A state-of-the art £1 million training centre for transport and logistics in Buxton was officially opened last week.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP was guest of honour at the opening of Buxton and Leek College’s Skillsbase Training Centre on the Harpur Hill Business Park on Friday.
During the event, he spoke of the importance of such facilities, before presenting certificates to two successful students and enjoying a tour of the centre.
The 18,000 square feet training centre allows students and apprentices to study towards vocational qualifications in a number of areas including logistics, warehousing and storage, construction, motor vehicle engineering, welding and driving.
Mr McLoughlin, who is MP for the Derbyshire Dales, said: “I think it is a very impressive facility which the motor vehicle industry will want to look at.
“Young people want to know that there is a career path for them and the thing people don’t realise is there have been huge changes in the logistics industry with regards to just in time delivery. Deliveries have got to be made on time and it is vitally important we attract more young people into the transport industry.”
And when asked if anything in particular had impressed him, Mr McLoughlin said: “Seeing all the different skills together, whether that’s welding or motor vehicles.”
Speaking of the centre, High Peak MP Andrew Bingham said: “It is fantastic and so good for the High Peak. The facilities here are better than what you might find in a university in the centre of a city.”
Two students who are reaping the rewards of the top-class facilities are Claire Milner and Sophia Bell, who are on the motor vehicle studies course.
Claire said: “It is brilliant. I’ve learnt a lot. The staff are really helpful. When I came into this course I didn’t know anything about motor vehicles at all but know I know pretty much all the basics.”
And Sophia added: “It’s really hands-on. I want to go on and do level two and then hopefully get an apprenticeship.”
Programme co-ordinator Andrew Parton said: “We do full-time and part-time courses. We also cater for the local industry in terms of their apprentices coming in one day a week.
“The facilities we have got here replicate what you would find in a top dealership.”
College Principal Len Tildsley said: “We are all very excited about what the new Skillsbase Training Centre offers. The facilities and courses have been designed alongside industry so we know that the students who study with us will gain skills in a real-world learning environment, that are in demand not just locally but also nationally.”