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Improved training facilities would boost two key industries

Friday, 29 November 2013

Facilities for engineering and construction craft training that meet modern-day demands will move a step closer if Tynwald supports a motion from the Department of Education and Children next month.

Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, will seek the Court’s approval for phase one of a £4.9 million scheme to improve training facilities for the two industries at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education

The Minister said: ‘We have strong, home-grown construction and engineering sectors and it’s essential that suitable training facilities are provided to support these industries and bring through the next generation of engineers and tradesmen.’ 

He added: ‘The widening of vocational choices to complement or offer an alternative to the more conventional academic examination routes at 14-16 and beyond is also a key Department priority.’

Improved training facilities  for engineering

Training in engineering and construction crafts takes place across three sites – at the College in Homefield Road and at Hill’s Meadow and in Union Mills.

The availability of the former Water Authority treatment works in Greenfield Road, next to the main College, allows for improved facilities for both to be created within easy proximity.

Phase one of the scheme would provide improved facilities for engineering at the old treatment works. The original filter hall on the upper ground floor would become the main engineering hall, housing machinery and workshops, with classrooms and a computer aided design/ machinery area off this. A materials laboratory, electronics classroom and office space would be included in an extension.

At first floor level there would be further classrooms, including for materials science and electrical engineering. 

At lower ground floor level, within the existing building there would be an electrical engineering workshop, and stores, staff room and meeting room. The extension at this level would include a reception, recreational space for students, a further electrical engineering workshop and a plant room. 

A separate motor vehicle workshop will be created alongside the main hall, allowing for growth in the spheres of green motor vehicle technology and engine testing. 

Subject to Tynwald’s approval, work on the facility would start in January 2014 and be completed by mid-August. The planned improvements would allow the College to offer new courses in mechanical engineering and electronics, such as mechatronics, supporting new industry on the Island. 

The facility would be named the William Kennish Building, after the Manx inventor and marine engineer who set out early plans for the Panama Canal. 

Improved facilities for engineering training would allow the College to: 

  • develop the 14-16 link, providing secondary school students with enhanced engineering and motor vehicle facilities
  • train more HGV specialists on-Island
  • develop ‘green’ engineering and motor vehicle curriculum initiatives
  • provide laboratories for the testing of engineering materials and the building of electronic devices
  • replicate realistic workshop environments where individuals can work on industry-standard equipment such as CNC (computer numerical control) machines, engine analysers and electrical switchboards
  • provide space for maritime engineering, to be developed in conjunction with Liverpool John Moores University’s Maritime Academy, to support the Island’s shipping industry. 

In June 2014, the Department would seek Tynwald’s approval for phase two of the scheme, to create suitable-sized facilities for the four construction crafts – brickwork, joinery, painting and decorating and plumbing – in the space at the College vacated by engineering. Work would start in September 2014 and be completed by June 2015.

‘This scheme underlines the Isle of Man Government’s support of the construction and engineering sectors, bringing together training in purpose-built facilities that reflect the two industries’ modern-day training needs and freeing up facilities elsewhere,’ the Minister said.

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