City College’s new £9m construction and trades centre at its east campus on Wilson Avenue will aim to mirror real site conditions, it was revealed today.
Work on the centre, funded by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is due to be completed in March 2017, with demolition of old structures on the site starting in November and construction in January next year.
Sussex-based HNW Architects have designed the centre, leading construction firm Osborne will be building it and the works will be project-managed by Sussex construction and property consultancy practice, NorthGates.
Nick Juba, City College’s CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be able to build such a vital new educational facility, something which the city can be proud of. We’re very grateful for the support we’ve received from the Coast to Capital LEP and Brighton and Hove City Council to take this project forward.
“It will provide facilities in which the carpenters, builders, electricians and plumbers of the future can learn their skills in realistic working environments.
“It’s crucial that the college caters for the needs of the young people and adults of our dynamic city, enabling them to gain the vocational skills that employers expect. The new centre is central to delivering that ambition.
“There is no doubt that there are challenges facing the FE sector right now and so it is even more important that we work closely with our local community, employers and other organisations to ensure there is strong and sustained partnership working, demonstrating the value and impact that our students can make to the local economy and beyond.
“The college has a vital and positive contribution to make to the economic development of the city, building on its success as one of the country’s top five cities for private sector job creation. We work very closely with industry and the new centre will enable us to create even stronger industry links in the future.”
Construction is a booming sector in Brighton and Hove with major projects including Royal Sussex Hospital (£500m), Brighton Marina (£250m), Circus Street (£100m) and Brighton i360 (£46m).
In the south east region generally, construction sector growth over the next five years is estimated to deliver over 2,500 new jobs a year, according to the industry’s most reputable forecast from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
The annual Construction Skills Network (CSN) report suggests the region could see growth of 2.5% over the period 2015-2019, and 2,590 new jobs each year. There is also a housing and construction skills shortage across the UK.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is calling for at least 200,000 homes a year to be built by 2020, with the proportion of members struggling to recruit bricklayers up from 27% to 42% in a year and the figures for carpenters and joiners nearly doubling with 23% of firms reporting recruitment issues.