Construction skills centre open for new apprentices

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Construction skills centre open for new apprentices

The latest addition to Abingdon & Witney College has now become a reality after the completion of their new Construction Skills Centre.

Based in Bicester, the new centre forms part of the College’s commitment to deliver apprenticeships in Oxfordshire and will provide over 100 apprentice places every year, including provision for adults.

As well as offering traditional trade skills in plumbing, gas, carpentry and joinery, the centre will also provide apprenticeships geared towards the fast-growing property maintenance sector.

Jacqui Canton, principal and CEO of Abingdon & Witney College, said: “It has been a pleasure to work closely with our building contractor Speller Metcalfe to develop this new facility for the construction centre.  We know how significant the construction sector is for the region, and this brand new centre will provide training opportunities for apprentices and existing professionals in the industry through a purpose built, high quality centre, designed to meet their needs.  We have already enrolled our first group of apprentices, with applications now open for immediate starts, and for starts in September.”

Ofsted have rated the College’s apprenticeship programme as ‘Outstanding’ and stated that “apprentices benefit from working for high-quality employers who help to advance their careers.”

The £1 million redevelopment of the four former warehouse units on Churchill Road was delivered by contractor Speller Metcalfe, who talked about their reliance on apprentices:

“Both Speller Metcalfe and our supply chain employ a significant number of apprentices and we rely on places such as Abingdon & Witney College to provide the hands-on training they need to get started out on site,” said technical director, Adrian Speller at Speller Metcalfe.

“This programme is fundamental to ensuring our trades professionals have the right skills and we have been delighted to have worked with the College to deliver a scheme that will have such a positive impact on the construction industry.”

The College is also supporting adult apprentices, many of which may be looking for a change of career: “The college provides a wide variety of apprenticeships for young people, but also for adults who are looking to re-train and enter the fast-growing construction centre”, continued Jacqui. “Our easily accessible ACS Gas Centre will also allow gas engineers to maintain their accreditations or gain additional qualifications to broaden the work they can undertake.”

Funding was secured for the project by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership through the government-led Local Growth Fund.

While the opening of the centre has been delayed due to COVID-19, apprenticeships are already running with applications open to prospective apprentices.

To find out more about the courses on offer, visit

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