Minister launches government's industrial strategy alongside new college at Stansted Airport
An £11m technical college at Stansted Airport is leading the way for the government's new industrial strategy this week.
That was the message from the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry Claire Perry as she launched construction of the new further education facility and the Conservative’s policy promoting vocational training and job skills on Monday.
The college, designed by Pascall+Watson, is the first on-site of its kind at any major UK airport. When it opens in time for the 2018 autumn term, it will provide a pipeline of future talent for the airport and the 200 plus companies it accommodates.
The two-storey facility, located on a one-acre site on land made available by the airport, has received two separate £3.5 million grants from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Local Growth Fund and Essex County Council and is also supported by a £300,000 grant by Uttlesford District Council.
The college will welcome more than 500 students each year and offer courses designed to bridge the skills gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects as well as specific airport areas such as aircraft and airport engineering, business studies, logistics and supply chain management, asset management, hospitality and customer service.
The minister said: “The new college here at Stansted is a prime example of our industrial strategy in action. Public and private sector working together to improve the skills of young people and delivering a pipeline of talent that will boost the local economy.”
The message was welcomed by Bishop’s Stortford Cllr Gary Jones, East Herts Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economic development, who said his authority was also keen to support the Harlow College off-shoot and see benefits for students in the town.
He said: “Bishop’s Stortford is the closest town in terms of students and it gives a terrific opportunity to get not only the academic set but also the practical set of skills, working with an employer on the airport and potentially turning those skills into employment and a career going forward.”
Chris Wiggan, head of external affairs at the airport, told the Independent that there were 100 vacancies currently on offer at the airport every week and as Manchester Airports Group realises its expansion ambitions, a further 5,000 would be created on site.
Chief operating officer Brad Miller reinforced that message as he addressed the dignitaries and business leaders who gathered for the official launch.
“The Stansted Airport College is a great example of the private and public sector working together on behalf of our region to try to deliver part of the solution to a very real problem.
“As a rapidly growing and ambitious airport and employer of 12,000 people, it is vital for us to develop and retain the right talent and skills.
“The airport sits within an area of low unemployment so it can often be challenging for companies to fill vacancies across our site. The aim of the project is to help address the growing skills gap in engineering, hospitality and customer service across our region, develop talent and provide more opportunities for local people to join us as we play an ever more critical role in providing UK runway capacity over the next decade.”
Harlow’s MP Robert Halfon has been instrumental in the project: “This gives the next generation coming through high-quality training in skills like aircraft engineering so that they can climb the ladder of opportunity and get the jobs and prosperity they need and the country needs.”