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Minister visits £2.8m skills investment at College of the Year

15 March 2018

The Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, the Rt. Hon. Anne Milton MP, visited Fareham College today to learn about the £2.8m Local Growth Fund investment from the Solent LEP into the college’s £4.1m Civil Engineering Training Centre (CETC).

CETC is the second flagship investment in skills awarded to Fareham College by the Solent LEP. Over 1,665 apprentices will be trained at this centre between 2018 and 2023. The purpose-built facility will offer first class training facilities which are designed to meet the future workforce requirements for civil engineering and construction businesses in the South.

Anne Milton MP, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills said:

"Fareham College is absolutely fantastic! The enthusiasm to train up young apprentices as well as older apprentices is amazing. I’m pleased to see so many people starting a successful career as an apprentice on a construction site."

Fareham College has recently been crowned TES FE College of the Year and is judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The new facility will further enhance Fareham College’s strong reputation as the leading provider of professional and technical qualifications in the region.

Nigel Duncan, Principal of Fareham College commented:

"I’m delighted to welcome the Minister to Fareham College to show her how we are meeting the future skills requirements of the local economy. We work incredibly closely with our employer partners to ensure that all our students receive high-quality training that will help them either continue their studies or move into the workplace."

The centre will be located alongside Fareham College’s industry-leading CEMAST (Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training) facility that was also backed by £6m of Solent LEP investment. The college works with major employers such as BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Airbus and South Western Railways at the site and was highly commended in a recent Ofsted inspection.

Anne Marie-Mountifield, Chief Executive of the Solent LEP added:

"The new Civil Engineering Training Centre will have a major impact on improving the essential skills required to underpin all kinds of construction and infrastructure development, including housing, commercial, industrial, transport, public sector projects and the £244m worth of capital investment the Solent LEP is making across the area. Our investment at CETC will also represent a further stage of development at the Solent Enterprise Zone.

The approach to apprenticeships at the site will be truly groundbreaking, with courses designed by leading employers to ensure apprentices have the practical skills and certifications needed to start work. Those completing their qualification at CETC will be guaranteed a job with one of the Group’s employers”

The Minister also had the opportunity to sit down and host a roundtable discussion with major civil engineering and construction businesses in the Solent region who have helped to make the new civil engineering training complex a reality. This included Blanchard Wells, Knights Brown, Dyer & Butler, Blaze, R&W, Gracelands, Aeropark and John Reilly. The employers were able to discuss with the Minister the future skill requirements of the Solent region and the UK economy more broadly.

Mark Wells, Chairman of the Solent Civil Engineering Employers’ Group, said:

“The new training centre is good news for apprentices and students, good news for employers and good news for our local economy. As a group, we came together because we recognised the importance of making sure we had access to a skilled workforce. Our collaboration with Fareham College and the Solent LEP has been very productive and I look forward to seeing the new CETC being built.”

The College currently teaches over 1,500 full-time learners, 1,000 part-time or adult learners and a further 1,000 apprentices. Student employment prospects at Fareham College are exemplary, with 98% of students and apprentices, of all ages, progressing to positive destinations that include employment, apprenticeships or further study.

Caroline Dinenage MP, stated:

“My residents in Gosport are very lucky to have Fareham College on their doorstep which is an incredibly well-run college that offers students a high-quality education. The number of people with an apprenticeship has increased in Gosport recently and this is a really positive signal that more of our young people are getting the skills that they need to build a career and get on in life.”