An innovative centre for learning will benefit students and the Falkirk area was the message from Dr Ken Thomson as further details of the new Forth Valley College Falkirk campus were revealed.
At an event in the current building, stakeholders, employers, national skills agencies, as well as members of the local community, met with college board members and staff.
They were given an opportunity to see the new plans and see an animated ‘fly through’ film of how the facility will look on completion.
Greeting the 100-plus guests, Dr Thomson, along with Ross Martin, chairman of the college’s board of management, highlighted how the new campus will benefit employers by delivering the skills for their workforces.
The principal said: “When this campus is complete it will be one of the most innovative further education institutions in the country in both design and the programmes we offer.
“The £78 million facility will provide the headquarters for the college and will offer an impressive range of state-of-the-art learning environments.
“Our innovative courses and training will be relevant to the needs of individuals, employers and the workforce of the future. There will be clear links to local employment opportunities with a strategic focus on STEM provision, health care and sport with the potential for national and international delivery – indeed we plan to be recognised as a global centre of excellence for STEM.”
Emphasising the importance to the local community, he added: “We are excited about the possibilities the new campus will offer – it will be a legacy building for Forth Valley and the people of Falkirk. The modern, iconic architecture will both enhance the local landscape and complement our neighbours, the Helix Park and world famous Kelpies.
“Our vision for a unique community campus will also increase accessibility and promote inclusiveness – widening opportunities for all and helping even more people reach their full potential.”
Work officially began on the new campus last November, when Scotland’s minister for further education, higher education and science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, used a digger to cut the first sod. It will be on land previously used by the college in Grangemouth Road.
It is due to be completed in November 2019 and will complete the college’s ambitious estates programme which saw their £21 million Alloa campus open in 2011 and their £29 million Stirling campus a year later.
The Scottish Government is investing £65 million in the construction of the new campus.
Chairman Ross Martin, pictured left, said: “The new campus will benefit both people and place – from individuals looking to take their next step in education and employers looking to achieve success with the support of a highly skilled workforce.”
Referring to the review launched last year by the government to ensure everyone had the correct support, he added: “These facilities, and their relationship to the places which Forth Valley College serves, are at the leading edge of the outcomes based aspirations of the enterprise and skills review, helping us create a learner journey that is truly about ‘Making Learning Work’.”
The new Falkirk centre will focus on training facilities designed for science and technology, engineering, sport and healthcare, accommodating a wide range of courses.
Unique facilities will include world class laboratories, a process training rig, transmission training centre, distillation plant, virtual control room, mini rig, biotechnology centre, sports centre and front of house training salons for hairdressing and beauty.
Along with state-of-the-art classrooms and flexible spaces across the campus, other facilities will include a first-class learning resource centre, food outlets and conferencing and sports facilities.