31 March 2011
A new Academy Learning Hub was launched this week to act as a focal point for training youngsters in construction, especially targeting those firms who have won contracts to build or refurbish schools in the borough.
Although the coalition government has stopped ploughing further funds into the Schools for the Future (SSF) project, Southwark funding to twelve schools was saved as contracts had already been drawn up.
The launch on Wednesday was held on the site of a new secondary school, which is set to be built on the sprawling Aylesbury Estate in Walworth.
The new facility is part of the £200 million SSF project. It is designed to serve as a focal point for training and will assist local construction companies with their employment and skills requirements.
Southwark’s Cabinet member for Regneration, Cllr Fiona Colley, was joined at the launch by members of the Local Education Partnership, including Balfour Beatty and CITB-Construction Skills. They showcased the work undertaken to date and highlighted the regeneration work planned for the area over the next three years.
Elise John-Lewis, Project Skills Coordinator for SSF, which is part of the National Skills Academy for Construction, said: “We are very excited to launch the Academy Learning Hub. This new facility enables us to offer more joined-up training courses to a wider variety of people and will be a fantastic focal point for interaction between companies, local educational institutes and the local community.
“By analysing company’s training and recruitment needs and determining where the shortfall is, we will be able to offer a bespoke service to address them. The result of this is a fully qualified existing workforce, but also an opportunity to encourage new entrants into the industry via apprenticeships and vacancies as a result of the project.”
Twelve secondary secondary schools in Southwark are going to be built or refurbished throughout Southwark by 2014 under the SSF project.
Two schools have already opened since the project’s launch last year; Tuke School in Peckham and St. Michael’s Catholic School in Bermondsey.
Designs for a further six schools have also been developed and approval to start design development on another four schools and two sites for Southwark’s Inclusive Learning Service has been obtained.
Throughout the project’s duration, 35 apprentices from the local area are due to be employed, with five already having taken up positions and additional positions currently being advertised.
Paul Newitt, Area Delivery Manager for CITB-ConstructionSkills, which is the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry, said: “We are thrilled with the success and progress of the project to date. Response to the two new schools has been extremely positive, from pupils, parents and local residents alike.
The project opens up many prospects for the local community; not only do the new and improved schools deliver superior learning facilities for pupils, but they also provide employment opportunities for local residents.
Identified as an area of high deprivation, the project and wider regeneration planned for Southwark will have a tremendous impact on the borough and its residents and we are delighted to be part of that.”
Schools to be built or refurbished
*St Thomas the Apostle College, Peckham
*Spa School, Bermondsey
*Sacred Heart R.C. Secondary School, Camberwell
*St Michael & All Angels Church of England Academy, Camberwell
*Highshore School, Peckham
*St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School, Bermondsey
*Notre Dame RC Girls’ School; Elephant & Castle
*Bredinghurst School, Peckham
New schools on the Aylesbury Estate and in Rotherhithe. Although there is debate locally among the political parties whether the funding is still available for a new school in Rotherhite
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