“Upskilling a specialised workforce” which contributes £180m to the local economy and employs over 1600 people, that is what will come from the investment granted to Solihull College for the development of an Advanced Life Science Centre.
The funding will provide specialist laboratory space for microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry teaching. This will complement the existing science laboratories in the College’s School of Science at the Blossomfield Campus, and is expected to be completed by summer 2015.
This significant grant will support the Life Sciences Campus Economic Zone around Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston. The College understands that employers such as University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust require skills including microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry and data analysis. The Advanced Life Sciences Centre at the College will allow learners to be taught these skills.
Andrew Schneider is Programme Manager for Applied Science at the College, he comments: “There is an urgent need for laboratory space here at the College which will enable us to develop our further and higher education provisions. This significant funding will allow us to do that and to help contribute to the Life Sciences field across Birmingham. In addition we will have the standard of facilities to help upskill the current workforce and to create bespoke training. This is an exciting development and a responsibility to the local economy we take seriously”.
To understand the need of employers, the College has been working in consultation with the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences at Oxford Brookes University, whom the College has established links with across other subject areas. As a result there will be equipment such as UV/VIS spectrophotometers, magnetic stirrer heaters, microfuges, shaking incubators and thermal cyclers. Due to the employer demand for the skills this facility will deliver, it is hoped that in future it will reduce the costs to employers of hard to fill vacancies and reduce skills gaps.
Along with upskilling the current workforce, the new centre will further enhance learners studying Level 2 and 3 Applied Science and university level qualifications here at the College in the next academic year.
To find out more information about studying Science at Solihull College at both further and university qualification level, please visit www.solihull.ac.uk / university centre or call 0121 678 7000.