£4 million investment into the future engineering workforce for Bristol

A turf cutting ceremony was held at City of Bristol College’s Advanced Engineering Centre (AEC) yesterday, to mark the start of building work on its new £4m extension.

Expected to open this Autumn, the extension at the College’s Parkway AE Centre which is being funded by West of England LEP will enable the expansion of its aeronautical and engineering provision, continuing to fill a vital skills gap within a booming industry for the region.

The AEC brings together the College’s existing engineering, aeronautical and manufacturing courses into one place. It provides state-of-the-art industry facilities including workshops, laboratories, computer aided simulation rigs and testing/diagnostic equipment. This allows students to work with the latest technology to give them the skills they need to progress into employment.

Providing 1,200 sqm of new accommodation, the development will also accommodate growth in apprenticeships. An additional 60 new apprenticeships are expected to be offered by the College, which already has 1000 apprentices working with some 600 employers. This focus on providing ‘career ladders’ into employment is a key part of the college’s philosophy. Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive of City of Bristol College, said:

“Our College is a key part of Bristol’s Learning City and, thanks to this investment from the West of England LEP, we are expanding our Engineering Centre by a third. This will enhance the training on offer for our students and enable them to get hands on experience with the latest technology, which is vital as they look beyond their time in education and think about their options for career development. We are focussed on developing highly employable students that are meeting the needs of local industry and businesses.”

As well as enhancing the technical and educational aspects at the facility, the extension will enable the development of student recreational facilities, including a new Student Common Room and quiet study area.

The design and development of the new extension is being built by Kier Construction Western and Wales. David Snell of Kier Construction said:

“We are pleased to be part of this exciting new project and be delivering the next phase of this innovative development at City of Bristol College’s Parkway AE Centre. We have been appointed via the Scape Minor Works Framework. In addition to the project itself we will work with the college and their students to help deliver the Employments and skills plan and Social Value indicators which form an integral part of the ethos of the Framework.”