Trade skills centre to boost job hopes

Hundreds of young people could be taught important trades such as plumbing, carpentry and bricklaying and given a much better chance of finding a job if a pioneering £2m training centre at a Norfolk school is given the all-clear.

Hundreds of young people could be taught important trades such as plumbing, carpentry and bricklaying and given a much better chance of finding a job if a pioneering £2m training centre at a Norfolk school is given the all-clear.

Work has been going on for several years on the project for the vocational training centre on land at Wayland Community High School at Watton.

It is hoped the centre could be opened as early as next year, and by 2012, 350 school age students could be getting training. There would also be opportunities for adult learners to get new skills or brush up on old ones.

Funding is still being finalised and now the application for planning permission has been sent to Breckland Council.


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There are a wide range of partners involved including Wayland High, Methwold High, the College of West Anglia, Norwich City College, Mansell Construction Company, the Learning and Skills Council, Norfolk Learning Authority, the East of England Development Agency and more recently the Hethel Engineering Centre.

The planning application - sent to Breckland Council - shows how the centre would be 657 sq m and include classrooms for electrics, bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry and engineering.

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The building would have a range of “green” aspects to it.

The project would help to tackle rural deprivation and low skills and help with re-generation and getting young people into work.

The centre would offer a range of qualifications including diplomas, BTECs and Practical Learning Opportunities courses.

It is hoped the centre will be opened in 2009-10 and initially offer places to 75 school age youngsters plus more than 40 for older students/adult learners.

By 2011/12 the total could reach 350, including 250 school age students..

The application says: “The centre will help develop a pool of trained and highly skilled young people in Watton which will contribute to the economic well being in the area.”

Wayland headteacher Mike Rose said: “There are really exciting opportunities in this.”

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