LANCASHIRE’S first multi-million-pound university technical college to train the skilled workforce of the future looks set to be built in Burnley.
The state-of-the-art Burnley Visions Learning Trust University Technical College, which will specialise in engineering and construction, is one of only 18 such facilities in the country and could be built at the heart of the iconic Weavers’ Triangle.
The 600-place college, run by Training 2000, will provide young people aged 14 to 19 with a combination of traditional education and employer-led vocational training in a bid to plug the skills gap in the aerospace, automotive and construction industries.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said he was delighted for the young people of Burnley.
“It’s an absolutely incredible thing. I’ve been battling for this for the last 15 months. This is exactly what we want in Burnley and one of the reasons I’ve been fighting for it.
“We’ve got the jobs but not the people in the aerospace and automotive sectors.
“It will boost the education facilities that are delivered to young people in Burnley.”
The college, which is due to open in September next year, is being supported by employers including Aircelle, Rolls-Royce and Fort Vale Engineering.
Mr Steve Gray, chief executive of Training 2000, said: “For many years I have been committed to finding new ways to bridge the gap between education and employers and we are delighted to have finally realised our ambition to establish the area’s first UTC.”
He went on: “Lancashire is renowned as a powerhouse in terms of its manufacturing and engineering base and we felt we needed to do more to retain the high calibre of school leavers who were traditionally leaving the area to work or train elsewhere.
“Visions Learning Trust will engage young people to realise their potential through the innovative development of skills and learning which will, in turn, inspire sustainable futures both for learners and employers.
“Our aim is to educate more than 150 students each year. Employers will be encouraged to get involved in shaping the curriculum, which will have a 60/40 split of academic core studies and technical training.”
Leader of Burnley Borough Council Coun. Charlie Briggs added: “This is great news for Pennine Lancashire. It is something Burnley Council has actively supported. It supports our strategy of developing a reputation as the centre of excellence for manufacturing skills development.
“I want to thank Gordon Birtwistle MP for his backing for this project – he has been fantastic.”