/ News / New engineering facilities will keep Lancashire at number one

Nelson and Colne College has unveiled a £2m hi-tech engineering facility - part funded by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – which is designed to help the county stay at the forefront of the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The college’s new department features a subsonic wind-tunnel, along with workshops equipped with the latest technology and software such as computerised numerical control machinery, and was designed in consultation with local employers.

The department, which also includes an innovation laboratory and 3D printing and manufacturing area, will help the college’s engineering students learn the skills needed to help them get jobs in Lancashire’s advanced manufacturing sector.

Guests were invited to see the facilities at a launch event, which also featured an interactive robot called Oscar which talked to visitors about apprenticeships.

The LEP has invested £1.4m into the project, as part of a £30m Lancashire Growth Deal initiative which will support new top-quality facilities across the county offering extra training places and apprenticeships in key sectors of the local economy.

Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, Director of the Lancashire Skills Hub, said: “Being able to learn on advanced equipment such as the wind-tunnel will give students a huge advantage when they go into higher education or the jobs market.

“Lancashire is number one for aerospace and at the forefront of advanced manufacturing generally and to keep that position and develop it still further, we need to make sure we are producing workers with the skills employers will need in the future.

“That’s why the LEP is investing in a number of modern, well-equipped training facilities which will open over the next two or three years and help provide the skilled workforce needed to fuel economic growth.”

Nelson and Colne College’s Assistant Principal for Enterprise and Engagement Alison Rushton said: “This is such an exciting time for the college, and we are looking forward to seeing school, college and adult learners, as well as employers, benefit from this outstanding skills facility.

“By taking on apprentices, businesses can benefit in a number of ways, ensuring they are up to date with industry standards and gaining skilled staff in a cost effective way.

“Manufacturing forms the largest private sector employment for Pendle, so there really is no better time for students to get ready for their future with Nelson and Colne College.”

Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton added: “Lancashire is a global player in the aviation and advanced manufacturing markets and thanks to government investment this new facility will help us build on these strengths. Local MP Andrew Stephenson has been a long term campaigner and invited me to visit and see for myself what is being done locally only recently. 

“I was left in no doubt that this county has a major role to play in the success of the Northern Powerhouse and this is further proof the region will continue to lead the way with skills and jobs in high-tech sectors as we rebalance the economy.”

The LEP aims to boost the local economy by £3bn by 2025, creating 50,000 jobs and supporting the delivery of essential infrastructure, including the building of 40,000 new homes.

Engineering is a vocational programme at Nelson and Colne College, which has seen many students progress to top Universities and successful careers.

For more information about studying Engineering at Nelson and Colne College contact 01282 440217 or visit www.nelson.ac.uk

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