Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP) has secured £250,000 of Local Growth funding to create a Centre of Excellence for Motor Vehicle Technology at Weymouth College. The redevelopment aims to future-proof the College’s infrastructure, introduce pioneering industry standards to a growing number of students and support local employment in engineering.
The project will upgrade the 500m2 motor vehicle workshop space and develop hybrid and fully electric vehicle facilities. The current petrol and diesel motor vehicle fleet will be injected by a modern array of hybrid and electric vehicles. An increase in available space will also support the local engineering industry as employers gear up to offer new machinery.
Improved facilities and equipment will advance the present College curriculum and increase places on engineering courses at the main Cranford Avenue campus. The transformation aims to advance teaching and produce skilled college graduates to meet current and future local employment needs. The improvements will provide increased College capacity to support apprenticeships and full-time learners. Upon completion, the number of engineering apprenticeships offered is expected to double, from 80 to 160, and increase by 80 places per year thereafter.
MP Jake Berry, Minister for Growth at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, says: “Boosting economic growth while driving towards a more sustainable future equals perfect progress. Investment in young people in coastal towns such as Weymouth builds a more prosperous and inclusive Britain. The Centre for Excellence will boost the local economy with a continual influx of these skilled engineers.
Motor Vehicle Technology is identified as one of the key planks of the government’s Industrial Strategy where the government’s mission is to ‘put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, with all new cars and vans effectively zero emission by 2040’.
Jim Stewart, Chair of DLEP, concludes: “I have no doubt that Weymouth has the appetite and ambition to lead the UK in low-environmental impact engineering. I am proud of Weymouth College’s vision to equip students with the skills to shape our current and future automotive industry. We are really pleased to have secured £250,000 through the government’s Local Growth funding to realise this centre of excellence by 2020.
Principal of Weymouth College Nigel Evans stated: “Providing the cutting edge training our students want – alongside developing the skills our local businesses need – is at the very heart of everything Weymouth College offers.
The development of our Motor Vehicle Centre of Excellence – with its focus on zero emission vehicles and environmental sustainability – will ensure our students receive the very best training opportunities to take firm control of their futures and help to shape and service the fast developing and much discussed motor vehicle industry of 2020 and beyond.
I would like to thank the DLEP for both their support in this exciting and ambitious new venture and their shared vision for the students of Dorset.”