The first phase of construction at the the University of Central Lancashire’s £30m-plus Engineering Innovation Centre has begun.
The state-of-the art facility, a major milestone within UCLan’s £200m Campus Masterplan, is anticipated to produce an increase of 500 locally trained graduates per year in areas including aerospace, mechanical and energy technologies and engineering.
Staff, students, and companies within the region will have access to top of the range equipment including flight simulators, Formula One cars and specialist electronic labs, which will allow students to work on live, real world projects.
Manchester-based BAM Construction is on site delivering the scheme, which is due for completion in 2019.
Piling activities to form part of the foundations for the six-storey building have commenced, with a large piling rig now on site drilling 600mm diameter holes that are 25 meters long and filled with concrete and steel.
Once the foundations are complete, work will begin on the retaining wall and concrete cores of the building before starting the steel frame.
Michael Ahern, chief operating officer at UCLan, said: “The start of work on site marks another exciting milestone for our Campus Masterplan and the creation of a powerful hub for developing and nurturing skills.
“The EIC will address the skills deficit in engineering specialists in Lancashire and nationally. A skilled engineering workforce is essential for the economy and the benefit of wider society.
“It has an important part to play, not just in confirming Lancashire’s role as a national centre for advanced manufacturing, but in maintaining the UK’s international leadership in engineering and innovation.”
The EIC is an integrated teaching and research space which will deliver a range of key objectives, including ensuring that local skills reflect social and economic needs and increasing the number of females in engineering careers.
Identified as a signature project within Lancashire’s Strategic Economic Plan, the EIC has secured £10.5m via the Lancashire Enterprise Partnerships’ Growth Deal with the government. The new facility has also received £5.8m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £5m from HEFCE’s STEM Capital Fund.