Milton Keynes College Group has been awarded a grant of more than £3 million to construct new buildings on its Chaffron Way campus to help cope with a predicted increase in student numbers.
The money will be spent on extending, refurbishing and repurposing college buildings for the Engineering and Construction departments and has come from the government’s new Post-16 Capacity Fund.
The extra space is needed as a result of the growth of the city. By 2024 it’s predicted that there will be 700 more young people finishing their GCSEs 4 than today. It’s also evidence of the Group’s increasing popularity among students, growing numbers of whom are now opting for Further Education rather than sixth form. More and more are being attracted by the career opportunities on offer from T-Levels, apprenticeships and the highly prized digital courses taught at the South Central Institute of Technology.
Liana Sinclair is the Group Head of Estates and she says, “The success of this bid is a real vote of confidence in Milton Keynes College Group by the Department for Education as by no means every college around the country that applied has been awarded the money they wanted. In recent years we’ve had to limit the number of students we can accept onto Engineering & Construction courses because of the sheer lack of space in our classrooms and our workshops with their industry standard equipment. What’s more, the refurbished buildings will be developed to very high standards in terms of their sustainability and will be on a par with the top 25% of such premises in the country. In the longer term the availability of increased workshop space will enable Milton Keynes College Group to develop a new curriculum which develops and adapts skills with an environmental and sustainability focus.”
The news comes within days of the announcement of a new partnership with construction company, Careys to provide groundworker apprenticeships to local students. Delivery of the apprenticeship will be carried out from the Careys Milton Keynes office, which under the terms of the partnership has become a joint Careys and Milton Keynes College Group campus. The College will take over the ground floor of the building, where the meeting rooms and open-plan environment provide space for classroom-based learning, with all practically based work carried out in the yard area at the rear of the building.
Liana says, “There is a significant shortage of skills in the area in the engineering and construction sectors and these two announcements will put the Milton Keynes College Group at the forefront of the struggle to meet that demand. Young people are realising that there are some great careers to be had in the sectors and that this is the place to come to take those first steps towards them.”