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Gloucestershire Business News

Minister pops in to view £2m construction skills centre

The site of an innovative Gloucestershire project for training the next generation of talent in the construction industry has received a ministerial visit.

The Construction Skills Accelerator Centre has received almost £2million in funding through local enterprise partnership GFirst LEP as part of the Government's pledge to 'build, build, build' to an economic recovery.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick visited the site in Cinderford which will house a centre of excellence designed to inspire, train and connect people to develop an industry-led solution to the construction skills shortage.

He met with Nicola Bird, managing director of the CSAC and a director of construction firm KW Bell Group, who has spearheaded the project and Peter Bell, managing director of KW Bell which is co-funding the project.

Nicola Bird said: "Everyone's attention is focused on the practicalities of getting a building out of the ground - we're shovel-ready as soon as the planning process is complete.

"It was great to discuss with the minister our vision for the impacts we can achieve here once the centre is up and running.

"We have a unique opportunity to develop real and virtual learning environments that are designed by the industry, for the industry, inspiring a new generation while supporting those already in the construction industry to upskill."

The minister was accompanied by Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper and Sarah Danson, director of strategic growth at GFirst.

Mr Harper said: "I am proud to have KW Bell, who have been leading the way in the housebuilding sector and operating in the heart of the Forest of Dean for more 50 years, rightly benefiting from just under £2million of government support.

"The CSAC will provide an industry-leading training facility based in the heart of the Forest of Dean, having been thoughtfully designed to link the construction industry with education by providing a learning environment that is digitally advanced, safe, interactive and relevant."

Led by KW Bell Group with the support of industry employers including global giant JCB and in collaboration with Gloucestershire College and the University of Gloucestershire, the CSAC will be focused on developing job-ready workers equipped with knowledge and practical experience of the latest technological advances in sustainability and digital construction.

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