College gets multi-million pound windfall to create technology centre in Bury St Edmunds

West Suffolk College is to get an �8 million development.

West Suffolk College is to get an �8 million development. - Credit: Archant

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds is to get a new £8 million engineering and technology centre to train more staff for high-tech jobs in the future.

Most of the investment – £7 million – is coming from the government’s Growth Deal programme financed through the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

It is the largest single investment by the LEP which has allocated £48.5 million to projects in Suffolk and Norfolk.

The remaining £1 million will be invested by the college itself.

A new innovation hub will be built within the centre which bring students, regional employers and businesses together to find practical solutions to real-life commercial problems.

It will also encourage learning in all STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and provide further and higher education for information technology and computing subjects.

The college has ambitions to teach many other courses at the centre in the future – and it will be particularly aiming to attract women to train as engineers.

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Nikos Savvas, Principal of West Suffolk College said: “West Suffolk College has a strong track record of working pro-actively and collaboratively with industry and business to develop and provide education and training.

“This significant investment will support our students’ skills development and provide enhanced opportunities for their career progression into the engineering, manufacturing and energy sectors.

“We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to the New Anglia LEP. We deeply value the work the LEP does in supporting skills development, fostering engagement between employers and colleges and enabling the young people of this region the opportunity to meet their potential.

“It is a great vote of confidence from Government that our project has been awarded these funds”.

Mark Pendlington, Chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “We are working extremely hard to bring education and business closer together to make sure the skills taught, and qualifications achieved, are matched with the opportunities offered by businesses across our region.

“This project at West Suffolk College does exactly that, and will inspire hundreds of students to build a career in many of the world-leading sectors located here.”

St Edmundsbury council leader John Griffiths welcomed the announcement as a boost for West Suffolk as a whole.

He said: “This money will contribute to ensuring the economic success of West Suffolk for decades to come. St Edmundsbury and our West Suffolk partners at Forest Heath District Council continuously work towards creating opportunities for jobs growth.

“Our work with the New Anglia LEP has already seen St Edmundsbury secure £10m of Government funding towards the £15m Eastern Relief Road – a project that will, in the long term, create up to 15,000 new jobs.”