A brand new university centre which will improve access to higher and further education has now opened its doors to students and has been hailed as ‘a beacon of aspiration’.
The Vision University Centre, located on Derby Road, Mansfield, is part of West Nottinghamshire College and aims to accommodate an extra 600 students over the next three years as part of the college’s mission to address skills gaps in its area. The creation of the centre cost a total of £6.5m, £2.6million of which came from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
D2N2 is the LEP for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and works to grow its area’s economy, create business infrastructure and up-skill its workforce, with the aim of creating 55,000 new jobs in ten years (2013-2023). As part of this mission, D2N2 has a £192m allocation of Local Growth Funding (LGF), which it uses for projects across its area which will help to develop the D2N2 economy.
The Vision University Centre was one such project, and in September 2015 the D2N2 Infrastructure and Investment Board confirmed provision of £2.6m for the scheme. Now completed and open to students, the 2,173 sq. m building boasts state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities including a science laboratory, 100-seat lecture theatre, seminar room and ultra-modern study spaces.
It is hoped that within the first three years, the Vision University Centre will allow West Nottinghamshire College to take on an additional 600 students, create a greater number of higher apprenticeships and work more closely with employers to ensure that its students obtain the necessary skills for the workforce.
Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, David Ralph (pictured centre-left), said: “Providing access to higher-level skills for potential employees of the area’s businesses is vital for building the economy and job numbers, allowing all communities to share in prosperity.
“That is why we are investing significant time and resources in skills and training development, including through capital investment schemes which create leading facilities such as Vision University Centre at West Nottinghamshire College.”
West Nottinghamshire College Principal and Chief Executive, Dame Asha Khemka (pictured centre), added:
“By inspiring people to become qualified at a higher level, we hope to bring more good-quality, well-paid jobs to the area, and boost productivity, which will benefit businesses, individuals and communities. The appetite is there – now we have the facilities to match.”
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