Lane Link Road, the station area redevelopment, and the Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield project totalling £6.85 million.