College investing in the future of Cornwall

Through continued investment in infrastructure, qualifications and the futures of Cornwall’s young people, Ofsted Outstanding Truro and Penwith College is at the heart of transforming Cornwall’s vision of a sustainable, future-focused workforce into reality.

Partnership working is central to the success. The College works closely and collaboratively with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, Cornwall Council, Chamber of Commerce and Cornwall’s key industry and sector leads to ensure the shared vision is delivered. 
As Cornwall stands on the brink of such an exciting 21st Century period in its transformation, Truro and Penwith College is perfectly positioned to capture the energy of this moment and help our young people bask in its glow.

Technical Engineering
Valency building. Cornwall’s only partner in the South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT)

Valency building. Cornwall’s only partner in the South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT)

In March, Truro and Penwith College opened the Valency building at its Truro campus as Cornwall’s only partner in the South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT).

The £7 million investment has more than 1,200 square metres of space over two floors playing host to facilities matching the best in the UK for training students from across the region in technical subjects.

The SWIOT is one of only ten new Institutes of Technology (IOTs) planned by Government nationally to equip the British workforce with required skills across key sectors. SWIOT consists of five major FE colleges in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset working in collaboration with the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth, delivering higher technical skills across the region.

The Valency building features state-of-the-art electronic and digital laboratories, engineering workshops, specialist welding facilities, a variety of industry-standard, computer-controlled (CNC) machinery and shared learning spaces.

Qualifications include higher-level Certificates, Diplomas and brand-new Higher-Level Apprenticeships, all drawing on expertise from a group of 'anchor employers' and key regional and Cornwall-based businesses with investment from the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) for the Heart of the South West and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Much of this provision will include additional qualifications and training that reflect Cornwall’s growing need for these skills that underpin the aerospace, space, creative, energy, marine and mining sectors highlighted in the Local Enterprise Partnership’s ’10 Opportunities’ publication. These sectors are also going to be crucial to post-Covid-19 economic recovery whilst simultaneously facilitating the ‘clean and inclusive’ growth demanded in the draft Local Industrial Strategy due to their capacity to expedite the smart use of remote technology and to improve renewable energy use and manufacturing techniques.

Space Sector
Goonhilly Earth Station Apprentice Sean Gilbert

Goonhilly Earth Station Apprentice Sean Gilbert

In space, the College is delivering on a collaboration that will provide training for a range of exciting careers in the sector with the launch of an innovative Space Technology Training project.

Unique to the South West, the project is run in partnership with the University of Exeter as part of the Meeting Smart Specialisation Business Needs through Higher Level Skills (SSHLS) project, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund.

The project team officially started on May 4 and will provide the opportunity for experts in space and satellite technology, engineering, physics and astronomy to work with employers in Cornwall in identifying appropriate training to help boost their development and the development of the sector as a whole. 

Guided by experts in the sector based at the University of Leicester, the Open University, and in Cornwall at Goonhilly Earth Station, Spaceport Cornwall and Aerospace Cornwall, based on information from businesses, the team will develop a suite of courses that will provide graduates and non-graduate staff within the sector with the education and training needed to support new and existing businesses linked to the space industry.  

Heading up the team as Space Technology Training Project Manager is Heidi Thiemann, an experienced space sector educationalist who has worked in the space skills domain for over five years.

Nursing student simulating industry practices in Health Skills Centre.

Nursing student simulating industry practices in Health Skills Centre.

The College is investing in a new STEM and Health Skills Centre that aims to transform learning opportunities for young people in Cornwall and equip them with the industry-relevant skills they need to succeed.

The £6.3m STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and Health Skills Centre in Bodmin is planned for completion in March 2022. It is supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is meeting £3.78m of the costs after successfully bidding for funds through the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

The centre will offer engineering, manufacturing and digital skills for the aerospace, space, creative, energy and mining sectors, in line with the LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy.

It will also provide a range of locally-delivered nursing and care apprenticeships up to and including registered nurse, extending the College’s current work with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) to other health providers across the county. The facilities will exploit the latest technology in simulation training suites and replicate this in Truro also.

Over 80 Nursing Associate RCHT trainees – a new role created by the NHS to bridge the gap between a Healthcare Assistant and a registered nurse – are currently following their two-year Apprenticeship at the College which includes a foundation degree qualification awarded by the University of Greenwich. This allows learners to study a programme from one of the leading nursing universities in the UK without leaving Cornwall, and fulfilling the need for more nurses on the frontline of Cornwall’s NHS. From September the college will extend its apprenticeship and degree provision to include the full registered nurse qualification and degree, helping to provide local training, careers and a sustainable workforce in Cornwall.

Truro and Penwith College is the first non-university provider to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) list of approved education providers. 

STEM and Construction
Science students experimenting in College's state-of-the-art science laboratories

Science students experimenting in College's state-of-the-art science laboratories

Truro and Penwith College has been awarded a share of £48.5 million to invest in new learning facilities at its campuses in Truro and Penzance which reflect the needs of the industry and employers.

The College’s Construction and Health and Science departments are recipients of this investment with new construction areas and state-of-the-art science laboratories to be developed.

Truro and Penwith College is one of seven colleges in the South West which have been awarded the Department for Education (DfE) investment to ensure young people studying pioneering T Level qualifications have access to the cutting-edge facilities and equipment they need to get ahead.

In Health and Science, two large laboratories with experimental and technician areas will be created with space to deliver theory and laboratory work across the disciplines. These will provide excellent progression routes for those wishing to study nursing-related courses and apprenticeships including degree level locally in Truro and the new Steam and Health Centre in Bodmin.

Students carrying out building plans in the colleges modern construction areas.

Students surveying plans in the college's modern construction areas.

In Construction, the investment will fund the building of a new Construction trades area at Truro College, to recognise the growing importance of this sector in the local economy. In 2020 the College saw a large increase in students entering its construction trades provision and this growth is forecast to continue.

As well as new construction and carpentry bays for students to practise their skills, additional industry-ready construction tools and equipment will be installed, ensuring students are as career ready as possible after completing their course.