The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) has funded three major capital projects for The Bedford College Group from 2015 to 2021 as part of their £265 million Local Growth Fund investment programme across the region.
Education and training have been a key focus of the Local Growth Fund. SEMLEP has invested £2.5 million in Bedford College’s state-of-the-art £5 million Advanced Engineering Buchanan Centre. The building, which sits next to the central tower block at Cauldwell Street, opened in 2018 and houses the latest analytical and digital equipment, BIM software and robotics, and computerised aided design (CAD).
SEMLEP has also invested in the Group’s redevelopment of Tresham College’s Wellingborough campus which will now allow up to 1,000 students to gain new skills in areas such as Computing, Construction, and Electrical Installation, providing a boost for the local economy in a previously closed town centre location.
The third project, on target to open to students this September 2021, is the £4.3m brand new Centre for Modern Construction which SEMLEP contributed £2.9 million towards alongside the Connolly Foundation who donated £750,000 to the project. Pre-manufacturing homes and shipping them to a building site has been identified as the most efficient and cost-effective way of meeting the huge demand for housing, and the centre will provide this “offsite” construction training to meet the industry needs of the future.
Director of Construction at The Bedford College Group, Dave Wilkins, said “There are huge opportunities here for training young people for great jobs in the future – be it 16-year-olds embarking on apprenticeships, those undertaking the new T-Levels, others progressing on to degree-level higher education courses, and those in the industry who want to modernise their skills.
For more information about the SEMLEP support given to the Group’s developments, please visit here