Launch of new maritime skills centre

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It has been four years in the making and represents an investment of close to £2million, but City College’s flagship Centre of Higher Technical Innovation and Maritime Skills (TIMS) is now officially open.

Located at the heart of Plymouth’s marine industry, the new teaching site at the Marine Enterprise Zone at Oceansgate marks the start of a new chapter in the College’s ongoing support of the region’s crucial industries.

The new teaching facility is an essential part of the College’s ambitions to support the maritime, engineering, manufacturing, construction and digital technology industries – areas that have been identified as crucial for Plymouth’s future growth. The purpose-built site will enable the College to deliver new courses that are designed to provide employers with the highly technical, specialist skills and knowledge they will need tomorrow, today.

Lance Chatfield, Executive of Technical Innovation said: “The skills shortage and its impact on the maritime and other industries was becoming more and more apparent, and it was clear that Plymouth and the South West needed a specific training facility that would address these skills shortages, but also generate the skills needed to drive forward new technologies.”

The site, which will be used to deliver the College’s new and highly innovative university-level courses, houses some of the latest cutting-edge machinery, including a one-of-a-kind Kimla 4 Axis. The centre is also home to 3-D printers, a wave tank, and is fully equipped to allow students to engage with their learning from potentially anywhere in the world.

Martin Boulter, the College’s Lead for Marine Autonomous Vehicles added: “We have a lot of apprentices who can’t always attend lectures in person – they might be away on ship or stuck on the other side of the UK – but we’ve invested heavily in being able to give students the choice of where they study, including more opportunities to conduct practical work off-site.”

The College has developed a catalogue of higher-level qualifications that have been designed to carefully align with the skills demands of the city, including green and sustainable technologies. In addition to teaching the specific technical skills, these courses will also develop the industry leaders of the future, giving them the vision, confidence and project management skills to build the companies the UK needs for successful economic growth.

City College Chief Executive, Jackie Grubb, said: “A new bespoke site such as this perfectly fits with our vision of being a pillar of support for our local maritime and manufacturing employers. This will ensure employers are being supplied with the highly skilled workforce they require.

“The Centre of Technical Innovation and Maritime Skills shows the levels of investment the College is willing to make in supporting these industries – but this is just the first step. To ensure the College’s curriculum and training remains demand-led, we will continue to develop our provision as our employers’ needs change and progress.

“The College plays an essential part in providing employers with these industry-changing skills that will continue to see Plymouth become a world-leader for marine engineering and manufacturing.

Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Nick Kelly said: “Plymouth has always been known around the world for its marine industries and strong engineering history, but we know there’s more potential to unwrap any new opportunities on the horizon with the development of the new Plymouth and South Devon Freezone.

“When we started to develop Oceansgate our aim was to create a purpose-built environment where marine and maritime businesses could flourish and collaborate.

“This new facility is a hugely exciting investment for Plymouth and it’s a natural fit for Oceansgate. City College Plymouth is playing a vital role in helping to mitigate existing gaps in skills and ensure that local residents can benefit from the high value jobs that the marine industry brings to the city.”

The Centre of Technical Innovation and Maritime Skills was officially opened on Thursday 4 November by Brett Phaneuf, Managing Director of MSubs, at a special event that welcomed staff and partners from sector businesses and the University of Plymouth. The opening also included a live message via video link from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Skills, Alex Burghart MP.

The new centre will be crucial in the College’s delivery of carefully designed university-level (higher education) courses that will drive forwards the development of new and green technologies and will enable the College to progress its offering in relation to marine autonomous vehicles, which will be supported by funding from Maritime Research and Innovation UK.

City College is pleased to welcome visitors to the site, and these visits can be arranged by contacting Lance Chatfield by e-mailing [email protected].