Funding of £3.5 million for Worksop’s new town centre college finally approved

Funding worth £3.5million has finally been approved for a new college in Worksop town centre which is expected to be built by March 2022.

The new centre - named Worksop Access to Skills Hub (WASH) - will help Bassetlaw people gain skills in health, digital and green technology sectors, say council bosses.

It is hoped the educational facility - located at the old job centre on Bridge Place - will revive the town centre, creating jobs and supporting high street growth.

Bassetlaw District Council - who bought the building over two years ago - say the skills hub will have “a positive impact on life outcomes for future generations”.

Pictured are Jack Bowker, Bassetlaw Council Vice Chair, Simon Greaves, and Bassetlaw MP Brendan Brendan Clarke-Smith when plans were first announced in August

It is understood the WASH - in partnership with North Notts College’s RNN Group and Derby University - will provide courses for 300 students including access to university-level education.

Those who enrol will be able to study higher education diplomas at Levels 4, 5 and 6 – which is the equivalent of a standard Bachelor's degree.

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WASH will also work alongside Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust “to meet the trust’s workforce demands”.

Bridge Court - where the new college will be located

Local enterprise partnership D2N2 signed off the council’s business case for share in the Government’s £900 million Getting Building Fund last week.

The funding is being given to projects like WASH to improve digital infrastructure, support career opportunities, move towards a low-carbon economy and drive economic growth post-Covid.

Last month a row erupted over the new centre between Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith and the council over the naming of the college as a “university campus”.

Though bidding documents submitted by D2N2 on behalf of the council to the government last year described it as a university campus it was described as a “skills hub” by council leader Simon Greaves last month.

Speaking about finally having £3.5 million in funding officially granted, Councillor Jo White, member for regeneration at Bassetlaw District Council, said the WASH would be “desperately needed” following the pandemic.

She said: “Almost two-and-a-half years ago - when the council bought Bridge Court - we saw the potential to transform a neglected building into a place where future generations of local people could give themselves the opportunity to create a more promising future.

“The funding announced today will help to address the skills shortages that have already been identified in our area, enhance the further education provision already on offer in Bassetlaw and create a positive impact on life outcomes for future generations.

“In the coming years people who want to gain skills in areas such as the health, digital and green technology sectors will be able to learn and train close to their homes and our brightest talent may not be lost to neighbouring areas.

“We also firmly believe that a skills hub will benefit the town centre and as well as directly creating jobs it will help to secure jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors and directly support the growth of our high street.

“On behalf of Bassetlaw I’d like to thank D2N2 for their support and our partners who will help to make this vision a reality.”

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