Hopwood eyes summer start for £6.1m tech centre

The Rochdale college has begun the search for a contractor to build a 15,000 sq ft extension to its Middleton Campus technology centre, to provide space to teach T-level technical qualifications.

A planned alternative to A levels, T-Levels are a technical-based qualification to be rolled out to 16-18-year-olds nationwide between 2020 and 2022.

Hopwood Hall College is one of the first colleges in Greater Manchester to start offering the two-year T-level courses.

In preparation, the college plans to build a £6.1m extension to its existing Technology Centre in Rochdale. It plans to offer a broader range of T-level qualifications, particularly in advanced manufacturing and advanced construction.

The project has planning consent and is being funded through £1.7m from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the remaining £4.4m from Hopwood Hall College.

A total of £3.8m will be spent on the new-build extension and a further £1m will be invested in new equipment and resources. An extensive refurbishment of the existing building is also planned, and after the work, the final centre will span 80,000 sq ft. Subject to appointing a contractor in the coming weeks, the college is targeting a start on site by this summer.

Paul Pritchard, centre director for technology at Hopwood Hall College who is overseeing the project, said: “We are very excited to be in the position to build the extension to the centre.

“It will give Hopwood the opportunity to work with AMPI and Greater Manchester Combined Authority to deliver manufacturing and engineering skills that will support employers of all sizes to create pathways in employment across Greater Manchester.

And Julia Heap, the college’s principal and chief executive, said the T-level curriculum “offers a huge opportunity for prospective students, and also for local employers to support and develop the skills of our future workforce in Rochdale. It’s an exciting time for Rochdale.”

The T-Levels at Hopwood will start in September 2021 and applications are currently being taken.




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