Our new £4.75million Advanced Construction Engineering (ACE) Centre is now open, equipped to train the next generation of construction professionals, including builders, plumbers, electricians, decorators and carpenters. The state-of-the-art facility, which includes a revolutionary ‘Digital Lab’ featuring a Virtual Reality classroom, 3D printing facilities and industry-standard workshop equipment, will provide training opportunities for up to 350 students on full time Study Programmes, professional development courses for adult students and Apprenticeships.
There is a focus on developing the skills needed for the most up to date construction and engineering technologies, with the Centre set to tackle the severe skills shortages threatening to hit the construction industry in Northamptonshire. Alongside courses which focus on craft skills there are also courses at Level 3 for those looking for supervisory, technician or management careers in the sector, such as in Civil Engineering, Building Services Engineering, or Project Management.
Courses are offered from Level 1 through to Level 3 and progression routes at Level 4 and 5 for technician, supervisory and management roles in Construction Engineering. Students also have the option to take a multi-skills programme, including Bricklaying, Plumbing, Carpentry, Decorating and Electrical, which will allow students to experience a number of trades before deciding where to specialise.
The Centre aims to produce a pipeline of ‘work-ready’ staff for local employers, with companies including the likes of Kier, Balfour Beatty, ENGIE, Bowmer & Kirkland, Metcalfe’s and the Murphy Group signed up as industry-based partners. Addressing both the skills gap and the ageing workforce is seen as a top priority within leading construction companies and local employers have backed the ACE Centre plans.
A spokesman for Kier said: “This project provides a key opportunity to help nurture and develop talent in the younger generation where we currently see a skills gap shortage. The significant benefits that it will provide are skills and training to enhance the future for the local construction industry, local individuals and to the local area.”