Funding for the creation of a regional centre of excellence for STEM (Science, technology, engineering and maths) has been formally agreed by the City Council’s investment board.
The funding is made up of a package totalling £12.8 m including an award from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) of £5.4m, one of only three awards across the LEP area. The council’s contribution to this investment is made up of a £2m grant and £2m loan.
This whole funding package will enable City College Plymouth to deliver 21st century skills training to local people and the business community and will drive the city’s productivity and economy by stimulating interest in vitally needed STEM subjects.
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “We are delighted to support this project and secure LEP funding in the process. Not only will the new centre be a real asset to Plymouth as a regional city, it will also be a huge benefit to the South West.
“The new centre will provide a training and skills facility to support higher skills demand in STEM related occupations as well as promote the value and worth of Britain’s Ocean City as a world leader in STEM development.”
The new centre will have a number of benefits to Plymouth, not only will it help make our city a great place to live by creating opportunities for better learning and greater investment, with more jobs and homes and, in particular, but it will also:
- Help to develop a top performing education system from early years to continuous learning opportunities
- Prepare for work and address worklessness
- Improve core skills
- Match skills with demand
- Drive entrepreneurship and innovation
Cllr Tudor Evans, continued: “Key learning around science, technology, engineering and maths is a priority area in the Plymouth Plan for Employment and Skills, which aims to help broaden career choices.
“The recent skills analysis of education and training provision carried out by the Council has raised some fundamental questions regarding the need to prioritise and focus on creating the right conditions for developing our home grown talent to match the fast advancing demands of STEM employers.
“This new centre will be a fantastic resource; not only for the College but for our wider community and will play a key part in all future developments as part of the City Deal, I am delighted that it will help contribute to Plymouth’s ambitions.”
The new centre will be opening in September 2017.
Phil Davies, Principal and Chief Executive of City College Plymouth, said: “This really is absolutely tremendous news and we are grateful to members and officers at the Council who have recognised the significant contribution which the College is making and will continue to make, in supporting the economic, social and cultural aspirations of the City.
“The College is the principal provider of technical and vocational skills-based education for young people and adults in the City. It is essential that the College is able to support existing and future regeneration projects and contribute to the wider skills needs of the City and region. This, in turn, supports the region’s strategies for growth and prosperity by delivering employer-driven provision, creating job-ready students and proactively promoting wealth creation through embedding enterprise and employability in everything that we do.”
Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health said: “The new centre will mean Plymouth is leading the way in terms of the development of STEM skills. I’d like to encourage more girls to consider careers around STEM. Times have changed and being an engineer doesn’t mean being stuck in a factory. We are talking about world class technical careers.”