The finishing touches are being put to a multi-million pound college science block aimed at revolutionising training in the area.
Work on the external structure of the new £6.2m Science Engineering Innovation Centre at Runshaw College’s Euxton campus near Chorley has been completed and the “first fix” is underway inside the complex.
The state-of-the-art facility is expected to be ready for handover in the spring and will house cutting edge laboratories and workshops, catering for up to 400 new students in a wide range of engineering and science programmes.
Runshaw is hoping to combine university qualifications and apprenticeship programmes to help transform science and engineering skills training locally, in terms of both volume and quality through this new development as part of a drive to “revolutionise” employability skills.
The project received £4.3m from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and forms part of the Hub and Spoke programme, providing educational centres of excellence with new industry-focused facilities and will form a key part of the provision of training for the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.
Runshaw principal, Simon Partington said the new centre will boost the local economy and transform the employability of those studying science and engineering programmes at Runshaw.
He added: “ The Science and Engineering Innovation Centre is vital for our area, as Lancashire has the largest concentration of aerospace production and high technology manufacturing in the UK and these sectors are anticipated to grow over the next few years.
“Similarly, the need for qualified science professionals is predicted to increase, with demand in particular in pharmacology, physiology, biotechnology, drug metabolism, toxicology and pathology.”
The principal said:“The SEIC has been designed to support growth in these sectors and to enhance our current partnerships with local businesses.
“We aim to deliver real business benefits through the provision of innovative education and training programmes, working corroboratively with employers to ensure the creation of a highly skilled workforce for the future.” Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills Hub, said: “The new centre at Runshaw College is only one of a number of new facilities and programmes supported by the LEP’s funding that will be opening over the next few months and years, with the aim of ensuring Lancashire’s workforce has the skills employers will need in the future.
“A highly skilled workforce is an essential part of the LEP’s ambitious multi-million pound strategic economic growth programme to grow the local economy significantly and create tens of thousands of new jobs.”
The project has also been supported by Chorley and South Ribble Councils