We have been given the green light by Test Valley Borough Council Planners to start work on a new multi-million pound Future Skills Centre. Construction is scheduled to start in October.

Construction work can now proceed on the £3.9m, 2,090 square metres Skills Centre, a major project for the town delivered as a partnership between Andover College, Enterprise M3 local Economic Partnership, Hampshire County Council, Test Valley Borough Council and local employers.

The Future Skills Centre will enable the College to deliver skills for sustainable economic growth and aligns perfectly with the Government’s skills agenda for stronger communities. Its focus will be on the training of school leavers and Apprentices in Construction, Motor Mechanics and Engineering. Adding to the existing essential building and carpentry skills, the facility will be enhanced by the introduction of electrical training in Andover for the very first time. Engineering training is also being introduced in response to local business requirements.

College Principal Tim Jackson commented on the value of the Skill Centre which the Enterprise M3 Local Economic Partnership identified as essential to providing the skills needs of the future while assisting economic growth, saying: “This will further enhance the reputation of Andover College as a trusted provider for both academic and skills training. The Future Skills Centre will provide students with access to great facilities to provide the education and training our local economy needs. We see this as a community endeavour and will be working with local schools and local businesses to ensure we all contribute to the all-important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) agenda. We aim to meet the needs of local employers and we will be helping to build the next generation of self-employed traders.”

The College also has exciting plans for the vacated spaces to further enhance the student experience. Vice Principal, Martin Simmons who is leading on the project explained these additional plans: “Since merging with Sparsholt College in 2007, Andover College has flourished. We have expanded considerably due to our growing reputation and now have nearing 1200 students a year delivering consistently high academic results. We are using this opportunity to enhance the learning and leisure spaces for our students as well as developing our digital and enterprise initiatives. We offer our students the very best in terms of teaching, support and an exceptional learning environment. I am delighted that as a result of this investment we can deliver even more.”