Karin Smyth MP welcomes first step in building new Advanced Construction Skills Centre in Hengrove

It’s been years in the making but, thanks to a collaborative effort, the Advanced Construction Skills Centre in Hengrove is one step closer to completion following a turf cutting ceremony at the site next to City of Bristol College’s South Bristol Skills Academy.

Karin, who has been pushing for this new facility for her constituents since becoming an MP in 2015, joined new City of Bristol College Principal Andy Forbes, West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Mayor Tim Bowles and Midas Group Chairman Steve Hindley for a turf cutting ceremony on Friday 14 February. She chatted with young carpentry apprentices and got a virtual reality tour of the new building.

Mr Forbes, who recently took over as Principal, thanked Karin for her ongoing support for the college and the role she played in getting the new centre here in Bristol South. Mr Bowles, who runs WECA which helped fund the new centre also thanked Karin for championing the cause. Mr Hindley, a former governor at City of Bristol College said he was delighted that Midas Group would be leading on the construction of this £9m centre, which would in turn train the future workforce in that industry.

Karin, speaking at the launch event, said: “We know that, because of transport issues and a lack of big employers locally, it’s very hard for young people in Bristol South to get a decent job, get decent training and then get the money they need to have a decent life. The transport in this city does not work for people here in south Bristol. This Advanced Skills Construction Centre has a key role to play in giving local people training that is based right here at this fantastic skills academy.

“I’ve fought hard to help ensure we get this facility here in Bristol South. Today is a culmination of our collaborative effort – between the college myself, the college, Bristol City Council and WECA. I brought the Conservative Minister Robert Halford here a couple of years ago to see the college and I took him to the window upstairs and said ‘that site down there, we need that site for the construction centre’. I’m delighted that we are now seeing real progress with this and look forward to seeing the centre built and open to learners next year.”

Karin added: “We’ve also got the apprenticeships and jobs fair happening here in a couple of weeks time – again, that’s a good collaboration between myself and the college, the city council and DWP. I hope to see you there!.”

For more information on the apprenticeships fair taking place on Thursday 27 February, click here.

For more information on the new skills centre, due to open in September 2021, click here.