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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire College ready to turn funding into jobs

Gloucestershire College expects a flexible workspace for local businesses will generate 20 new jobs and support up to 50 start-ups over a five-year period.

The innovation centre, which is scheduled to open next summer on the college's Cheltenham campus, has been awarded almost £1million in government funding.

The £950,000 formed part of £11.3million secured for five shovel-ready projects across the county by local enterprise partnership GFirst LEP as part of the Government's plan to build a road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Adjacent to GCHQ and the proposed cyber park, the innovation centre is designed to develop a county-wide test bed where businesses and education can come together to access a wealth of intellectual capital, services and share ideas.

It will offer a range of office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and co-working facilities designed specifically for high-tech, cyber-based entrepreneurs and innovators, with access to the educational facilities available at the college.

The college's vice principal and chief financial officer Andy Bates said: "We have identified that there is a shortage of appropriate space for start-up businesses in Gloucestershire and believe that our Cheltenham campus is perfectly located next to GCHQ and near to the planned Cyber Central UK, with links to the M5 motorway and public transport.

"This project will lead to economic growth for Gloucestershire by providing start-up businesses with the space to grow and share ideas through networking and interlinking with similar enterprises.

"This, in turn, will attract new business to Gloucestershire and stimulate existing businesses in the creation of jobs."

Cyber start-ups will be encouraged to take part in projects that involve both academic staff and students at the College to create a synergy between students and employers, helping to develop Gloucestershire's next generation of cyber talent.

The college has worked with Bruton Knowles to create a commercial business model for surplus office space within the Cheltenham campus.

Bamboo Technology has moved into offices on the campus alongside business management solutions experts CloudTamers and aviation training service provider Global ATS.

GFirst LEP chief executive David Owen said: "The LEP team has worked hard with partners to ensure our pipeline of creative and innovative infrastructure projects is always up to date.

"The list of the projects we are now able to fund focus heavily on the cyber, digital and agri-tech sectors, sectors that were identified in our Local Industrial Strategy as the top growth opportunities in the county."

The college has also been awarded Institute of Technology status with an additional £3million of funding to create a brand new cyber training centre which will include computing labs, attack and defence rooms, forensic tool kits and engineering labs for students.

In partnership with UWE Bristol, the centre is due to open in spring 2021.

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