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HGV Training Centre At New College Lanarkshire
The training centre was officially opened by Roseanna Cunnigham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training.
The state-of-the-art facility is the only centre of its kind in Scottish further or higher education to offer such a wide range of training opportunities, both for students and those already working in the road transport industry.
It is the latest piece in the jigsaw for the college, which delivers the most comprehensive automotive training provision in all of Scotland.
Ms Cunningham praised the centre, saying that it opens another chapter in the regeneration of the former Ravenscraig steelworks site on which New College Lanarkshire's Motherwell Campus is located.
She said: "The HGV Training Centre marks another significant step towards bringing back industry and job opportunities to Lanarkshire.
"I have been highly impressed by the facilities on offer within this exciting new addition to the automotive learning opportunities offered at New College Lanarkshire.
"Meeting with the students has underlined the importance of investing in the future of our young people and will build on the expertise of the hundreds already learning an automotive trade here at the College.
"The industry guests I've spoken with have shown great excitement in having such a well-equipped training facility in the heart of the Central Belt, which is a key logistics area for all of Scotland and will support our industries by saving them from having to send staff away to train.
"The Centre highlights, for me, the crucial role played by colleges in delivering the skills and training that the people and industries of Scotland need."
A standalone building positioned behind the engineering block, the 793sqm centre comprises a workshop area on the ground floor, while on the first floor there is a computer suite with 24 workstations, a teaching classroom and a viewing gallery.
It was designed by staff at the College to make the space as user-friendly as possible.
The workshop is big enough to fit six buses at one time. It has drop-down utilities (water, 110v, 240v, air supply), exhaust extractors and wireless-enabled portable vehicle lifts to ensure a trip-free zone.
The facility is designed to provide a three-pronged service: education and training to full-time and part-time students; education and training to apprentices working with external organisations; and upskilling of heavy vehicle maintenance engineers employed by commercial companies or public bodies.
It aims to fill a gap in the market by providing training opportunities to organisations that previously had to send their employees south of the border for upskilling.
Martin McGuire, Principal of New College Lanarkshire, said: "We are extremely proud of our new HGV Training Centre, which will further confirm our Motherwell Campus as a sector leader in automotive training provision in Scotland.
"The state-of-the-art facilities on offer will allow us to train a new generation of heavy vehicle engineers here in the heart of Lanarkshire.
"We look forward to welcoming new students, and staff already working in the road transport industry, through its doors for decades to come."
Ms Cunningham met with a few of the 60 Heavy Vehicle students at the centre, who are undertaking a Year 1 Diploma in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance & Repair (SCQF5).
Another 60 students will be recruited on to the three-year study programme in August, with a further 60 in August 2016.
The Centre also provides heavy vehicle training on Modern Apprenticeship schemes for apprentices working for seven local businesses and councils.
For the last five years, the College has been in the top five finalists in the 'Approved Centre of the Year' category at the prestigious IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) Outstanding Achievers Awards.
Mark Ingram, Head of Faculty of Engineering & Automotive, said: "Given the demand for high quality education and training for truck, bus and trailers across Scotland, this is a very exciting development for both the heavy vehicle industry and the College.
"Our automotive section has around 1,000 students and 44 staff, making it not only the largest further education provider of automotive education and training in Scotland, but also one of the largest and most successful automotive providers in the UK.
"I am confident that through working with students and employers we can develop and deliver education and training to meet the current and future needs of the heavy vehicle industry