Former school site set for new lease of life
PUBLISHED: 16:17 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:17 16 January 2020
A new specialised training centre for the civil engineering and construction sectors will open next month on the site of a former middle school.
East Coast College will unveil the Eastern Civil Engineering and Construction Campus at Lound as part of its ongoing efforts to "future-proof regional skills development."
The new campus is to be based on a 17-acre site between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft at the former Lothingland Middle School grounds.
The former middle school was one of eight schools that closed in 2011 as part of Suffolk County Council's Schools Organisation Review (SOR).
In December 2013 the then Lowestoft College announced plans to create a second campus on the Lound site after finalising a deal with the county council.
Now, just over six years on, the site is set for a new lease of life with a centre supporting the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's local industrial strategy.
It will help to fulfil local, regional and national demand for the civil engineering and construction sectors as it supports the training and up-skilling of constructors, civil engineers and plant maintenance operatives.
Having been developed in collaboration with industry experts to examine current and future skills need, the centre is set to offer clear progression pathways, from Level 2 through to higher level study programmes and apprenticeships across the sectors.
Stuart Rimmer, principal of East Coast College, said: "The centre will support the region to meet the employment opportunities that cross various sectors such as construction, clean energy and civil engineering.
"The centre's extensive course offer will in turn promote employment prosperity, social mobility and raising aspirations.
"It's vital that local people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney get access to high skilled and high paid civil engineering roles alongside the local investments."
According to the college, those educated at the new centre will benefit from a replicated real-life construction site, with industry-standard plant, machinery and equipment.
The centre - which will host a formal opening ceremony in February - will also teach specific technical knowledge and skills alongside construction site behaviours and standards.
The launch of the new campus will mark another significant development for East Coast College after the £11.4m state-of-the-art Energy Skills Centre was opened in November last year.
Rachel Bunn, assistant principal, said: "The centre is yet another example of how East Coast College is future-proofing regional skills development and working with employers to ensure that training and apprenticeships are delivered locally, alongside meeting sector need.
"Training will support apprentices and staff employed in the construction sector, as well as individuals looking to retrain ready for existing employment opportunities, such as Sizewell C and the new crossings."
Dr Saul Humphrey, chairman of building growth for New Anglia LEP, added: "The region's construction industry welcomes the opening of the new Eastern Civil Engineering and Construction Campus at Lound by East Coast College.
"This investment will support Norfolk and Suffolk's commitment to providing the additional skilled construction specialists that are required to deliver the region's critical infrastructure and secure our strategic ambition of clean growth."