Construction firm appointed to build £8.1 million technical centre in Wolverhampton

A construction firm has been appointed to build an £8.1 million technical centre in Wolverhampton specialising in the engineering and automotive fields.

A computer generated image of the new technical centre Wolverhampton College’s Wellington Road campus in Bilston
A computer generated image of the new technical centre Wolverhampton College’s Wellington Road campus in Bilston

Spellar Metcalfe has been awarded the contract to build the Advanced Engineering and Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence by Wolverhampton Council.

The facility, branded as "vital", will be built at Wolverhampton College's Wellington Road site in Bilston with construction set to get under way in spring.

The move forms part of the council's City Learning Quarter master-plan, which includes the development near to the St George's metro stop in the city.

Deputy council leader Councillor Stephen Simkins, cabinet member for city economy, said: "All the pieces of our ambitious City Learning Quarter vision are beginning to drop into place.

"2023 is going to be a very exciting year for this scheme and I’m delighted we now have Speller Metcalfe on board to start delivering the technical centre at the Wellington Road campus.

"The City Learning Quarter will transform the learning environment for our students and residents, creating top-class facilities where they can flourish.

"We are working hard with Wolverhampton College to ensure we not only deliver a vibrant education hub where we improve the city’s learning, apprenticeship and employment offers, but also that we retain our best talent, rather than losing people to different parts of the region."

The centre will be funded by £7.7 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority, with the remainder from the Black Country LEP. It has been designed for engineering and motor vehicle studies – focusing on new electric, hybrid and traditional vehicles, CAD and robotics facilities.

It will deliver a "multi-skilled flexible workforce" addressing skills shortages in the city. Almost 5,500 learners and 954 apprenticeships are forecast over the first 10 years of the centre. The courses the purpose-built Bilston technical centre will host are not suitable for the city centre location.

Mal Cowgill, principal and CEO of Wolverhampton College, added: “Our new technical centre is set to play a vital role in creating the industry leaders of the future, and we are pleased to be working with local contractor Speller Metcalfe to bring it to life.

“We are also delighted that the wealth of learning opportunities that the Centre will provide for our students is set to begin with the build itself, where Speller Metcalfe will work with our construction students to offer practical, hands-on experience during the construction phases of the project.”

Speller Metcalfe has previously worked on high-profile schemes such as the award-winning Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology and Advance II buildings for Dudley College of Technology, as well as projects for the University of Wolverhampton and the renovation of the Wolverhampton Civic Centre.

Rob Lashford, regional director at Speller Metcalfe, said: "This is not only a new educational building for Wolverhampton College, but one that is at the forefront of education by delivering industry-standard courses to aspiring students. As a local contractor from Wolverhampton, Speller Metcalfe is delighted to be a part of the council’s journey to realise their Learning Quarter vision."

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, and West Midlands Combined Authority chairman, added “It’s tremendously exciting to see this state-of-the-art education facility finally coming to life. Thanks to the Government backing we managed to secure, this Centre will change lives for the better in Wolverhampton in the months and years ahead – giving local people the skills they need to succeed, creating hundreds of jobs in the process and ensuring Wolverhampton has a bright future ahead.”

The main City Learning Quarter development proposals were initially supported by a £6.2 million investment from the Council and Black Country LEP, which has enabled design work, site surveys and ground investigations, site acquisition and clearance to be completed.

The council has also secured £5million from the Towns Fund, £20million from the Levelling Up Fund and a further £20 million from the Department for Education for the scheme.

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