Learning and development

Full steam ahead on Wales’ latest training centre

Hayley Pells FIMI | 24 Jan 2020

Full steam ahead on Wales’ latest training centre

Hayley Pells FIMI | 24 Jan 2020

In this article:

South Wales’ award winning Further Education facility breaks ground on a £30m campus of the future.


Things are being revamped at Bridgend College giving a boost to apprenticeships, the automotive industry and the local economy. The IMI training facility has begun a building project that reflects the ambition of its faculty and the evolving needs of its learners. The new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Maths) Academy is being created thanks to a £30 million investment and open its doors in 2021.

The Times Education Supplement winning Further Education college currently offers an automotive apprenticeship programme out of a 1930’s building, but as good a servant as the original building has been, a state-of-the-art facility including provision for EV and hybrid vehicle training, will provide the optimum educational environment for Bridgend College to continue teaching the talent of the future.

The new academy, will include mechanical and electrical engineering workshops, motor vehicle workshops, science laboratories, standard teaching classrooms, IT classrooms, café and social spaces, a multi-purpose hall, staff rooms and support spaces

Until recently, Bridgend College was recognised as one of the worst performing institutions in the country, with some of the areas that the college serves suffering from severe economic deprivation.

The area has recently suffered with the loss of major automotive employment at the Ford Engine plant but new hope has been injected with the arrival of Aston Martin and most recently, INEOS’ radical  move into the sector manufacturing a light weight and capable SUV dubbed, “Grenadier” proving that South Wales has much to offer vehicle manufacturers who desire an agile and educated workforce.

And the area and industry is being backed by a Welsh Government funded Flexible Adult Learning Plan (FALP), designed specifically to upskill existing technicians within the automotive industry, embedding the idea that continuous professional development is open to all.

The FALP project has focused on EV and hybrid technology, and is an exciting opportunity for technicians seeking to improve their knowledge and showing employers the benefits of offering recognised qualifications to their existing staff.  Not only that but it chimes with the IMI’s Techsafe campaign and roots the facility into the community.

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