The college is set to receive £4m from the government’s Further Education Capital Transformation Fund to help towards construction of a technology and skills hub at its Chesterfield Road site,
Called the Future Tech Skills and Knowledge Exchange, the project has already been backed by £4m from Mansfield’s Towns Fund allocation – this match-funding from the government will enable the scheme to progress to the next stage, and it is hoped work will commence in 2023, subject to planning approval, with the centre fully operational in 2024.
The £8m centre will deliver new courses in modern technology such as electric vehicle design and maintenance, and offer opportunities for local businesses to benefit from the technological expertise of both the college and Nottingham Trent University, as well as their networks of industrial partnerships to help them create well-paid jobs in Mansfield and the surrounding area.
Andrew Cropley, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College, said: “I am delighted that our funding bid has been successful so that we can push on with bringing this really important scheme to fruition.
“The Future Tech Skills and Knowledge Exchange will help local businesses to embrace new technologies and create forward-looking, high-skilled and well-paid jobs for local people.
"This £8m facility will be a key component in transforming the local economy by preparing students for employment opportunities in emerging industries and further strengthening our partnerships with employers.
“This gives the college yet another opportunity to play its part in the future prosperity of Mansfield and surrounding communities.”
Ben Bradley MP also welcomed the news that the college was one of sixty-two further education colleges to benefit from a share of more than £400 million to upgrade buildings and transform campuses.
As a Further Education Ambassador, the Mansfield MP has consistently pushed for this kind of investment to ensure that students have the best facilities to learn valuable skills that will help them progress with their future careers.
Commenting, Mr Bradley said: “It is absolutely brilliant news that West Notts College has been picked to benefit from this share of £400 million.
"I work closely with West Notts and I know this funding will help it fulfil its potential and deliver the best possible outcomes for students across Mansfield.
“It’s an honour to be able to shout up for Mansfield and Warsop as I am making sure we’re at the heart of Government’s levelling up agenda.
"I’m pleased my constituents will get the opportunity to receive high-quality training thanks to this investment and I am looking forward to seeing the improvements!”
The Further Education Capital Transformation fund was first launched in September 2020 by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The first phase of the fund saw an initial £200 million allocated to all colleges so they could carry out urgent remedial work to refurbish their buildings.
Following this, in April 2021, the government announced plans to work in partnership with sixteen colleges with some of the poorest condition sites in the country to upgrade their sites and ensure they are excellent places to learn.
Construction is under way at one of these projects – Stafford College – and others will soon be ready to begin works.
Today’s announcement is the outcome of a bidding round that was open to all colleges – for additional funding to help upgrade their campuses.
The cash boost will make sure even more people are supported to get the skills they need to get a good job, levelling up opportunity across the country.
This significant investment is supporting the transformation of post-16 education and training by ensuring colleges are great places to learn and students have access to modern, fit-for-purpose facilities.
The funding will support colleges to undertake building or refurbishment projects that will dramatically improve learning environments, including the creation of dedicated teaching facilities for subjects, such as automotive, ICT, science and engineering.
This will support more people to get the training they need to progress into rewarding jobs and plug skills gaps in local communities.
Some colleges will also construct new teaching spaces to replace buildings in poor condition elsewhere in town centres or on campuses.
Since being elected, Mr Bradley has worked closely with West Notts College and set up a partnership with Nottingham Trent University, which has brought millions of investment in the college site and delivered new courses.
He continues to work with West Notts College and NTU on projects where he can influence the Department for Education on the Government’s new technical skills agenda.