A planning application has been submitted for a £3.38m advanced manufacturing technology centre to be built at Furness College in Barrow.
Lancaster-based Harrison Pitt Architects has been appointed to design the state-of-the art centre which will help the college provide students with the skills and training required by some of the area’s biggest employers, such as BAE Systems, Siemens, GSK, Kimberly Clark and Centrica.
As part of the growth deal in July 2014, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership secured £1.2m from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to go towards the project, with the college adding its own funding contribution.
The 14,000 sqft centre will host engineering and advanced manufacturing research, as well as rapid prototyping and high voltage test laboratories. It will allow the college to recruit up to 1,150 apprentices in engineering and advanced manufacturing at any one time.
Zoe Hooton, architect at Harrison Pitt Architects, said: “This centre will be designed to reflect the processes used by highly specialised international companies in the local area who we have collaborated with closely.
“Along with the college we have also researched similar facilities across the country to ensure this project puts Furness College at the forefront of advanced manufacturing skills and training. It’s great to be involved in a project that will help hundreds of young people secure a career in the advanced manufacturing sector.”
David Green, director of capital project for Furness College, said: “The new centre will provide an inspiring, rewarding and inclusive environment for all learners. Employers recognise the need for investment in training and skills and have given this project their full support. The new advanced manufacturing and technology centre will meet the demand for specialist technically trained staff.”
The new centre will deliver science, technology, engineering and maths-related subjects with a focus on engineering skills development. It will support the estimated £1bn of investment that will be made in advanced manufacturing by companies in the Furness area over the next five years, including investment in infrastructure, buildings and processes for BAE Systems Maritime Submarines and a new biopharmaceuticals plant by GSK in Ulverston. These projects are complemented by investments by Siemens Subsea, Centrica, Forge Europa, Dong Energy and National Grid and other local companies.
The planning application has been submitted to Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council and will go before its planning committee early in 2015. If approved, work could start on the project in May 2015 and be completed by February 2016.