Future skills centre artist's impressionA new vocational skills training centre will be built in Whitehill & Bordon if a recent planning application is approved.

 The new building, which will be named the future skills centre, could offer a variety of vocational training to post-16 students and adults – with a focus on construction skills.

The centre is part of the wider plans to regenerate Whitehill & Bordon with 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, a thriving new town centre and new facilities.

If approved, the centre will be built at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)-owned site, Louisburg Barracks, at the north of the town. The training provided at the new centre will equip the local community with valuable skills to support and create construction jobs for local young people and adults.

The plans were submitted to Hampshire County Council (HCC) last week, and a decision on whether planning permission is granted is expected to be announced mid September.

Plans for the centre are as a result of the HCA’s successful bid for funding to the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The project is now being taken forward by HCC who will develop and run the centre on behalf of local residents. Hampshire County Council has also contributed further funding to ensure the project is a success.

The news follows the submission of an HCA application for a business and enterprise centre – submitted to East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) in July – which, if approved, would transform Broxhead House (the former sergeants’ mess) into office space and training rooms and could create more than 200 jobs.

Cllr Nick Drew, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “If planning permission is granted, the future skills centre will be a fantastic opportunity for Whitehill & Bordon’s residents.

“The centre will help get young people and adults into work by teaching them essential employment skills.

“Students will learn about brickwork, carpentry, electrical work and plumbing, and the centre will also be used to support EHDC’s successful apprenticeship programme – which fits well into EHDC’s Economic Development Strategy.

“It’s important that we equip residents with the skills they need to take advantage of the construction jobs which will become available as Whitehill & Bordon is regenerated.”

Kelly Hillman, Senior Area Manager at the HCA, said: “The future skills centre is key to ensuring that Whitehill & Bordon is a great place to live and work.

“As the new community develops, many construction jobs will be created.

“This centre will ensure local people are best placed to take advantage of these opportunities, as well as learning valuable skills on which to build a successful career.

“The regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon is not just about creating new buildings, it’s about building new futures.

“We are pleased to be working with Hampshire County Council and the Enterprise M3 LEP on this exciting project.”

Cllr Peter Edgar, HCC’s Executive Member for Education, commented: “We are delighted to be working with colleagues from the Enterprise M3 LEP, HCA and EHDC to create this fantastic new flagship facility for Whitehill & Bordon.

“The future skills centre represents a positive investment by government and the county council in the local community, and will help local people develop new skills and secure employment.”.

Geoff French CBE, Chairman of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The future skills centre is an investment in the local workforce to support employment opportunities now and for the future.

“A skilled workforce is key to the success of the development of the community and its economic growth.

“The skills centre is part of our integrated investment in Whitehill & Bordon supporting the building of homes, creation of jobs and improvement in transport links.

“The potential for Whitehill & Bordon, identified as a ‘Step-up Town’ in our Strategic Economic Plan, to attract businesses and perform at a higher level is achievable with this type of investment.”

If planning permission is granted the future skills centre is expected to be open and ready to take students in spring 2017.

Details of the plans can be viewed at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/mineralsandwaste/application-details.htm?id=16724