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 TPA9347Back row left to right: Gary Jefferson, Ian Gallin, Nikos Savvas, Chris Dashper, Richard Bridgman. Front row: Some of our current STEM students.

Construction work creating West Suffolk College’s new campus for STEM innovation for the Eastern region is underway.

The new campus, the College’s third site, will be based at the former global manufacturing Vitec Video Com premises on Western Way. The project is at the heart of the College’s visionary plans to create an ‘education triangle’, which also includes the build of Abbeygate Sixth Form College, in the grounds of King Edwards VI School opposite (set to open in September 2020).

The 5.5 acre site redevelopment has been made made possible through investment from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) who have invested £7 million through the Growth Deal Programme. The total of the project is estimated to be £8 million. Other key business involvement including that of West Suffolk Council has also been key in driving the development forward.

Chris Dashper, Head of Programmes of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We’re delighted that the building works are starting. It will be a great asset for the area creating local jobs and for Norfolk and Suffolk employers as it will attract talented students who want to move into energy, engineering and advanced manufacturing.

“For example, our clean energy sector is growing and with it comes greater engineering and manufacturing skills demand. The STEM Innovation Campus will enable West Suffolk College to extend its course portfolio and work with more employers to train hundreds of people every year to meet future workforce demand. It is an exciting prospect to think that in a few years’ time, the students who were trained here could be inventing ground-breaking new technology.”

Ian Gallin, Chief Executive of West Suffolk Council said: “West Suffolk Council is focused on delivering growth that benefits our local communities. Working in partnership with local businesses and the education sector is vital to the future success of the West Suffolk area. The STEM centre is an important part of our work around economic growth and skills development in West Suffolk. It will mean that young people can be encouraged to strive for highly skilled, well paid jobs being created here in West Suffolk so we are delighted that work on the site is now underway.”

Dr Nikos Savvas, Chief Executive for West Suffolk College said, “West Suffolk College was first established in 1958 to support vital industries such as engineering and technology across our eastern region, supplying them with the highly skilled professionals to grow their businesses.

Our new innovation campus will continue this legacy and will provide first class science, engineering and digital education and training for the young people of this region, in state of the art facilities. We will develop the next generations of highly skilled professionals in focused collaboration with some of the biggest names in industry including global powerhouses such as ARM, Bosch Rexroth and BT, who will offer unrivalled industry opportunities to our students”.

More information can be found at http://stem.wsc.ac.uk