Wakefield College’s new multi-million pound Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre (ASIC), opening this year, will focus on innovation and enterprise to promote economic growth within the community.
The college itself is the largest in the district and has provided education and training in Wakefield since 1868. With a base in three major areas, Wakefield College houses over 7,000 students from a variety of ages and abilities who study a broad range of courses from pre-entry level through to higher education and professional qualifications.
The new centre will become the new hub of the University Centre at Wakefield College with its modern teaching and learning facilities. It will also allow enterprising students and local start-up businesses to bring their ideas to fruition.
The £7 million project gained funding through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority who approved £3.3 million through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of government investment.
Main contractor Bardsley started on site in February of this year and is due to complete the build later this year in spring. Bardsley have over 50 years of experience in refurbishment and conversion projects. With offices in Manchester, Leeds and Keele, their portfolio of work includes education facilities, medical centres, leisure and sporting facilities as well as offices and over 800 homes.
Located at Wakefield College’s City Campus on Margret Street, the ASIC will have a business school, an engineering centre as well as industry-standard creative and digital facilities. The idea behind the project was to give young people the high-level skills needed to meet employer requirements, with Wakefield Council’s aspirations for higher level education now able to be delivered in Wakefield.
Coca Cola European Partners (CCEP), with a number of other regional employers, sit on the development group which informed the design, layout and specification of the facility, and have been involved with the ASIC project from the beginning. The college has worked closely with CCEP on numerous initiatives which include apprentice recruitment and training in areas such as engineering and business administration.
The building itself is a three storey site which has replaced an already existing building on the campus that was demolished to make way for the new centre. The teaching facilities available in the centre include the lecture theatre, business incubation unit, engineering labs, creative suites and meeting rooms as well as general classrooms. The steel frame building will have an external appearance of masonry brickwork, a mix of coloured trespa cladding and aluminium curtain walling. The windows will have sections of lumaglass glazing to providing a striking colour changing feature that will make the building a distinctive landmark within the city centre campus.
The centre will deliver to students higher level qualifications in construction, health and life science, advanced manufacturing and engineering, and digital and creative technologies. The new ASIC represents the LEP’s commitment to helping economic growth in the area through putting in place the right skills infrastructure that will facilitate this. By offering mentoring, coaching and financial guidance, the centre will aid in business sustainability as well as preparing those who go through its doors for future careers.