Preston College constructs a bright future for learners

A major refurbishment of Preston College’s Construction Department has been completed, with the revamped building now welcoming the industry professionals of the future.

The department has been completely remodelled, with the creation of a bright, modern exterior and a new mezzanine level for the delivery of new Professional Construction T-Level courses.

The revamp of the Construction Department building on its Fulwood campus means the college’s learners will have access to the latest technology and equipment, combined with high-specification industry-standard facilities.

Construction work on the remodelled building got underway at the end of summer and is now complete, with the department handed back to the college.

Leading architecture, design and masterplanning practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), which has its headquarters in Preston, led the project to create the new learning spaces.

Neil Ainsworth, architectural and design partner at FWP, said: “Our brief was to create a learning environment to give learners the best facilities, technology and equipment for the delivery of the new curriculum.

“The team brought together to deliver the refurbishment has worked very closely with the college’s construction department staff and the result is a building that meets all their needs as they embark on an exciting new chapter.

“The fact that we offer all disciplines in the construction process has really helped. By providing structural, services and cost management input the work has gone really smoothly.”

Preston College is one of almost 50 Further Education establishments that have shared a £48.5m pot from the Department for Education to fund refurbishments to meet the needs of the new courses.

Mark Taylor, Preston College’s head of school for construction and the built environment, said: “This is a significant advancement for our construction department.

“The introduction of T-Levels brings with it many opportunities for the young people of our region, and with this landmark development, we are able to offer our learners the very best in industry standard facilities and equipment.”

The building work was carried out by Longridge-based construction company Carefoot, which has also played a role in the development of the new T-Levels and is committed to the training of the sector’s skilled employees of the future.

Chief executive Colin Carefoot said: “Carefoot has been supporting colleges in the development of the new Construction T-Levels through the pilot schemes over the last two years.

“To be working with Preston College to directly address the construction skills shortage in Lancashire is a great opportunity.

“Directly employed apprentices have already been selected from Preston College by Carefoot, and our local supply chain is helping to deliver our training pledge to the College with three bricklaying apprentices studying at the college already working on the project.”

He added: “Carefoot will also be sponsoring the college’s first construction scholarship. It will provide student support over two years, not just in financial terms but through mentoring and work experience through other Carefoot projects.”

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