Inspiring new education facility set to develop marine and engineering skills in Plymouth

04 February 2021 | Engineering, Automotive & Marine

A new dedicated learning environment is opening at Oceansgate, Plymouth’s marine enterprise zone, with teaching expected to start this September. 

City College Plymouth is transforming 631 square metres of industrial unit into a bespoke facility to deliver new university-level courses that will provide high-quality and up-to-date training to people both looking to work and already working in the marine and engineering industries.

Alongside the development of the new state-of-the-art building, new degree programmes have been developed as part of the South West Institute of Technology project. 

The College has worked closely with local employers to identify the skills required and has used this to develop four Bachelor of Science degrees linked to naval architecture, marine engineering, integrated technologies and autonomous engineering. These programmes will further shape the future workforce, and allow students to continue their studies on a part-time basis beyond levels 4 and 5. 

Councillor Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “With Oceansgate, we set out to create a dedicated space for the marine and maritime industry in an unbeatable waterfront location, attracting new businesses to our city and enabling them to flourish. 

“But attracting the businesses is just one piece of the puzzle – we need to make sure we are developing the right skill sets locally, so that Plymothians are able to meet the needs of businesses and benefit from these high-earning jobs. City College’s new facility will help to do just that and we’re delighted to welcome them to Oceansgate.” 

Jackie Grubb, Principal and CEO at the College, said: “Plymouth is a world-leader in marine technology and engineering. The facilities on offer to students at the new Oceansgate site will be world-class, and the training on offer – that has been developed with guidance of industry experts – will equip our students with the skills necessary to continue to take this industry forward. The marine industry has played a vital part in Plymouth’s history, and City College Plymouth is committed to ensuring it is a vital part of the city’s – and wider region’s – future.”

The waterfront facilities will maximise on their location, surrounded by key marine businesses and organisations including the Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC). Students will be able to access specialist equipment through the MBTC’s proving area, Smart Sound Plymouth, which is used for designing, testing and developing cutting-edge marine and autonomous products. 

Lance Chatfield, Academy Manager for Higher Technology Skills, said: “Oceansgate unit 1.6 will have traditional classroom spaces upstairs; however, these have been developed with flexible and agile usage in mind, allowing both students and their employers alike to utilise the building and its IT systems across multiple spaces.

“Downstairs will see the development of three bespoke lab areas to enable the delivery of the College’s new Marine Autonomous Vehicle Foundation Degree and a new Higher National Certificate for the manufacturing maintenance sector, along with its existing provision in relation to electrical, marine and mechanical engineering university-level qualifications. Two new workshops will also be created following feedback from industry to create and develop innovative composite material structures.”

Head of Strategic Partnerships, Fiona Horrell, said: “It is fantastic to see the results of this partnership coming together in a way that will truly benefit both our students and the industries in which they work. 

“City College Plymouth is a key educational partner within South West Institute of Technology, a partnership consisting of University of Plymouth, Exeter University, Exeter College, Petroc, Truro and Penwith College and Bridgewater and Taunton College. We are committed to the vision to revolutionise the education and training for the engineering, marine and digital sectors and hopefully provide more opportunities for people within the region. It has also been a pleasure to work with local employers as the College continues to grow its higher education offering and looks to become the learning destination of choice.”

As part of the South West Institute of Technology, the College is investing £2million of Department for Education funding to boost the local marine, engineering, manufacturing and digital sectors, ensuring the local workforce receives the very best education in these areas and has the necessary skills to secure its future growth. It will offer top-quality programmes, training and Apprenticeships in higher-level technical skills with a particular focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The College’s new facility is based in Oceansgate’s second phase, which includes a new three storey office building and 15 light industrial units. The already complete Phase 1 has a mix of offices and industrial units, home to several marine and maritime businesses. 

The £7.6 million Phase 2 development has been funded by Plymouth City Council and a £2.25 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Click here to see a video about the project

Find out more at www.oceansgateplymouth.com.

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