London & South East

Multimillion pound Skills Centre opens its doors

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Barking Skills Centre

A brand new Skills Centre which offers vocational education and training opportunities to young people in Barking and Dagenham opened its doors in September 2012.

Worth £14million, the centre will give young people across the borough access to the very highest quality training. Aimed at 14 – 19 year olds, the centre will provide a real work environment that resembles a place of employment rather than a school or college.

Courses in sustainable construction, ICT, hair and beauty and hospitality and catering will all be offered. The curriculum will feature an enhanced range of applied learning qualifications, including Young Apprenticeships and BTECs – supported by local employers.  Furthermore, the centre will run on flexible hours more like a college than a school and provide opportunities for the public to attend seminars, lectures, and other events.

Strong links will be established with the council’s joint venture partner Elevate East London to link graduates of the Skills Centre to employment opportunities.

Partnerships will be explored with higher education to develop technician level qualifications in the sustainable technologies and ‘green’ industries.

The high quality design of the building will provide another striking addition to the regeneration of the town centre and increase activity and connectivity in the heart of the town centre.

The main structure of the Skills Centre has been created with 400 tonnes of steel reinforcement and 1,700cu m of concrete.

A key feature is the installation of a 23m-long Vierendeel main beam. Acting as a central reinforced concrete ’spine’, it is designed to support the upper four floors throughout the entire building, allowing bigger floor areas with uninterrupted space beneath – ideal for practical training activities.

The site is being developed as part of the wider London Road/North Street project which has a separate regeneration plan.

Cllr Mick McCarthy, Cabinet Member for Regeneration: “We are committed to our young people and the centre will provide them with the best opportunities to succeed and progress. We are in a tough economic climate and the centre and what its offering will make a difference to their lives. It will provide them with the skills they will need for the future.”

Cllr Rocky Gill, Cabinet Member for Education and Children, said: “This is exciting news for young people in the borough who will achieve vocational qualifications in a range of subjects at the fantastic new centre. We will be working alongside Barking and Dagenham College to give young people a brighter and better outlook.”

Cathy Walsh, Principal and CEO of Barking and Dagenham College, said: “This new Skills Centre is a perfect example of partners working together to benefit a whole community. By providing even better access to the best in education and training, together we are making a significant and positive difference to the life chances for our young people and their families.”

Kier Construction were the main contractors on the project, the company provides a comprehensive building and civil engineering service delivered through a nationwide network of locally managed businesses.

Rick Mather Architects designed the Skills Centre, the practice was established in 1973 and has built a reputation for delivering high quality, innovative, award-winning projects encompassing architecture, masterplanning and urban design.

Barking Brickwork

Barking Brickwork have been completing masonry works on projects throughout the South East since their establishment in 2000.

The company have had a close working relationship with Kier Construction over the last 12 years- the most recent collaboration came with the work at Barking Skills Centre.

All the brickwork was completed by the firm and when asked what Barking Brickwork prides itself on, Director Tom Burling said:

“There’s no brickwork contract that we can’t carry out, we pride ourselves on our workmanship and client satisfaction rate.”

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