Apprenticeship centre for East Kent focused on skills gap in construction and engineering moves a step closer

A new apprenticeship centre for East Kent, focused on construction and engineering, has moved a step closer with the submission of detailed plans by leading South East mixed-use developer, Quinn Estates.

The long awaited 3,100 sq. ft facility will be located on the southern side of the A28 off Island Road, Hersden and is now the subject of an application for reserved matters recently submitted to Canterbury City Council.

Quinn Estates was granted outline planning consent in July 2017 for its Hoplands Park development, working closely with the community on a scheme that will also include 250 homes and a new business park, creating 400 new jobs.

In addition to boosting skills provision for East Kent, the company has contributed £3.7m towards the Sturry Bypass, the district’s key piece of strategic infrastructure. A reserved matters application has also been submitted for a new children’s nursery at the site.

The new apprenticeship centre has been designed in partnership with leading architects, Corstorphine + Wright, a company with an ethos of delivering the best in design, innovation and sustainability.

If planning consent is granted, further education provider EKC Group has exciting plans to use the new centre to address a skills gap in the South East for construction and engineering. There are currently no colleges in the region offering training for this sector.

The project is seen by Canterbury College, part of the EKC Group, as a unique opportunity to work with developers and the construction industry more broadly on developing skills and positively contribute to employment in Kent.

Huw Evans, Managing Director, Quinn Estates, said: “We are delighted to be a step closer to delivering what will be a fantastic new facility for East Kent, providing hundreds of students each year with the transferable skills they will need to thrive in the construction and engineering industries.

“This new purpose-built centre will be a great asset for Canterbury College and the EKC Group, allowing young people, employed and those out of work with access to training courses and opportunities to learn.

“With all the developments we create, leaving a positive community legacy is at the heart of what we do and our development at Hoplands Park is no exception. We’re looking forward to seeing this centre making a huge difference to the local area.”

Lucy McLeod, Principal of Canterbury College, said: “It’s really great to see the progress which the development is making, as it’s going to be a huge asset to education in East Kent in the future.

“Ensuring we have the right skills to deliver growth in our economy is key, and the Hoplands Park development will help to play a part in unlocking that challenge.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Quinn Estates to ensure the centre delivers for learners, the local economy and the communities we serve.”