Construction starts on new state-of-the-art college building

Duncan has written about Wiltshire College in Chippenham, where he cut the turf to mark the start of constriction on a new building, in his column in the local papers this week:

wiltshire_college_turf_cutting.jpgPoliticians love a good photo opportunity, and given the necessary emphasis on building a stronger economy, hard hats and hi-vis jackets have become de rigueur of late. But the invitation for me to take part in the ceremonial turf-cutting to mark the start of construction at Wiltshire College in Chippenham was too hard-won to turn down.

Seeing work commence on the new state-of-the-art building was especially satisfying after the disappointment we experienced in 2008, when we came so close only to see funding disappear after the previous government overspent on its national college building programme.

I supported the plans back then and, since my election to Parliament in 2010, championed Wiltshire College’s renewed bid to Ministers.

I even enlisted David Cameron’s backing for the project at Prime Minister’s Questions last year. I am delighted that the Coalition Government awarded Wiltshire College the grant it needed to make this redevelopment happen, and I look forward to seeing the site transform over the coming months, to provide better facilities for young people.

I’m particularly pleased that the new campus will allow Wiltshire College to provide more vocational training and apprenticeships, especially in engineering. We have invested heavily in apprenticeships, doubling the number offered each year. Since the general election, more than 1.8 million people have started apprenticeships, including 2,500 here in the Chippenham constituency.