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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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£2m more to be ploughed into Carlisle College revamp

Another £2 million is being ploughed into the transformation of Carlisle College.

Carlisle College photo
£2m is to be spent on St Paul’s Hall

A disused former chapel is to be transformed into a business hub to nurture new entrepreneurs in another boost for the institution.

Motor workshops and the construction training department will also be revamped and upgraded as part of projects due to start by the summer.

The latest developments will take the total investment at the college over the past 10 years to £30m.

Money for them – coming largely from the Skills Funding Agency – has been confirmed as work continues on the college’s new £5m digital arts centre, due to open in September.

College principal Moira Tattersall is delighted with the newest grants success.

She said: “So many areas of the college benefit from fabulous surroundings now.

“It would have been awful if we were not able to do anything with the hall. It would have been an eyesore between the beautiful buildings we now have. It desperately needs doing.”

St Paul’s Hall, on the corner of Strand Road and next to the arts centre development site and currently only used for storage, is going to be turned into a hub for business studies students.

At the moment, they do not have a dedicated space in the college campus. The new centre will give them space for practical work, as well as a place where start-up businesses could launch from.

It will complement the work being carried out by the University of Cumbria at its business interaction centre in Paternoster Row.

The construction department is to benefit from a major refurbishment, bringing it up to modern standards.

Similar work is planned for the motor vehicle workshops, which will be upgraded to teach the latest technologies in mechanics, including the ability to further explore areas such as hybrid cars.

All of those projects are on top of the £10m overhaul of the Victoria Road college’s main buildings, unveiled nearly two years ago.

The investments have been hailed as a significant achievement on the back of the devastating blow dealt to the college’s chances of transformation in 2009 when a single £30m overhaul project had to be scrapped when funding for it was pulled.

Mrs Tattersall added: “It’s an exciting time, though it’s demanding.

“We are going to have to carefully plan the three new projects and try to plan as much as possible for the holiday period.”

News of the new investment has come as college chiefs report another successful year. Figures show that 90 per cent of its learners go on to more studies in Further Education, Higher Education or move into employment or apprenticeships.

Last year the college enrolled more than 1,000 full-time 16 to 18-year-olds, nearly 2,000 adults and in excess of 600 apprentices.

In a presentation at the college’s annual general meeting, Mrs Tattersall and college board chairman David Carter said: “Carlisle College had a very successful year.

“This year’s success is testimony to the hard work and commitment of all our governors, staff and learners.”

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