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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Key players kick-off work on £7m centre

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

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Digging deep: 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, Workington MP Tony Cunningham, Copeland councillor Phil Greatorex, Lakes College principal Cath Richardson, Graham Campbell of Nuclear Management Partners, and Rae Thomlinson of Britain’s Energy Coast

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

With work already under way on the building, country council chairman Norman Clarkson cut the first sod on the site yesterday 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.

Mr Cunningham said: “This is only a part, although 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.”

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

Esh Construction was awarded a £5.5m building contract in January and construction work is expected to take just under a year.

Britain’s Energy Coast is investing £4m in the centre from its funding partner NMP.

Lakes College has provided the land and £1m while Britain’s Energy Coast Campus has invested £2m.

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.”

During their visit the partners toured the college’s existing plumbing and bricklaying training areas.

Among the plumbing students they met was Adam White, 19, of Victoria Place, Workington, who is studying for a level one NVQ.

He welcomed the new centre and 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. I think a lot more people will want to come and give it a go.”

Level three bricklaying diploma student Chantelle Thompson, 21, of Rowe Terrace, Workington, gave a demonstration to the visitors. She agreed that the new centre was likely to attract more students.

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