Moulton College were delighted to welcome The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
She was visiting the College along with members of the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) to announce an expansion to its Growth Deal with the Government which will see an extra £9m invested in Northamptonshire between 2016 and 2021.
From this fund the College is delighted to have been awarded £3.5 million towards its new £5 million Food & Drink Technology Academy.
The Food and Drink Technology Academy will provide a bespoke facility to meet the skills and development needs of the Food and Drink sector. The Academy will include a number of food technology teaching rooms equipped with the most up-to-date equipment and technology to teach technical and vocational skills. Facilities will also include a commercial food processing unit adding significant value to locally produced commodities.
The centre will also provide an opportunity for the Food & Drink industry to use specialist testing and development facilities, especially given the large number of small to medium sized enterprises and micro-businesses located in Northamptonshire and the East Midlands.
Northamptonshire is home to more than twice the national average number of food and drink manufacturers, many of which produce high end, award-winning, specialist products for international audiences, worth £1.5 billion to the local economy. Northamptonshire is also responsible for 10% of the UK’s total wheat storage, milling and processing capacity.
It is a significant employer in Northamptonshire with some 46,000 jobs supported by prospering businesses including Weetabix, Carlsberg UK, Heygates, Whitworths, British Pepper and Spice and Alpro and a large number of small to medium enterprises many of which provide niche products and services.
The Academy will establish a comprehensive curriculum offer to provide for the technical and business needs of the food and drink sector. The process includes consultation with employers, professionals and other educational partners including the University of Northampton in order to develop education and training programmes to provide for the technical and business needs of the sector at levels 2, 3 and 4, including apprenticeships from intermediate to higher level and both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes through the University of Northampton including an Master’s Degree. The Academy will create 16 direct jobs, contribute over £15M in GVA to the local economy by 2021 and provide over 300 qualifications each year.
Principal Stephen Davies said “this is another really exciting project for the College and I am of course delighted that Government is providing £3.5 million of Local Growth Funding towards Moulton College’s new £5million facility. The Food and Drink industry makes a significant contribution to Northamptonshire, employing 46,000 people and contributing over £1.5billion to the local economy, which means that it is essential that we provide people with the right skills to support the sector’s growth”.
The project is intended to start construction in July 2016 and be fully open by August 2017, and will support over 40 construction jobs through the build process.