Back to the Future! Andy Street arrives at opening of new technologies training centre in all-electric DeLorean

A new electric vehicle and green technologies training centre has been opened in in style with a visit from a classic DeLorean – as seen in Back to the Future.

Mayor Andy Street arrives in the Back to the Future DeLorean
Mayor Andy Street arrives in the Back to the Future DeLorean

Wolverhampton college’s new centre has been developed to cope with increased demand for training in the fast-emerging sector.

Based on Planetary Road, Wednesfield, the centre was opened by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, who arrived in an all-electric DeLorean.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: "Today we went ‘back to the future’ and saw a modified DeLorean in action at the brand new state of the art Electric Vehicle Centre at the City of Wolverhampton College.

"This fantastic new facility will help bring the Green Industrial Revolution to life - establishing a UK centre of excellence for the automotive industry as it adapts to meet modern needs and at the same time creating high-tech 21st century jobs in close collaboration with employers from across the region.

"This is great news for the young people of Wolverhampton and a wonderful new opportunity on their doorstep."

Also in attendance was Jane Stevenson, MP for Wolverhampton North East, Ian Brookfield, Wolverhampton council leader, Mal Cowgill, college principal and Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East.

MP Jane Stevenson, Mayor Andy Street, Council Leader Ian Brookfield, College Principal Mal Cowgill and MP Pat McFadden

Malcolm Cowgill, principal of the college, said: "As a leading education provider in the region we are proud to be at the forefront of electric vehicle training and are extremely grateful to WMCA and our industry partners for their support in developing the centre which will boost the employment prospects of hundreds of local people by giving them the skills they need to work in this exciting new sector.

"And, in light of the recent announcement of the launch of a new all-electric DeLorean, we were delighted to have the classic DeLorean at the launch for the Mayor and our other guests to enjoy."

The centre has been developed in partnership with Duplex Business Services and boasts a range of electric vehicles and the latest industry-standard equipment to give people the specialist skills to work in the industry.

Ms Stevenson said: “I was lucky enough to meet some of the first students to use the site back in January. It's wonderful to hear that lots of the students I met have already found jobs in this growing sector.

"Technologies are changing so quickly, which means educators need to keep pace.

"I want to congratulate the College for being so quick off the mark and for leading the way with a number of pioneering courses.

"This is brilliant news for students and for our city's future economy.

"The opening of this site really is a great day for Wolverhampton."

The centre will allow the college to provide courses from Level 1 to Level 4, as well as free training for people who are registered as unemployed through a sector-based work academy programme (SWAP).

SWAP includes sector-specific pre-employment training work experience and a guaranteed job interview with an industry employer.

Latest data shows that only one in 20 mechanics in garages and dealerships are currently qualified to maintain and repair electric vehicles and West Midlands Combined Authority is funding training at the centre to address this skills gap and help the region achieve its zero-carbon target by 2041.

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Wolverhampton Council leader, said: "We are an ambitious city on the green agenda, our aim is to deliver a net carbon neutral council by 2028 – one of the most challenging targets in the region – and for the city to be net carbon neutral by 2041.

"Green technologies are our future - and we need to seize the opportunities it presents to protect our environment and create jobs and opportunities.

"The challenge now is to grow and support access to these new opportunities by ensuring we have the right skills in Wolverhampton so local people benefit."

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