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Gloucestershire Business News

Contractor announced for £5m Gloucestershire College construction centre

Gloucestershire College (GC) has announced that Beard Construction has been chosen as the building contractor for its £5m sustainable construction centre at Cheltenham Campus.

As part of the college's vision to prepare the workforce of the future, the new construction training centre will play a pivotal role in addressing the increasing demand for skilled construction workers in the region, projected to reach 6,400 annually by 2025, and coinciding with the industry's shift towards net-zero carbon technologies in construction.

The construction timeline, beginning this month, will prioritise minimal disruption to college activities while adhering to the collaborative and sustainable ethos of the college.

With an esteemed team including director Jamie Harwood, construction manager Rob Steele, architects Roberts Limbrick, project managers and quantity surveyors Ward Williams Associates and structural engineers Simpson Associates, family-run Beard Construction is poised to bring this visionary project to life.

GC principal Matthew Burgess said: "Our selection of Beard Construction is rooted in its exceptional reputation and demonstrated commitment to sustainable and high-quality builds.

"We sought a partner who shares our vision of preparing the talent of tomorrow for the evolving construction landscape. Beard's proven expertise, coupled with its focus on minimising disruption and maximizing collaboration, aligns with our objectives and we look forward to working with them over the coming year."

Jamie Harwood, director at Beard, added: "Gloucestershire College has an exciting vision to not only increase routes into the industry, but ensure new recruits are skilled to meet the challenges and opportunities of sustainability. These principles are key drivers for us at Beard and we are delighted to be working with the college as its chosen contractor.

"For more than 130 years, Beard has built an established reputation in the education sector, whether it's in primary, secondary, SEND provision or further education. We will utilise this expertise to help Gloucestershire College deliver a cutting-edge teaching and learning space for construction."

Supported by £70,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and £4 million from the Post 16 Capacity Fund, GC's 7,000 square-foot sustainable construction centre will facilitate training for 164 learners per week across various skills, with sustainability at the core.

The facility will feature 13 plumbing bays, 21 electrical bays, 21 bays for brickwork, groundworks, and carpentry, along with four classrooms.

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk, who recently visited the site to discuss plans and related opportunities for Cheltenham with key stakeholders, said: "I was delighted to meet with Matthew Burgess to learn more about his vision for Gloucestershire College's sustainable construction centre at its Cheltenham campus.

"This exciting new state-of-the-art construction skills centre - which the Government is investing £4 million in - means that for the first time ever, students and apprentices will be able to study construction here in Cheltenham.

"Not only will this help deliver the skilled workforce needed for Cheltenham's cyber vision, M5, J10 and Air Balloon projects, but it will also create exciting opportunities allowing young people of skill and determination to go as far as their talents can take them."

By partnering with Beard Construction, the college is ensuring that this project not only meets the highest standards of construction but also aligns with the evolving needs of the industry and community; inspiring students to pursue construction careers whilst supporting GC's commitment to sustainability.

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