Telford College’s plans to open a new digital skills and enterprise hub in the town’s ‘station quarter’ have received a major Government cash boost
Listen to Graham Guest live on BBC Shropshire radio
Shaun Davies talks about the Town's Fund on BBC Shropshire radio
The town has been awarded £22.3 million to trigger a series of investment projects which will transform the town centre, create jobs, and boost economic growth.
They include Telford College’s new digital skills and enterprise hub, to be delivered in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, the local authority, and businesses.
It is described as ‘a centre of excellence focused on meeting business need’.
The funding from the Government’s Towns Fund follows a successful bid which was made by Telford’s Town Deal Board.
It is expected to attract up to £30 million of further investment, creating the foundations for significant development.
Graham Guest, Telford College’s principal and chief executive, said: “This is fantastic news – not just for the college’s own expansion plans, but for the whole town.
“It will transform the town centre, opening up exciting opportunities to the local community, and making Telford a much more attractive opportunity for inward investors.
“There are some fantastic plans to grow Telford’s station quarter, and we see it as a tremendous opportunity to create an ambitious and exciting innovation centre right at the heart of it.
“For us, it’s an opportunity to expand Telford College’s provision in a way which is accessible to a greater proportion of people across the borough, and which would raise people’s aspirations.
“It’s also about supporting local employers to ensure they can develop the sort of workforce they require – and help to retain these important skills in the town.”
It is hoped that the new Telford College hub will serve as an innovation centre and accelerator hub for employers, with close links to the borough’s schools, business support organisations.
Mr Guest added: “Maths and digital qualifications are a vital pathway to higher quality and better paid career opportunities for the people of Telford.
“We are talking about equipping people for careers in sectors such as cybersecurity, AI and robotics, virtual and augmented reality, clo
ud computing, wireless technologies, 5G innovation, and a whole lot more.
“The future of education needs to be built around imaginative and creative collaboration, and we are keen to work closely with partners across the business, school and local government sectors.
“Statistics show that young people in Telford & Wrekin have aspirations which are lower than the national average.
“This new project has the potential to open more people’s eyes to what is possible, right on their doorstep – and with this funding commitment, it is a major step closer to reality.”
Telford MP Lucy Allan said: “Telford’s £22.3 million is a huge sum and will play a vital role in Telford’s future and its ability to bounce back post-pandemic.
“Skills training and technology will be the engines of new growth and jobs and will confirm Telford’s position as an economic hub fuelling growth across the West Midlands.”