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What's in the news?

National Construction College to secure its future

The National Construction College (NCC) was celebrating this month after the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has agreed in principle to provide just over £17 million in capital funding. The lifeline comes after months of discussions about a package to help the UK’s largest provider of specialist construction training undertake essential redevelopment work to its main campus in Bircham Newton, Norfolk.

In the coming months the NCC will continue to work closely with the LSC to finalise details of the project. The key criterion that NCC must adhere to is a contribution of £4.3million. The College is seeking to secure this funding partly through a new planning application for 24 homes on part of its site, and a decision is expected during November. The new application has seen broad support from the local community and local MP Henry Bellingham has given the plans his endorsement.

Over the past few months the college has been working closely with the LSC in an attempt to secure its future for its centre at Bircham Newton. The new package is drawn from the National Skills Academy for Construction (NSAfC) capital funding model for the vital improvements to the College’s infrastructure.

The National Skills Academy for Construction is part of a network of employer-led centres of excellence, delivering the skills needed by each major sector of the economy. The concept behind it is that training, practice and assessment are delivered on-site, at the point where the highly-fragmented construction supply chain comes together.

Skills Minister David Lammy today gave his congratulations and restated the importance of such training provision:

“We are amidst the busiest building programme in the UK since the war so I am extremely pleased that we have been able to confirm this support for a college that makes such a vital contribution to the construction industry. In today’s age of global competition, investing in the skills of new entrants and those already in the workforce has never been more important.”

David Way, Director of Skills said: “We are pleased to be working closely with ConstructionSkills and the National Construction College to help ensure that the facility at Bircham Newton can offer high quality realistic learning environments for the construction industry and play an important part in the National Skills Academy for Construction.”

David Boyden, Director of NCC stated: “This is the news we’ve been hoping for; it means we can continue to deliver specialist construction training to an industry that we have served for over 40 years. The NCC sends a huge thank-you to everyone in industry, government, the local community and the media who have given their support over the past few years.”

Colin Wood, chief executive of the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA), expressed relief at today’s news: “This year alone, the industry will see the start of 13,000 projects worth £160bn and the industry remains extremely buoyant, so a steady supply of skilled people is an absolute necessity. The National Construction College has been an indispensable industry resource for over 40 years, so today’s news is of great importance, not only for the thousands of trainees that come through its doors each year, but for the industry and its ability to deliver essential construction programmes well into the future.”

The next steps for the college will be to ensure it meets all expectations for the funding package before the submission of a detailed planning application and confirmation of costs through a formal tendering process. It is likely to be some months before the NCC can confirm any more details as this work towards meeting the criteria takes place.

For further information, please read the full press release.

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