Wigan & Leigh College has confirmed that it has been successful in becoming the preferred provider to take over the Rushton Building, formerly occupied by the UTC Wigan. The College submission was closely aligned to objectives in the Wigan Employment & Skills Strategy and in a competitive process has secured approval from the Department for Education.

As part of the College estate and in the town’s Education Quarter, the new Centre for Advanced Technical Studies will focus on providing a wider choice of higher education in skill priority areas to Wigan borough residents. Aspects of the College’s University Centre will be based in the building along with the Government’s new flag-ship T-level qualifications.

The Centre will also provide the facilities for skills programmes being developed by the education and skills partnership between Edge Hill University, Wigan Council, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL).

Rushton Building PhotoThe collaboration of the partners will result in new programmes being delivered in Wigan and a local higher education partnership focused on boosting the education, health and economic prospects of the borough.

The centre will focus on providing courses in key skill areas such as health, care and medical, education and digital, enabling students to start their studies at an advanced level and progress through to completing their higher education.

Anna Dawe, CEO and Principal of Wigan and Leigh College said: ‘Having the option to study higher and university provision in our own borough is a huge boost to the both the economy of the borough and to the health and life chances of residents.

Having this facility means we can extend the range of course currently offered in our University Centre, and with quality partners such as Edge Hill and WWL we can develop accessible higher level training that leads to sustainable employment. We already have a strong higher level engineering specialism but we want that to expand to health, education and digital and this gives us the ability to make that a reality.’

Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux, said: “This is an important and symbolic milestone for the borough and the partnership. During the latest Big Listening Project exercise with young people, the majority of those asked agreed that we should prioritise improving education facilities, while ensuring there are plenty of local job prospects. Together, we will work hard to provide these opportunities, ensuring that our residents have a clear pathway to a meaningful career and exciting future.”

Richard Mundon, WWL’s Director of Strategy and Planning said “We are pleased and proud to be a partner in this project which will improve education and skills in areas such as health, and enhance employment opportunities in the Wigan Borough and thrilled that the Rushton Building will be a tangible centre piece for this collaboration”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University, Steve Igoe said: “The news is an exciting key milestone for this collaboration and we’re keen to work with our partners to develop plans that will make the most of the building space to support future prospects for local communities.”

Over the next year courses will start to be delivered from the site whilst work is also undertaken to provide the facilities needed from September 2021.

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