News / construction

New £6m construction skills centre for Bristol

By jack pitts, Wednesday Jun 6, 2018

A new centre teaching construction skills will give 850 people training in trades over its first three years.

Around £6m will be invested in the hub at the City of Bristol College, which will offer training through higher apprenticeships and more traditional learning routes.

Those behind the new 2,500 square metre centre by the college’s South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove Park hope it will provide “much-needed skilled workers for the city and wider region”.

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The Construction Skills Centre will train around 850 people over the first three years when it opens in 2021.

It will be funded by business champion group the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and will be be administered by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

Steve West says there is a need to innovate and re-think construction for the future

Professor Steve West, chair of the West of England LEP, said: “We’re a very successful region, but we know there are skills gaps in some key areas, including construction. It is a vital contributor to our economy and we must ensure that we have a strong and steady pipeline of talent for construction businesses.

“My hope is that whilst training for today, we innovate and re-think construction for the future. We need to design and construct buildings in new and innovative ways, using new materials and techniques if we are to really accelerate building homes for the future.”

The project was earmarked for approval a year ago and the West of England Joint Committee – made up of Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset councils and West of England LEP – agreed to allocate funding on Friday, June 1, pending approval of a full business case.

Tim Bowles says the new centre will play a key role in the region.

West of England mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “WECA has committed to working with colleges, councils and businesses to help the construction industry fill the estimated 82,500 jobs that will be created by 2036.

“This new Construction Skills Centre in South Bristol, along with Bath College’s Somer Construction Centre in Radstock – also funded through the Local Growth Fund – will play a key role.

“We will also be working with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) on a regional action plan to improve construction skills and availability of workforce.”

Lee Probert, principal and chief executive at City of Bristol College added: “This is great news for City of Bristol College, but even better news for the people of Bristol.

“The new Construction Skills Centre, due to open in 2021, will offer immediate benefits to the city, such as jobs in construction, but also state-of-the-art training facilities and a variety of education routes that include apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships, university level courses and demand led training solutions for employers, for generations to come.

“We are grateful to the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership for their valuable support of this project and shared commitment to the ongoing development of education and skills in South Bristol and beyond.”


City of Bristol College apprentices at work or at the college. January 2014. Photographer Freia Turland m: 07875514528 e:


Jack Pitts is a local democracy reporter for Bristol.


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