Nexus centre in Gorleston primed to train next generation of engineers
THE �1m Nexus Engineering Training Centre in Gorleston will be officially opened today, primed to train the next generation of engineers.
It is hoped the state-of-the-art facility at Beacon Park will help fill a 'void' in local industries, giving youngsters the skills needed to work in the growing offshore sector.
And the development has been hailed as key to growing the region's economy.
Bernard Williamson, the borough council's cabinet member for transformation and regeneration, said the growing offshore sector paints a 'positive picture' and is hopeful of further investment to create new jobs.
He added 'There's a lot of interest from the Chinese and right through the spectrum to use Yarmouth as a base.'
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There is high demand for skills within the engineering sector, with more than 400 small and medium-sized engineering business in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area alone.
There are also several multinational firms.
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Keith Loveys, centre manager, said: 'Engineering has had a bit of a glut for some time, and we need skilled engineers locally.
'This is going to raise the aspirations of young people into engineering, and fill that void in local industry.'
The centre has put together a 'complete programme' for primary school delivery.
'There are units that run for a half term to switch their minds onto engineering,' explained Mr Loveys. 'It's about starting at that early age.
'We're her to work with local industry too, to support their staff.'
Building work on the centre started in January 2012, and it now houses a range of specialist equipment.
Facilities include a manufacturing workshop, energy and renewables, a laboratory, CAD facilities, training areas for electronic, instrumentation, mechanical and electrical engineering, an ICT suite and classrooms.
Some of this has been installed from the former Hethel Engineering Centre.
The centre falls within the Local Enterprise Zone, and Mr Loveys says it is in a unique position to provide an engineering hub for the east coast.
Wellington Construction built the centre in less than a year, and it will now offer engineering training across the industry spectrum for all ages - from 14-year-old school pupils expanding their GCSEs to adults looking to retrain or improve their skills.
And outreach engineering training will be offered to primary school pupils and other learners across the whole of Norfolk and North Suffolk.
Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis will officially open the centre.