West Midlands Mayoral candidate visits Dudley College of Technology

Engineering students at Dudley College meet with Mayoral candidate: Jordan Bailey (aged 17), Andy Street, Jordan Mitchell (aged 17) and Harry Bennett (aged 19)

Andy Street, Conservative candidate for West Midlands Mayor, today visited Dudley College of Technology to discuss the college’s plans to boost higher levels skills in the region and to talk through the college’s ambition to create new University Centre in Dudley (UCD).

Andy was accompanied by Mike Wood MP for Dudley South and Cllr Patrick Harley who were keen to develop a deeper understanding of UCD and to lend their support to the proposal, which could see the development of a brand new £30 million University Centre at the heart of the town.

UCD would 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 and would be in line with other proposals for the college to bid to become an Institute of Technology. During the visit Apprenticeship Engineering students were able to showcase the skills they have acquired by demonstrating their CNC Milling technique to the VIP guests.

Commenting on the visit Dudley College Principal Lowell Williams said:

“I’m delighted to be able to share our exciting plans for the future with Andy and our local political leaders as it is my hope that the development of UCD will be a key element of the new West Midlands Combined Authority’s skills plan. The creation of 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.”

Addressing the wider skills issue Andy said:

“I was hugely impressed with what I saw at Dudley College and I want to congratulate everyone on the contribution being made to address the skills challenges in the West Midlands.

“The challenges we face in the future in this region are significant and our excellent colleges will be at the front line of us tackling these.

“Perhaps as importantly, the college is making a real difference to the aspirations of young people in the Black Country – this deserves particular praise.”

A sentiment which was echoed by Mike Wood MP:

“Driving the skills agenda forward is a critical part of my mission. Dudley College is at the forefront of many exciting new developments. With the backing of the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Combined Authority there has never been a more opportune time for us to create a dynamic skills landscape that gives the people of Dudley even more opportunities to gain skills that our employers are crying out for.”

The UCD will be developed in partnership with a number of the region’s leading universities to offer 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.

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