Central Bedfordshire College’s construction and engineering students proudly tightened the last nut on the steel frame for the College’s new Skills and Technology Centre currently being built in Chartmoor Road in Leighton Buzzard.
The event marked a key milestone in the construction of the site which is due for completion in July and will be opening its doors to students in September 2017. Key stakeholders turned out in the cold, to demonstrate their support for the project which is designed to support the growing skills needs of the area; this is also at a time when there is significant population and economic growth forecast for the region.
The Right Honourable Andrew Selous MP, who is a champion for skills development, attended the event alongside Captains of Industry from British Aerospace Engineering, Hone – All Precision and Ashe Construction. Commenting on the progress made to date, he said: “I’m delighted to see Leighton Buzzard and Linslade’s new Engineering and Construction Skills Centre going up, to be ready for students this September. It’s a much needed facility for students and businesses locally, and I am delighted to see taking shape.”
Principal Ali Hadawi CBE said: “It was great to have our students involved in this event today as they are the engineers and technicians of the future who will benefit from this high-tech centre where they will gain advanced technical skills.” He continued: “The close involvement from industry means our students will gain industry relevant skills that they can take forward to university or employment in any number of companies in the local area.”
Hilary Chipping, Deputy Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: "This fabulous new facility represents a great opportunity for young people to develop their skills and prepare for the world of work. Equipping our future workforce with the skills they need to access jobs locally is a perfect example of how Local Growth Deal funding can help to improve productivity and make a long-lasting difference to our communities."
The £2.5 million centre which is a joint venture between Central Bedfordshire College and SEMLEP, will house professionally equipped state-of-the-art workshops for the engineering, construction, motor vehicle and aerospace industries.
Applications are open for courses starting in September 2017 – visit centralbeds.ac.uk/courses to apply.
Central Bedfordshire College is giving young people who are struggling at sixth form or are unhappy after their first term of A levels, the opportunity to transfer to another course without losing any ground this year.
This unusual move by the College, will ensure there is a seamless transition from A levels onto a relevant BTEC course allowing the student to bring across the knowledge they have already gained – completing their level 3 studies (which are equivalent to three A levels) in the same time.
Principal Ali Hadawi CBE feels this is an important opportunity for those young people who could go off track or suffer unnecessarily with the wrong choice of option. He said: “We don’t want students to have to wait until next September to change direction if they already know they are not happy on their course or perhaps are struggling with the work. We are in communication with schools to allow a smooth transition in January and February without losing any ground.”
He also is concerned that parents don’t fully understand the value of an equivalent technical course in terms of UCAS points and university entry. He continued: “There is a common misconception that vocational level 3 courses are of a lower academic standard than A levels which is not correct. Most of our level 3 students progress onto the university of their choice with many having a headstart over their A level counterparts as they have studied their subject in more depth and will have acquired the important skills of independent study and research that are intrinsic at degree level.
“Our courses focus on applied learning – so students gain the academic and theoretical knowledge on their course alongside technical skills which employers and universities value.”
Many schools are also on board with the opportunity as the first wave of mock exams loom and welcome an alternative if the A level route is not proving to be successful. The College is offering individual advice and guidance for those who may interested in the opportunity.
For more information students and parents should contact the college for a personal interview or visit www.centralbeds.ac.uk/january-starts.