Topping out of new technology building that will match the best in UK

Truro and Penwith College and Midas Construction have celebrated a major milestone in an exciting project to build a new specialist technology facility.

Senior members of staff from Truro & Penwith College and Midas on a scissor lift at the top of the Valency building.

L-R Mark Jones (Operational Manager for Midas Construction); Bob Crossland (Chair of Truro & Penwith College Corporation), Martin Tucker (Truro & Penwith College Principal), Andy Stittle (Truro & Penwith College Head of Partnerships)

The topping out ceremony, a celebration of the highest point of construction, saw the ceremonial fixing of the final roofing sheets to the steel frame at the £7 million project at Truro College.

The new Valency Building will be part of the South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT), with more than 1,200m2 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 Ofsted Outstanding College marked the topping out with staff and partners from Midas Construction, part of the Midas Group, taking a scissor lift to reach the roof of the new building.

Truro and Penwith College’s Chair of Governors Bob Crossland said: “I was delighted to help celebrate the topping-out of such an important educational facility for Cornwall on behalf of the governors at Truro and Penwith College. The South West Institute of Technology, in partnership with the growing group of engineering and digital businesses in Cornwall, will help meet the local higher skills needs for these important industries, offering well paid careers and making a valuable contribution to local economic growth.”

Martin Tucker, Principal of Truro and Penwith College, added: “Everyone at Truro and Penwith College is extremely proud to have reached this milestone in the development of what will become an iconic feature in the delivery of next-level skills and education for Cornwall and the South West. The partnership with Midas has been a very successful one and we cannot wait to start welcoming the first students into the Valency building as soon as construction is complete in the new year.”

The SWIOT is one of 12 twelve new institutes of technology (IOTs) planned by government 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 will feature electronic and digital laboratories, engineering workshops, specialist welding facilities, a variety of industry standard, computer controlled (CNC) machinery and shared learning spaces.

Qualifications will 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.

Mike Borkowski, Business Development Director at Midas Construction, said: “There is a fantastic partnership behind the SWIOT and the development of this impressive new facility and as a Cornwall-based business we are very proud to be involved in such a strategically important skills project.

“Given the challenges of recent months, it is particularly pleasing to have marked such a significant stage in the construction of the Valency Building. We very much look forward to the next phase of the project and to the delivery by Midas of yet another high-profile scheme creating modern, innovative teaching spaces for Cornwall."