Otley celebrates new construction centre

A SUFFOLK construction centre aimed at combating a huge skills shortage in the building industry has been unveiled.The state-of-the-art centre at Otley college was opened by the college's former chair of Corporation Robert Black yesterday's ceremony, which was attended by Under-Secretary for Skills Minister Phil Hope MP.

A TWO million pound Suffolk construction centre aimed at combating a huge skills shortage in the building industry has been unveiled.

The state-of-the-art centre at Otley college was opened by the college's former chair of Corporation Robert Black yesterday's ceremony, which was attended by Under-Secretary for Skills Minister Phil Hope MP.

Students will be able to hone their skills in a variety of trades including bricklaying, carpentry, painting and decorating, plastering, plumbing, roofing and welding.

Mr Hope welcomed the new facilities, which he described as “an important asset”.


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“The college's high quality construction facilities are ideally suited to providing first-class training and education to the current and future construction workforce,” he said.

“We will need to draw on resources beyond London to meet our 2012 Olympics skills needs and I am sure many students who learn their trade at Otley College will play a part in making the London Olympics a success.

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“This facility will be an important asset to students in East Anglia, particularly with the college's obvious commitment to improving skill levels in this region and meeting employers' training needs.”

Local MP Sir Michael Lord sent his congratulations, saying the college “embodies the great heights of what a college can achieve”.

“The construction facility is absolutely superb and the expansion that is taking place will give my constituents more learning opportunities in the future, so I am delighted with the progression of the college.

“They are trying to embrace the rural community and economy in everything that they do, and having recently visited the college for their graduation ceremony, I have seen first hand what an excellent place of study that it has become.”

The project was supported by funds from the Learning and Skills Council.

“We were delighted to support this project as the construction centre will play a key part in supporting young people to develop skills in this key sector of the Suffolk economy,” said area director at the Learning and Skills Council Judith Mobbs.

“The LSC exists to make England better skilled and more competitive and the new centre is a powerful inspiration for everyone who is seeking to improve the facilities and standards of the further education sector.”

Head of construction at the college, Paul Williamson said the numbers of students studying construction had grown from just 16 when he first arrived to more than 300.

“The construction centre is a fantastic building and I am a very proud man today,” he said. “We believe that the facility is one of the best in the region, if not the UK, and I am delighted that the college's vision for training and education in the field of construction is being realised.”

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