Dudley College launches new University Centre Dudley (UCD) proposal

Today Siôn Simon was the first of the candidates for West Midlands Mayor to give his backing to Dudley College’s proposal to create a new University Centre in Dudley.

University Centre Dudley (UCD) is an exciting new £30m proposal to offer high level skills training in the technologies of the future from inspirational new facilities in Dudley. UCD will provide higher level progression pathways from Dudley College’s sector leading skills training centres, Advance I Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology and Advance II Centre for Advanced Building Technologies. Dudley College and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership have already invested in excess of £25m in highly specialist facilities for skills training in the advanced manufacturing, building technology/modern construction and transport technology sectors in Dudley.

The proposal is to locate UCD on land adjacent to the Tipton Road in very close proximity to Dudley town centre, Castle Gate and the Dudley Learning Quarter. UCD’s new buildings will be on land next to Warwick Manufacturing Group’s (WMG’s) new Very Light Rail Innovation Centre. Served by a new metro stop with trams running north to Wednesbury and onto Birmingham and south to Merry Hill. UCD will, in effect, create a new university technical park in Dudley.

UCD will be developed in partnership with a number of the region’s leading universities. The proposal is to create a centre for higher level Apprenticeships and graduate level and postgraduate level courses in engineering and manufacturing, building technologies & modern construction methodologies and modern transport technologies, all sectors where there is huge current and future employer demand for higher level skills. By providing flexible study pathways UCD’s ambition is to ensure many of the students are from the local workforce targeting those who do not traditionally progress to university. UCD will help ensure local employees keep pace with advancing technology in their sectors and in doing so achieve degree level qualifications.

UCD will be a key element of the new West Midlands Combined Authority’s skills plan.

Commenting on the launch of the proposal Dudley College Principal Lowell Williams said:

“I’m very excited by the opportunity UCD presents to the Black Country and the wider region. UCD is a logical development from the fantastic facilities we have already developed in Dudley. It will provide significant further investment in those all-important high level technical skills needed in our regional economy.  It’s great to see political leaders of all persuasions sharing our vision for the future. Over the coming days I’m hoping to talk through our plans with all of the Mayoral candidates and to receive their unanimous support.  Whoever wins I believe it’s important the Mayor uses their role to create new opportunities across all of our communities. What better way to do this than by giving the region’s workforce more choice about how, where and when they study?”

If plans get the green light the development of the UCD could start as early as autumn this year.