A major investment by South & City College Birmingham will put Longbridge firmly back on the map as the home of engineering, with the opening of a new study centre.
Bournville College, based in Longbridge Town Centre which is part of South & City College Birmingham, now boasts a £545k state-of-the-art engineering centre which will train students in mechanical and electronical engineering, having opened its doors with a VIP launch event last night (Thursday 30th August).
Almost half of the funding for the new site (£212,700) was provided by the Local Growth Fund from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership - a large proportion of which has been invested in equipping the workshops with industry standard equipment such as grinding machines drilling machines and lathes to help train aspiring engineers in the skills they need for the industry.
Students will learn from highly experienced teaching staff comprising five doctorates, decades of industry experience and excellent current connections within the sector.
Steve Grice, Head of School for Engineering and Electrical, said: “The new facility will take over a large area of the college and is a significant development for the regeneration of Longbridge. We hope that this investment will continue the tradition of automotive and mechanical engineering in the area – a history that is the lifeblood of the local community.
“The college offers electronic engineering courses already but the new centre will allow us to expand into mechanical engineering, providing more students with an opportunity to pursue a career in this field. We would welcome applications from people who are completely new to engineering or from those looking for an opportunity to upskill or reskill within the sector. We will offer BTEC Level 1 and 2 in Engineering and BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.
Joanna Duraj, who is 20 from Redditch studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Bournville and after gaining a triple distinction star, is now working towards a degree apprenticeship with Bentley Motors. She said: “My experience at Bournville College provided me with an excellent grounding in the subject and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of pursuing a career in the industry. My tutors were a huge support throughout and the course was the perfect foundation for progressing onto an apprenticeship or degree course.”
Chris Newsome, Development Director for Longbridge at St.Modwen, expert developer and regeneration specialist, said: “We’re confident that the new engineering centre will be a valuable addition to the college’s existing impressive teaching portfolio and will be a great place for aspiring engineers to learn and develop. This investment will aid the next generation of engineers and help to address skills gap we currently face.”
Tim Pile, Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), added:
“GBSLEP’s funding of the new engineering centre in Longbridge will help to deliver the talent of the future, bringing economic growth and job opportunities to Greater Birmingham and Solihull.
“Upskilling the LEP area, as set out in our Strategic Economic Plan, is of utmost importance as we work to address skills issues in the region, ensuring that companies have suitably qualified individuals and apprenticeships to help them grow. This dedicated study centre will give access to high-quality, vocational education that will offer our young people a pathway into the engineering industry.”
Dr Julie Nugent, Director of Productivity and Skills for the West Midlands Combined Authority added: “Engineering skills are key to the ongoing success of the West Midlands economy. “We welcome this investment in the Bournville engineering centre, and would encourage local and regional employers to look at the flow of engineering talent coming through this centre. “The Combined Authority is working with the region’s colleges, providers and universities to support more industry-standard training that will give young people and adults the skills that employers need now and in the future.”
The new engineering centre is now open and anyone wishing to enrol on a course at Bournville College should call 0121 694 5000 or visit www.sccb.ac.uk.