Hugh Baird College has been awarded Government funding to carry out a £2million site upgrade and create a dedicated Port Academy Liverpool training facility.

The Bootle-based further education college founded the Port Academy Liverpool programme in a bid to prepare youngsters aged 14 and upwards for job opportunities in maritime operations and logistics created by the development of the Port of Liverpool.

Hugh Baird principal and chief executive Yana Williams said the funding will be used to re-develop the college’s Pembroke Centre to create a one-stop-shop for related training including engineering, construction, business, law, ICT, science and advanced manufacturing.

“We have big plans for our Port Academy Liverpool training programme,” she said. “The creation of a single hub for all the related training will enable us to deliver new courses to help meet employer and student demand. The upgrade will include improvements to workshop facilities and the creation of a new advanced engineering laboratory. There will also be new ICT studios and teaching spaces, a new learning resource centre and flexible facilities for business development.

“The site re-development is good news for apprentices too. A new plumbing, gas and heating workshop will enable us to offer new Level 2 and Level 3 courses and apprenticeship places. A welding fabrication workshop with physical and simulation technologies will enable new engineering apprenticeship places to be provided.”

Following the successful funding bid, secured after 18 months of canvassing, the next stage will be to work towards securing contractors through a tender process and to apply for planning permission.

In the meantime, Hugh Baird chiefs have been working with architects the IBI Group in a bid to finalise the Pembroke Centre plans.

College bosses hope to see re-development work begin as soon as autumn 2015, with an estimated final completion date of late spring 2016.

Yana Williams said facility user groups would be consulted by the design team to ensure that the plans are in line with their requirements.

“It is vital that young learners are properly prepared for the workplace,” she said. “Hugh Baird College works closely with schools to ensure that courses are available which are linked to specific career paths and future jobs. It is important that we, as a college, adapt to the changing needs of local employers. We work with businesses to ensure that we meet their workforce demands through the provision of appropriately trained apprentices. It is a key element of what we do.

“We have also gained much support and input for our Port Academy Liverpool programme from the maritime sector, such as the Royal Navy, master mariners working as Liverpool pilots and the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. These links are providing students with invaluable opportunities to find out more about working practices onboard vessels.”

The Hugh Baird College funding was awarded as part of the Liverpool City Region’s £232m Growth Deal secured by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) last year.

Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“I am extremely pleased to see the first tranche of our Growth Deal being allocated to our City Region Colleges, including Hugh Baird College.

“As one of the LEPs Key Growth sectors the Superport initiative presents an opportunity to place the port and surrounding logistics infrastructure at the heart of business in the UK – creating a Global Freight & Logistics Hub for Northern UK and Ireland.

“Our ambition now is to help grow the sector – to do this we need to focus on our people and equip them with the skills, aptitude and ability to compete not only locally but in the global market. Having a Port Academy specialising in maritime operations and logistics will help us achieve this.”

For more information on Hugh Baird College visit the website www.hughbaird.ac.uk or call directly on 0151 353 4444.