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Centre for training house builders of future gets lifeline

PUBLISHED: 10:51 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:51 25 February 2020

The Norfolk Construction Centre in Bircham Newton and right, Dr Nikos Savvas. Pic: Archant

The Norfolk Construction Centre in Bircham Newton and right, Dr Nikos Savvas. Pic: Archant

A major Norfolk job training centre with 170 staff under threat of closure looks set to be taken over by a local college.

Dr Nikos Savvas, principal of West Suffolk College. Pic: ArchantDr Nikos Savvas, principal of West Suffolk College. Pic: Archant

The CITB, Construction Industry Training Board, is signing an agreement with West Suffolk College over the sale of its college at Bircham Newton, near King's Lynn.

This means that the two organisations will now enter a period of due diligence with a view to transferring the ownership and running of the business. A similar agreement has been reached in relation to CITB's health and safety training business.

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An aerial view of the National Construction College at Bircham Newton. Pic: ArchantAn aerial view of the National Construction College at Bircham Newton. Pic: Archant

The CITB announced in 2017 it would be leaving its site in Bircham Newton after moving its headquarters to Peterborough. However, its National Construction College with 170 staff remained at the site. Only last month the CITB said it could not guarantee the service would remain if a buyer couldn't be found.

CITB CEO Sarah Beale, said: "The agreements mean that CITB and West Suffolk College will be working to secure the continuity of training provision for the construction industry in relation to both quality and quantity. They also mean that the north-west Norfolk area would continue to host a major British training college. We are looking forward to working together to build and grow the training at Bircham Newton, which will benefit the construction industry, the National Construction College and the local area."

Dr Nikos Savvas, principal of West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds, added: "West Suffolk College is delighted to be working with CITB on the acquisition of the National Construction College at Bircham Newton. We have a long history of working with employers to upskill and retrain their staff across a number of campuses and firmly believe that we can maintain, develop and build upon the industry-wide reputation of the National Construction College as the home of construction training in the UK. We want to build on the experience and knowledge of the team to make Bircham Newton a centre of excellence in the UK."

The National Construction Centre at Bircham Newton. Pic: ArchantThe National Construction Centre at Bircham Newton. Pic: Archant

The National Construction College remains open for business and is taking bookings throughout 2020.

In 2018, the college trained around 2,500 students.

West Suffolk College,Bury St Edmunds. Pic: ArchantWest Suffolk College,Bury St Edmunds. Pic: Archant

Sarah Beale, CEO of the CITB. Pic: ArchantSarah Beale, CEO of the CITB. Pic: Archant

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