Improved facilities for engineering and construction crafts at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education will allow more students to access a wider range of training, benefiting the economy.
In a £4.9 million project, engineering has moved out of the main College building in Homefield Road to newly refurbished premises in the former Water Authority treatment works in nearby Greenfield Road. Courses began there this term.
The space vacated at the main College site is being turned into a bespoke training area for the four main construction crafts – brickwork, joinery, painting and decorating and plumbing. That part of the project is scheduled for completion next July.
Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, will officially open the new engineering centre on Wednesday 12th November.
It houses courses in electrical, mechanical and motor vehicle engineering.
Its creation will allow the College to:
- provide secondary students with enhanced opportunities to study vocational subjects
- train more HGV specialists on-Island and 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 computer numerical control machines, engine analysers and electrical switchboards.
The Minister said:
'Education seeks to support the Island's economy by equipping students with skills for life and the workplace and the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education plays a vital role in this.
'With a view to better meeting the needs of the community and economy, we are extending the range of further and higher education courses and improving the quality and range of vocational options. We are also broadening the school curriculum to provide more opportunities for applied and vocational learning.
'The creation of these modern training facilities is a big step towards achieving those aims.'
Previously, training in engineering and construction crafts was spread across three bases in different parts of the Island. This development brings students and lecturers within easy proximity and has freed up the other buildings for new uses.
The new engineering base will be named the William Kennish Engineering Centre after the Manxman (1799-1862) whose inventions included the predecessor of the gun turret and who discovered the first canal route without locks to link the Pacific and the Atlantic – paving the way, some 40 years later, for the Panama Canal.
Clifford Kennish and Dana Kennish Smith, William's great great grandsons, are travelling from America with their wives to attend the opening.
The Minister said:
'It will be special to link engineering past and present by having direct descendants of Mr Kennish present.'