Funding boost for WCG’s Rugby Construction and Technology Innovation Centre

Left to right – Peter Husband (WCG), Mark Pawsey (MP for Rugby and Bulkington), Mark Bonham (WCG), Paula Deas, Nick Abell, Jonathan Browning (all CWLEP), Neil Coker (WCG)

Warwickshire College Group (WCG) has secured £1.5 million of funding for its new innovation centre in Rugby.

The Construction and Technology Innovation Centre at Rugby College will be a dedicated centre to support construction and technology employers and provide students with the skills in these sectors.

The centre, which is planned to open in September 2019, is being part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).

It will provide training from level 3 upwards, including foundation degrees, professional qualifications and degree apprenticeships for an anticipated 350 students each year.

The construction sector in the West Midlands will require 30,000 personnel per annum skilled to Level 4 and above by 2019 to meet the needs of professional and management duties within the sector, the Sector Skills Council has identified.

Neil Coker, Group Vice Principal for Curriculum at WCG and Director of Rugby College, said the centre will impact on raising the aspirations and ambitions of young people as well as addressing higher levels of unemployment in areas of Warwickshire and higher skills shortages faced by local employers.

He said: “This is fantastic news for everyone in Rugby. The new centre will not only raise the aspirations of our own students to want to achieve that degree-level qualification, but it will also give local companies the opportunity to upskill their workforce on their doorstep.

“With projects such as HS2 on the horizon, and large housebuilding programmes across the local area, we know that the jobs are out there for people with the right skills. This new centre, supported by the CWLEP, will help deliver those skilled workers.

“As well as this, the building itself will be a showcase of best practice in the construction industry, so the students will be surrounded by the latest innovation and ideas in the industry, making it the perfect place to learn. The centre is currently in the early stages of planning and design and we’ll be providing updates on its progress going forward.”

The CWLEP has secured £42.44 million from Government through the Local Growth Fund to invest in Coventry and Warwickshire to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

The substantial investment is the third award through the Local Growth Fund for the area, and is on top of the £89.4 million of Local Growth Fund already awarded to the CWLEP, making a total of £131.84 million.

Jonathan Browning, chair of the CWLEP, said: “There is a huge demand for high-quality skilled workers to support the output of the construction and technology sectors.

“The Construction and Technology Innovation Centre at Rugby College will have a major role to play in addressing skill shortages faced by the construction sector and helping create strong career paths for young people, along with those looking to re-train.

“This will be a top-class facility and we’re delighted to have secured funding through the Government’s Local Growth Fund to support WCG to deliver the project.”

Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby and Bulkington, was invited to Rugby College to learn more about the plans for the centre.

He said: “Giving our young people the skills they need to succeed in the modern economy is vital and the Government has invested in providing high skilled apprenticeship positions, with more than three million new apprenticeship starts since 2010.

“I am delighted that WCG has secured the funding necessary to develop the Construction and Technology Innovation Centre in the heart of Rugby which will build on Rugby’s heritage of engineering and manufacturing. I look forward to seeing the new site and speaking to students there when it opens in 2019.”