Wirral Met College has received ‘expression of interest stage’ approval, which means it can now progress to a full application, which will be considered at a future Combined Authority meeting. The Wirral Met College proposal involves the construction of a new build project adjacent to the College’s existing Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone site, to provide a University Health Campus to deliver nursing and other vocational NHS careers training in partnership with the University of Chester.
A number of projects to enhance and develop Further Education facilities across the Liverpool City Region and ensure future learners are equipped with the skills local employers need have been agreed in principle at a recent Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting. In total the Skills Capital Investment Fund has now committed to invest in over 30 projects across Liverpool City Region to a total grant value of approximately £23.6 million.
The funding is part of the Liverpool City Region’s £232 million Growth Deal that was secured from Government by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in 2014. Working together, the City Region is investing the Skills Capital Investment Fund, consisting of £41.1 million across 2015/16 and 2016/17 as an integral part of the overall Growth Deal.
Sue Higginson, Principal and Chief Executive of Wirral Met College said, 'We have a well-established partnership with the University of Chester which provides opportunities for local people to access University education. As one of the key providers of education and training in health and social care, our partnership is enhanced by a close working relationship with the NHS. This new initiative will enable us to service the growing need for skilled staff in this key sector, whilst also providing a chance for local people to take up the opportunities, through employer led training. We plan to locate this new facility within Wirral Waters, with the support of Peel and fully expect the students who recently started studying in our new Wirral Waters Construction Campus, to be amongst those who will help to build this new facility. The new Wirral Waters Health and Care Campus is part of a partnership between Wirral Met College, the University of Chester, Peel and a number of key employers that will shape the demand for the skilled workforce that it supports.”
Tim Wheeler, Vice Chancellor of University of Chester said, “The University of Chester has been working with Wirral Metropolitan College as part of a strategic alliance between the two institutions to extend educational and training provision to learners on the Wirral. The Wirral Waters Health and Care Campus will provide NHS employers with the scope to develop an expanded curriculum with the University and Wirral Met, which will meet the demand for skilled staff extend the opportunities for local learners wanting to train and work in a variety of health care roles.
“Together with Wirral’s NHS providers and Wirral Met College (an Associate College of the University) we already have a long-standing tradition of preparing practice-ready nurses, midwives and social workers.
“Equipping students with the knowledge and skills to pursue careers in public service is an area in which the University of Chester has specialised since its origins in 1839, and it is proud to have produced the region’s most consistently employable graduates. We look forward to an exciting new chapter of working with Wirral Met.”
Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development at Peel Land & Property, said “This represents a very important investment into skills. We're delighted to be working in partnership with both Chester University and Wirral Met College and we're looking forward to developing this vital facility within the Wirral Waters regeneration project.”
Cllr Ian Maher, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority portfolio lead for Employment and Skills, said: “Today’s investment and the grant funding previously agreed will deliver the learning facilities our young people and job seekers need to gain industry standard skills and be able to compete for high quality employment opportunities across the Liverpool City Region. The proposed investment in facilities will ensure local people can access high quality provision and gain the skills our local employers are looking for. I look forward to receiving the full applications in due course.”