Preston College to revamp its construction department

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Preston College is set to see its construction department get a revamp in preparation for new courses.

Preston architect Frank Whittle Partnership is leading the project which will support the introduction of new Professional Construction T-Level courses.

The existing building will be remodelled with the creation of a bright, modern exterior and a new mezzanine level for the delivery of the new courses.

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Preston College is one of almost 50 Further Education establishments sharing a £48.5m pot from the Department for Education to fund refurbishments to facilitate the T-Levels, an alternative to A-Levels, apprenticeships and other 16-to-19 courses. They are equivalent to three A-Levels, but focus on vocational skills and are seen as a way of addressing the current shortage of skilled workers.

A computer generated image of the revamps construction facility at Preston's CollegeA computer generated image of the revamps construction facility at Preston's College
A computer generated image of the revamps construction facility at Preston's College

The revamp of the construction department building on its Fulwood campus will ensure learners have access to the latest technology and equipment, combined with high-specification industry-standard facilities.

Neil Ainsworth, partner at FWP, which has its headquarters in Preston and offices in Manchester and London, said: “Our brief has been to create a learning environment that will give learners the best facilities, technology and equipment for the delivery of the new curriculum.

"To that end we’ve worked very closely with the college’s construction department staff.”

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From September, Preston College will be offering the T-Level in professional construction; construction surveying and design.

Mark Taylor, Preston College’s head of school for construction and the built environment, said: “This is a significant advancement for our construction department and one we are all very excited to be a part of.

“The introduction of T-Levels this year brings with it many opportunities for the young people of our region, and with this landmark development, we are able to offer our learners the very best in industry standard facilities and equipment.”

The building work will be carried out by Longridge-based Carefoot.

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Managing director Colin Carefoot said: “Carefoot has been supporting colleges in the development of the new Construction T-Levels through the pilot schemes over the last two years. To be working with Preston College to directly address the construction skills shortage in Lancashire is a great opportunity.

“Directly employed apprentices have already been selected from Preston College by Carefoot, and our local supply chain is helping to deliver our training pledge to the college with three bricklaying apprentices studying at the college already working on the project.

“Throughout the delivery of this construction project all students will benefit from trade work placements and mentoring, Carefoot will also be sponsoring the college’s first construction scholarship. It will provide student support over two years, not just in financial terms but through mentoring and work experience through other Carefoot projects.”

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