Plans for new Centre of Excellence for Engineering at Solent Enterprise Zone Unveiled

Posted on 13 March 2013 · Posted in News

Fareham College has lodged its planning application for a new Centre of Excellence for Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Technology (CEMAST). If approved, the proposed Centre will house open plan engineering workshops, classrooms, a learning resource centre and café, as well as conference and exhibition space for local employers at Solent Enterprise Zone. The facility is scheduled to open in September 2014.

Representing a £12 million investment in engineering skills, the site will provide industry standard training facilities to support manufacturing skills with a focus on aeronautical, marine, electrical, automotive and mechanical engineering. The move is supported by an agreement which sees the College take eight acres of land from the Homes and Communities Agency, which owns much of the Enterprise Zone site.

If the plans are approved, the Centre would provide training for around 400 students in courses ranging from Foundation Level to Higher National Diplomas.  Peter Marsh, Deputy Principal of FarehamCollege, said: “Our dynamic new centre combines an exciting frontage ontoBroom Way, with state-of-the-art learning spaces and facilities to support the wider business community. The feedback on our plans from our recent public consultation was fantastic. Submission of this planning application marks a major milestone in our vision of helping to support a sustainable future for the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector in theSolentarea.”

Subject to the granting of planning permission, work on the site is due to start in late summer and completed in early summer 2013. It will be constructed by regional contractor Leadbitter.

Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council, who are funding £3million of the construction costs said: “We are proud to supportFarehamCollegein this innovative facility which will help provide a route into skilled engineering employment for young people and adults in this part of Hampshire.”

Gary Jeffries, director of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is responsible for delivering the Enterprise Zone, added: “It is incredibly exciting to think that, if the planning application is approved, we will have a training centre that is dedicated to skills relevant to the local economy on the site by next summer. The services and facilities it is set to provide will be of real benefit not just to school leavers, but to businesses on the site.”

Kevin Bourner, head of area for the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA), said: “It’s good news to have agreed the deal for the land which supports this flagship development. The Centre will play a vital part in the Enterprise Zone, helping to nurture a new generation of skilled workers who will contribute to the economic prosperity of South Hampshire and support the growth of high quality local jobs. We are impressed with the plans, which we hope will be given the green light.”