The TRA was invited to attend the opening of a new £4.3m centre for teaching modern methods of construction recently. The Connolly Centre for Modern Construction is based at Bedford College and has been funded by South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, the Getting Building Fund, the Connolly Foundation and Bedford College.
With pre-manufacturing identified as the most efficient and cost-effective way of meeting the huge demand for housing, Bedford College’s Centre aims to provide offsite construction training to meet the industry’s needs of the future.
David Wilkins, Director of Construction at The Bedford College Group, said: “There are huge opportunities here for training young people for great jobs in the future – be it 16-year-olds embarking on apprenticeships, those undertaking the new T-Levels, others progressing on to degree-level higher education courses, and those in the industry who want to modernise their skills.”
Mark Farmer, Construction Consultant and Government MMC Advisor officially opened the centre which has state-of-the-art equipment available for students to get hands-on learning experience to equip them with the skills necessary for tomorrow’s housebuilding industry.
TRA chief executive Nick Boulton attended the event and was able to talk with staff and students at the college. He said: “It is great to see these new facilities created to train the offsite specialists of the future, and to have the opportunity to speak with them and their teachers. We look forward to working with the college in the future to see how we can forge closer links for training, qualifications, and work placements. Mark Farmer gave a very interesting speech reminding us of the need to use innovation to meet the challenges ahead.”
Students will have access to equipment such as dedicated machinery for manufacturing frame and other offsite components, an overhead crane, an industrial level sliding table panel saw, and the building is equipped with an air dust extractor to promote occupational health and industrial safety.