ace centreWork has started on a state-of-the-art new facility aimed at tackling the severe skills shortages threatening to hit the construction industry in Northamptonshire.

The £4.75million Advanced Construction Engineering (ACE) Centre, to be built at Northampton College’s Booth Lane campus, will help train the next generation of builders, plumbers and decorators and teach pioneering new techniques aimed at equipping the workforce of the future with the very latest skills.

dsc 06971Two Northampton College students have been handpicked and appointed by one of the world’s leading infrastructure companies, Balfour Beatty.

Bradley Foley, 16, and 18-year-old Thomas Skinner, both BTEC Level 3 Civil Engineering students, have started industrial placements at the company’s regional offices in Northampton Business Park at Brackmills, where they are now combining three days of classroom learning in college with two days on-site work experience.

saints

Not content with being stars on the pitch, three Northampton Saints players are now bidding to be top of the class by taking on a part-time welding course at Northampton College.

Tom Wood, Alex Waller and Teimana Harrison are all taking the course at Booth Lane as they look to develop their skills away from Franklin's Gardens.

The trio are taking a Level 1 course in Fabrication and Welding, taking advantage of the college’s state-of-the-art facilities to hone their skills.

Back row forward Tom Wood, aged 31, is a DIY enthusiast who has his own workshop at home. When he’s not playing for Saints or England, for whom he has 50 caps, he can often be found tinkering with his own designs.

He said: “I’m doing the course to broaden my skillset so I can fabricate stuff at home. Basically I’m a hobbyist, doing a bit of woodwork and metalwork in my own workshop and I just wanted to put some paperwork and qualifications with the stuff I have been doing self-taught at home.

“All the facilities and equipment here at the college are first class. You can go nuts for a couple of hours, blitz some welds, make some mistakes and get the tuition from the guys to help hone your skills.”

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