1. Home
  2. What We Do
  3. News
  4. Golden Bolt Ceremony at New CECAMM Centre

Golden Bolt Ceremony at New CECAMM Centre

06 June 2016

Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Financial Director at GKN Aerospace Ltd and Chair of Employment at the Solent LEP), performed the placing of the golden bolt to signify completion of the massive steel structure for The Isle of Wight College’s new Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine industries (CECAMM).

The ceremony was watched by Debbie Lavin (College Principal), invited guests and college engineering students.

The £12m investment in this new facility has been secured through the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (SLEP) ‘Solent Local Growth Deal’ in conjunction with local employers and will provide a critical platform for developing further the expertise and skills on the Island in these vital industries.


As part of the bid submission process an extensive consultation was undertaken with a cross section of local employers and stakeholders to ensure that this development not only meets the needs of the strategic priorities but also creates a clear pathway for developing local skills at CECAMM and employment on the Island. The development is a major investment in the Island supporting the six strategic priorities of the SLEP and the Isle of Wight College’s delivery priorities set out in their 2014/17 Strategic Plan.

After securing the golden bolt Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Financial Director at GKN Aerospace Ltd and Chair of the Solent LEP Employment & Skills Board) said:

A couple of years ago GKN was approached to get involved with The Isle of Wight College and jumped at the chance. GKN, the largest private employer on Isle of Wight, and also small and medium enterprise, cannot get enough skilled employees to fill vacancies. The work is there, the jobs are there, but not young people with the relevant skills.

This new centre will take us to a new level for advanced manufacturing and for attracting major businesses over to the Isle of Wight. It is an opportunity for our outstanding college to take island businesses forward, island employment forward and to train more people to do the jobs which the island does best.

This new centre will take us to a new level for advanced manufacturing and for attracting major businesses over to the Isle of Wight. It is an opportunity for our outstanding college to take island businesses forward, island employment forward and to train more people to do the jobs which the island does best.

Debbie Lavin, Principal of the College, said:

I am very grateful for the funding which we are receiving from the Solent LEP. The site is next door to GKN and we will be able to influence and lead what skills young people will learn and what qualifications they will get so that they can become work-ready. We also looked at the papers University of Exeter produced about the skills gap across the whole of the Solent region in order to make this work for all Solent region engineering companies who work with composites.

Some people think engineering is dirty and grubby, but not these days. It is really important to do a job which can show that the engineering happens at a centre of excellence. This new centre will train young people to be part of it and I am absolutely delighted and I cannot wait to see it completed.”

I am very proud to have helped secure this significant investment for the Island and believe the investment will provide huge value to employers and students, helping to secure the Island reputation as an engineering and advanced manufacturing focus of excellence, securing employment and economic growth

Dean Ludlow, Balfour Beatty Contract Manager, said:

Balfour Beatty is delighted to be delivering this major asset on behalf of the Isle of Wight College, GKN and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. The new College of Excellence for Composites and Marine Technology is a significant addition to the current teaching facilities and will offer the end user a remarkable learning facility.

We will work to generate significant community involvement throughout the construction of this project with local employment and utilisation of a local supply chain. Balfour Beatty has a long standing presence on the Isle of Wight and we wish to emulate this with the successful delivery of the new Centre in 2017.

Rod Burton, Partner and Project Manager of architect and management consultants Pick Everard, said:

We are delighted to have supported the College from the initial funding application stage throughout the development of this project and look forward to working with them, other stakeholders and Balfour Beatty to complete a project that we firmly believe will significantly add to the economic wellbeing of the island. This is the fourth project on which we have worked with the College and continues our close collaborative relationship with them, which we hope will extend for many years to come.

Work on the project is expected to complete in early 2017 with students enrolling in September of 2016 starting their courses within the new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) facility that was opened in June 2015 and completing their course in the new CECAMM facility.


The new 2,950m2 CECAMM facility will accommodate a maximum of 547 learners in a building that has been designed to directly simulate an engineering industry working environment. Not only will the building provide the normal facilities such as technical classrooms, E-learning suite, café, changing and locker facilities with showers and toilets it will also provide an open plan workshop of approximately 2,000m2 offering the following provision:

MIG and TIG Welding
Traditional Turning and Milling
Computerised Numerical Control (CNC) programming
CNC Milling
CNC Turning
Industrial scale 3D printing
Aircraft fitting
Composite Engineering
Measurement and Dimensional Control Lab
Ultrasonic Non-Destructive Testing
Sheet Fabrication
Boat Construction and Design
Inboard and Outboard engine bays and testing facilities
Marine electrical/electronic installation and diagnostics
Yacht Plumbing
Marine hydraulics and auxiliaries
Marine Drive Systems

More information can be found at https://www.iwcollege.ac.uk/information/campus-facilities/cecamm/.

Solent Partners

We have moved - visit our new website www.solentpartners.com