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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Groundbreaking visit to new construction centre

SOME of the key people behind a new construction education centre in West Cumbria came together this month to lend a hand to the project.

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MILESTONE: Cumbria County Council chairman Norman Clarkson cuts the first sod on the site of the new Britain's Energy Coast Construction Skills Centre water tank, watched by Nigel Couzens, chairman of Britain's Energy Coast Campus; Copeland councillor Phil Greatorex, portfolio holder for regeneration; Workington MP Tony Cunningham; Lakes College principal Cath Richardson; Graham Campbell, general manager at Nuclear Management Partners; and Rae Thomlinson of Britain's Energy Coast.

The £7 million Britain’s Energy Coast Construction Skills Centre is being built at Lakes College, Lillyhall, in a project led by Cumbria County Council.

With building work already under way, county council chairman Norman Clarkson cut the first sod on the site which will house a water run-off tank for the development. He was watched by college principal Cath Richardson, Workington MP Tony Cunningham and representatives of Britain’s Energy Coast, Copeland council, Britain’s Energy Coast Campus and Nuclear Management Partners.

The new construction skills centre will provide modern teaching spaces and workshops for up to 600 students.

The project’s partners toured the college’s existing plumbing and bricklaying training areas. Among the plumbing students they met was ADAM WHITE, 19, of Workington, who is studying for a level one NVQ.

He said: “It’s going to mean a lot because there will be a lot more space to work and being in a new building is going to be really nice to work in rather than an old workshop. It will attract more people in.”

Level three bricklaying diploma student CHANTELLE THOMPSON, 21, of Workington, gave a demonstration to the visitors.

Esh Construction was awarded a £5.5million building contract in January and construction work is expected to take just under a year. Britain’s Energy Coast is investing £4million in the centre from its funding partner NMP. Lakes College has provided the land and £1 million while Britain’s Energy Coast Campus has invested £2million.

Graham Campbell, general manager at NMP, said: “We are very pleased to see this project moving. I believe NMP socio-economic support is about supporting projects that will make a difference to the people in the region.

“We see it as a key project that will deliver short-term and long-term projects to the whole of West Cumbria.”

Mr Cunningham said: “This is a hugely important part in the development of West Cumbria. The future is incredibly bright. For too long when there has been major manufacturing and construction we have brought people in from Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.

“For the first time we will be training our own young people to do these jobs.”

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