WARWICKSHIRE College celebrated the official opening of its new Rugby centre with Minister for Further Education and Skills, John Hayes.
Guests included governors, councillors, contractors, partners and others who had helped make the state-of-the-art centre a reality.
Mr Hayes demonstrated a few skills of his own, as he put the final screw of the opening plaque into place. He met college principals from across the country, before touring the Power Industry Academy, meeting locally-based power company, Converteam and engineering students training in power generation manufacture.
Mr Hayes said of the centre: “The difference Warwickshire College makes to the lives of people throughout the community is clear for all to see. And thanks to this new facility, more learners will gain the skills that local businesses need to grow and create new jobs”.
“I am wholeheartedly committed to working with colleges like Warwickshire College to build a world class Further Education sector and to keep vocational training, including apprenticeships, at the centre of our drive to build a stronger economy and fairer society. “
The centre is located in a regeneration area - situated on a brownfield site in the Brownsover area of Rugby – supporting Rugby Borough Council’s plans for regeneration and urban renewal.
There are now 2,300 students at the centre, studying a range of courses including full-time and part-time, further and higher education, apprenticeships and business training.
Facilities at the centre include a sky-lit art studio, performance spaces, a four-court sports hall, all-weather playing pitch and facilities for a wide range of courses including A levels, hair and beauty, performing arts and construction. It also houses the £6.4m Power Academy, to train people in the skills needed for the power generation industry, a boost to local employment.
Principal and CEO, Mariane Cavalli, said: “We have developed this transformational centre to provide outstanding educational facilities incorporating the latest equipment for students and employers, investing in the economic well-being of the area. In addition, we have built a nursery, sports facilities, hair and beauty salons and a restaurant which are open to local people, reinforcing our continued desire to be at the very heart of the Rugby community. We are dedicated to making this new centre a truly vibrant, inclusive place to be and we look forward to inspiring students, businesses and the community for many years to come.”
The centre is the result of the college’s partnerships with Rugby Borough Council, the Skills Funding Agency and the former Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands. It is well supported by local employers, who have donated key pieces of industry equipment which are being used to train current and future workers.