£488k cash boost for Pershore College - The Evesham Observer

£488k cash boost for Pershore College

Evesham Editorial 29th Dec, 2023   0

A WORCESTERSHIRE college has been awarded £488,000 to upgrade equipment to help close the agri-tech skills gap in the region and meet increasing course demand.

Students at Pershore College, part of WCG, will soon be benefiting from £488,000 of Local Skills Improvement Funds (LSIF) awarded by the Department for Education.

The funds will be used to update the glasshouses in the college’s Agri-Tech Research Centre, and follows rising student numbers on the college’s horticulture courses and apprenticeships.

Whilst the college currently has a number of both all-year and seasonal glasshouses used for student demonstrations and research, the funding will be used to upgrade its seasonal houses to all-year use.

Renovated heating systems and the addition of technologies for increased control of heat, water, ventilation and lighting, will enable more students to work in the greenhouses and gain valuable hands-on experience as well as learn about how newer technologies can result in more efficient production.

The college will also use part of the funding to phase out its current gas boiler system in its glasshouses in favour of a more environmentally-friendly biomass boiler system, making them more efficient in their energy consumption.

Some of the funding will also be used to upgrade connectivity across the site, with cabling upgrades, improved Wi-Fi and electronic screens for classrooms to support the increased student numbers.

Peter Husband, Interim CEO and Principal of WCG, said:

“We are thrilled to be awarded £488,000 by the Department for Education.

“Agri-tech is one of the five priority sectors highlighted in the Worcestershire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), which identifies key skills gaps across the region, so we are delighted to be using the funds to upgrade our glasshouse system at Pershore College.

“Our courses at Pershore College’s Agri-Tech Research Centre continue to support the next generation of skilled professionals in the land-based sectors.

“The improved facilities will help to reduce the region’s skill gap.”

The LSIF funding is in response to the region’s LSIP which was developed by the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, working in conjunction with Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council alongside regional employers and post-16 education providers.

The LSIF programme is designed to support growth and innovation through funding new facilities and courses in higher and further education, with a focus on growing the regional economy and upskilling the workforce.

The Department for Education awarded £2,451,994 of LSIF to the Worcestershire region, with a focus on plugging the technical skills gap in five key priority sectors.

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