The doors to Andover College’s new multi-million pound Technology and Future Skills Centre are officially open. The modern £3.9m building, located in the heart of the College’s town centre campus, is fully equipped to provide employers, existing professionals and those looking to enter a career in these industries with spacious, contemporary workshops offering the very latest in advanced technical skills for the construction, motor vehicle and electrical trades.

Jon Stannah, Managing Director of the Stannah Group, joined the College’s strategic partners and special guests. As he officially declared the Technology and Future Skills Centre open he reflected on Principal Tim Jackson and Deputy Principal Martin Simmons’ big vision for education in Andover and how far the College had come since created nearly ten years ago commenting: “As a large employer it is most important to have strong education facilities supporting our business. Tim and Martin’s vision is coming to fruition which is great news from an employer’s perspective as we don’t have to look elsewhere and we’ll be able to employ locally. Huge congratulation to the team here at the College – this is a big step for Andover”.

The centre, which is co-funded by the College’s strategic partners – the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council, has enabled the College to extend its course offering in key areas. For the first time ever, electrical courses are now available in Andover, helping address the skills shortage in the sector and bring these valuable skills to the town.

Andover College Principal Tim Jackson said: “This facility changes the landscape here at the College and changes the landscape of professions training in Andover. There is a skills shortage in these industries and this multi-functional specialist centre, which has been developed in collaboration with local businesses, will ensure we have these essential skills in our local community, contributing to the local economy. Our thanks to our strategic partners, who share the College’s vision of providing young people with advanced technical and practical skills which is very much in keeping with the science and technology agenda”.

Geoff French, Chair Enterprise M3 LEP who provided the principal funding for the project said: “We promote enterprise by getting people working together and this Centre, which is one of six we are supporting across Surrey and Hampshire, ticks all the boxes bringing the public and private sector together along with further education to develop skills for Test Valley businesses to prosper. Education and skills, especially in the STEM subjects, are key and crucial to economic growth. I am sure this Technology and Future Skills Centre will be a significant contributor to the economy of the Test Valley”.

Test Valley Borough Council were another key partner in the project. Council leader Councillor Ian Carr, said: “The new centre is a fantastic facility, which allows the College to offer highly desirable vocational courses. I’m delighted to see that it is now open for students to learn a range of practical skills that will help to meet the growing need for skilled professionals among Andover businesses. I wish all future students the best of luck with their studies”.

In recognition of the College’s high success rates of motor vehicle students progressing to study motorsport engineering at University, the College has introduced a new Motorsport course providing students with the technical and practical know-how alongside the advanced maths and physics they need to succeed in a highly competitive environment.

Apprenticeships, the government’s flagship training scheme, will feature widely in the new Centre’s provision. The College, a leading provider of Apprenticeships locally, has developed a seamless approach between college-based teaching and Apprenticeships, offering over 40 programmes with high achievement rates across all areas and high employment rates.

Tim Jackson concluded: “Following our 100% pass rate for A Levels this summer, Andover College is the best performing college in the area. Anyone looking to undertake academic or technical based studies to enter or progress in their existing career, really need look no further than here”.