New £8million mechanics training site to be built at City of Wolverhampton College
Revised plans for a new £8.1million Tech Center at the City of Wolverhampton College’s Bilston campus have been given the green light. Proposals to build the two-storey Electric Vehicle and Advanced Engineering Center of Excellence on the college’s Wellington Road site were originally sent to council in August 2020, with work now due to begin this summer.
Once completed, the facility will create hundreds of jobs for the local economy and a unique chance for thousands of students to specialize in electric vehicle mechanics and engineering. The development is part of the first phase of the council’s City Learning Quarter Masterplan, launched after successfully securing £7.7million in funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority and the rest of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.
Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for the City’s Economy, Councilor Stephen Simkins, said: ‘Never has it been more important to give our residents access to essential skills training so that “they can get the jobs available in our area. This is another important step towards our vision of a learning neighborhood in the city.”
“These plans will transform the learning environment for our students and residents. They will also provide opportunities to access a new, high-end workforce within our city – particularly in Bilston.
“We are working hard with the college to ensure that we not only provide a vibrant center of education where we enhance the city’s learning, learning and employment offerings, but also retain our best talent, rather than of losing people in different parts of the region. The new facilities in Bilston and downtown are all part of a larger citywide investment and I am confident that when our plans become reality, we will create an environment where everyone can thrive.”
In a statement to council, Jonathan Astley of Astley Partnership developers said: “Given that construction and sports – which require large bespoke spaces rather than standard classrooms – are already being delivered to the Bilston site, and as engineering and motor vehicle studies are not suited to the city centre, it has been decided to relocate these departments under one roof to the Wellington Road campus. The main campus will be at Metro One in the city centre. which, when linked to the Library and Adult Education Centre, will become the Learning Quarter centered around Old Hall Street and St George’s Parade.
“Our proposed site plan has been modified to take into account the requirements of the railway training area, as well as changes to the enclosure area and provisions for parking. There are also some internal changes to the proposed center and we have reduced the width of the access road.”
Adjustments to the parking lot, enclosure, gates, fencing and landscaping of the center were also made in the revised plans. It is estimated that the center will be responsible for almost 5,500 learners and 954 apprenticeship places in its first ten years.