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£6.5m university centre gets green light

Posted: 08 September 2015

A planned £6.5m university centre at West Nottinghamshire College has been given the green light.

It comes after the project received £2.6m funding from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

D2N2's contribution towards the new centre – to be built at the college’s Derby Road campus, in Mansfield – was agreed at a meeting of its Infrastructure and Investment Board yesterday (September 7). This means that work to create the state-of-the-art facility, which will improve access to Higher Education among local communities, is now set to get underway.

The three-storey ‘Vision University Centre’ received planning permission from Mansfield District Council in June.

It will replace a single-storey building and provide a much expanded facility; with teaching and learning spaces, IT suites, study rooms, a learning resource centre, a 100-seat lecture theatre and a science laboratory.

The college, which has around 500 students on Higher Education (HE) courses, says the centre would boost those numbers by an initial 400, rising to 600 after three years. Students would include those on advanced apprenticeships, and studying part-time professional qualifications and short courses.

Construction of the Vision University Centre is expected to begin in October of this year and be completed by September 2016, in time for a new intake of students beginning their first term at the college. Complementary works onsite will include a multi-use outdoor games area and 50 additional car parking spaces.

D2N2 – a private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community organisations – is investing resources and funding in higher employment skills; as part of its remit to promote economic growth and create jobs across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

The £2.6m funding for the Vision University Centre comes from D2N2’s £194 million Local Growth Fund allocation; to be spent over a six year period on improving infrastructure (for example, road schemes, and skills and training sites) which will help economic development across its catchment.

Dame Asha Khemka, Principal and Chief Executive of West Nottinghamshire College, said: “This truly is wonderful news to hear that funding has been approved for our university centre.

“Not only will this transform the college and raise the already high standards of our university-level provision, but it is also set to boost our community and bring new opportunities to people who may have never considered studying at a higher level.

“By offering more courses at university-level to more people, it will bring much-needed skills and qualifications to Mansfield and Ashfield, enabling people to succeed in the ever-competitive jobs market. It will also help to fill the higher-level skills gap that this area currently has.

“This really is another monumental milestone in the college’s history and I’m proud to be a part of this.”

David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Providing access to higher level skills for potential employees of the area’s businesses is vital for building the economy and job numbers, allowing all communities to share in prosperity.

“That is why we are investing significant time and resources in skills and training development, including through capital investment schemes which create leading facilities such as the Vision University Centre at West Nottinghamshire College.”

To learn more about what the D2N2 LEP is doing to develop skills and training see here.

 

 

 

 

 

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