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Gloucestershire Business News

Businesses celebrate launch of new centre for vital skills

The opening of a new college to provide the skills industry needs has been marked with a special event for business leaders.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College's new £15million Berkeley Green Campus has been launched on the site of the old power station.

Business West hosted a networking breakfast attended by the Lord Lieutenant, Dame Janet Trotter and local business people.

Gloucestershire Director of Business West, Ian Mean said Berkeley was making history again 50 years after major advances in nuclear power technology were coming out of the Berkeley Laboratories on the banks of the River Severn.

"Berkeley has, of course, been decommissioned as a nuclear power station. But now it is literally rising from the ashes as a new type of learning centre for young people keen to pursue the type of technologies pioneered there all those years ago," he said.

"These are young people who have decided to take the major step of leaving their secondary schools and opting to join Berkeley to be the engineering and cyber trailblazers of the future.

"And a good proportion of these young people learning to be engineers are girls—nearly 40 of them in fact."

Kevin Hamblin, chief executive of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, said: "Berkeley is a very different college.

"It is designed to meet the career demands of the young people of today. We simply have to get young people interested in studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects as a career pathway."

Pete Carr, lead commissioner for employment & skills for the county council and the Local Enterprise Partnership(LEP) said that the skills gap was so serious that for every new job there was a need to replace nine people leaving the workforce.

"A lot of the traditional skills here are in danger of being lost to the county", he said.

"Hats off to Kevin and the team who have been very entrepreneurial in planning for the future".

Sarah Cannon, a design and development engineer from Renishaw spoke passionately about her career journey so far.

"It is really important that girls aren't put off from doing engineering and STEM subjects", she said.

"Talking to parents at schools I have found that some say they don't want their girl going into engineering-that it is dirty, full of men and dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love what I do-I always have".

Pictures: Business West

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