PLANS are afoot to build an ‘engineering academy’ in Redditch to boost the skill set of the local population.
Describing it as an aspiration of the borough, council Leader Councillor Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) said that discussions were being held with a number of possible providers with the intention of making the scheme a reality.
“We want to see an engineering academy and skills centre in Redditch because we need them in the town. The Midlands is the manufacturing heart of the country and we are right at the centre of it,” he said.
“We have the Eastern Gateway plan which will bring more jobs to Redditch and we are going to need more apprentices – and you don’t need a degree.
“You can become an apprentice accountant, hairdresser, catering, engineering the lot, and we need them all.”
He said the council, which already has links with Heart of Worcester College, was holding talks with a number of providers in the private sector on the subject.
“I know there is an appetite for this – the council itself can’t do it – but business and industry leaders know there is a need,” said Coun Hartnett.
The council is a member of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and both had raised the need for such an academy to plug the skills gap.
“The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP has allcoated funds from the business rates to employ some skills co-ordinators so we are doing all we can to encourage, support and promote a skills centre,” said Coun Hartnett.
HoW College currently has use of the ‘Anchorage’ at Sandycroft by Terry Spring Court which the council provided to enable students to develop their skills in construction.