Labour leaders in Milton Keynes are calling on the city to bid to host the new engineering college being put forward by the government.
The government announced plans for a new high-level engineering college in December to meet the skills requirements of the High Speed 2 Project. The UK has a recognised skills gap for the highly-qualified engineers needed for major infrastructure projects like High Speed 2.
Now Labour representatives Andrew Pakes and Councillor Peter Marland have called on city figures to join together in a cross-party bid to host the new college. The government is expected to launch a formal bidding process for the college in the coming months.
Labour is urging the city to work with SEMLEP and business partners to put forward an innovative capitalising on the borough’s transport advantages:
- As home to the oldest serving rail works in the world in Wolverton which has just celebrated its 175th anniversary;
- Perfectly located midway between London & Birmingham;
- Recently opened Network Rail headquarters in CMK;
- Business focus on the new UCMK campus, and Open University;
- Strong apprenticeship and skills approach of MK College;
- Synergies to other transport/engineering innovations in MK: Transport Catapult programme; Red Bull Racing; traditional home to Aston Martin.
The college will focus on higher level vocational skills including apprenticeships, as well as working with existing colleges to deliver wider skills provision for learners. The government estimates that 2,000 apprenticeships will been needed on the construction of HS2 alone.
There will be a fierce competition between cities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, with Labour calling for a city-wide bid to maximise the opportunity for Milton Keynes to succeed.
Andrew commented: “This is an incredible opportunity for Milton Keynes to consolidate our reputation as a skills city and to contribute to the engineering needs of the country. Getting the right skills in the city and working with businesses to close the skills gap is one of the biggest challenges facing MK. The competition to host the new college is going to be tough, but with the right leadership and ambition we can win this race. SEMLEP and local skills providers are already on side, now we need to get the city behind a bid.”
Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of the Labour Group on Milton Keynes Council, added: "It is vital that MK Council takes the lead with partners to persuade Government that MK, with our great existing rail industry base close to the planned HS2, is the location for their skills academy. We need to be making the case for high skilled jobs for MK."
You can read the article from the MK Citizen by clicking here.
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