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Plans to establish a leading engineering centre supporting hundreds of learners in Ebbw Vale

PLANS to establish a leading engineering centre which would support hundreds of learners in Ebbw Vale have been revealed.

Blaenau Gwent council is working with Coleg Gwent on the project to support a vision for the area to be “a globally recognised centre for the development of new technologies” by 2027.

The plans include refurbishment of the former Monwell factory in Letchworth Road, Ebbw Vale, to create an advanced engineering centre.

Senior councillors are set to meet to consider endorsing a funding bid to the Welsh Government to support the ambitious project.

An investment of £8 million is being sought, with building costs estimated at £5 million.

If funding is approved, it is expected the facility will open in September 2022.

A council report says the facility would be “sector-leading, a pioneering Centre of Excellence”, which would be “capable of delivering a new curriculum fit for the engineering industry of the future”.

Around 600 learners are expected to attend the centre by 2026/27 on a range of full-time, part-time, higher education and apprenticeship courses.

The centre will benefit from “state-of-the-art equipment and resources” to enable a range of training which would support the future skills needs of the manufacturing industry across Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valley, a report says.

A partnership with Coleg Gwent – which would be the tenant of the centre – has been established to support the funding bid.

The Tech Valleys board has supported the proposal and has written a letter of recommendation to go alongside a business case that has been submitted to Welsh Government.

The Tech Valleys programme has a vision that in 2027 “the South Wales Valleys and Blaenau Gwent in particular, will be a globally recognised centre for the development of new technologies, to support cutting edge industry”.

A council report says the proposal will support this vision by creating “an environment that will attract hi-tech inward investors within the advanced manufacturing sector”.

Primary and secondary schools across Blaenau Gwent would have access to the facility and would be able to have guest lectures, demonstrations and use equipment for project work.

“The advanced engineering centre will be constantly adapting to produce highly trained students who have a real passion for engineering and upskill the current engineering workforce, ready for the next industrial revolution,” a council report says.

The council’s executive committee will consider endorsing a funding bid for the project at a meeting on Wednesday, April 14.

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