Green light for college’s skills centre

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Councillors have given the green light to a new Engineering, Manufacturing and Training (EMAT) Centre in Boston.

Boston College’s proposals appeared before Boston Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

The two-storey site will provide ‘purpose-built accommodation for advanced technical skills training in manufacturing, engineering and technology’.

It will be built on the corner of an existing car park opposite the Boston Conference and Management Centre on Skirbeck Road.

It will cater for approximately 150 students.

Councillor and council leader Michael Cooper said: “We need engineers, this is an excellent proposal. Every employer I speak to says we need engineers.”

Councillor Sue Ransome said: “I think this is an excellent application. It’s just what Boston needs.”

Councillor Jonathan Noble called the design ‘innovative’ and ‘attractive’.

No objections have been received from the statutory consultees, with only a few comments made.

No-one from the college was available to speak to at the meeting, however, a statement following the meeting said the building would provide ‘outstanding engineering facilities for students and an industry-driven training facility that will stimulate growth and productivity across the sector’.

The college said the centre would act as a ‘hub’ for local engineering, manufacturing and agri-tech businesses to create a partnership with the college to help train the engineers of the future.

Programme Area Manager for Engineering, Ashok Kumar, said in the statement: “There are exciting times ahead for Boston College learners, as we continue to work with local and national employers, whilst being able to provide cutting edge technology at this proposed new centre.”

The new centre is hoped to open by September 2019.

Councillor Michael Cooper praised the plans, adding it was ‘important we encourage engineering in this area’.

“We’ve got a real shortage of engineers so we need to grow some of our own,” he said.

“I speak to a lot of people, a lot of employers in the area, they’re all desperately short of engineers so there’s a bright future for those pupils if they can get a good degree or a good understanding of engineering there’s plenty of employment out there for them in the area.

“There’s the jobs available, with the mechanisation of industry whether within the packing plants or out in the fields the mechanisation is moving forward at quite a pace and we need the engineers to repair and service the machinery that’s being produced now.”

Councillor Cooper said Brexit was ‘still very much an unknown’ for the area and it still wasn’t clear how much of an impact leaving the European Union would have.

“We don’t know if we’re going to lose any of our overseas labour or whether they are going to stay with us.

“If we lose some of the overseas labour it will drive mechanisation and as that drives forward we’re going to need more engineers.

“So, its a bit of an unknown, Brexit is going to have an impact but we don’t know how much.”

However, he said he was confident the space left would mean a bright future for local pupils.

“Whatever happens I think there will be a reduction in overseas labour and we will most definitely need these engineers to work on the machinery coming online.”