Plans to build an £11million technical skills college at Stansted Airport get the green light from councillors

A CGI picture of how the new college might look at the site. Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT/HARLOW COLLEG

A CGI picture of how the new college might look at the site. Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT/HARLOW COLLEGE - Credit: Archant

Work is set to begin at Stansted Airport after councillors approved plans for a new £11million technical skills college at the site this week.

Plans for the two-storey facility were put to Uttlesford District Council by the airport and Harlow College earlier this summer, and more than 500 people are expected to train there each year.

The college will be the first of its kind at a major UK airport, and is set to bridge the skills gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, as well as specific courses including business studies and customer service.

“This is excellent news for everyone connected to Stansted Airport and Harlow College,” Andrew Cowan, Stansted Airport’s CEO, said.

“Securing, developing and retaining the right talent and skills at a growing airport like Stansted is critical to our business, our 200-plus on-site business partners and the long term prosperity of the region.”

Work is expected to start on the site as early as later this year, and will be ready to open in time for the 2018 autumn term.

The college will be built on a one-acre site, on land made available by the airport, near the long-stay car park and Novotel Hotel.

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It has also received two separate £3.5million grants from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and Local Growth Fund and Essex County Council.

The college is seen as a critical project for Stansted Airport, as it continues to plan its future growth.

Only recently it announced it will start offering direct flights to America, and repeated its ambition to serve up to 44million passengers a year by 2030.

Mr Cowan added: “Over the last few years we have worked in close partnership with the SELEP, Harlow College and Essex and Uttlesford councils to develop and deliver an on-site further education facility in the area, which will help to address the growing skills gap in engineering and customer service and develop a pipeline of employees fit for growth at the airport over the next decade.

“A project like this will provide more opportunities for local people to acquire the skills they need to join us as we play an ever more critical role in providing runway capacity in the South East of England.”