The grand opening of the Modern Methods of Construction Centre at Stamford College was celebrated among local dignitaries, stakeholders, Inspire Education Group (IEG) staff and Stamford College students, in a ceremony that recognised the wealth of opportunities conceived from the £3.3 million facility. Allison Homes, as an Inspire Education Group (IEG) Industry Skills Academy and sponsor of the new build, also took the opportunity to launch their new brand, Allison Partnerships.
The 900sqm upgrade to the College’s existing facilities, which was designed by Waterland Architects and built by Lindum, comes after substantial growth in recent student applications; around fifteen per cent more each year. Jointly funded by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)and Department for Education Post-16 Capital Funding, the Modern Methods of Construction Centre is now the primary learning facility for over 500 additional plumbing, carpentry, brickwork and electrical installation students, working to bridge the estimated 49,000-person skills shortage within the Eastern region. Pat Doody, outgoing Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said, “The LEP’s £2.1m investment in this scheme recognises the need for a skilled workforce in the construction and engineering sectors, responding to the emerging requirements of modern methods of construction. Not only will the project create new opportunities for future students, but it will also meet the needs of local employers, address local and regional skills gaps and directly contribute to local, regional and national economies, enabling an innovative and employer-focused curriculum and accommodating forecast high demand”.
Upon their arrival, guests were greeted by the Student Events Team and chaperoned to the College’s Gallery Kitchen, where they enjoyed gourmet canapés, freshly prepared and served by the Catering & Hospitality students. After a brief period of networking, Rachel Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Education Group, addressed the guests; “At Inspire Education Group, our mission, ‘To transform lives through inspirational education and training’, drives everything that we do. One of our key drivers is to ensure that we meet the skills challenges within the region. Today’s event has two key purposes – firstly, to launch Allison Homes partnerships, and secondly, to officially open the Modern Methods of Construction building”. Rachel continued, “We are exceptionally proud of the relationship we’ve built with Allison Homes. It’s a real example of a provider and employer working together to overcome the skills challenges that we face. Thank you to all key partners and stakeholders – Allison Homes, LEP, South Kesteven District Council, Stamford Town Councillors and IEG Governors”.
John Anderson, Group Chief Executive at Allison Homes then explained, “This country is chronically short of homes – not just homes in general but homes that are actually affordable. Our ambition is to grow the business to around 2500 homes per year, so the association with Stamford College and the MMC building is a very obvious thing for us to do. We have 17 apprentices working within Allison Homes currently, demonstrating our commitment to growing the capabilities and skills necessary for an industry that is sorely lacking”. This message was reaffirmed in a speech by Kelham Cooke of South Kesteven District Council, “To have a construction skills centre based here in Stamford is fantastic – it will provide amazing opportunities for the younger generation to get involved and fill those aforementioned skills gaps. We all want to create an environment that supports house builders and developers, and in turn us as a council, to deliver on our ambitions for growth and prosperity across the entire district”.
The grand opening continued with a tour of the state-of-the-art facility, including interactive demonstrations. The building itself reflects its responsibility to teach and provide learning opportunities that reflect the rapid evolution of the construction industry through automation, carbon reduction and the increased use of prefabrication. 56 solar panels were installed on the roof as a source of renewable energy within the College, Air-source Heat Pumps heat the building, and its bricks have been sourced from environmentally friendly manufacturers to ensure the carbon footprint of the building is minimised. The build will now house six Retrofit courses, designed to prepare the construction workforce of the future to meet the UK’s legally binding commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Drawing the ceremony to a close, guests made their way to the front of the building, where John Anderson of Allision Homes and Mel Papworth of LEP, cut the ribbon and declared the building officially open. Thank you to all those that celebrated the occasion.