College opens new £500,000 automotive engineering centre

A college has officially opened its new £500,000 automotive training centre.

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Shrewsbury Colleges Group welcomed staff, governors, and students to open the bespoke 'Automotive Engineering Training Centre', which is based at the London Road campus.

The facility has been open and in use over the last nine months but the chance to host an official opening had been delayed by the pandemic.

The new facility was unveiled by college Principal James Staniforth along with facility sponsors RMT Garage Equipment and Draper Tools.

Also present at the event was the British Touring Car Championship team, EXCELR8 Motorsport, along with one of its team drivers, Chris Smiley.

The event included demonstrations of the latest techniques and equipment.

The creation of the centre has supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which has invested more than £200,000 in the project through its Growth Deal with Government.

Mandy Thorn, Chair of the LEP, said: “Thanks to the investment and support from businesses, the LEP and Shrewsbury Colleges Group, this centre is a leading hub for automotive training in the region.

“It means students will have the skills needed to help employers compete in a highly competitive market and also help improve the career prospects of our young people given the thriving automotive sector and supply chain we have here in the Marches.”

Andy Lee, Director of Employer Engagement and Curriculum Leader for Engineering and Motor Vehicle at the college, said: ‘We were delighted that so many local automotive businesses were able to join us in opening the new automotive centre. This development has enabled us to expand and enhance our capacity to deliver accessible and relevant training in the core economic sectors of advanced manufacturing engineering and automotive for the region.

"The additional training opportunities we can offer through these facilities will further enhance the engineering and automotive facilities we already have. We will be able to provide training in such areas as electric vehicles, advanced diagnostics, ADAS, master technician, and further develop our MOT and mechanical engineering capacity."

James Staniforth, Principal at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said: ‘We are very grateful for the Marches LEP, RMT Garage Equipment, Draper Tools and Makita Manufacturing Europe Ltd – based in Telford, in supporting us financially and technically to enable this much-needed expansion and re-development to take place in these areas.

"We were thrilled to be able to show our fantastic new facility to the local motor trade and showcase what we can offer to this hugely important sector of the economy. This facility will allow local residents to fill high-value job opportunities which will support economic growth within the region as well as enabling those people already employed within these sectors to upskill."

The centre, which cost over £500K was funded partly by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership Skills Infrastructure Capital Fund, with £200k being awarded to the project.

The college met the remainder of the costs and in partnership with RMT Garage Equipment Ltd, Draper Tools and Makita Manufacturing Europe Ltd – based in Telford, a further £150K in equipment and tooling was provided.

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