Designs revealed for £6.3m STEM and Health Skills Centre

Designs have been revealed for a £6.3m STEM and Health Skills Centre in Bodmin that aims to transform the teaching of industry-relevant skills in Cornwall

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and Health Skills Centre for North and East Cornwall is being built by Truro and Penwith College with support from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is meeting £3.78m of the costs through the Government’s Getting Building Fund (GBF).

The LEP successfully bid for £14.3m of GBF funding during the summer following a Government call for ‘shovel-ready’ projects that could create jobs and support post-Covid-19 economic recovery across the country.

Work on the STEM and Health Skills Centre is expected to begin in February next year and scheduled to be completed by March 2022.

The project has been welcomed by Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP, who said: “We are levelling-up learning across the country so that our young people are equipped with the skills they need to succeed. By supporting the new STEM and Health Skills Centre in Bodmin with a £3.7 million Getting Building Fund investment, we will be helping over 300 local people a year to enter further education.

 “The centre will also create 15 new jobs and support 150 business, meaning the benefits will ripple across the whole community.”

The centre will also create 15 new jobs and support 150 business

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government

The STEM and Health Skills 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.

And it will provide a range of locally delivered nursing and care apprentices up to and including registered nurse, extending the College’s current work with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust to other health providers across the county. This will make a significant contribution to meeting the current staffing shortfall in health together with providing career routes wholly locally based and through paid apprenticeships.

In total, the centre expects to create 15 new jobs within five years and provide support to 150 businesses. It will offer 120 apprenticeships per year and is expected to help 300 people annually into further learning, leading to higher level vocational qualifications.

Truro and Penwith College Principal Martin Tucker said: “Everyone at Truro and Penwith College is excited about the delivery of the new STEM and Health Skills Centre for Cornwall, especially as we reach milestones such as a first look at the building design.

“The educational and skills-growth potential the Skills Centre brings are the very epitome of the forward-focussed, positive Cornwall that the College works hard to support and I’ve no doubt that this important co-investment from the College and LEP will herald in a new era in the growth of socio-economic opportunity for individuals, communities and businesses across the north and east of Cornwall.

We very much look forward to seeing these designs become reality as building work starts in the New Year

Martin Tucker, Truro and Penwith College Principal

“We very much look forward to seeing these designs become reality as building work starts in the New Year.”

Frances Brennan, chair of the LEP’s Employment and Skills Board, said: “The STEM and Health Skills Centre will equip hundreds of people every year with the skills demanded by new and growing areas of our economy, from energy and mining, to e-health and space, all of which will be important to our post-Covid recovery. I’m particularly pleased to see a focus on adult education. Covid is having a tumultuous impact on the labour market and it’s vital people have the opportunity to reskill.”

The building has been designed by St Ives architects Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole, who also designed much of the Truro and Penwith College campus. It will feature a health simulation suite for nursing and care skills, state-of-the-art engineering workshops and be equipped with the very latest in digital technology.

The STEM and Health Skills centre is planning to work closely with key Cornish employers to develop bespoke courses to meet immediate and emerging skills needs.

The LEP is supporting six other projects across Cornwall valued at £58m with £14.3m of GBF investment, supporting 1,100 jobs.