£6.5m learning centre to open in Cannock one year after college campus closed
Further education is coming back to Cannock with the launch of a multi-million pound learning centre.
The town's South Staffordshire College campus, which was up for sale, has now been taken off the market and the centre will open in September after a £6.5 million cash injection.
It comes a year after the campus controversially closed due to financial pressures, forcing students to travel to Penkridge, Lichfield and Tamworth to study.
The building went up for sale but will now be reopened under the title of a new skills and innovation hub.
It will offer courses, training and apprenticeship opportunities across areas including engineering and social care as part of a joint venture between the council and the college.
Councillor George Adamson, leader of the council said: “It is fair to say we were very critical of the decision to close the Cannock campus a year ago.
“However, a year on, and after positive discussions with the college and employers, we have been able to turn round what was a bleak position into something very new and exciting.
“The college should be commended for exploring and now committing to this new venture, and we welcome the support of the business community to help provide invaluable educational opportunities which will help to raise skills levels among the local workforce.
“The district council is already committed to investing £500,000 into an engineering academy to provide modern equipment.”
Courses will be provided in engineering, advanced manufacturing, electrical installation and engineering, energy, construction, digital, health and social care and early years, and mathematics and English for employability.
Some of these will be available from this September while others will be developed in future years.
There will also be an apprenticeship hub, as well as areas for start-up businesses and space for office use.
Claire Boliver, chief executive principal of South Staffordshire College, said: “After many months of weighing up a wide variety of options, we have now arrived at a new future for the Cannock Campus that we feel represents the best outcome for the local community.
“Having taken advice from all stakeholders, we have now completed our due diligence and come to the decision that a new innovation and skills hub will be the most financially sustainable and economically beneficial use of this site.
"This will benefit local employers, small businesses and start-ups, learners and job seekers.
“We are therefore no longer offering the site on the open market, and are now at advanced stages of discussions with our partner stakeholders to move forward with this plan.”