Work is due to start next week on the multi-million pound transformation of a derelict brewery site into a centre of excellence for construction education.
The University of Wolverhampton completed the deal to buy the 12 acre Springfield Brewery site in Wolverhampton city centre earlier this year after revealing £70 million plans to transform it into a state-of-the-art construction and skills campus and business park.
The Springfield Campus will become the home of the new West Midlands Construction University Technical College (WMCUTC), which the University is sponsoring along with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
The University’s own School of Architecture and the Built Environment is also earmarked to move to the site making it a local, regional, national and international centre of excellence.
Plans for the UTC have been approved by the City of Wolverhampton Council, meaning principal contractors Thomas Vale and technical services providers Mott MacDonald are now ready to start on site for preparatory work for the new build.
Designed by Associated Architects, the development will involve conversion of part of the site including a Grade II listed building, as well as building a three-storey extension.
The WMCUTC will provide education for up to 600 14-19-year-olds specialising in construction and the application of IT in the built environment, preparing students for technical careers in the construction industry.
It opens in September on a temporary site at the former Northicote School site and be known as the Northwood Park Campus before moving to the new purpose built facility at Springfield.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, said:
“The University is incredibly proud to have invested in such a fantastic opportunity for the future generation of construction and built environment professionals.
“This is all part of our major investment plan, “Our Vision, Your Opportunity” which will generate £250 million of investment over the next five years as we seek to focus on economic growth and creating jobs.
“The Springfield Campus will really put the City of Wolverhampton and the Black Country on the map and we’re delighted to be working with the CITB and many other major construction businesses as part of this project.
“This will see the creation of a skills pathway for construction education and training from the age of 14 right through to senior professionals.”
Principal of WMCUTC, Tom Macdonald, said:
“This is an exciting time for the WMCUTC as we complete the final arrangements to receive our first cohort of Year 10 and 12 students.
“This combined venture between WMCUTC, the University of Wolverhampton, CITB and a host of construction businesses represents an incredible opportunity for the young people of the West Midlands.
“Uniquely our first cohort of students will get involved in the construction of their own school buildings, working alongside professionals to develop their skills in areas such as architecture, quantity surveying, civil engineering and network installation.”
Amanda Sergeant, UTC Programme Manager at CITB and a member of the Board of Governors of the new WMCUTC, commented:
“We are delighted to be opening the West Midlands Construction UTC to students. The strong partnership with the University of Wolverhampton and the enthusiasm of our employer sponsors will provide an innovative foundation to inspire our students into exciting careers within construction.”