Employers’ needs at the heart of the STEM innovation Centre

Colchester Institute has officially launched its £6m Braintree STEM Innovation Centre, with attending VIP representatives from local businesses and councils as well as partner employers. MP for Braintree James Cleverly acknowledged the far sighted development before the ribbon was formally cut.

Steve Wallings, Managing Director of Maycast Nokes, had the honour of officially opening the building after being drawn as the lucky winner of a ‘golden ticket’.

College Principal and Chief Executive, Alison Andreas delivered a presentation highlighting the work that took place with local industry representatives to help shape the scheme.  Further words of support were provided by guest speakers George Kieffer, Suzanne Jude and David Bissett.

Principal and Chief Executive, Alison Andreas highlighted the success of the event commenting:

“It was wonderful to see the huge enthusiasm of local employers regarding the opportunities that the STEM Innovation Centre will provide in meeting their current and future skills needs.  And equally exciting were the discussions with local secondary schools about the progression opportunities to full time courses and Apprenticeships in Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction and Digital Media that the Centre will offer to their leavers.”

With an estimated 44,000 new recruits likely to be required in construction-related roles across Essex by 2021 and 14,000 new houses to be built in Braintree by 2033, there are an estimated 20,000 new jobs to be generated across the District. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre will address growing skills shortages in the local area and supply local employers with the workforce they desperately need. The College hopes to strengthen industry links in areas of construction, manufacturing and engineering sectors.

MP for Braintree James Cleverly highlighted the close relationship the centre will create between the College and local employers, stating:

“Meeting the College leadership team and local employers at the opening of the new STEM Centre showed what collaborative working can achieve.  The state of art facilities will provide local young people with the skills they need to get great jobs and help businesses grow.”

Majority funding of the STEM Innovation Centre was provided by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) as well as contributions from Essex County Council and Colchester Institute. George Kieffer, Vice Chair of South East LEP, recognised the importance of STEM in the region saying:

“The South East Local Enterprise Partnership recognises the important role that Further Education plays in improving UK productivity and making sure that employers have a pool of skilled and well-qualified employees to draw on for their future growth. South East LEP is pleased to have been able to give financial assistance to Colchester Institute’s STEM project in Braintree and is looking forward to supporting further initiatives by Colchester Institute and other Further Education providers across the LEP area.”