Reaseheath College has launched a new Employer Hub on its Nantwich, Cheshire, campus to provide increased support for regional and rural businesses.

The £2.1million investment has been supported by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, which has contributed £675,000 through the Local Growth Fund. This government funding is available for projects which are recognised as benefiting the local area and its economy.

The Employer Hub will encourage business growth and development by offering tailormade conferencing and seminar facilities, meeting and interview rooms and networking spaces. Crucially, it creates a focal point where employers can discuss the opportunity to launch collaborative research and trials run by undergraduates from University Centre Reaseheath or by the college’s Further Education students.

Reaseheath has a successful record of facilitating these mutually beneficial projects, which allow businesses to drive innovation and economic growth by partnering students who have relevant research skills and knowledge, particularly in the areas of emerging technology. In return the students gain essential industry experience and workplace skills which often lead to career opportunities.

Businesses are also encouraged to have an input into curriculum development, ensuring that students have the skills which employers need, and into student mentoring and employability programmes.

Reaseheath’s Employer Hub also provides access to specialist technical resources, from e-journals to industry standard trials facilities, and to the college’s experienced technologists. This allows companies to carry out new product development or their employees to receive skills training and continuing professional development.

The Employer Hub was officially launched on Thursday March 14 by Ged Barlow, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member and Chairman of the Performance and Investment Committee. The launch followed a rural business conference where employers were able to test the emerging local industrial strategy.

Mr Barlow said: “The LEP’s investment, through the Local Growth Fund, into Reaseheath’s Employer Hub builds on our relentless commitment to improve skills and open up career opportunities.

“The Local Growth Fund is government funding that will see thousands of jobs created in our area and was developed to allow us to support projects such as this. Reaseheath’s Employer Hub will provide a unique environment to stimulate employer-learner collaboration, innovation and economic growth.”

Reaseheath’s Principal and CEO, Marcus Clinton, added: “The Employer Hub creates an environment where businesses can grow, innovate and engage with their community and future workforce. It offers a focal point which encapsulates the wider engagement which we are proud to operate within all the industries that we support.

“I’d like to thank the LEP for its continued support. It will ensure that our students will progress through their studies, informed by future employment opportunities and the delivery of truly employer-led educational programmes.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, commented: “Congratulations to Reaseheath College and to Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership for successfully completing this programme of improvements, which further strengthens the skills provision in the Northern Powerhouse.

“This government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and to building a Britain fit for the future. As part of this commitment we have supported wider improvements at Reaseheath College, including this Employer Hub, through a total £8.8m contribution from the Local Growth Fund. This will ensure that students have the skills they need to meet the changing demands of land based industries in the 21st century.”

The construction of Reaseheath’s Employer Hub was led by the John Turner Construction Group. It was built in three phases which were completed in the 2018/2019 academic year.