The project was awarded £3.1m capital funding through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal – a £1bn package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region. This has been added to funds from local and national businesses and donations in the form of plant, services and equipment, making its value around £5m in total.
The project has attracted over 60 partner organisations from the industry. These have made contributions and pledges to a value of around £700,000 for a centre and curriculum that meets their needs.
The new centre has enabled the college to develop its curriculum in line with industry demands, both regionally and nationally. Earlier this year, the college was selected by the National Skills Academy Food and Drink (NSAFD) to as a national provider for two Trailblazer Apprenticeships. These new Apprenticeships in Food and Drink Maintenance Engineer and Process Operations are two of the first of the new ‘standards’ to be launched under the reforms announced by government to achieve more employer-focused programmes of training.
The centre currently has 70 apprentices on its books, which is likely to rise to 300 in the next few years.
June Durrant, acting principal of Kirklees College helped to initiate the centre’s development with local businesses BASF, Syngenta, Nufarm, Manrochem and YCF back in 2013.
June said, "We’ve worked very closely with a number of businesses in this industry to make sure we get the facilities and the training offer just right. We don’t see this as the end of the project but as a continuing partnership where we can be flexible in our offer, work with specialist businesses to shape the delivery of training and Apprenticeships."
Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the LEP, said: "When we first engaged with the College about this project, we could see the extraordinary potential this Centre has to address some of the skills challenges we face in our City Region’s manufacturing and engineering sectors.
"Bringing together private sector investment in the form of their technology, knowledge and machinery with the fantastic new learning environment funded by the LEP and College, this is a ground breaking initiative. The Kirklees College Process Manufacturing Centre positions Leeds City Region as a polestar for public and private sector collaboration in the North and will help confront our skills challenges and create future career opportunities for our City Region’s young people."
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