Continuing our collaboration with Oldham College to deliver a £9m state of the art construction skills facility.
- Extra 2,296 sq m of specialist teaching and learning space
- Building will see construction student numbers at Oldham College increasing by 70%
- Building ready for teaching T-Level qualification
- The project also included the demolition of the obsolete Bronte and Bevan teaching blocks
Following the delivery of the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rated £7M extension in 2015, Willmott Dixon and Oldham College have continued their relationship through their latest project to build a 2 story £9m construction centre.
Procured using the Scape National Major Works framework and completed in March 2021, the two story building provides first-class provision for practical plumbing and electrical work, plus flexible build spaces, testing areas, mobile workbenches, breakout and showcase areas, and associated classrooms, offices and storage space.
The facility provides an extra 2,296 sq m of specialist teaching and learning space and will see construction student numbers at Oldham College increasing by 70%, plus an extra 200 apprenticeship places each year. Students will be taught technical trades and higher professional skills right through to degree level – including new T Level qualifications – and access a range of exciting career routes including architecture and surveying, electrical, plumbing and plastering.
The project also included the demolition of the obsolete Bronte and Bevan teaching blocks.
Working safely throughout Covid-19
The project started in January 2020 and the majority of the build was conducted using Covid-19 safe working practices as prescribed in the Government backed Site Operating Procedures from the Construction Leadership Council. One-way systems and enhanced cleaning and sanitation practices were embedded. Despite all of the challenges, the project was delivered five weeks ahead of the initial schedule, much to the delight of the customer.
Alun Francis, Oldham College Chief Executive and Principal, said:
“It’s really exciting for us to get into the Construction Centre and start fitting it out ready for our first batch of learners later this year.
“This will be a fantastic environment for young people and adults to get into a higher skilled trade across the construction and built environment sectors.
"It has also enabled us to expand our curriculum into areas with known labour skills shortages like internal design, dry lining and kitchen fitting.
"Willmott Dixon have done a fantastic job delivering this ahead of schedule, and on budget. We can’t wait to showcase this facility to learners and businesses across Greater Manchester later in the summer.”
Anthony Dillon, Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said:
"We’re hugely proud to play our part in creating these exciting new facilities and creating a pathway for the next generation of Greater Manchester construction professionals to gain the skills and experience, our industry and our region needs."
Enabling local social value
Supporting the local community was at the heart of the project and as part of our works at Oldham College, we also carried out an interior and exterior revamp of the Age UK’s over 60's centre in Chadderton, ready to welcome older people back after closure during the pandemic
Maggie Hurley, Age UK volunteer and community service manager tells us:
“I cannot believe the generosity of Wilmott Dixon, I feel like we are on an episode of DIY SOS! In only two days the centre and outdoor area is being transformed to bring older people back.
“I cannot thank you enough, it’s so heart-warming to have such support not only with materials but also the skills and expertise you have brought to us and lots of smiles."
Find out more about the initiative here.
Support from The Greater Manchester Combined Authority
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) contributed a £6.95 million grant towards the £9 million project costs with Oldham College providing the remaining capital funding.
Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), said:
“Fantastic progress has been made on Oldham College’s new Construction Centre, which we are proud to be backing through the Local Growth Fund.”
“The construction sector will play a vital role in driving our recovery as we emerge from the pandemic, but it also suffers from a skills shortage."