Local leaders from politics and industry have given their approval to Wiltshire College & University Centre’s revitalised Salisbury campus on a tour to mark the completion of a £14million redevelopment project.
Salisbury MP John Glen as well as Paul Moorby and Paddy Bradley, Chair and CEO respectively at the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), were welcomed to the new-look campus by College Principal and CEO Amanda Burnside and Deputy Principal Curriculum and Quality Iain Hatt on Friday.
The refurbished site will welcome new students for the first time when the 2021-22 academic year begins in September before being officially launched at a special ceremony next Spring.
The project has involved the demolition of the previous central building on Southampton Road and the construction of a new three-storey campus building. The new building comprises science and engineering labs, construction workshops, a TV studio, canteen facilities and conferencing space alongside a welcoming modern entrance.
On their tour of the site, the VIPs spoke with students and visited facilities including photography, film, electronics, science labs and the CAVE (Computer Aided Virtual Environment) before being given a preview of the Creative Arts exhibition, which launches this week.
Salisbury MP John Glen said: “I think it is a real breakthrough moment for Wiltshire College & University Centre in Salisbury. There are fantastic facilities across all disciplines, there is a real energy about the place and you can see the learning environment is being enhanced in so many different ways.
“The College has always been really important to the provision of education in the city but I think the fact that, in many of these more vocational courses, students can now go further with their studies is really important.
“Having Higher Education courses here in the city is also important. We need a blend of options but what we really want is the option for students to stay here and develop through the levels so you can see a pathway and not be worried about where you are going to have to move to continue your studies.”
This project is part of over £24m of investment secured through the SWLEP to increase Further and Higher Education provision at the College on its Salisbury and Lackham sites.
Paddy Bradley, CEO of the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We have a history of investing in projects like this at the College and we will continue to do so.
“It is really important that people who are in training experience industry-standard equipment and industry-led courses. This facility does exactly that.
“Skills-led industries are really important to the productivity of the economy in the area. When students leave the College, they will be in a much better place to move into employment because they are prepared for the world of work. Then when they are in employment, businesses will be more productive as their workforce have a higher level of skills. It’s a nice circle.”
Additional to the work at the Salisbury campus, more than £9 million is also being invested at the College’s Lackham campus to build a new Agricultural Technology Centre, the development of a higher education centre, and the installation of a robotic milking parlour, which will also open ahead of the new academic year.