Partner colleges from Cheshire and Warrington came together to showcase the latest digital technology from the construction industry at a shared event hosted by Reaseheath College in Nantwich.

The event shone the spotlight on member colleges of the Advanced Construction Training (ACT) project, an initiative funded by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to develop and promote digital technologies and skills training across the region. Participating colleges have received funding to buy specialist equipment, enabling them to develop into centres of excellence for advanced construction, digital and manufacturing skills.

The ACT project is being led by Warrington and Vale Royal College, and Reaseheath College, Cheshire College South and West, Macclesfield College and UTC (University Technical College) Warrington are ACT centres. Last week’s event, held in our new Construction T Level Hub, gave partner colleges, potential employers and suppliers the chance to showcase the advanced technical equipment on offer. It attracted over 150 students plus heads of departments and tutors, all eager to gain hands-on experience with the latest kit.

Pat Jackson, Director of Skills and Education at Cheshire & Warrington LEP said: “After consulting with employers we decided to focus the funding on new technologies, to introduce these to colleges and to then encourage colleges and employers to work in partnership. Today has been an outstanding example of this type of collaboration, as the highly relevant training delivered through colleges will help to fill the current skills gap.”

Curriculum Area Manager for Construction Andy Gould said: “This has been a really successful event showcasing the digitalisation which is at the forefront of the construction industry. This has included amazing design software and surveying equipment such as the Leica Total robotic station, which lets you set out and visualise new buildings, agricultural units and menages, and the Trimble XR 10 Hololens VR headset. Our visitors have also had the chance to fly a drone.

“I’d like to thank our partner colleges, employers and suppliers for supporting this event, and Cheshire and Warrington LEP for their funding of this project. It has been very valuable to our construction provision, particularly in the delivery of Reaseheath’s new T Level in Design, Surveying and Planning, and T Level in On-site Construction.

“ACT colleges can help construction companies of all sizes become more skilled in new technology. By doing this we will assist the industry to build high quality, smart, green and efficient buildings and infrastructures faster, cheaper and more sustainably.”

Andy Vokes, Design Manger at employer partner Reynolds and Litchfield, steel fabricators, commented: “The structural steel sector is an exciting and well paid industry which is investing in advanced technology and software. It offers a lot of career opportunities for employees with advanced technology skills so we were keen to support this event.

“As a company we’re always on the look-out for ambitious young people to provide the next workforce generation, so we’re working with Reaseheath by offering meaningful industry placements to capable T Level students.”

Construction T Level student Tyler Valentine said: “It’s been really good to see and try out the latest digital technology and software. It really makes you appreciate the advancements in the construction industry.”

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