The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has approved a £6.95m grant to support the development, which will allow the college to increase its number of construction students by 70%.
The GMCA contribution, from its Skills Capital funding pot, covers 77.6% of the total project cost. The 25,232 sq ft building, at the town centre campus, will house the college’s construction curriculum, which offers skilled trades, project management and professional construction qualifications through to degree level.
Oldham College said that once the building is operational, its construction apprenticeships programme will increase by 200 per year, including higher level apprenticeships.
The project will also involve the demolition of two campus facilities, which the college said will be obsolete for teaching use beyond 2020/21. It will also mean more capacity for English as a Second Language (ESOL) provision to meet local needs.
Cllr Sean Fielding, GMCA portfolio lead for education, skills, work and apprenticeships and Oldham Council leader, said: “This is great news for Oldham College – and for the prospects and hopes of many young people.”
“This grant will give Oldham College a new industry standard construction centre with modern facilities for learners in traditional and more higher level technical and management roles. Last year there was a 30% increase in enrolments in construction learning at Oldham College and its important they can cope with the increasing demand in this sector.”
Alun Francis, Oldham College principal and chief executive, added; “People will be reading the national debates about university tuition fees and the need for our post-16 system to change to meet the needs of the economy.
“What is needed is more work-based, flexible ways of achieving high skilled qualifications as alternatives to the old A-level and three year residential university degree. This investment is helping Oldham move to that better system.” Francis said that since 2012 the college has secured more than £40m of investment in its campus.